After consultation with our ākonga/students and kaimahi/staff, a thorough risk assessment, and approval through our WITT Board and Te Pūkenga Council, WITT now has a Covid-19 Vaccination Policy.
As of 31 January 2022 anyone attending, studying, working at, or visiting WITT must be fully vaccinated, regardless of the traffic light level that the region is operating in unless otherwise exempted.
As a student, this means you will need to present a vaccination passport by the start date of your programme to study at WITT.
Some programmes may require ākonga/students to attend WITT prior to 31 January 2022. If this applies to you, at a minimum you need to have had your first vaccination before you start your programme/course and your second vaccination no later than Monday 31 January.
Booster vaccinations will be required if the government indicates this is required to protect our communities.
The sentiment behind this decision
The decision to fully mandate vaccinations at WITT is one we haven’t taken lightly.
This policy affects everyone across our WITT community, and it is adopted in response to public health requirements to Covid-19.
It is an extension of manaakitanga to all who engage in WITT activities, combined with our duty of care under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015, to help ensure the health and safety of all.
Our recent risk assessment was aligned to the obligations under the Act, and due to the nature of our varied activities undertaken across our teaching, learning and working environment, WITT roles and activities were identified as having a higher level of overall risk of contracting or spreading Covid-19.
We are committed to doing everything practicable to enable a safe environment for our wider WITT community.
I also want to acknowledge that while we have concluded this is a necessary decision, I know it won’t be welcomed by everyone.
The process for developing this policy
The journey to this decision was guided by Te Pūkenga, the wider tertiary network and our consultation and feedback. After undertaking a thorough risk assessment across all our roles and activities, we developed a draft WITT Covid-19 Vaccination policy and shared it with WITT kaimahi, ākonga leaders and union representatives for consultation. Feedback was sought to help get an understanding of views, and to inform our final policy.
Feedback from the comments submitted had a couple of broad themes. Those in support of the mandate of vaccinations for staff and students; those who do not support the mandate for staff and students; policy feedback, and process feedback. There were also some comments regarding equitable outcomes for students as a result of the policy.
All feedback on the policy has now been considered and used to amend aspects of the WITT Covid-19 Vaccination Policy. This feedback will also be used to assist in the development of the many processes that are needed to implement and support this policy.
Living, working and learning with Covid-19 in our communities, has at times been extremely stressful and challenging for many of us.
I recognise that coming out with a policy on mandating vaccinations, after an already long year, is not ideal timing. We want to ensure all students are fully informed of the decision by WITT as soon as possible so that you have the time to understand the details and have time to make any arrangements and plan before the end of January next year.
I know vaccination can be a polarising topic and there is some anxiety and strong feelings out there at the moment. I’d expect, in line with our values, that we show good behaviour and conduct around this policy and its implementation. I ask that people are respectful and kind to each other at this time.
To support the broader context of this decision, we have a network of support for ākonga and kaimahi to ensure everyone is supported. If you have additional questions and you need to talk, email email@example.com or call us 0800 948 869 to be put in touch with someone that can help you when we are back from the holiday break on the 10 January 2022.
Confirmation of vaccination
We will be working through collecting vaccination confirmation and options for existing learners who chose to remain unvaccinated over the next few weeks, and more information will be released mid to late January.
Further to the Government’s announcement yesterday all WITT campuses will reopen for students on Thursday 9 September.
We're really happy to receive this news and we look forward to seeing you on campus for classes scheduled on Thursday 9 September. There are a couple of classes that will remain online and your tutor will advise if you are in one of these classes.
If your classes will be held on campus, make your way to your scheduled classroom and we will start the morning with a 9am welcome back whakatau that will be streamed into your classroom.
Current advice from the government states that tertiary education is a safe environment for you and all kaimahi (staff). We have also implemented public health requirements and physical distancing as appropriate so you can continue your learning on campus in a safe way.
But we do need to do our bit to keep ourselves and everyone else safe.
What you need to know
While on campus it is important everyone:
Physical distancing rules now apply. 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
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/
Your safety and wellbeing are our top priority therefore, I want to reassure you that the decisions we have made are in line with the New Zealand Government’s guidance. 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 and our frequently asked questions for the most up to date information.
We all have a part to play in keeping our community healthy. Please look after yourselves and each other and
I look forward to seeing you around campus soon.
Ngā mihi nui,