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COVID-19 information for students

Whakamahukitanga mo te Mate Kurahauao – Mō ngā tauira

Teaching and learning

Updated: Monday 21 September, 9:30am

The Government will announce its decision on Alert Levels on Monday 21, September. It has indicated it may move New Zealand (outside of Auckland) to Alert Level 1.

Due to the closeness of the end of semester 2 and the beginning of exams, the University does not want to lose a teaching day to do a physical reset of lecture theatres and other central spaces to Alert Level 1 on Tuesday, should that be announced.

Therefore, whether the Government announces a change in Alert Level or not, most lectures, particularly for large classes, and many tutorials will remain on the Alert Level 2 timetable for all of the week commencing 21 September.

However, due to being held in smaller, more easily adjustable spaces, most labs and some small class lectures and tutorials might revert to Alert Level 1 conditions from Tuesday.

Therefore, all students must check Blackboard/Moodle or other class communications for information on your timetable.

Your lecturers and course co-ordinators have revised teaching timetables which they will use to inform you, via your paper’s Blackboard or equivalent site, of when and where your lectures, tutorials, labs and teaching clinics will be held. Please continue to check the Blackboard or equivalent site. Timetable / venue arrangements for assessments will also be made available on Blackboard or equivalent website.

The change in timetable is required because the social distancing requirements of Alert Level 2 mean that not all face-to-face teaching will be able to take place and alternative delivery modes will occur. Similarly, social distancing requirements may affect the arrangements for some assessments.

Special Consideration for internal assessment / tests

This is for students who find themselves significantly and unexpectedly impaired for a test, other internal assessment, or terms attendance requirement. It may allow you to gain an extension on the due date for an assignment or to miss or reschedule a test.

Advice on the process for seeking Special Consideration for internal assessments (PDF)

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Learning at Otago in 2021

Updated Monday 7 September 2020, 11:55am

The University of Otago is pleased to announce its expanded delivery options for coursework programmes for the 2021 academic year.

While Otago’s primary teaching mode is via face-to-face learning on-campus, in 2021, there will be three delivery options for eligible students:

  1. On campus
  2. Distance – existing programmes and papers designed to be delivered by distance learning
  3. Online – a limited number of papers and programmes that would normally only be delivered on-campus will be temporarily delivered online in order to accommodate students that are unable to attend classes in person due to COVID‑19

Find out more about the online learning options in 2021

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Contact tracing

Updated: Monday 7 September, 11:55am

In Alert Level 2, the University is required by Government to maintain a contact tracing register of everyone on our campuses. In the event that there is a COVID‑19 case amongst those who have been on campus, this enables those who may have come into contact with that person to be quickly identified and contacted. If you have been in Auckland recently, the current advice is to remain vigilant, and pay special attention to the Ministry of Health’s Golden Rules to help prevent spread of COVID‑19.

University Wi‑Fi

To support contact tracing capability, we strongly encourage all students and staff with suitable devices to maintain a connection to the Wi‑Fi network while on campus.

Find out how to connect to Wi‑Fi:

All students and staff who are using a data-capable mobile device or laptop which is turned on and connected to the University Wi‑Fi, or a University computer hardwired to the network, will be able to be contact traced if required, via collected location data.

Any data collected is subject to the Privacy Statement appended below.

User sign‑in data from computers which are hard-wired to the University network will also be used for location / contact tracing as required.

NZ COVID Tracer app

QR codes have now been installed across our campuses that can be used with the NZ Government COVID Tracer app for contact tracing.

NZ COVID Tracer app

Paper registers

If students or staff do not have a mobile device that is connected to the University Wi-Fi network, a paper register will be available in each building and all students and staff will be required to sign in upon entry.

Timetabling system

Information from timetabling about where students and relevant staff are expected to be (e.g. for lectures, labs and tutorials) will also be used to identify groups where needed.

COVID‑19 Contact Tracing – Privacy Statement

COVID‑19 Contact Tracing Information means information collected in electronic and paper-based COVID‑19 building access registers, and derived from the University’s IT network, timetabling and electronic card access systems, which identifies physical proximity between individuals on campus capable of increasing the risk of transmission of COVID‑19.

