Key Information

Latest update from the New Zealand Ministry of Health

Unitec update - 12 May 2020

New Zealand will be moving from Alert Level 3 to Alert Level 2 from Thursday 14 May.

As outlined in the Moving to Alert Level 2 guidelines on the COVID-19 website, the key directive for Unitec is that education providers can re-open under Alert Level 2, but that any activity on our campuses must adhere to strict physical distancing and Health & Safety guidelines.

To accommodate this, Unitec is planning a phased transition back to campus, with only a limited number of staff – both academic and support staff – and students returning to campus from the week of Monday 18 May.  All staff and students will be required to complete a Health & Safety induction, either before coming on to campus, or starting class. 

Students who can return to campus for specific courses will be informed in advance by their course lecturers ahead of next week.

Most support staff will stay online and off-campus until the end of May. The exception is Te Puna Waiora Health Centre which has stayed open throughout lockdown to support the health needs of our students and staff.

We will continue to keep students and staff informed of any further updates.

See previous updates (Click to expand)

Unitec update - 20 April 2020

A return to Level 3 and what it means for Unitec

As we heard from the Prime Minister today, the country will be moving from Alert Level 4 to Alert Level 3 from 11.59pm on Monday, 27 April.  We will remain at Alert Level 3 for at least two weeks, to be reviewed on Monday, 11 May.

Please see the Golden Rules for Life at Alert Level 3 as detailed on the COVID-19 website.

As outlined, the key directive is that people are required to work from home unless that’s not possible, and that all teaching, learning and other activities should be done remotely wherever possible.

This means the majority of our staff and students will continue teaching, studying and working from home for the duration of Alert Level 3.  There are some exceptions to this, including some on-campus research that has to be done on site and some practical hands-on learning, such as trades courses, where the learning can happen in small groups with appropriate physical distancing.  In this case, class sizes will be limited to 10 people or less (including a teacher).

Courses where close contact is unavoidable, including large classes or gatherings of more than 10 people, will remain online.

What does this mean for Unitec?

  • A limited number of courses across some of our Schools will be taught on campus from Wednesday, 29 April as part of a phased approach to on-site learning, but with strict guidelines around class sizes, physical distancing and maintenance of ‘bubbles’.  These guidelines will be communicated directly to those staff and students affected
  • Teaching staff for these courses will be allowed on campus, as well as a small number of Security, Health & Safety, Infrastructure, and IT staff, as well as some of our building contractors engaged in refurbishing buildings. All other staff should continue working from home
  • Both our campuses will remain closed until further notice to everyone but the students and teachers outlined above. This includes Te Puna, the library, cafes, Copy Centre and Sports Centre.
  • Te Puna Waiora will remain open, but consultations are virtual.  Please note that Te Puna Waiora is no longer a COVID-19 testing centre
  • Student accommodation will remain open and will continue to provide appropriate support to allow students to self-isolate, as required
  • Workplace-based learning is subject to the policies and practices being applied to that type of workplace

In the meantime, we’re continuing with our detailed planning around timetabling and facilities management for teaching in an Alert Level 3 environment and will be communicating with our students this Friday, 24 April an outline of what their learning and assessments will look like from next Tuesday, 28 April through until the end of May. 

 

Update - 9 April 2020

Unitec's Learner Outreach Project mobilises expanded team to check on student welfare during COVID-19 lockdown

As Unitec moves into the second week of online teaching, it has mobilised a range of remote-working support staff to further expand the resources of its Learner Outreach Project (LOP), established last year to support students through outreach and facilitate a better understanding of their needs through actively tracking and monitoring progress.

As part of the expanded outreach during lockdown, a range of support teams have joined existing LOP staff to make personal phone calls to students across courses and programmes, checking on their welfare and establishing whether they have the access they need to complete online course activities and assessments.  They’re also providing information about course completion, personal finance and health and wellbeing, and referring students to support agencies if they need help.  Unitec is assisting students who don’t have access to appropriate devices and is advising on cost-effective connectivity options.

Annette Pitovao, Director of Student Success at Unitec, said that the range of support activities has been met with very positive feedback so far.  “Our students appreciate hearing from us, and knowing that there’s someone on the other end of the phone who cares makes a huge difference to their motivation levels,” she said.   “We want our students to have the most optimal learning experience possible under the current, challenging circumstances with the least amount of disruption to their future success.” 

“We’ve been very encouraged to see that students are supporting each other across a variety of platforms, forming chat groups and online tutorial groups to actively stay connected,” she said. 

Teaching staff will continue to teach online after the return from mid-Semester break on Tuesday, 28 April but will provide students with further information on their specific course delivery arrangements next week.  Unitec has been teaching its students online since Monday, March 30 – taking just four days to move to full online teaching after the campus was first closed due to lockdown.

