Halls of residence

Students in non-catered halls of residence will be able to return from Thursday 14 May, and those in our catered halls can return from Monday 18 May.

The page was last updated on 14 May 2020.

Students in our non-catered halls of residence will be able to start returning from this Thursday 14 May, and those in our catered halls of residence can return from Monday 18 May.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I travel to Wellington at alert level 2?

A: Yes

Q: How can I have confidence that I/my son/my daughter/my whānau member will be safe?

A: There are no open clusters of COVID-19 in Wellington currently, but we are not relaxing our vigilance. The University’s accommodation is professionally managed providing a safe, secure, and hygienic environment. We have implemented a range of COVID-19 related assurance procedures including working with student health to manage unwell students, isolation, physical distancing, and upgraded cleaning and hygiene. We have run this specialised operating model under alert level 4 and 3, and our staff are experienced at providing high quality accommodation under stringent health protocols, while still offering a high standard of pastoral care.

The COVID-19 response operating model adopted by the halls provides health assurance by;

  • increased frequency of our commercial standard cleaning regime in common areas, bathrooms, and kitchens in catered halls
  • consultation with Regional Public Health to create best practice around physical distancing and contact tracing in a communal living environment, which includes mandatory use of hand sanitiser stations around the hall
  • staggered dining times to reduce the number of residents in the dining room
  • strengthened pastoral care, which includes 24-hour staff availability to respond to any illness or wellbeing concern.

Q: Can I be isolated in the halls of residence?

A: There is a dedicated area for isolation if required, and staff are experienced in responding to isolation needs, and are trained to scale up their response if required. We have clear procedures for triaging unwell students and strict protocols for handling any isolation if needed.

Q: What if I arrive back and we go back to level 3 or 4?

A: We would continue to work closely with Regional Public Health and will follow government advice.

If you are in a university flat or house, you may remain there when the country is at alert levels 3 and 4.

If you are in a university-managed catered hall, we may require you to move to a different room or to different accommodation to ensure we meet public health requirements.

Q. Why come back when I can study online and see how it goes with the pandemic?

A: By returning to the halls of residence, students can continue engaging in university life academically, socially, recreationally and professionally.

We know many of you have been missing your hall family and friends. You will be able to see your friends again, with appropriate physical distancing in place. You will be able to interact with your friend group and take part in hall events run in compliance with alert level directives.

As part of a return to hall, students will benefit from a re-orientation.

We’ve also heard that many of you are missing living here in the capital city. The Wellington experience under level 2 will be approaching ‘normal’ with most business and facilities open again and operating with required physical distancing and health measures in place.

You will be able to access some university facilities including University Recreation (with appropriate health and safety measures in place).

There will be a range of safe on-campus activities for students, including, but not limited to: additional special interest lectures, seminars to enhance academic skills, tutorials and other learning activities for some important courses in the curriculum, face-to-face office hours to connect one-on-one with academic staff, and social activities for students to re-connect with each other.

Keep up momentum of transition to independence—you can continue to develop essential life skills that will help you move to a flatting situation in your second or third year of study and beyond. The life skills you learn in a communal living environment are also valuable for the workplace.

Student Support Coordinators can link you to support services including student learning and finance, disability services etc.

Q: What is the University doing about keeping us safe in halls?

A. For physical distancing, the COVID-19 response operating model adopted by the halls provides health assurance by:

  • staggered dining times for meals
  • sanitisers available at lifts and in dining and social spaces
  • sanitisers available to students for their personal use
  • students only use bathrooms on your own floor.

There is an isolation plan if required.

You will need to keep a record of all physical contacts you have in the hall and on campus.

Q: I can’t afford/we can’t afford for our young person to come back

A: Students can access the student hardship fund and should speak to Student Finance if they are experiencing financial difficulty related to COVID-19. There are also limited scholarships available.  You can also speak to the University Accommodation team about a payment plan for your accommodation. Students are able to cancel their Hall Residence Agreement any time before 15 May 2020 with no penalties.

Q: What have you done to find out what hall students want to inform decision making?

A: University Accommodation Wellington conducted a survey at Easter to find out what students were looking for in their return to hall, and this has informed our planning as we work to ready halls for your return.

Q: What fees will I be charged?

A: Your normal accommodation fee will resume from the day you return to your hall.

Q: What if I wish to come back in Trimester 2?

If you do not wish to return to your hall at this stage but will return for the start of Trimester 2, you are welcome to do so, and we will hold your possessions until you return.

There will be no charge until the earlier of (1) start of Trimester 2; or (2) your return to hall; when normal accommodation fees will resume.

Q: When would I need to pay the fees by?

A: Your residential agreement details your instalment amounts and due dates. The third instalment payment due date has been extended from 3 June 2020 to 11 June 2020. If you would like a detailed statement of your account, contact accommodation@vuw.ac.nz or speak to the team at your hall.