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COVID-19 information for students

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Streaming / online lectures

Updated: Tuesday 31 March, 4:20pm

Online classes

From Monday 30 March, all University of Otago papers are moving online so you will be able to continue your learning in a digital format during the Alert Level 4 lockdown.

Please check your email for an important message about this move online.

The way in which we deliver each paper online is being specifically tailored, and your paper co‑ordinators and lecturers will be posting information on Blackboard or their usual communication channel as soon as possible, to let you know what that means for your particular papers.

If you have any general questions about moving online that are not answered by that email, or if you experience technical difficulties once we do move online, please contact AskOtago by phone on 0800 808 098 or +64 3 479 7000, or via email at


Some of you may be concerned about upcoming assessments at a time when courses are moving online and your ability to keep up with study may be disrupted by travel or other factors. All assessment deadlines will be revised to accommodate the current disruption. Please be assured that our academic staff will be showing flexibility appropriate to these exceptional times.

Library resources

All University of Otago Libraries, including the Hocken Collections, are closed.

The following online resources and services are available from the library website:

  • Library Search | Ketu
  • Electronic resources e.g. journals and databases
  • Electronic Reserve Course Readings (accessible via Blackboard or Moodle)
  • Access to Past Exam Papers
  • Subject Guides
  • Support for Distance Students
  • Email:
  • LibChat
  • Interloans (digital items only)

The following are not currently available:

  • Book return. Please hold onto materials you have checked out. Overdue fines will be suspended.
  • Access to physical collections including Course Reserve Readings Interlibrary loan for physical material
  • Library Scan

High Capacity Storage (HCS) for postgraduate students

Postgraduate students can access High Capacity Storage (HCS) from home: They should use the student virtual desktop where possible, and follow the steps outlined in this AskOtago knowledgebase article.

Removing data caps for internet

Major New Zealand internet providers have removed their data caps and the possibility of any extra charges based on usage. Please check with your provider whether this is the case for you. This will aid those staff and students who are on capped home fixed-broadband plans where they are staying during Alert Level 4. It does not apply to cellular-based broadband (rural) due to bandwidth limitations.

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IT resources

Students learning from off-campus have access to some features of ITS systems they may not be aware of.  You can interact with your lecture recording, using Zoom from home and using Microsoft Office365.  These tools and the following guides may be helpful:

Student Desktop




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Lockdown and self-isolation

Updated: 2 April, 5:00pm

COVID-19 Welfare Helpline 

An Otago COVID-19 Welfare Helpline has been established to help make sure everyone in the region receives the support they need during the Alert Level 4 lockdown.

While we continue to ask people to contact the appropriate agency for help in the first instance, anyone in Otago who needs assistance in relation to emergency food, household goods/services or any other welfare-type requests can call 0800 322 4000.

This Helpline number will operate daily from 7am to 7pm.

Residential colleges

Our residential colleges remain open and are continuing to support college students who have stayed in Dunedin during the lockdown period.  AskOtago and other essential services will operate online and by phone.

Freephone 0800 808 098 (within NZ)
Tel +64 3 479 7000

Staying at home in your flat or other accommodation

Visit the NZ Government website for the latest advice

Making life easier in lockdown and self-isolation

Dunedin-based students and those temporarily living elsewhere in New Zealand during the lockdown have ongoing access to Student Health Services if they are your health provider.

Student Health Services

Otherwise if you have any concerns about your health or any respiratory symptoms, please contact your GP Practice or COVID–19 Healthline 0800 358 5453 (for Covid–19 inquiries).

Looking after your mental health wellbeing

Reach out to your usual supports, like family and friends, and talk about how you feel. We also recommend sticking to a routine such as having regular mealtimes and bedtimes, and exercising.

If you feel you are not coping, it is important to talk with a health professional. Students registered with Student Health continue to have access to their Mental Health and Wellbeing Team. Phone: 0800 479  821.

For support with grief, anxiety, distress or mental well‑being, you can call or text 1737 – free, anytime, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – to talk with a trained counsellor.

Visit the MoH website on managing your mental well‑being

Regular well-being checks from AskOtago

Regular well-being checks are available to any students, across our campuses, who are remaining in flats, private accommodation or our residential colleges during the Alert Level 4 lockdown. The intention of well-being checks is that those feeling particularly isolated from friends and family during the lockdown can receive extra advice and support.

Please register with AskOtago by email and put “well–being checks” in the subject line.

The number for AskOtago if you wish to call them is 0800 80 80 98.

Virtual fitness classes

The Unipol Group fitness Class website is up and running with content available for members.


While in self-isolation, it helps to focus on what is in your control.

FACE COVID (PDF) provides some helpful tips.

Student Health

Updated: Tuesday 31 March, 4:20pm

Student Health Services available during Covid‑19 Lockdown

Student Health continues to provide primary health care and advice to all Otago students, regardless of where you currently are in New Zealand.

However, there are major changes to how we provide services and the services available. The changes have been made to minimise risk to students and staff. Further changes may occur at short notice, we will keep you updated.


