COVID-19 (coronavirus) General Information
On this page
- University's response to COVID-19
- Advice for our University community at home
- University COVID-19 testing and self-isolating
- Further Information resources
University's response to COVID-19:
Can I attend the University of Waikato campus in Hamilton or Tauranga?
Following the Government announcement that New Zealand’s response to COVID-19 has moved to ALERT LEVEL 4, the University of Waikato campuses in Hamilton and Tauranga will be closed from 5pm Wednesday 25 March.
What is the University doing to protect students and staff from COVID-19?
The University of Waikato has convened a Strategic Response Group made up of leaders throughout the University. This group is meeting daily and making decisions in the best interests of student and staff welfare based on Ministry of Health guidelines. The University is regularly emailing staff and students with health information and guidelines as these are determined by the Ministry of Health.
Be aware that this situation is changing frequently and instructions may change. Therefore, consult this website regularly for the most up-to-date information.
You will find answers below that relate to many of the decisions that the Strategic Response Group is making which involve both student and staff wellbeing.
As a student, what should I do this week (23 - 29 March)?
First and foremost, take care of yourself and your family.
- Ensure you are ready for ALERT LEVEL 4 lockdown from Wednesday afternoon with everything you require.
- Decide where you are going to spend at least four weeks during the lockdown period. Wherever you are at 11:59pm on Wednesday 25 March, is where you will need to stay for at least four weeks. Both campuses will be closed from Wednesday 5pm.
For the remainder of this week, there is no expectation for you to take part in learning or assessment activities, as teaching is suspended. Take the time to prepare to study from home for at least the next four weeks, maybe longer.
- If you do not have the ability to study from home (i.e. no laptop or internet connection) please contact Student Services on 0800 924 5286 so we can work with you on a solution.
Access essential services if you need them, These will continue:
- Student Health
- The Student Health Centre in Hamilton is reducing face-to-face contact and moving to tele-consultations wherever possible, to ensure the health and safety of patients and staff. It is important that prior to arriving at the centre, all patients call first on 07 838 4037. The Student Health team will conduct a phone consultation with you, discussing your situation over the phone and determining whether a face-to-face consultation is required. In Tauranga, the student health nurse Alana Johnson will still be conducting phone consultations on 022 013 9003.
- The Mental Health Services are also still available but by tele-consultation only, on the same numbers as above.
- You can also still get prescriptions filled by getting them sent to your pharmacy of choice.
- The Library - will be accessible online.
- Student Accommodation - we are talking to all residential students to understand who can go home and who needs to stay on campus. Caring for those students who are unable to go home, including our international students, is our highest priority.
- Support for International Students - as above we will continue to support international students through this time and will be communicating directly with these students.
As a staff member, what should I do this week (23 - 29 March)?
- First and foremost, take care of yourself and your family.
- Ensure your family is ready for ALERT LEVEL 4 lockdown from Wednesday afternoon with everything you require. If this means you cannot work over the next few days in order to prepare, that’s okay.
- Please ensure you keep in touch with your line manager so they understand your movements and your plans.
- Prepare to work from home for at least the next four weeks.
- Take essential equipment and office supplies home with you. Assume that after Wednesday night you will be unable to access your building/office for a minimum of 4 weeks and no one at the University will have the authority to allow you access.
- Set up your IT systems on your computer if you haven’t already done so.
- Start working from home if you can by Wednesday lunchtime to test everything works. The University will be open until 5pm Wednesday for staff who need to collect equipment or prepare for the alert level increasing to level 4. ITS will have a drop in for those who need longer blue data/ethernet cables on Tuesday from 9am-3pm. Don’t forget the service desk will continue to be available - firstname.lastname@example.org or 07 838 4008. Remember to either update your desk phone voicemail or auto-forward your desk phone to a relevant other number.
- If you are involved with an ‘essential service’ at the University, talk to your line manager about the plans for keeping your service operational during this time and the expectations of your role. Essential services include:
- Student Health - we will be providing telehealth support, and mental health and counselling consultations over video
- Support for International Students
- Student Accommodation - we are talking to all residential students to understand who can go home and who needs to stay on campus. Caring for those students who are unable to go home is our highest priority.
- Keeping equipment running which cannot be turned off
- Running of essential laboratories
Similar to the Christmas break, our campuses will be closing down operationally. Please review the security checklist to ensure you have done everything you need to do before you leave work.
What is happening with teaching and learning at the University?
All face-to-face teaching is suspended this week as we move online. We are committed to completion of the teaching and learning and all assessment for A Semester by the end of June. But we will have to take a much more flexible approach to teaching and assessment, including the following:
- Teaching and learning will continue in online mode from Monday 30 March.