As with all personal information collected by the University, COVID‑19 Contact Tracing Information will be handled in accordance with the Privacy Act 1993 and the University’s Policy on Access to, and Use of, Personal Information.

COVID‑19 Conract Tracing Information is collected and accessed by the University for the purpose of contact tracing aimed at decreasing the risk of transmission of COVID‑19, and may be supplied to the Medical Officer of Health and/or appropriate government agencies for those purposes.

COVID‑19 Contact Tracing Information will be securely stored and permanently deleted once no longer reasonably required for contact tracing purposes.

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Student Health

Updated: Monday 7 September, 11:55am

Under Alert Level 2 conditions, Student Health are changing their services accordingly.

The Student Health website has a full list of services available.

Medical certificates for Special Consideration

Medical certificates are not required if seeking Special Consideration for internal assessment, and are only required for Special Consideration in Final Examinations if impairment is due to illness or injury.


If you are concerned that you might have COVID‑19 – call the COVID‑19 Healthline for advice.

If you phone the COVID‑19 Healthline and they refer you to the CBAC for testing, please advise AskOtago, phone on 0800 808 098 or +64 3 479 7000, or via email at

Important phone numbers

  • COVID‑19 Healthline 0800 358 5453 (within New Zealand)
  • Healthline 0800 611 116(within New Zealand)
  • Student Health 0800 479 821(within New Zealand)
  • Dunedin Urgent Doctors +64 3 479 2900
  • Emergency Psychiatric Services 0800 467 846 Option 2 (within New Zealand
  • You can also Free Call or Free Text 1737 to speak to a trained counsellor 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • Emergencies dial 111

Flu vaccine

Free flu vaccinations will be provided to all students.

Further information can be found here

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Student services

Updated: Tuesday 21 April, 3:45pm

These services are available for you to access online:

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Pūtea Tautoko student support fund

Updated: Monday 17 August, 12pm

Applications are open

Applications remain open for the University’s Pūtea Tautoko student support fund.

Apply through your eVision portal – a link to the application form should appear in the Finance section on the main page.

You will be asked to supply information about your financial circumstances, declare your current sources of income and financial assistance, and explain how COVID‑19 is impacting on your ability to continue to study at Otago.

You will also need to nominate a referee who can attest to your situation.

About the Pūtea Tautoko student support fund

A fund for students facing financial hardship as a result of the COVID‑19 global outbreak has been launched by the University, with applications now open.

The fund is open to all University of Otago students, whether you are a New Zealand or international student, full-time or part-time, undergraduate, or postgraduate.

The University has committed NZ$1.5 million as an initial investment to support Otago students, and is asking alumni, staff, and friends to contribute to increase the amount available.

Named Pūtea Tautoko, which translates as financial support, the fund is a way for the University community to support its students facing the greatest need in extraordinary times.

Pūtea Tautoko is the largest hardship initiative in the University’s history.

The fund is launched with the support of the Otago University Students’ Association (OUSA).

Applications will be considered by several panels, all including student representation. The panels will robustly assess hardship, using tools we already have to assess applications for existing hardship funds, and for our needs-based scholarships.

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Masks and face coverings at Alert Level 2

Updated: Friday 28 August, 8:40am

At Alert Level 2, face coverings are mandatory on public transport from 31 August 2020.

The Ministry of Education recommends that staff and students carry face coverings to wear on campus locations where physical distancing may be difficult: for example in a confined space with other students or staff, such as workshops, lifts, transportation, etc.

A face covering helps stop droplets spreading when someone speaks, laughs, coughs, or sneezes. This includes someone who has COVID‑19 but feels well or has no obvious symptoms.

Face coverings are particularly useful when physical distancing is not possible, but are only one part of keeping yourself and others safe. Wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands! Cough or sneeze into your elbow, stay home if you are unwell, and maintain physical distancing where possible.

