Monday 6 July 2020 4:09pm
It certainly has been a very challenging time for the entire nation as we continue to deal with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As I said in my last update, I am very proud of the way the University community has rallied together and risen to the challenges that have arisen, and of the University’s contribution to the national response. During the lockdown period the University continued to operate, with students learning remotely and most staff working from home. I would like to acknowledge that for many of us the last few months have been an emotional rollercoaster, as they have been for many New Zealanders. In addition to feelings of joy, pride and a sense of accomplishment, there have also been feelings of anxiety. I am very glad that at Otago things are slowly beginning to look much more like normal.
Thanks to New Zealand’s “go early, go hard” approach to COVID-19, we have been spared some of the major loss of life that has occurred in other countries around the world. Despite the positive outcome for health, the economic impact for New Zealand, like the rest of the world, will be substantial and long lasting.
In this update I would like to express my sense of pride and provide my grateful thanks to the members of our University community who have contributed to Pūtea Tautoko, our student support fund, which was launched on 14 May. The University, Government and staff, students, parents, alumni and friends have all contributed to this fund which is now over $3 million. This is an amazing show of support for our students, many of whom are facing unprecedented levels of need. At the University of Otago, we have a strong commitment to manaakitanga – hospitality, kindness and support. It is deeply touching to receive the same commitment from our wider community for our students.
Now that Semester Two is underway we are thrilled to welcome back our students to campus and we look forward to once again enjoying a vibrant campus experience.
Professor Harlene Hayne