Saturday 21 March

COVID-19 update Saturday 21 March

This is a message to all students from Vice-Chancellor Professor Grant Guilford.

As you will be aware, the Prime Minister has today announced an alert system for COVID-19 and advised that New Zealand has moved to alert level 2. This is the phase where the disease is contained but risks are growing as more cases are confirmed.

The Prime Minister also announced new measures to combat the spread of COVID-19 in New Zealand. There is full information available at https://covid19.govt.nz/.

The key points for students over 70 or with a compromised immune system, underlying health conditions, or care responsibilities are:

  • Students in this group must stay at home and self-isolate from now on.
  • You will be able to access online resources and continue your programme of study. If you have any specific concerns about your courses or academic programme, please contact your faculty office by phone or email.
  • If you are self-isolating, please make sure that you register with the University’s contact centre on 0800 04 04 04 or email info@vuw.ac.nz. Please make sure that you provide your name, contact number, and the address where you are isolating, so we can provide you with whatever support that is needed.
  • Please also contact the centre to record your details if you do not have access to a computer, tablet, or WiFi at your home or self-isolation address. We also recommend calling your GP practice or Student Health and informing them that you are self-isolating. This will be particularly important if you are on regular medications that cannot be discontinued.
  • All non-essential domestic travel should be avoided.

Key points for all other students are:

At alert level 2, Victoria University of Wellington will continue with its blended learning approach:

  • All mandatory attendance requirements for students will be waived this trimester, and alternative assessments and activities will be planned to take the place of more traditional exams, labs, and son on.  Where practical, field trips will be cancelled in the first and second trimesters.
  • This Friday 27 March will be a Learning and Teaching from Home Day to test our online systems should the COVID-19 alert level be one day raised to a level that precludes attendance on campus. On the Learning and Teaching from Home Day, there will be no face-to-face lectures, seminars, tutorials, and so on. All learning should be done remotely. You will be able to log onto your Blackboard course page to find out how this will be done. If you cannot reliably do that from home, and you are well, please join a friend in your courses to work together (at a safe distance). Check the University’s COVID-19 webpage for updates.
  • At all other times, students will be able to engage online through Blackboard in a variety of different ways. In most courses, lectures will be recorded and available via Blackboard. Those unable to access online services are welcome to attend lectures on campus but must practice physical distancing ensuring there is at least one seat between them and another student. Many courses will continue to be offered in blended form with a face-to-face component, but others will be offered fully online.

Student Health Services

Student Health and Counselling Services will continue to provide essential services to students and advice to staff as required. The safety and wellbeing of all our community is a priority for us as a University.

Financial support

We know some students will be experiencing financial hardship and have concerns about managing expenses. You can speak to a student finance advisor for advice and guidance. You can also apply to the hardship fund if you require monetary support, including for reasons due to COVID-19, such as the loss of employment. You can find information on the hardship fund.

Accommodation

All university accommodation remains open and operating as normal. We will be sending further information to students in our halls of residence soon.

We will be providing regular updates, so make sure that you check our website regularly.

The weeks ahead are going to be challenging, but there is absolutely nothing that we will not be able to find our way through if we work together. Please take care not just of yourself but also your family and friends.

All the best and kia kaha.

Professor Grant Guilford
Vice-Chancellor of Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington