Mon 16 Nov 2020

WITT Covid-19 Coronavirus update

The COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) situation continues to evolve both globally and here in New Zealand, and we aim to provide updates as often as possible. The health and wellbeing of our learners and staff are our top priority. 
Get the most up-to-date information here: Unite Against COVID-19

16.11.20 - Covid-19 update

Kia ora koutou,

At Alert Level 1 we all need to be ready in case COVID-19 reappears in our community. These simple steps can slow the spread of the virus, protecting yourself and others.

  • Stay home if you're sick
  • Practice good hygiene (wash your hands, cough or sneeze into your elbow, regularly clean surfaces)
  • If you have cold or flu symptoms, call your doctor or Healthline 0800 358 5453 and make sure you get tested
  • Wear a face covering on public transport including flights
  • Keep your distance while you're out and about
  • Stay vigilant. There is still a global pandemic going on. WITT will be prepared to act fast to step up Alert Levels if we have to.

If you're in need of financial support help is available.

Find out more about staying safe at Alert Level 1 here: covid19.govt.nz


19.10.20 - Updated information from Taranaki DHB

The Taranaki DHB has released information that includes advice for Covid-19 testing in New Plymouth.

The DHB’s Public Health Unit is supporting a national health response associated with a positive COVID-19 case identified in Auckland who spent time in New Plymouth last week. The man tested positive for COVID-19 after travelling to New Plymouth for work at Port Taranaki on 13 and 14 October. The risk to the wider Taranaki community contracting COVID-19 is very low as the case had minimal interaction with others whilst in New Plymouth.

At this stage, priority testing is for people who are considered close contacts, port workers and anyone in New Plymouth who is showing symptoms.

  • Everyone in New Plymouth should remain vigilant for any symptoms of COVID-19, and get a test as soon as you can if you become unwell.
  • Testing quickly means we can reduce the risk of the virus spreading.
  • Use the NZ COVID Tracer App as part of your daily routine, continue with hand hygiene and cough and sneeze etiquette. 
  • Remember, Alert Level one is not Alert Level none.

Please check the TDHB website for updated testing information - https://tdhb.org.nz/covid19/public.shtml#testing and use the WITT Guideline for Assessment and Testing (on iwitt for WITT staff and students) if you are unsure if you should be assessed for a test or whether you need to stay home.


22.9.20 - WITT Student update

Tēnā koutou,

As of midnight last night, our Alert Levels have changed. All of New Zealand (outside of Auckland) is now at Alert Level 1.

Auckland is still at Alert Level 2, with extra restrictions on social gatherings, funerals and tangihanga. Auckland will move to Alert Level 2 with no extra restrictions at 11:59pm on Wednesday 23 September.

Life at Alert Level 1

It is still important that we keep up our basic hygiene measures, including washing our hands, remember the Golden Rules:

  1. If you're sick, stay home.  Don't come to work or study.  Don't socialise.
  2. If you have cold or flu symptoms call your doctor or Healthline 0800 358 5453 and make sure you get tested.
  3. Wash your hands. Wash your hands. Wash your hands.
  4. Physical distancing is still encouraged.
  5. Sneeze and cough into your elbow, and regularly disinfect shared surfaces.
  6. Keep track of where you've been and who you've seen. Download the NZ COVID Tracer app.
  7. WITT will continue to display the QR codes for contact tracing.
  8. Face coverings help keep you and others safe even when it's no longer compulsory.
  9. If you are told by health authorities to self-isolate you must do so immediately.

  10. If you're concerned about your wellbeing, or have underlying health conditions, work with your GP to understand how best to stay healthy.

  11. Stay vigilant. There is still a global pandemic going on. WITT will be prepared to act fast to step up Alert Levels if we have to.

  12. Be kind to others. Be kind to yourself. Remember Student Support Services are here to support students and staff.


25.8.20 - WITT Student update

Kia ora koutou,

The Prime Minister announced yesterday that Auckland will remain at Alert Level 3 until Sunday 30 August, and the rest of New Zealand will remain at Alert Level 2 until Sunday 6 September.

I want to assure you that we will continue to prioritise the health and wellbeing of our learners, staff and community. Our plan for Alert Level 2 will remain in place, so there is no significant change for you as a student following yesterday’s announcement.

Please continue to be vigilant with your own personal health and hygiene and stay home if you are not well. Here are simple things you can do to keep yourself and others safe:

  • practise good hand and face hygiene
  • physical distancing (2m in public, 1m in workplace or class)
  • keep track of we're you've been (download NZ COVID Tracer app)
  • stay at home if you are sick
  • take a test if you're offered one – they’re free
  • wear a face covering on public transport (including bus, taxi, Uber, planes)

We have a plan for Alert Level 3 in place, just in case we need to respond quickly to a Government announcement in the future. It’s important you make sure your contact details are up to date so that we can get in touch with you if we need to – contact 0800 WITT NZ or info@witt.ac.nz to do this.

Remember, Te Puna Manaaki (Student Support) is available to you on campus in New Plymouth or by phone or Zoom. International students can also access support through the International Office, or by calling 0274660412 (this is 24/7 support for you). If you are an international student experiencing hardship because of Covid-19, please speak to Robyn Harvey so that we can talk through your options for help with funds.

As always, you can discuss any programme-related questions with your tutors.

Please continue to look after yourselves and each other.

Ngā manaakitanga,

John Snook

Chief Executive


14.8.20 - WITT Student update - A message from CE John Snook

Tēnā koutou,

The Prime Minister made an announcement this evening that New Zealand will remain at current Alert Levels for 12 more days, which means we remain at Alert Level 2.

We're really happy to receive this news and look forward to seeing you on campus for classes as scheduled next week. Now it's more important than ever to make sure we're all doing our bit to keep ourselves and each other safe.

Tertiary education facilities remain open:

WITT remains open. Current advice from the government states that tertiary education is a safe environment for students and staff at Alert Level 2.  We have implemented public health requirements and physical distancing as appropriate so that students can continue their learning in a safe environment. 

What you need to know

You can still come to work and study but you should:

  • Keep your distance from other people
  • Wash your hands. Sanitiser is also available around campus and in classrooms and offices
  • Sneeze and cough into your elbow
  • Stay home if you are sick
  • Keep a track of where you've been and who you've seen
  • Wear a mask if you can

Physical distancing

Keep your distance when out and about. If you are on campus, keep 1 metre away from people you know (such as those in your classroom) and 2 metres apart in public and shared spaces.

If you're unwell

  • If you're sick, stay home. Don't come to WITT. 
  • If you have symptoms of cold or flu call your doctor or Healthline on 0800 358 5453 and get advice about being tested.
  • If you have been told to self-isolate you must do so immediately.
  • If you have had a Covid test, please stay home until you get a negative result.

Masks

The government recommends that we wear masks in situations where physical distancing is not possible. If this is required in your programme, your tutor will let you know. Read more on the Covid website about wearing a face covering.

Download the NZ COVID Tracker app

Keep a track of where you've been and who you've seen. You'll see QR codes around all WITT campuses to sign in and keep on top of contact tracing. Download the app here https://tracing.covid19.govt.nz/

More information is available

Stay up to date with information on the Government’s Covid-19 website https://covid19.govt.nz/covid-19/restrictions/alert-level-2/

I want to reassure you that the decisions we make are in line with the New Zealand Government’s guidance, and with your safety and wellbeing as our top priority. We'll continue to keep you updated as the situation changes - it's a good idea to follow WITT on Facebook and check witt.ac.nz for the most up to date information.

We all have a part to play in keeping our community healthy in what is an evolving situation. Please look after yourselves and each other.

Ngā mihi nui,

John Snook
Chief Executive


12.8.20 - WITT Student update

At 12 noon today, Wednesday 12 August, Auckland moved to Alert Level 3. The rest of New Zealand moved to Alert Level 2.

Tertiary education facilities are open:

Tertiary education is a safe environment for students and staff to return to at Alert Level 2.  We have implemented public health requirements and physical distancing as appropriate, and will work closely to ensure a safe environment where students can continue their learning. 

What you need to know:

Alert Level 2 is not life as normal. You can still come to work and study but you should:

  • keep your distance from other people
  • wash your hands – sanitiser is also available around campus and in classrooms and offices
  • sneeze and cough into your elbow
  • stay home if you are sick
  • keep a track of where you've been and who you've seen
  • wear a mask if you can

If you're unwell:

  • If you're sick, stay home. Don't come to work or study.
  • If you have symptoms of cold or flu call your doctor or Healthline on 0800 358 5453 and get advice about being tested.
  • If you have been told to self-isolate you must do so immediately.

Physical distancing:

Keep your distance when out and about:

  • 1 metre from people on campus that you know and 2 metres in public and from people you do not know.

Masks:

At Alert Level 2 the risk of COVID-19 being present in the community is higher. You should wear masks in situations where physical distancing is not possible.  

Download the NZ COVID Tracker app:

Keep a track of where you've been and who you've seen. You'll see QR codes around all WITT campuses to sign in and keep on top of contact tracing. Download the app here https://tracing.covid19.govt.nz/

More information is available:

On the Government’s Covid-19 website https://covid19.govt.nz/covid-19/restrictions/alert-level-2/


13.5.20 - WITT Student update

Kia ora koutou,

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern this week announced that New Zealand will move to Alert Level 2 from tomorrow, Thursday 14 May.

Most WITT programmes will be back in the classroom from Monday 18 May, with extra health and safety measures in place to keep us all safe. We will be phasing our return to campus, so some will continue with remote learning for a little while longer.

You may have already heard from your tutor about when you should come back to campus. If not, they’ll be in touch with you before Friday 15 May.

We've put together some FAQs around studying at Alert Level 2. Check out the link below to find out more about what's going to be open on campus next week, what extra measures are in place to protect staff and students, and what you can do to keep yourself safe.

View FAQs here


8.5.20 - WITT Student update

Kia ora koutou,

We hope studying from home is going well for you, and you’re keeping safe and well in your bubbles while we remain at Alert Level 3.  Thank you for being flexible and working with us to adapt to new methods of teaching and learning in the short term.

Yesterday the Prime Minister outlined what Alert Level 2 will look like in New Zealand.  On Monday 11 May, the government will make an announcement about when we can expect to move to Alert Level 2. We’ll be able to give you more information next week about what that means for you as a WITT student.

It’s important that you do not come back to campus until you have received further notification from WITT about when that can happen.

We have been busy planning and preparing our learning spaces. We will resume face-to-face classes in phases – this means that not all students will come back to learning on campus on the same day. So it is important that you wait to hear from your tutor or school administrator about what is planned for your programme.

In preparation for the next phase we have:

  • Deep cleaned and sanitised our campuses.
  • Put contact tracing measures in place, ready to identify people in each ‘controlled learning space’.
  • Placed sanitiser at the entrance to all learning spaces, receptions, kitchenettes, common spaces and computer labs.
  • Placed signage around campuses and distancing tape at receptions and other common areas, and installed acrylic screens where required.
  • Increased campus cleaning to include day time rotational cleaning focusing on high touch points, as well as status signs in bathrooms. 
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as gloves and masks are not required or recommended by the Public Health Service as necessary in any educational facility, so you don’t need PPE if you didn’t use it before Covid-19. There are some exceptions, where PPE is specified as a public health control measure (such as for some close-contact work/training). If the exception applies to you, we will let you know.

Students who are at greater risk of getting a severe illness from Covid-19 due to an underlying medical condition are encouraged to continue to learn remotely and ensure they stay in contact with their tutor. We will maintain the ability to deliver distance learning for those learners who need it.

The Ministry of Education published a bulletin for tertiary students last night, which you can view here.

Again, please wait for an announcement from your tutor or school administrator before returning to your usual learning space. We’ll be in touch with more information next week. Until then, noho ora mai – take care.

If you have any questions, please call 0800 WITT NZ or email info@witt.ac.nz


21.4.20 - WITT Student update

The Prime Minister announced yesterday that New Zealand will transition back to Covid-19 Alert Level 3 from Tuesday 28th April, which as you know is our first day back after term break.

We’ll be returning to study as planned, following the Government’s instruction that all tertiary study to continue to take place remotely, wherever it is possible. The Ministry of Education released information about Alert Level 3 for all tertiary providers and students last night, which is available here.

So, what will the transition to Alert Level 3 look like for WITT?

  • When we return to study for Term 2 on 28 April, we will be delivering most WITT programmes remotely.
  • Our campus sites and all general student areas, such as the Learning Resource Centre, Library, computer labs and Te Puna Manaaki (Health Centre), will remain closed. The opening of these facilities will depend on Government advice; we will keep you updated.
  • A small number of students may be asked to come on site for classes. We’re working out the logistics of how this will happen in small groups so we can keep everyone safe. If your programme is likely to be returning to include some learning on campus, your tutor will be talking about this with you directly. Otherwise assume you will be learning remotely until further notice.
  • Work placements can go ahead at Alert Level 3 if the workplace can make sure the students personal health and safety is managed appropriately. Again, your tutor will be in touch if this applies to you.

We understand that not all students will be able to participate in remote learning due to family responsibilities, access to technology or other matters. If there are barriers to you being able to study from home, please let us know.

It’s important that you know where to go for financial support, or for help if you’re feeling stressed or anxious. Check out this Ministry of Education web page for lots of useful information. As always, we are here if you need anything – call the team on 0800 WITT NZ or email info@witt.ac.nz.

If you haven’t already, I encourage you to read our Covid-19 FAQ to help you answer any questions you may have about returning to stud. Please get in touch with your tutor if you have any specific questions about your course.

Ngā mihi,

John Snook, Chief Executive


17.4.20 - WITT Student update

I hope you are keeping safe and well in your bubbles. I wanted to provide an update to all students in addition to the contact you’ve recently had with your tutors and School administrators.

Teaching resumes on 28 April

On Monday 20 April we will hear from the Prime Minister about whether New Zealand remains at Alert Level 4 (lockdown) or moves to Alert Level 3. Regardless of the Alert Level, we will return to study on Tuesday 28 April and this will be predominantly remote learning. Trimester 1 has been extended until 17 July to allow for the longer break that we are currently on, and Trimester 2 will begin a week later than originally planned, on 27 July.

Your tutor will be in touch next week to give you a clear idea of what your learning will look like when the new term starts. We are also expecting guidance from the Ministry of Education in the next few days which will allow us to give an update to those enrolled in programmes that cannot be taught remotely.

We understand that not all students will be able to participate in remote learning due to family responsibilities, access to technology or other matters. If there are barriers to you being able to study from home, please talk to us and we will work with you to find a solution.

Tertiary student support package

Education Minister Chris Hipkins this week announced a support package to financially assist tertiary students whose study has been affected by Covid-19. The short-term package was made available to domestic students from 15 April. Further details on the package are available on the Ministry of Education website.

Support is available

It has been a challenging time over the past few weeks and you may be feeling like you need some extra support. Remember, our student support team are still here for you and you can call 0800 WITT NZ to be put in touch with the right person. For help with feelings of isolation or stress you may also find www.mentalhealth.org.nz helpful, as well as a new resource launched last week called Getting Through Together.

Have you got questions?

Last week we emailed you a link to the Frequently Asked Questions on our website. These FAQs provide detail around coming back to study after the break, remote learning, and the support that is available to students. I encourage you to read through the FAQs and contact us if you have questions that aren’t covered.

If you have queries about your course, your tutor or your School administrator are available to help. If you don’t know how to get in touch with them or need other student support, contact info@witt.ac.nz or phone 0800 WITT NZ.

Please continue to take care of yourselves and those around you. We are looking forward to the new term starting on 28 April and ready to support our learners to continue their study during this unprecedented time.

Ngā mihi,

John Snook, Chief Executive


15.4.20 - Government announces support package for tertiary students

Education Minister Chris Hipkins yesterday announced a support package to financially assist tertiary students whose study has been affected by Covid-19. The short-term package is available to domestic students from today, 15 April.

  • full-time domestic students will be able to borrow up to $2000, up from the current $1000, for course related costs.
  • continued support payments for students unable to study online for up to 8 weeks
  • a change in the rules that means no one will be disadvantaged if they have to discontinue their study this year because of Covid-19, for example under the fees free scheme.

For more:  http://education.govt.nz/news/support-package-for-tertiary-students/


9.4.20 - WITT Student Update and FAQs

On Tuesday 28 April, we’ll return from the mid-semester break and resume teaching for most programmes. As we can’t be certain of New Zealand’s lockdown period for Covid-19, we will be aiming to deliver the majority of our courses and programmes remotely.

Your tutor will contact you at least a week before your course is due to restart, so you know and can get ready.

Most full-time programmes will restart on 28 April. Unfortunately, some courses will not be able to be completed until we’re back on campus – if this affects you, your tutor will talk you through it.

We understand that not all students will be able to participate due to family responsibilities, access to technology or other matters. If there are barriers to you being able to study from home, please talk to us and we will work with you to find a solution.

If you have queries about your course, your tutor or your School administrator are available to help. If you don’t know how to get in touch with them or need other student support, contact info@witt.ac.nz or phone 0800 WITT NZ.

If you have a question that isn't answered in the FAQ, please get in touch and we will get an answer for you. Contact info@witt.ac.nz or 0800 WITT NZ.


Information for students - Covid-19: What you need to know

With so many updates over the past couple of weeks, it can be easy to lose track of the facts. We’ve put together some of the key information for our students all in one place. If you have any questions that aren’t answered here, please email them to info@witt.ac.nz.

It’s really important for you to look after yourself and support each other as we adjust to all these changes. Remember the best place to get your Covid-19 information, updates and health advice is covid19.govt.nz

Teaching and learning

  • WITT is closed and there are no classes happening in any format until after Easter. We plan to resume teaching on 28 April.
  • Students are now on break, so you do not have to submit any assignments that were due before 28 April. We do however encourage you to use some of this time at home to revise and undertake self-directed learning. Where possible, tutors will share exercises and revision material with their students.
  • Schools and tutors are working hard to prepare for teaching to start again on 28 April, with blended learning options in development.
  • We’ll be adjusting the academic calendar to accommodate the current shutdown and help everyone catch up. We will communicate this with you in more detail once it’s confirmed.
  • Someone from your School will be in touch with you regularly over the next few weeks to keep you updated.

Services

  • We are still here for you. Our contact centre is fully operational on weekdays from 8am-5pm. Contact 0800 WITT NZ or info@witt.ac.nz and you’ll be put in touch with the right person.
  • Our IT service desk remains open for you, so if you need help accessing Moodle, iQualify or any other WITT services online, email itservicedesk@witt.ac.nz
  • Te Puna Manaaki (Health and Wellbeing Centre) is physically closed but health advice and support is still available to students, just in a different way. Contact 0800 WITT NZ or info@witt.ac.nz and you can speak to our nurse, counsellor, youth guarantee team, chaplain or disability support team.
  • Te Whare Mātauranga – our Learning Resource Centre – is still providing learning support, until 3 April. You can also access ebooks. Check out https://libraryhome.witt.ac.nz/home
  • Our International Centre is physically closed but pastoral care, advice and all the usual support services are still available to students, just in a different way. Contact international@witt.ac.nz or 0800 WITT NZ if you're an international student needing support.

StudyLink

  • All StudyLink living costs and student allowance payments will continue while WITT is closed, if you stay enrolled. Check out the StudyLink website for more information.

Looking after yourself

  • Now that New Zealand’s at Alert Level 4, it’s important to stay home. Only make physical contact with those that you live with.
  • Don’t worry, during this time, you will be able to access all the essentials you need, including medicine, food and other home supplies.
  • You can still go for a walk, run or bike ride. In fact, we encourage it. Exercise is good for your mental health. Keep in mind, it must be solo exercise or just with the people you live with. Check out covid.govt.nz for all the guidelines.
  • If you’re feeling anxious or lonely, our counsellor is available to have a chat. Call 0800 WITT NZ to be put in touch.
  • There are also a number of free counselling services you can access, like 1737 (text or call anytime) or The Lowdown. There’s also some good advice for international students on the NauMai NZ website.

Keeping in touch

  • We will continue to communicate via through our website and social media. Please feel free to send us direct messages if there’s something you want to know.
  • We’ll email you with any critical information, so please make sure your contact details are up to date and keep an eye on your inbox.
  • Your tutors will continue to keep in touch with you while we are closed under Alert Level 4. Please feel free to contact them directly if you have any questions relating to your course.

Remember, if you need anything – call us on 0800 WITT NZ or email info@witt.ac.nz

Kia kaha, kia māia, kia manawanui.


6.4.20 - Information for Students 

The Ministry of Education released information for students, covering the following:

1. Why stay enrolled?  2. What if my tertiary provider cannot continue delivering my programme?  3. What processes must providers follow to make major changes to their course structure?  4. What should I do if I'm feeling low or anxious?

6 April - MOE Bulletin for Tertiary Students


2.4.20 - Information for International Students 

The government yesterday released its plan to safely repatriate foreign nationals including international students while the country is in lockdown.

The update (linked below) provides advice for international students who want to depart New Zealand on scheduled commercial or foreign-government assisted charter flights. 

2 April - MOE Bulletin for International Students


2.4.20 - Information for Tertiary Students (Domestic)

2nd April, 2020 | COVID-19 Update

We know some students are facing significant difficulties in continuing their studies, because of changes in their own situation arising from lockdown and/or changes in their providers’ ability to offer courses. Staying enrolled is the best way we can help you.

We will keep updating you with answers to your main questions, provide information on what support is available and tips for your wellbeing during these times. If your question is not answered here today, we will try to provide an answer as soon as possible.

Your physical and mental wellbeing is likely to be impacted during this time. As well as resources on the COVID19 website, there is lots of useful information online at the Mental Health Foundation (www.mentalhealth.org.nz) and Health Promotion Agency (www.hpa.org.nz). 

What is available to support me financially right now?

  • While other options might look better, stay enrolled because:
    • You will keep receiving your StudyLink payments
    • You will be eligible for any additional student support being worked on
  • The Ministry of Social Development may be able to help you with other costs while you’re self-isolating. This includes costs that are urgent, unexpected or harder to cover, such as food and accommodation. You can find out more at StudyLink- Urgent and unexpected costs
  • More information on students loans and/or allowances or tertiary education matters more generally can be found at StudyLink and Ministry of Education COVID-19 site
  • Your tertiary provider may also be offering extra help for students during this time, so it’s worth looking on their website / Facebook page, or even contacting them directly to ask.

If I withdraw from my courses, will this have an impact on my Fees-Free entitlement?

  • Yes, this could have an impact on your Fees Free entitlement.
  • We are working urgently to figure out how we will be able to help Fees-Free students who are disadvantaged because they had to withdraw. 
  • Stay enrolled in your courses if you can, and continue to engage with your provider about options available to you to continue your studies this year.

What if I can’t afford to pay my rent because I’ve lost my part-time job?

  • If you have been working part-time to help cover your tertiary education costs, you may be eligible for the wage subsidy scheme Government has put in place. You can find further information at COVID-19 Financial support and COVID-19 Wage subsidy
  • There is now a freeze on rental increases. This means your landlord cannot increase your rent unless the increase occurred before lockdown.  To find out more, visit rent freeze and tenancy terminations
  • You can ask your landlord to reduce your rent temporarily. The Residential Tenancies Act allows a tenant/s and landlord to agree that the tenant/s can pay a reduced rent temporarily. This reduced rent can be for a specific amount of time or until a specific event occurs. Once that time is up, the rent goes back up to its previous amount.

Things change quickly so stay up to date by following the links below:

For answers to questions about Student Allowance and Living Cost payments, refer to StudyLink’s website https://www.studylink.govt.nz/.

For health advice, refer to the Ministry of Health’s website
https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus

For official Government information about COVID-19 (novel coronavirus), including health advice and travel restrictions visit the All-of-Government website
https://www.govt.nz/covid-19-novel-coronavirus/

For more advice for students, visit the Ministry of Education website
http://www.education.govt.nz/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-3/


31.3.20 - Information for Tertiary Providers and International Students

Ministry of Education Bulletin: Tertiary Providers and International Students

31st March, 2020 | COVID-19 Update

We understand many things are uncertain at the moment and we want to reassure you that the government is working to respond quickly to your needs.

This update provides advice around potential international flights and travelling to board a flight.

  • Under Alert Level 4, people need to stay home. No travel is allowed around the country, except for essential services.
  • Under Alert Level 4, you cannot take a domestic flight to connect with an international flight. If students are not in self-isolation, are well, and have a confirmed booking on a commercial international flight and can drive to the airport by car in 5 hours or less, they may travel by car to the airport.
  •  Alert Level 4 restrictions on travel in New Zealand are important for us all to respect to protect the health of everyone in New Zealand and to save lives. If you are travelling within the country please respect the physical distancing requirements.
  • Some countries are looking to repatriate their citizens by making special flights and have been in contact with students directly via email.
  • At present, no repatriation flights have been approved by the New Zealand Government. We will update you if this situation changes.
  • With no repatriation flights approved, students who do not have a confirmed commercial flight booked (as above) should remain with their homestay or accommodation providers and not attempt any travel.
  • We have asked education providers and homestay families to keep in close contact with you to ensure that you have access to suitable accommodation and, have the care, support and information you need to deal with any issues including visas, insurance, and other support.

Stay up to date and get more information below:

For official Government information about COVID-19 (novel coronavirus), including health advice and travel restrictions visit the All-of-Government website
https://www.govt.nz/covid-19-novel-coronavirus/

For health advice, please refer to the Ministry of Health’s website
https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus

For more advice for students visit the Ministry of Education website
http://www.education.govt.nz/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-3/

To keep updated on travel restrictions and visa information visit
https://www.immigration.govt.nz/about-us/media-centre/news-notifications/coronavirus- update-inz-response


30.3.20 - Information for Domestic students from Ministry of Education (MOE)

Ministry of Education Bulletin: Domestic Students

30th March, 2020 | COVID-19 Update

We understand everything is very uncertain for you at the moment and we want to reassure you that the government and tertiary education providers are working together to respond quickly to your needs.

We are making sure we hear your concerns and will regularly update you with answers to some of your main questions, what support is available and some tips for your wellbeing during these times. If your question is not answered here today, we will provide an answer as soon as possible in the coming days.