Non-medical-grade face coverings

Most people can use non-medical-grade face coverings. These face coverings prevent the wearer from spreading diseases to others and could help protect the wearer from becoming infected. The mask should cover your nose and mouth while allowing you to breathe comfortably and fit comfortably but securely against the side of the face.

Non-medical-grade face coverings can be either single-use or reusable:

  • Single use face coverings can only be worn once then disposed
  • Fabric reusable face coverings can be washed and reused

Face coverings should not be worn by:

  • Young children or people who could not remove them without assistance
  • People who have trouble breathing

A scarf, religious garment, t-shirt, or bandana can be used as a reusable face covering.

Please visit for more information.

Supply of non-medical-grade face coverings

The University has purchased and distributed single layer face coverings. These face coverings would benefit from the addition of a folded handkerchief or similar to increase filtration.

Additional double layered cotton masks are now being distributed available for staff and students on presentation of your Identification Card, one per person.

When you receive a face covering, wash it before use and dry thoroughly. Carry it in a zip-lock plastic bag. Have it with you when on site. Wear your face covering when you are not able to maintain safe physical distancing of 2 meters with people you don’t know, such as on public transport, or in shops.

The face covering should remain dry – if it becomes wet or dirty, remove it, wash, dry, and reuse.

WHO video showing how to look after your face covering and when to wear it

Non-medical-grade face coverings need to be washed after use – wash in warm, soapy water and dry thoroughly before wearing again.

The following information applies to all face masks and coverings:

How to wear a face mask safely

When you wear a face mask, it’s important you use it safely. This advice applies to both bought and handmade masks.

Never share face masks or coverings with other people.

How to put on a face mask

  1. Check your mask. Make sure your face mask is:
    • Clean
    • Dry
    • Not damaged
  2. Clean your hands. Before you put on your mask, clean and dry your hands. Use either:
    • Soap and water, or
    • Hand sanitiser (at least 60% alcohol)
  3. Put on your mask. Place the face mask over your nose and mouth, then secure it with ties or ear loops. The mask should:
    • Fully cover your nose, mouth and chin.
    • Fit comfortably, but securely, against the side of your face
    • Allow you to breathe easily
  4. Clean your hands again. Use either:
    • Soap and water, or
    • Hand sanitiser (at least 60% alcohol)

While wearing a face mask

  • Avoid touching the front of your mask
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Avoid moving your mask, including pulling it down below your chin
  • Replace the face mask if it becomes damp, damaged, or dirty

If you touch your face or the front of you mask you should thoroughly wash and dry your hands.

How to remove a face mask

  1. Clean your hands. Clean and dry your hands. Use either:
    • Soap and water, or
    • Hand sanitiser (at least 60% alcohol)
  2. Remove your mask. Take your mask off from behind and pull it away from your face. Use the loops or untie it. Do not touch the front of the mask, and be careful not to touch your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  3. Clean or dispose of your mask.
    • Clean cloth masks by washing them in a washing machine with detergent at 60 ºC. Dry the mask completely before you use it again. Do not use a damp mask.
    • Dispose of single-use masks. Put it in a rubbish bin with a closed lid, or in a sealed bag, and throw it out. Do not re-use or try to disinfect single-use masks.
  4. Clean your hands again. Use either:
    • Soap and water, or
    • Hand sanitiser (at least 60% alcohol)

Medical-grade face masks

Medical masks are also known as surgical masks. These masks protect the wearer from becoming infected, and from spreading the disease to others.

Medical masks form a small part of personal protective equipment (PPE). They are not reusable.

Your department’s level 2 health and safety plan will prescribe if you are required to wear a medical-grade face mask. Clinical areas where social distancing cannot be maintained will require medical-grade masks to be worn.

These masks are not reusable and need to be changed when they become wet – the frequency of changing the mask will depend on the type of work that you do. The University has supplies of medical-grade masks for use where required and are continuing to build the stock of medical-grade masks.

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New international students

Information for new international students on semester 2, 2020 and semester 1, 2021

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Visit for ongoing updates.