Update - 07 April 2020

Online meditation, desk-fit yoga, Bollywood dance and boot camp – all in a day’s work for Unitec’s Sustainability & Wellbeing team

Unitec’s Sustainability & Wellbeing team has introduced a range of online activities and initiatives to ensure Unitec staff remain well supported while adjusting to working and teaching from home during lockdown. The team has shared tips on setting up an ergonomic home workspace and creating work-life schedules, including relevant articles and interviews of interest.

Other support has included advice on mental health and wellbeing, including ways to boost immunity and adapt to a new way of living and working, as well as names of agencies to contact for support and assistance, including the Employee Assistance Programme offered by EAP Services. 

The Unitec Staff Wellness programme, usually run on campus, has continued in an online format, including activities such as meditation, a walking club, hula, Bollywood dance and boot camp. These activities are almost all voluntarily run by Unitec staff, all of whom were happy to set up online options so people could continue to engage in their regular wellness sessions.

Staff have set up online chat groups to share ideas for work and home life, including tips for online team meetings and keeping children entertained at home. 

Unitec’s Human Resources team is also making personal calls to staff across all Schools and support teams checking on their welfare, answering questions and advising on issues including mental wellbeing, IT set-up and juggling work-life balance under lockdown. 

Update - 30 March 2020

Online teaching for all our students started today and will continue until the start of the mid-Semester break. Thursday 9 April is the last day of classes before the break and online classes will resume again on Tuesday 28 April.

Teaching staff are using Zoom, Echo360 and a range of other online tools to teach classes, and all course material is posted on our Learning Management System, Moodle.

Students are encouraged to contact their lecturer directly or itsupport@unitec.ac.nz if they have any issues with access, connectivity or devices.  Anything else student-related, please contact our Student Support team on 0800 10 75 10 or go here for more information.

We acknowledge the patience and flexibility of our students as we work with them during these challenging times and thank them for their support.

Update - 24 March 2020

Unitec’s two campuses – Mt Albert and Waitākere – are now closed until further notice due to the Government directive around Alert Level 4, which comes into effect at 11.59pm, Wednesday 25 March.

Te Puna Waiora – Unitec’s Wellness Centre remains open, but if you need to speak with a doctor or nurse, please phone ahead for a virtual consultation on 0800 10 85 10.

Staff and students should monitor their usual Unitec communications and social media channels for updates.

Online teaching will commence on Monday, 30 March.

Update - 23 March 2020

With New Zealand on an Alert Level 3 and within 48 hours moving to Level 4, we are implementing the following measures:

  • All teaching and assessments will be suspended for four days from 5pm, Monday 23 March. This means there will be no classes (live-streamed or face to face) for four days while our teaching staff make final preparations for activating online study.
  • Students should use this time for self-directed study. Teaching staff will be available to provide remote assistance to any students who need it.
  • Online teaching will start from Monday 30 March.
  • Our Unitec Pathways College (UPC) classes will also be suspended until further notice and will be rescheduled when schools re-open. This is in line with the closure of secondary schools from Tuesday 24 March.
  • The last day of business operations on campus is Tuesday 24 March. Our Unitec campuses will close for four weeks from Wednesday 25 March. Students, staff or visitors will not be allowed on campus. Te Puna Waiora medical centre, as an essential service, will remain open for phone and virtual consultations - call 0800 10 85 10 or book online - visit Te Puna Waiora webpage.

Update - 19 March

See updated information on the Ministry of Health website

The Prime Minister has advised that in the best interests of the community, all arrivals into New Zealand in the past two weeks should self-isolate for 14 days from their arrival date. This is an update on the previous announcement that all arrivals into the country from Monday, March 16 at 1am are required to self-isolate for 14 days.

If you feel unwell, call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 (+64 9 358 5453 for international SIMs). Alternatively, contact your local GP or medical centre for advice and health information – by calling first, rather than turning up at the surgery.

We remind you of the basic rule to stay at home if you don’t feel well

Practice good hygiene measures as outlined on the Ministry of Health and COVID19 websites, including washing your hands with soap regularly

Update: Tuesday 17 March 2020

As a preventative measure to safeguard against the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus, Unitec's Autumn Graduation on Tuesday 31 March has been postponed, along with Kahurangi 2020 and the Pacific Celebration.

Update: Thursday 12 March 2020

As of today there were no additional confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19 to report in New Zealand for the fifth consecutive day. Our case number remain unchanged – NZ has five confirmed cases based on positive test results and two probable cases.

Overnight, the World Health Organization declared that COVID-19 coronavirus is now characterised as a pandemic. This is the first pandemic caused by a coronavirus. 

The pandemic status reinforces the importance of planning and preparation, whilst continuing to take a precautionary approach. 

