COVID-19 (Coronavirus) update

01 Apr, 2020
 
COVID-19 what you need to know

This page has been set up to provide information for anyone at the University with questions or concerns about COVID-19. It will be updated regularly. AUT is working closely with relevant government agencies and making every effort to help students continue their studies with as little disruption as possible.

Message from the President of AUTSA and Vice-Chancellor of AUT - Wednesday 1 April

Kia ora,

We hope this update finds everyone well and adjusting to life in your ‘bubble’ for those in New Zealand. Remember, we have a range of services available to support you. You can find out what support is available to assist and if you would like to make contact, complete our COVID-19 student support form or email studenthub@aut.ac.nz

AUT Students Association

This current situation of nationwide lockdown presents uncertainty for our students who may experience difficulties which can be both unexpected and out of your control. Please don’t hesitate to contact AUTSA for Assistance. Email us at autsa@aut.ac.nz

AUTSA continues to provide students confidential and free advocacy support. If your wellbeing, study arrangements, accommodation or employment has been impacted recently, please contact us at advocacy@aut.ac.nz

As announced our mid-semester break has been extended and is running from 22 March – 22 April (inclusive). All previous assessments have ceased and there is no requirement to continue them at this point.

The world has changed, and so has AUT - Making it easier to complete your studies

AUT is deploying a block learning approach to teaching and learning for the remainder of 2020 to help simplify the 2020 academic year for you, our students. You will still learn with us on a year or semester programme - it will just be arranged in blocks. This approach will enable us to remain responsive, flexible and agile and remove some of the uncertainties created by COVID-19.

The move to an innovative block learning model ensures that we can continue to deliver the highest quality education and student experiences, both online and in-person as the situation develops.

Block learning will provide greater flexibility, making it easier for you to complete your studies when you anticipated. It is designed to reduce pressure, particularly for those of you who are trying to balance work, life and study commitments at this difficult time.

Your study will progress at the same pace and the academic workload will remain the same. You can also expect to complete your study in the year intended.

What is block learning?

Instead of studying multiple papers concurrently over two semesters, you will have four consecutive weeks (a block) to complete one paper at a time. Each paper is worth 15 points. Each week in a block equates to 37.5 hours, giving a total 150 hours.

In our new timetable, the rest of the year is divided into eight blocks. This enables full-time students to study eight 15-point papers for a total of 120 points. Part-time students can still study one paper at a time and will be able to take longer than four weeks to complete.

Benefits of block learning

More focus and less stress

With block learning you can immerse yourself in one paper at a time. It’s a more focused approach to learning and assessment. Each paper will be delivered consecutively in a four-week block of study, with a total of eight blocks in 2020. Say ‘goodbye’ to the stress of juggling multiple papers and having assessments due at the same time.

Greater flexibility

Online platforms alongside face to face teaching make learning incredibly accessible and flexible. You can study wherever and whenever you want. Block learning also makes it easier to select papers across a variety of disciplines, because there are fewer scheduling problems.

We are aware that some students may have difficulty accessing online and digital content. We are working to assist these students with alternative methods. You will receive a communication from AUT about this – if you feel that you may need any type of support, for whatever reason, please complete the short questionnaire to let us know and our team will be in contact with you.

Quality and consistency

New teaching and learning tools will ensure quality and consistency across courses, including a comprehensive online experience. This means lecturers will be able to focus more on engaging and supporting students through each paper.

Achievement and success

With block learning you will gain a sense of consistent achievement as you accumulate credits throughout the year. You will still progress at the same pace, but it is a less stressful way of learning.

Timetable for block learning for 2020

There is a two-day virtual orientation scheduled 23 and 24 April that will assist you to re-start your study for 2020, you will be contacted to participate in this.

Each block runs for four weeks. There are two, weeklong breaks after block 3 and block 6, with the academic year now ending on 20 December.

  • Orientation: 23/4 - 24/4
  • Block 1: 27/4* – 24/5 (15-POINT PAPER)
  • Block 2: 25/5 – 21/6 (15-POINT PAPER)
  • Block 3: 22/6 – 19/7 (15-POINT PAPER)
  • BREAK - 20/7 – 26/7
  • Block 4: 27/7 – 23/8 (15-POINT PAPER)
  • Block 5: 24/8 – 20/9 (15-POINT PAPER)
  • Block 6: 21/9 – 18/10 (15-POINT PAPER)
  • BREAK - 19/10 – 25/10
  • Block 7: 26/10 – 22/11 (15-POINT PAPER)
  • Block 8: 23/11 – 20/12 (15-POINT PAPER)

*Anzac Day is observed on 27 April. Block 1 content will begin during the Orientation period, with teaching starting on 28 April

Some of these blocks will be offered as online only to allow us to continue regardless of the COVID-19 Alert Level enforced by government.

These dates outline the scope of each block; it is intended that content will be available at the commencement of each block.

What to look out for next?

We hope you will be excited about this new approach – students have been telling us for some time that they want more online learning.

It’s a lot of new information, and a great deal of work is being completed by teams across AUT to finalise arrangements. With that in mind, we will be providing updates each week until we re-open for learning and teaching with virtual orientation on 23 and 24 April.

These updates will include information about:

  • How we will be recognising your learning so far in 2020
  • What papers will be available in the first four blocks
  • Enrolment in papers – a personalised enrolment plan for the first four blocks
  • How to keep studying as a part-time student
  • How to progress as a conjoint student
  • The opportunities for overseas students currently on Interim Study Plans
  • How those without good internet access will be supported
  • Information on how papers with a practical component (co-ops/clinical placements) will be scheduled for later in the year (when current restrictions are likely to be eased)
  • How exams/assessments will be conducted
  • The impact on student allowances and fees
  • The process for LOA, deferral and withdrawing from papers.

He waka eke noa. We are all in this together

Derek McCormack, Vice-Chancellor

Sisifa Lui, AUTSA President

Announcement to AUT students from the Vice-Chancellor and AUTSA President - Thursday 26 March

Kia ora,

We hope you are getting used to the changes we are all facing as a result of COVID-19 and that you and your families are well. We know this is a very challenging time and we must continue to reflect our values as a University:

  • Tika / Integrity: Being genuine and accountable helps us do good work
  • Pono / Respect: Working together being collaborative and inclusive
  • Aroha / Compassion: How we respond to one another makes a huge difference

Supporting Students during COVID-19

COVID-19 support information for AUT students

Find out what support is available to help you through this challenging time, and where to find government and community advice on the COVID-19 situation. You can request support via our Covid Support online form or email studenthub@aut.ac.nz

We will keep you updated via email, AUT’s website and the AUT app. Download the app here for apple or android.

Student Medical Centre

You can arrange for a nurse or GP to call you back, to discuss your medical needs. The phone details are 09 921 9992 (City Campus) or 09 921 9998 (North Campus). There are phone and video consultations in place.

We are offering flu vaccinations and prioritising students who have compromised immunity.

You can also contact Healthline on 0800 611 116 or your local non-AUT GP.

Counselling and Mental Health

You can make an appointment with an AUT Counsellor to talk about your support needs. Phone 09 921 9292 or email counselling@aut.ac.nz

Students have access to free alternative counselling services, which are private and accessible online or over the phone. Visit www.puawaitanga.nz/aut or phone 0800 782 999.

You can also call or text 1737 for free any time of the day or night, to speak to a trained counsellor.

R U OK Online

The R U OK Advisor team have an online presence via the R U OK Facebook page Facebook page. If you want someone to talk to and stay connected with other students, you can join the page and send a message to the team. They are also able to connect you with AUT Student Services and resources.

Financial assistance

If you’re experiencing financial difficulty during this time, please contact the Student Hub as we can provide you with timely financial assistance including:

  • Rent arrears payments to landlords
  • Utilities and other living expenses
  • Financial support for food and other grocery items

Information on wellbeing and self-care

We will keep you up to date with information and guidance on self-care, wellbeing, and how you can stay connected, via our social media channels and the AUT app. You can download the app here for apple or android.

Student Hub

If you have questions or would like more information about any of our services, such as rainbow, disability support, and financial assistance, or if you have questions about your enrolment or fees, contact one of our Student Hub Advisors via email - studenthub@aut.ac.nz

For international students who have an urgent concern, the Student Hub is operating a phone line. Phone 0800 288 864 to connect with the team.

Employability

From Monday 30 March, the Employability and Careers team will be running an online service, with workshops, career counselling, and online drop-in sessions via live chat. Visit Elab Online to check out what’s available and to register. They will also be launching a new career resources system, and more information will be made available soon.

More information

You can also visit the Support services page on Student Digital Workspace for more information.

AUT Students Association – AUTSA

AUTSA continues to represent your voice and provide the necessary Advocacy Support to our students. If your wellbeing, accommodation or employment has been impacted recently, then please contact us at advocacy@aut.ac.nz

AUTSA Social Engagement will continue online:

  • Debate Magazine will be published digitally at www.debatemag.com
  • AUTSA’s Social Media will be active throughout this time promoting our #UnitedApart Campaign. Stay connected with us on Facebook and Instagram: @AUTStudentAssociation and use the following Hashtags to join the conversation with us across this period: #UnitedApart #stayaheadofthecurve #autsa

Please don’t hesitate to contact AUTSA for Assistance. Don't be shy, we'd LOVE to hear from you! Email us at autsa@aut.ac.nz

Looking ahead

To reduce some of the uncertainties COVID-19 has created, AUT is developing online learning environments and material so you can continue your studies and be able to complete your qualification in the year you were expecting to.

We are committed to our students and everyone at AUT is working on this. We will be communicating more information on the way this will work next week.

Further information will be made available on a regular basis via our websites www.aut.ac.nz & www.autsa.org.nz and via the AUT Student App.

Kia kaha, kia maia, kia manawanui

be strong, be brave, be steadfast

A joint message from the Vice Chancellor and the AUT Students' Association (AUTSA) President about COVID-19 - Monday 23 March

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement today of going to COVID-19 Alert Level 4 (complete shutdown) from Wednesday this week for four weeks, we want to provide you with certainty over what will be happening for you at the university.

