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Welfare guidance

Aratakinga Oranga

Updated: 13 May 2022

Self-isolation

COVID‑19 remains in our community and people need to self-manage their situation using online tools.

If you are in a life-threatening situation call 111. In all other situations these are the steps you should take to ensure you are able to self-isolate.

  1. Self-reliance: Be prepared and organise enough food, medications etc. for a period of isolation (up to 7 days).
  2. If you are unable to provide these for yourself, ask for help from friends, flatmates, or family.
  3. If you are isolated and cannot get other assistance contact the Ministry of Social Development lead COVID‑19 Welfare phone line on 0800 512 337, 7 days a week.
  4. Students can reach out to OUSA for help via the OUSA Student Support Hub.
  5. Staff can reach out for help from AskOtago on 0800 80 80 98 or +64 3 479 7000 or university@otago.ac.nz

Be sure you're ready to self-isolate

  • Have access to food and essential items
  • Have mobile data so you can keep in contact with friends and whānau
  • Arrange support for personal care or daily tasks
  • Talk to your employer if you are worried about your leave or pay
  • Get mental health support, or support with family or sexual violence

AskOtago are available to contact for self-isolation support Monday to Friday 7am–9pm, Saturday and Sunday 8:30am–6pm on 0800 80 80 98 or +64 3 479 7000 or university@otago.ac.nz

Campus Watch can be contacted for after hours emergencies
Tel 0800 479 5000 or +64 3 479 5000

What to expect while isolating

You will need to self-isolate from others if you have tested positive for COVID‑19 or are deemed a close contact of a COVID‑19 case.

This information is provided from Public Health and is correct as of Friday 11 March.

If you have tested positive for COVID‑19

If you live with someone who has COVID‑19

  • You need to self-isolate immediately for 7 days from the day that the case receives their positive test result (or is notified as probable) until the case completes their 7 days of self-isolation and is released. You will need to get tested on day 3 and day 7 of your self-isolation period (or sooner if you develop symptoms)
  • You can end your self-isolation on the same day as the first person with COVID‑19 in the household, provided you have no new or worsening symptoms and your tests are negative.
  • Advice is available on the Government’s website
  • During this time, follow the Government guidelines for self-isolation
  • If you test positive you need to follow the guidelines above for "If you have tested positive for COVID-19".
  • Students, let your lecturer know you are isolating so they can provide support for your learning.
  • Staff, contact your line manager to inform them you are isolating.
  • The University can provide a welfare check. To register for a welfare check, please contact AskOtago on 0800 80 80 98 or +64 3 479 7000 or make a request through this online form
  • While in isolation you should order enough essential supplies, such as food for your 10-day isolation period. If you are unable to organise this yourself, you should ask friends and whānau to help. If these are unavailable to you, contact the Ministry of Social Development for assistance on 0800 512 337
  • If you are an international student or in a pathway programme please let the International Office know. Email international.support@otago.ac.nz OR pathway.support@otago.ac.nz

If you are identified as a close contact

  • If you are a Close Contact of a person with COVID-19, but you do not live with them, you do not need to self-isolate
  • If you develop symptoms, get a test and stay home until a negative test result is returned.
  • Advice is available on the Government's website
  • If you test positive for COVID-19 contact the University using the dedicated contact tracing phone number: 021 279 0202 or 0800 808098

Developing or worsening symptoms

If at any point during your self-isolation you develop COVID‑19 symptoms, or your existing symptoms get worse, contact your GP, Healthline, or in emergencies 111.

Symptoms may vary depending on the variant and can include one or more of the following:

  • a new or worsening cough
  • sneezing and runny nose
  • a fever
  • temporary loss of smell or altered sense of taste
  • sore throat
  • shortness of breath.

More information on COVID‑19 symptoms can be found on the Government's COVID‑19 website

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Financial help

We know that isolating can be a financial burden and there are several resources available to students.

OUSA Student Support Hub

The OUSA Student Support Hub has a list of different agencies able to assist students struggling financially. There is also the OUSA Student Hardship Fund which is open to domestic, international, full-time and part-time University of Otago students.

Financial support from OUSA and others

Ministry of Social Development

If you have lost your job, cannot work or are working fewer hours, you may be able to get a benefit or some other financial help from Work and Income.

Find out if you're eligible for financial help from Work and Income

Pūtea Tautoko Student Relief Fund

Pūtea Tautoko has been set up by the University of Otago to provide assistance to students facing financial hardship as a result of COVID‑19. Domestic, international, full-time, part-time, undergraduate, postgraduate and Pathway Programme students can apply for help from this fund. Bridging Programme and Language Centre students are not eligible to apply.

Pūtea Tautoko application and eligibility information

More information on financial support can be found on the Government's COVID‑19 website

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Mental health and wellbeing

Everyone's emotional and mental wellbeing is important. It is normal to feel anxious or stressed in times of difficulty. Do not be afraid to seek support. There are helpline services available right now that offer support, information and help for you, your family, whānau and friends.

For support with anxiety, distress or mental wellbeing, you can free call or text 1737 anytime for support from a trained counsellor, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Support services available in the community

Support across the University for students

The University can provide a welfare check. To register for a welfare check, please contact AskOtago on 0800 80 80 98 or +64 3 479 7000 or make a request through this online form.

There is a range of support available to you.