Wellbeing is a continuum and you are likely to find yourself at various points on the continuum during this time. As well as resources on the COVID19 website, there is lots of useful information online at the Mental Health Foundation (www.mentalhealth.org.nz) and the Health Promotion Agency (www.hpa.org.nz). 

What is available to support me financially right now? (Domestic students only)

  • You will continue to receive your weekly StudyLink payments if you remain enrolled – so please stay enrolled. Staying enrolled also means you will be eligible for any additional support for students in the future.
  • StudyLink’s contact centres are experiencing very high demand, so we do ask that people only call for an immediate and essential need so we can make sure those who need it most can get through.
  • If students need extra help during this time they can find information about emergency assistance on the StudyLink website here
  • Answers to questions about Student Allowance and Living Cost payments can be found on StudyLink’s website https://www.studylink.govt.nz/.

What if my academic performance is affected? (Domestic students only)

  • If any of the actions taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in New Zealand impact your ability to complete or pass your course, your provider and StudyLink will take this into account if you apply for a Student Allowance or Loan again in the future.

I am worried about rent increasing or being evicted from my flat

  • There is now a freeze on rental increases. Your landlord cannot increase your rent unless you were advised before the lockdown period.
  • Your tenancy cannot be terminated during the lock-down unless both you and your landlord agree.

To find out more, see https://www.hud.govt.nz/residential-housing/covid-19-rent-freeze-and-tenancy-terminations/.

Post-graduate students

  • If you received a scholarship, contact the organisation that gave you the scholarship to discuss your situation. You could ask if the scholarship can be changed to provide continuing support for your studies once you are able to start again. This might include whether the scholarship can be used over a longer period, or can be held for later use if you need to stop study for now.
  • If you have a research deadline, contact your provider to work through the implications for your research. They may not have an answer immediately, and the answer will likely depend on your circumstances and the type of research you are doing.  

Things change quickly so stay up to date by following the links below:

For health advice, refer to the Ministry of Health’s website: https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus

For official Government information about COVID-19 (novel coronavirus), including health advice and travel restrictions visit the All-of-Government website: https://www.govt.nz/covid-19-novel-coronavirus/

For more advice for students, visit the Ministry of Education website: http://www.education.govt.nz/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-3/


26.3.20 - Information for International students from Ministry of Education (MOE)

Bulletin –International Students

26th March, 2020 | COVID-19 Update

This update provides information about keeping safe in your bubble during this one-month lockdown period, some tips for your well-being during this time, and information on repatriation flights.

We appreciate how uncertain everything is at the moment for you and we want to reassure you that the New Zealand government and education providers are working together to respond quickly to your needs. We will regularly update you with information to help you better understand what is happening and how it affects you.

Currently New Zealand is now at Alert Level 4 in its response to COVID-19.

What this means for you as an international student is:

  • Under Alert Level 4, no travel will be permitted for students unless there is an authorised transport option.
  • We are aware that a few countries might look to repatriate their citizens by making special flights and have been in contact with students directly via email.
  • A government team is being set up to manage this situation and provide updates as soon as these are available. This would include agreeing what would be approved domestic transport for getting students to the airport if they were confirmed on a flight.
  • If repatriation flights do go ahead then there are likely to be a number of flights available in coming days and weeks so students should not feel panicked or pressured to make the first available flight.
  • There are also a number of public health implications that are being looked at in terms of the ability to enforce social distancing at airports should these flights take place.
  • Students should remain with their homestay or accommodation providers and not attempt any travel to Auckland or Christchurch until this situation is clarified.

Wellbeing – looking after yourself

  • This is a new and strange situation for everyone in New Zealand (and around the world). If you’d like to talk through how you’re feeling, there are a number of free counselling services available, like 1737, need to talk?, The Low Down and Youthline.
  • Register with NauMai NZ, which is especially for international students, for regular updates and information on how to find contact details for these services and other advice on looking after yourself and staying healthy and well.
  • There is also information on this page to help you keep in contact with friends and family. It is more important than ever to maintain these connections.
  • It is okay to go for a walk or bike ride. You do not have to be in your room all the time. However, you must maintain a two-metre distance from other people at all times.

You can stay up to date with the latest Government information, including Ministry of Health advice on covid19.govt.nz

For the latest education information, check the Ministry of Education website and talk with your study provider.


24.3.20 - Information for students from Ministry of Education (MOE)

MOE Bulletin – Domestic and International Students

24th March, 2020 |  COVID-19 Update

This situation is a first for the entire country and we will be regularly updating you with information to help you better understand what is happening and how it affects you.