  1. AUT is bringing the mid-semester break forward and extending it by two weeks. It will now run from Wednesday 25 March to Wednesday 22 April 2020.  Following this break the academic year will be restructured to fully accommodate all teaching for all programmes.
  2. During the break there will be no teaching or assessment either on campus or online, and assessment deadlines will be postponed until further notice.
  3. The campuses will also be completely shut down except for essential services, including all those to support student accommodation and security.  Student Accommodation will remain open throughout.
  4. Many of our student services, however, will be continuing on line throughout the break and full information about these will be on the AUT and AUTSA websites.
  5. During the break AUT lecturers and staff will continuing develop quality online materials and learning resources ready for the restart of teaching.
  6. From Thursday 23 April 2020, teaching online will begin.
  7. If we are able to return to Alert Level 3 on 23 April some on-campus service and activities will be able to restart, particularly those to assist students who cannot get adequate online access from their home.
  8. Our focus is on ensuring that every student will be able to complete their qualification in the year they were expected to.
  9. AUTSA President Sisifa Lui, is on the university’s COVID-19 Action Planning Team contributing to and overseeing the work throughout this time.

Further information will be made available on a regular basis via our websites www.aut.ac.nz www.autsa.org.nz and via the AUT Student App.

We are responding to a rapidly changing situation – things are not going be as perfect as we would wish - please be tolerant and supportive of one another – and stay safe.

Kia kaha

Derek McCormack, Vice Chancellor & Sisifa Lui, AUTSA President

Current situation in New Zealand

New Zealand has a number of cases of COVID-19. With continued vigilance the chance of widespread community outbreak is expected to remain low.

There are currently restrictions on who can enter New Zealand. Travellers who have arrived in New Zealand within the last 14 days are being asked to self-isolate. You can register for self-isolation online.

If you have been overseas within the last 14 days and develop a fever, cough or shortness of breath, call Healthline on 0800 358 5453.

The Prime Minister has announced New Zealand COVID-19 alert levels. These new alert levels specify the public health and social measures to be taken. Nationwide, New Zealand is currently at Level 4 – Eliminate. Find out more at www.covid19.govt.nz.

Information and guidance about COVID-19

About COVID-19

COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It’s caused by a type of coronavirus.

The symptoms of COVID-19 are:

  • A cough
  • A high temperature (at least 38°C)
  • Shortness of breath

These symptoms do not necessarily mean you have COVID-19. The symptoms are similar to other illnesses that are much more common, such as cold and flu.

Shortness of breath is a sign of possible pneumonia and requires immediate medical attention.

We don’t yet know how long symptoms take to show after a person has been infected, but current World Health Organization assessments suggest that it is 2–10 days.

If you have these symptoms and have recently been overseas, or have been in close contact with someone confirmed with COVID-19, please telephone Healthline (for free) on 0800 358 5453 or your doctor immediately. Do not visit your doctor or medical centre, without first contacting them by telephone.

Self-isolation

  • If you arrived in New Zealand from any country in the last 14 days, you should self-isolate for 14 days from the date you departed the last country you visited.
  • If you have been in close contact with someone confirmed with COVID-19, you should self-isolate for 14 days from the date of contact.
  • If you are self-isolating, register with Healthline online.

The Ministry of Health has contact tracing processes in place and will be in touch with you directly if they believe you have been exposed. If you are unsure about whether or not you have come into close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case, you should contact Healthline  0800 358 5453 for advice.

If you are a student and are required to self-isolate, please fill in this form so AUT can support you.

If you are staff member and are required to self-isolate, please fill in this form so AUT can support you.

Prevention – how to protect yourself and others

  • Stay at home
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow or by covering your mouth and nose with tissues
  • Put used tissues in the bin or a bag immediately
  • Wash your hands with soap and water often (for at least 20 seconds)
  • Try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
  • Avoid personal contact, such as kissing, sharing cups or food with sick people
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects, such as doorknobs
  • Call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 if you have any symptoms and have recently been overseas or have been in close contact with someone confirmed with COVID-19

Advice for students

Students on overseas programmes

The University has reached out to AUT students currently on overseas programmes to encourage them to return to New Zealand (or their home country) as soon as possible. All AUT overseas study programmes scheduled for Semester 2 are to be suspended until further notice. These include the International Student Exchange, Cooperative Education, Work Integrated Learning, and other AUT programmes involving overseas travel. For those students whose overseas placement is in your home country and it is the last step to complete your degree, please discuss your options with your faculty. If you have any questions about your overseas programme, please contact your programme coordinator.

Students in China affected by the travel restrictions

If you are a student in China and you are affected by New Zealand’s temporary travel restrictions, more information is available on the page below.

Frequently asked questions for students in China

Travel advice

The NZ Government has advised that all New Zealanders do not travel overseas at this time due to the outbreak of COVID-19, associated health risks and travel restrictions. The options for New Zealanders to get home are reducing dramatically. The Government is therefore urging New Zealanders travelling overseas to consider returning home as soon as possible.

For the latest updates visit the Safe Travel Website.

If you choose to travel, you will also need to consider the impact of this on your study and assessments.