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COVID-19 information for students

Whakamahukitanga mo te Mate Kurahauao – Mō ngā tauira

What will semester 2 look like?

  Updated: Wednesday 1 July 2020, 10:10am

The University of Otago is looking forward to welcoming back all its students, staff and domestic visitors to our campuses at the beginning of semester 2.

Face-to-face lectures, tutorials, labs and seminars will resume without restrictions unless there is a change in Alert Level. We will be in touch with further information if this happens.

All semester 1 exams and final assessments will continue to be delivered online as planned.

Research activities can return to normal immediately, including student research projects.

The general expectation is that all students who are enrolled in courses that are being delivered on campus will be on campus for those courses in semester 2. Arrangements for exceptions to this may be considered on the following grounds:

  • Overseas students unable to return to campus due to border restrictions
  • Domestic students unable to return on health grounds
  • Domestic student unable to return due to exceptional financial and/or family circumstances

These exceptions must be applied for. Students who are unable to return to campuses at Alert Level 1 for health reasons are asked to contact our Disability and Support Information Services team.

Tel: +64 3 479 8235
Email: disabilities@otago.ac.nz 

Students in other categories, please contact AskOtago to apply:

Tel: 0800 808 098 or +64 3 479 7000
Email: university@otago.ac.nz

Financial pressure

Where COVID‑19 has caused financial pressure, or other substantial barriers, that may make it difficult to resume on-campus classes, students should apply to the Pūtea Tautoko financial support fund. This fund (see below) can provide significant support where required.

Residential colleges

Our residential colleges, which have remained open at all Alert Levels, have incorporated additional wellness checks for their residents and continue to provide hygiene support and advice. These will continue during semester 2.

Campus facilities

All facilities on all campuses, including our libraries, cafes, and study spaces, will resume normal hours and operations from the start of semester 2.

Health advice

Basic health advice and guidelines remain in place for students and staff:

  • Stay home if you’re sick
  • Make basic hygiene steps part of your usual routine:
    • Wash your hands
    • Sneeze and cough into your elbow
    • Do not touch your face
  • Keep a track of where you’ve been. The University is providing QR codes on campus to be used with the NZ COVID Tracer app.
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Semester 1 exams grade adjustment and special consideration

Updated: Wednesday 1 July 2020, 10:10am

Final exam results for semester 1 have been formally released. The grades in your student portals include the +5 mark increase which was applied to all final paper grades for all Otago students.

This increase was not applicable for any research papers which were given extensions or papers with non-standard start and end dates which did not fall sufficiently enough in the disrupted part of semester 1.

The increase was a special measure to account for the disruption caused in semester 1 by the COVID-19 lockdown. It will not apply in semester 2.

However, the University will consider similar measures if there is a return to higher Alert Levels causing equally widespread disruption to student studies. The possibility of grade adjustments for full-year papers impacted by COVID-19 will be considered at a later date. 

Special Consideration in Final Examinations

Standard Special Consideration processes will remain available for semester 1 examinations, covering unexpected and significant impairment such as serious illness. This will be supported with other provisions relating to digital examinations and COVID‑19.

Technical issues

Where a technical issue arises prior to an examination with the electronic device you will use to sit the examination and for which you have sought help from the University and the problem was unable to be fixed, the University will complete an incident form for filing with the Examinations Office.

Where a technical issue arises during an examination that you are unable to fix, you should contact AskOtago.  If the problem can’t be resolved the University will complete an incident form for filing with the Examinations Office. 

If you subsequently need to apply for Special Consideration, this can serve as evidence in support of your application – you can also upload a completed incident form yourself. If applying on the basis of technical issues, where possible, you should also have someone in your location complete a third party supporting statement to be uploaded with your application. 

A health declaration is not needed for Special Consideration based on technical issues.

We recommend not applying for Special Consideration immediately if there are technical problems, as these may be able to be addressed directly outside the Special Consideration process and advice on this may follow – note that you have at least five calendar days after the date of the exam to apply (see further information on deadlines).

Unexpected disruption

You should take steps in advance to ensure a disruption-free environment for sitting your examination. Previous advice has been given on minimising disruption when sitting your examination (see also information on limited on-campus exam space that may be applied for). 

However, if unavoidable, unexpected and significant disruption occurs during your exam, Special Consideration may be possible.  Any application should include a statement detailing the steps you took to minimise disruption prior to the examination and information on the disruption itself (this can be uploaded as a separate statement if preferred). Applications on this basis must be supported by a completed third party supporting statement.

A health declaration is not needed for Special Consideration based on unexpected significant disruption to your examination environment.

Medical conditions

It is normal to feel anxious about examinations, and this may be increased with examinations being run in a different way.  Special Consideration is not available for normal examination anxiety, and additional anxiety being felt has been addressed through the University’s universal five mark increase.  Please note however, that normal Special Consideration processes relating to medical conditions remain in place, including for serious and unanticipated psychological impairment.

A health declaration is required for Special Consideration in final examinations based on medical issues.

Additional information

The provision of evidence for Special Consideration for technical or other disruptions may not always be straightforward. Where evidence is insufficient to establish significant disruption, the University may seek to speak to you about issues which arose or seek additional documentation from you. Please be advised that seeking to gain Special Consideration on the basis of a false claim will be treated as serious academic misconduct by the University.

Please note that Special Consideration for Final Examinations applies to examinations.  It cannot be used to apply for semester-based disruptions.  See the Special Consideration webpage for more information.

Special consideration for internal assessment in semester 1

For internal assessments (including where these replace final examinations) application should be made in writing (e.g. via email) to the relevant head of department through the course co-ordinator.