The Government has announced that we are now at COVID-19 alert level 3, and will be moving to alert level 4 on Wednesday 25 March. Information about the four level alert system is here.

What happens to my studies now my provider has to close?

  • All providers will close for face-to-face teaching, by midnight 25th March.
  • They are busy trying to make alternative arrangements to deliver your study.
  • So the message is stay in touch with your provider in the usual way through their website, Facebook and other social media pages and keep checking your email.    
  • It is really important not to make any quick or reactive decisions to withdraw from study

To keep getting your Student Allowance or Loan you need to be enrolled?

  • You will continue to receive your weekly StudyLink payments if you remain enrolled – so please stay enrolled.
  • Answers to questions in relation to Student Allowance and Living Cost payments can be found on StudyLink’s website https://www.studylink.govt.nz/.

What if I’m in a hall of residence/hostel/homestay?

  • Some of you may still be in your accommodation because you can’t get home or it’s the only accommodation you have.
  • Please don’t be concerned, your accommodation provider is there to help you
  • Nothing will change until new arrangements have been made for all students.
  • The main thing is to just follow the advice and directions from the Ministry of Health to self-isolate and be super vigilant with your personal distancing and hygiene MOH guidelines.
  • Your provider is there to provide support and to help you to access medical services if you need them.

Wellbeing – looking after yourself

  • If you’re feeling anxious or lonely, there are a number of free counselling services you can use. You can find contact details for these services and other advice on the NauMai NZ Feeling lonely, homesick or depressed page.
  • There is also information on this page to help you keep in contact with friends and family.  It is more important than ever to maintain these connections.
  • It is ok to go for a walk. You do not have to be in your room all the time. However you must maintain a two meter distance from other people at all times.

Travel and visa advice for international students

  • You may not be able to return home as flights may not be available and some borders have closed.
  • We have asked providers to keep in close contact with you to ensure that you have access to suitable accommodation and, are supported to deal with visa issues, travel insurance, and other essential arrangements.
  • For international students with visas that will soon expire, it is very important that you apply for a new one before it expires. An interim visa will be issued if the current visa expires while a new visa is being assessed.

Where to go to get more information

This letter has been emailed to all WITT students.


23.3.20,  4:30PM - COVID-19 update from WITT

WITT will be closed to students from 5pm today following this afternoon’s Covid-19 updates. Your health and wellbeing is our number one priority.

The Prime Minister announced New Zealand is now at Covid-19 Alert Level 3. On Wednesday we will move to Level 4, for a period of four weeks. This means WITT will remain closed for students until 28 April.

We are preparing to roll out blended learning in Term 2 if required and we’ll help you catch up on any learning you miss. You will not be required to submit any assessments that were due between now and 28 April.

Student support services will still be available to you during this closure. Please call 0800 948 896 between 8am and 5pm weekdays to be put through to the service you need. Alternatively, email info@witt.ac.nz and someone will be in touch.

We need to Unite Against Covid-19 and work together to stamp it out in New Zealand. Please take self-isolation seriously; this will save lives. Please remember to be kind and compassionate to each other.

We will give you more information as we can, keep an eye on WITT’s website and Facebook for updates.

Everything you need to know about Covid-19 in New Zealand is available at www.covid19.govt.nz

 


22.3.20  - COVID-19 update from WITT

Kia ora koutou,

As you will be aware, the Prime Minister announced yesterday that New Zealand is at Alert Level 2 - 'Reduce' - for COVID-19.

At Level 2, education providers are still operating. WITT remains open and our courses are being taught on campus, with support services still available. We have stepped up our cleaning, we are practising physical distancing, and we are reminding staff and students to practice good hygiene and stay home if unwell.

We are planning and preparing in case things change. We are increasing our online and remote learning opportunities and considering options for students in practical programmes that can't be delivered online.

Anyone who has compromised immunity, an underlying respiratory condition, or is over 70 should stay home, as advised by the Prime Minister yesterday. Please email your tutor or info@witt.ac.nz if you fall into this category and we will discuss your options further.

We understand that the rapidly changing COVID-19 situation can be an unsettling and overwhelming time. We are getting the most up to date information from the Ministry of Health so that we can continue to make informed decisions about the safety and wellbeing of the WITT community.

There is a lot of information out there, but not all of it is reliable. Please make www.covid19.govt.nz your source of truth as we navigate this changing situation. Follow the advice on hygiene and staying home. Please show kindness and take care of yourself and others.

We will continue to update you through our website, iwitt, and social media. We will email or text you if there are changes that directly impact your study.

Ngā mihi,

John Snook

Chief Executive