OUSA Student Support Hub

OUSA Student Support is here for anything life can throw at you: academics, flatting, tenancy, finances, wellbeing, safety; or if you just need a chat with someone who gets it. The professional team at Student Support are here and ready to help! There is pretty much nothing they can't help with. All services are free, confidential, and available to any University of Otago Student.

Visit the OUSA Student Support Hub

Student Health

Student Health provide safe and inclusive primary health care services to students and are still operating during Red Level. They offer same day, routine and urgent appointments in-person and by telehealth. You MUST phone for an appointment. Do not arrive without making a booking first.

Visit the Student Health website

Campus Watch

Campus Watch is a diverse group of people ready to offer assistance and advice whenever or wherever it is needed, 24 hours, 7 days a week. Dressed in their distinctive blue and gold uniforms with fluorescent vests, these ‘walking information booths’ can help with a range of issues, most associated with flatting and safety.

Visit the Campus Watch website

Disability Information and Support

If you have a disability, impairment, injury or medical condition that affects your ability to study, Disability Information and Support can help you.

Visit the Disability Information and Support website

Flatting and safety

If you have concerns about your flatting situation while isolating, OUSA is able to help.

Visit the OUSA Student Support Hub

Food

If you are a Student isolating due to COVID‑19 you can request a food/care package to help you get through.

Request a care package

International students

The Otago International team offers help and support to all international students. 

Visit the international students website

Locals

The Locals Collegiate Community is there to support first-year students who are living at home, flatting or boarding.  

Visit the Locals Collegiate Community website

Pacific Islands Centre

Come home to the Pacific Islands Centre. Make the most of your time at the University of Otago. The Pacific Islands Centre can help you with academic assistance, scholarships and accommodation, legal and immigration matters – and more.

Visit the Pacific Islands Centre website

Pathway students

The Pathway team offer a supportive, caring and safe environment where students can reach their full potential, whatever field of study they choose.

Visit the Pathway and English Language Centre website

Te Huka Mātauraka – The Māori Centre

The Māori Centre, Te Huka Mātauraka, offers a home away from home for students of Māori descent, from pre-enrolment, Turāka Hou – Māori Orientation – through to pre-graduation celebrations, graduation and beyond.

Visit the Māori Centre website

Tenancy Services

If you and your flatmates are going to have issues covering rent, it’s best to talk to your landlord sooner rather than later. See above for links to financial support, and seek advice from Tenancy Services if needed.

Visit the Tenancy Services website

Te Whare Tāwharau

Te Whare Tāwharau provides sexual violence-related support within the campus community and supports students dealing with incidents of sexual violence that are recent or historical. If you or someone you know could benefit from support, visit Te Whare Tāwharau’s website.

Visit the Te Whare Tāwharau website

University Chaplains

The campus chaplains offer pastoral care and spiritual support for all students and staff at the University of Otago and Otago Polytechnic, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Support is available for people of all faiths and none.

Visit the University Chaplains website or contact them at chaplains@otago.ac.nz | maori.chaplain@otago.ac.nz | muslimchaplaincy@otago.ac.nz

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Support across the University for staff

Employee Assistance Programme for staff

Occupational Health Team

The Occupational Heath and Safety Team can provide support for staff self-isolating and/or working from home. All services are continuing as usual when possible.

For example if you need someone to check in with about your mental wellbeing email: ohn@otago.ac.nz

Keeping busy

Resources to help keep busy during self-isolation are available from across the University.

Get help staying healthy with the Get Cooking, Otago! and Get Moving, Otago! video series.

See what Otago students are up to with Te Aka Tauira:

Support for staff

There are several resources available for staff if they get COVID-19 or need to isolate as a household contact.

If you need to self-isolate, you should:

Be sure you're ready to self-isolate:

  • Have access to food and essential items
  • Have mobile data so you can keep in contact with friends and whānau
  • Arrange support for personal care or daily tasks
  • Talk to your manager if you are worried about your leave or pay
  • Get mental and physical health support

The Ministry of Health has created a COVID-19 checklist to help people prepare to self-isolate.

AskOtago are available to contact for self-isolation support Monday to Friday 7am–9pm, Saturday and Sunday 8:30am–6pm:

Tel 0800 80 80 98 or +64 3 479 7000

Email university@otago.ac.nz

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Welfare checks

All staff are welcome to register for a daily wellbeing check-in from AskOtago. You can register with the Occupational Health team for these wellbeing checks.

Email ohn@otago.ac.nz

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Employee Assistance Programme (EAP)

The Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) is a free, confidential counselling service which the University of Otago makes available to eligible staff.

Employee Assistance Programme

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COVID-19 sick leave

COVID-19 sick leave is available for staff who are unable to work due to COVID-19. This leave is separate from your usual sick leave.
Leave options available:

  • Required to self-isolate and unable to work
  • Sick due to vaccination
  • Taking time off to get vaccinated or tested
  • Sick with COVID-19
  • Caring for a dependent who is sick with COVID-19

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University Chaplains

The campus chaplains offer pastoral care and spiritual support for all students and staff at the University of Otago and Otago Polytechnic, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Support is available for people of all faiths and none.

Visit the University Chaplains website or contact them at:

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Health and safety guidelines for working from home

The Health and Safety team guidelines for working from home

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Working and teaching remotely

ITS information for working and teaching remotely

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