Our Incident Management Team (IMT) is continuing to meet daily.  We have a Pandemic Plan prepared and ready as part of our Incident Management framework and will be issuing more information next week on contingency plans, including set-up for working from home, if needed.  We have only a very small number of staff either overseas, or due to travel, and are continuing to assess travel plans on a daily basis.  

Update: Tuesday 10 March 2020

To date, the Ministry of Health has confirmed five cases of COVID-19 coronavirus in New Zealand, but for a third consecutive day, there have been no additional confirmed or probable cases here. Please see link to today’s update on the Ministry of Health website.

Travel restrictions have also been extended another week, so will remain in effect until Tuesday, 17 March.  For more information on travel restrictions, see the latest situation summary on the Immigration New Zealand website.

We are doing everything we can to safeguard our students, staff and visitors and continue to stress the following basic hygiene measures:

  • If you’re feeling unwell with flu-like symptoms, stay at home. If you have concerns about your health, call Healthline on its dedicated COVID-19 number 0800 358 5453 (or +64 9 358 5453 for international SIMS), or contact your GP or medical centre (including Te Puna Waiora – Unitec’s Wellness Centre), by phoning ahead rather than just turning up at the surgery.  They can assess your symptoms and give advice over the phone
  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water and then dry thoroughly, or cleanse your hands with hand sanitizer
  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue or your elbow, and then wash and dry your hands
  • Keep shared kitchen areas clean and tidy – clean surfaces regularly with anti-bacterial wipes or spray and ensure cutlery, plates and cups are washed after each use

For additional information, please see the How to protect yourself and others flyer issued by the Ministry of Health.

Those International students in self-isolation or unable to travel are still being supported by remote learning activities by Te Puna Ako and relevant teaching staff, but the majority of our teaching and learning will continue to take place on both our campuses, as normal.  As we outlined last week, those International and Domestic students who have travelled overseas and have satisfied self-isolation requirements will be required to check in and show their travel documentation to our International Support team on their return to Unitec.  Once these checks have been made and the documentation is in order, the International Support team will inform the relevant teaching staff via email that the students can start their classes.  This includes those students who have opted to spend their self-isolation period in another country en route to New Zealand.

We will continue to keep you updated on any changes to policies or procedures.

Update: Monday 10 February 2020

The Ministry of Health has set up a new helpline to provide information about coronavirus.  The new number is 0800 358 5453 (or +649 358 5453 for overseas SIMs).  The number is free to call, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and will be staffed by members of the National Telehealth Services with interpreters on hand to help with translation. 

The Ministry of Health now also has a Facebook page @minhealthnz, and along with its Twitter channel @minhealthnz, will be used to alert people to key updates and messaging specifically about coronavirus.  

We are continuing to communicate directly with our students, staff, agents and partners and are working to assess and monitor the situation and its implications. Our Te Puna Ako team is continuing to work on resources for teaching staff so they can support their learners from a distance.

For International Students with questions about visas, please consult the INZ information sheet around student visa holders.

Update: Monday 3 February 2020

The New Zealand Government made the following announcement yesterday in relation to temporary entry restrictions into New Zealand to assist with the containment of the novel coronavirus and to protect New Zealand and the Pacific Islands from the disease:

New Zealand to restrict travel from China to protect against coronavirus

The measures took effect from today and will be in place for up to 14 days. This position will be reviewed every 48 hours.

The key points of the announcement are:

  • Any foreign travellers who leave or transit through mainland China after 2 February 2020 (NZ time) will be refused entry to New Zealand. Any foreign travellers in transit to New Zealand on 2 February 2020 will be subject to enhanced screening on arrival but, pending clearance, will be granted entry to New Zealand.
  • New Zealand citizens and permanent residents returning to New Zealand will still be able to enter, as will their immediate family members, but will be required to self-isolate for 14 days on arrival back in the country. 
  • The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has also raised its travel advice to New Zealanders for all of mainland China to “Do not travel”, the highest level.

We are communicating directly with our students, staff, agents and partners and working to assess and monitor the situation and its implications. We are continuing to take a precautionary, preventative approach and are following the advice of the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education around ways to safeguard those who come on to our campuses. We have also issued the guidelines issued by the World Health Organisation on “Protecting yourself and others from getting sick” to our students, staff and visitors.


For further information

Here is a list of key websites for information and updates on Coronavirus:

Contact Unitec

Please email: internationalsupport@unitec.ac.nz

If you suspect you have been exposed to the Coronavirus, please complete this form so that we can provide the necessary support for your studies.

Key external Information

For specific coronavirus related immigration queries, contact the Immigration Contact Centre on 0508 225 288 (within NZ) or +64 9 952 1679 (outside NZ).