  • Main doors are locked
  • Staff enable access as required
  • Number of patients within the facility will be based on 2m distancing rule
  • Opening hours: 8.45pm – 5.00pm Monday to Friday, out of hours please call Dunedin Urgent Doctors


  • All patients must phone for an appointment – do not arrive without phoning first
  • Where possible appointments will be by Zoom, Skype, phone
  • All patients will be screened when making the appointment and on arrival at Student Health – please arrive early for your appointment

Services provided

Mental Health and Wellbeing
  • Full range of services via Zoom, Skype, Phone
  • Ring reception for an appointment and one of the team will call you back
GP / Nursing
  • Respiratory symptoms
    • Recommend stay at home, call Healthline / Student Health
  • Other health concerns / minor injuries
    • Please call Student Health, a clinician will call you back
  • Medications – please call Student Health, a GP will call you back to discuss your requirements, an appointment may be necessary. Prescriptions will be sent directly to your nominated pharmacy.
    • Some pharmacies are able to deliver to you
  • STI – If you feel you have symptoms or are concerned, please call Student Health and a clinician will call you back to discuss.
    • Due to laboratory workload we are unable to offer non symptomatic STI screens
  • Vaccinations
    • Flu Vaccine – we are currently providing flu vaccinations to all students at high risk – for example students with diabetes, asthma (using a preventer), immunocompromised, >65, pregnant – please call Student Health to book an appointment
    • Flu vaccination clinics for all other students will commence after 13 April – dates to be confirmed
    • Other vaccinations – at this time we are unable to provide non-essential vaccinations, as this would be exposing staff and students to unnecessary risk. Vaccination clinics will be scheduled when the lockdown is lifted – please call Student Health if you have any concerns

  • Jadelle/ Mirena insertions /removals deferred until further notice
  • Depo - please call Student Health to discuss
  • Oral contraception - see medication section above

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 Student Health.

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
General advice
  • Respiratory Hygiene
  • Social distancing
  • Keep within your bubble
  • Minimise trips to supermarket / pharmacy
  • Exercise locally
  • Keep in connect with friends/ family via social media

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Adjusting your study habits for learning online

Updated: Friday 3 April, 2:15pm

The world is a very different place than it was a few short weeks ago. It’s okay to feel uncertain about everything at the moment, and it’s okay to be unsure about what to do.

You’ve put so much hard work into the year already and have learnt so much – keep it up! The staff at the University of Otago are here to support you, help you stay connected and help you succeed with your studies at this very strange time.

Adjusting your study habits for learning online

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Health and hygiene

Updated: Tuesday 31 March, 4:20pm

Stopping the spread of COVID‑19

Fundamental to the nationwide efforts to contain the spread of COVID‑19 is avoiding putting yourself or others at risk if you are unwell.

Visit the NZ Government website for the latest advice

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International travel

Updated: Monday 30 March, 1pm

Student visas

Students with expiring visas with an expiry date of 1 April 2020 or earlier  and who are unable to leave New Zealand must apply on-line for a new visa. An interim visa will be issued.

Students with expiring visas with an expiry date of 2 April to 9 July 2020 inclusive who are in New Zealand on 2 April 2020 will have their visas extended to 25 September 2020. Confirmation of extensions will be emailed to all visa holders.

To keep updated on travel restrictions and visa information visit the Immigration website.

Students currently abroad

The New Zealand government is urging all New Zealanders currently travelling overseas to return home as soon as possible. This advice is directly applicable to all New Zealand Citizens and Permanent Residents currently overseas, including:

  • All students currently on overseas placement or exchange

The Government’s announcement is made in the context of a COVID‑19 situation that includes significant and ongoing reductions in the number of international flights that are still available.

The University anticipates that all affected students will now make arrangements consistent with this government advice, working with their travel agents and airlines to confirm options for returning home.

For the most up‑to‑date travel information we recommend you regularly check the New Zealand Safe Travel website.

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Graduate research candidates

Updated: Wednesday 27 March 2020, 9:40am

The University of Otago is working to support its graduate research candidates as the complex situation following the COVID‑19 outbreak develops.

COVID‑19 information for graduate research candidates

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Dental clinic closures

Updated: Sunday 22 March 2020, 9:15pm

Faculty of Dentistry clinics

Effective immediately, following advice from the Ministry of Health and the Dental Council of New Zealand, all non‑essential and elective dental services at Faculty of Dentistry clinics are suspended, to reduce risk of COVID‑19 community spread.

At this stage, the Faculty of Dentistry will provide emergency treatment and relief of pain services only. This will be provided by experienced registered practitioners and experienced assistants.

All Dentistry student clinical activities are immediately ceased until further notice. Students are kindly asked for patience as their academic supervisors come up‑to‑speed with these changes and consider options to support remote teaching.

Students will be contacted with further information. Please continue to monitor your email and Blackboard for updates.

It is appreciated that this disruption will cause concern for students regarding the impact on their studies. Faculty staff are currently exploring a range of options for minimising this impact.

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Visit for ongoing updates.