Applications, which need to be made in a timely fashion, should make clear the paper(s) and assessment activities to which the application applies and the nature of the impairment for which special consideration is sought, and might also request one of the following outcomes as appropriate:

  • Extension of assessment due date sought
  • Assessment missed and repeat / alternative assessment sought
  • Impairment in assessment and mark adjustment sought

Appropriate supporting evidence will also normally need to be provided with the request (e.g. as an attachment to an email request) – if such evidence is difficult to source in the current environment or for the type of impairment concerned then please liaise with your course co-ordinator.

As previously advised, you are not required to get a medical certificate for absence or extensions due to illness during the remainder of the semester 1 teaching weeks (semester 1 finishes on 29 May for most papers).

This also applies to illness during an internal assessment or during final assessments (not examinations) that are being submitted on 19 June.

For dissertations, research reports, and theses, please liaise with your supervisor in the first instance.

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Contact tracing

Updated: Friday 3 July, 5pm

QR codes which are used with the NZ COVID Tracer App have been placed around campus. Staff, students, and visitors can use these in conjunction with the app to keep a private diary of their movements.

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 and while COVID‑19 Alert Levels remain in effect (please note that any data collected is subject to the Privacy Statement appended below).

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 contact 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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Updated: Tuesday 30 June, 10:50am

Library services at Alert Level 1

Please see the ‘Library Hours’ section on the Library website for all current opening hours

Library seating is back in place, as is access to group study rooms and bookings.

Library staff are available via LibChat and email ask.library@otago.ac.nz, Monday to Friday, 8:30–5:00pm.

The ‘Click and Deliver’ service for Staff and Postgraduate Students is no longer available.

Library fines and fees will resume in semester two.

Special Collections will be operating on a ‘by appointment’ basis, Monday-Friday 8:30am–5pm. Please contact ask.library@otago.ac.nz for further information.

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Student Health

Updated: Wednesday 10 June, 4:10pm

 Student Health will be providing a full range of primary health care services and advice in-person and via telehealth to all Otago students.

To reduce the spread of respiratory illnesses there are some permanent changes to how we provide services.

Full details of services

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.

COVID-19

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 university@otago.ac.nz.

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 846Option 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: Thursday 21 May, 4:20pm

Applications are open

Applications are 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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University facilities during Alert Level 1

Updated: Monday 25 May, 1:30pm

Health clinics

Dentistry, pharmacy and physiotherapy clinics are all opening their doors to varying degrees for public face-to-face appointments from Monday 18 May.

University of Otago health clinics under Alert Level 2

Christchurch and Wellington campuses

  • University of Otago, Christchurch campus will open on Monday 18 May (swipe card access only for all staff and students).
  • University of Otago, Wellington campus will open on Monday 18 May (swipe card access only for all staff and students).

Study and social space on Dunedin campus

From Monday 18 May the ISB Link, Union Mezzanine, Marsh Study Centre and Common Room will be open until 10pm for groups who want to study in the evening. We will have a Duty Manager working during these hours.

Open from Thursday 14 May

  • ISB Link for students and staff only. Entry via Union Building only
  • Union Building Main Common Room for students and staff only

Open from Monday 18 May

  • School of Business for students and staff only
  • Marsh Study Centre

Dunedin campus cafes and food vendors

Open from Thursday 14 May (electronic payment only)

  • Café Albany, 8am–4pm, takeaway orders only
  • Campus Shop, 8am–4pm
  • Staff Club, 8am–3pm, table service and takeaway

Open from Monday 18 May (electronic payment only)

  • Te Mātiti, 8am–4pm, takeaway orders only
  • Campus Shop South, 8:30am–4pm
  • Visitors’ Centre, 9am–4.30pm
  • St David Café, 8am–4pm, takeaway orders only
  • Frankly Sandwiches, 10am–2pm
  • Hunter Cafe, 8am–4pm, takeaway orders only
  • Plaza Café, 8am–4pm, takeaway orders only
  • Campus Chef Express
  • Marsh Study Centre, 8am–4pm

AskOtago hubs

The main AskOtago hub in the Central Library will open on Monday 18 May and be open 8:30am–5pm, Monday–Sunday.

Freephone 0800 808 098 (within NZ)
Tel +64 3 479 7000
Email university@otago.ac.nz

Uniprint services

All Uniprint services will be operating under the Ministry of Health COVID‑19 guidelines with contact tracing, sanitiser use and safe distancing.

  • The Albany Street Copy Centre shop is operational from Thursday 14 May
  • Uniprint – Albany Street is operational
  • The Central Library printshop will be operational from Monday 18 May

The Uniprint click and collect service which has been in place will remain operational via uniprint@otago.ac.nz.

Unipol Recreation Centre

Unipol is now open and operating a modified service:

  • Monday–Friday 7am–9pm
  • Saturday–Sunday 9am–9pm

The Unipol Facebook page has further details.

ID card office

The ID card office is open: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday 10am to 2pm.

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COVID‑19 testing for Dunedin campus 

Getting tested for COVID‑19 is an important part of keeping everyone safe, the test is provided for free to anyone displaying symptoms of COVID‑19. So far over 250 students have been tested, and we encourage anyone who feels unwell and develops symptoms of COVID‑19 to:

  • Stay home
  • Free call 0800 VIRUS 19, or Student Health, or your GP, and follow the directions you are given over the phone. There may be a charge for a telephone consult with your GP / Student Health
    • If directed to, get tested as soon as possible

AskOtago will be making contact with a random selection of Dunedin based students over the coming weeks. They will be checking in on students health and well-being, and asking if they have any symptoms of COVID‑19. Those who have symptoms will be advised to follow the instructions above to get tested as soon as possible.

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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 otago.ac.nz/coronavirus for ongoing updates.