- Teaching and learning will continue for the duration of the ALERT LEVEL 4 period.
- Teaching can continue during the week of 20 April 20 to 24 April inclusive, even though these days are currently scheduled for the mid-semester break.
- No examinations will be held on the University campus. Exam assessment will be reallocated to alternative assessment mechanisms, such as take-home exams and assignments.
- Students must be informed of any changes to the assessment schedule for each paper by 5pm on 3 April.
Advice for our University community at home:
New Zealand is now at ALERT LEVEL 4 from 11.59pm on Wednesday 25 March. This means:
- Everyone should stay at home except for those working in essential services, in particular vulnerable people. You may go for a walk or exercise and enjoy nature, but keep a 2 metre distance from people at all times.
- Early childhood centres, schools and university campuses will be closed after Wednesday 25 March.
- Everyone is to limit their movement around the country. Public transport and domestic air travel is restricted to essential travel only, and ferry services, road and rail will still be available for the transport of essential goods. Driving in private vehicles is allowed.
- All indoor and outdoor events are cancelled.
More can be read on what the alert levels mean here. These are unprecedented times. Let’s remember to be kind, compassionate, patient and respectful to others. We will get through this together. We will continue frequent communication with our staff and students, including key messages on remote working, distance study and staying well.
I feel unwell, what should I do?
If you are in New Zealand, please contact Healthline on 0800 358 5453 in the first instance if you feel unwell or if you have any concerns.
If you are feeling unwell, do not come into the Student Health Centre or visit the Student Nurse. It is also important that you do not go to a doctor or medical facility. This is because you do not want to infect others if you do have COVID-19 or another illness. Always call Healthline first. The Healthline nurse will tell you what to do as a next step and if you need to see a doctor.
If you do call Healthline, it is important you mention if you have recently travelled overseas, or if you’ve had any contact with someone with COVID-19.
Students can contact the Student Health Centre on campus with any questions or concerns:
Staff can also contact their local medical practice or general practitioner with any questions or concerns.
University COVID-19 testing and self-isolating:
As the New Zealand Government increases the number of COVID-19 tests around the country, you will start to hear about people being tested. When you hear this, you do not need to be alarmed, widespread testing will become the ‘new normal’ for both our University and wider community.
Testing more people for COVID-19 is a positive, proactive measure by the Government that will help to contain any widespread community outbreaks. It’s important to remember that the majority of COVID-19 tests have been found to be negative.
In light of the fact that more and more people will be tested for COVID-19 over coming months, it’s important for you to know:
- The university process for suspected cases (staff and students)
- What to do if you have been in contact with someone who is being tested
- What to do if you have been in contact with someone who tests positive
- How the Ministry of Health will guide us if and when we get a positive case on campus
The University process for suspected cases
If you are unwell with flu-like symptoms, the first step is to phone Healthline on 0800 358 5453 before visiting the Student Health Centre. If your symptoms are consistent with COVID-19, Healthline will direct you to get tested and provide instructions of how to do that.
If you have been instructed by Healthline to get tested, follow their instructions. Staff should tell their line manager and contact Human Resource Management, so the University can report a suspected case to the Ministry of Health which we are required to do. Please ensure you have recorded if you are self-isolating in Āku Mahi.
You must immediately self-isolate at home until you know the results of the test. You must then follow your doctor’s instructions when you receive your test results.
If the results are negative for COVID-19, stay at home until you are well.
If the results are positive for COVID-19, the Ministry of Health will provide guidance on next steps. The Ministry and District Health Board will also conduct contact tracing.
If you are a student being tested, phone Student Services on 0800 WAIKATO (0800 924 5286) or +64 7 838 4176. This registration will allow us to abide by the Ministry of Health’s directive of reporting all suspected cases within our University community.
What to do if you have been in contact with someone who is being tested
As more and more people get tested for COVID-19, many of us will come in contact with people who are being tested. It is not necessary for you to self-isolate if you have been in casual contact with someone who is being tested.
What you should do is continue to practice good hygiene, including washing hands frequently, avoiding handshakes, hugging and hongī. Social distance of one to two metres should be maintained where possible.
However, if you do feel unwell, stay at home, call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 and follow the steps above.
What to do if you have been in contact with someone who tests positive
If you have been in contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19, the Ministry of Health will contact you with instructions of what steps to take.
These steps will likely include self-isolation for 14 days.
Ministry of Health guidance if the University has a confirmed case
The Ministry of Health website details the steps it will take if someone at the University tests positive for COVID-19:
Once a case has been identified, the Ministry of Health and district health boards track down people who may have been exposed to the virus through a process called contact tracing.
Health services use contact tracing to find people who may have been exposed to an infectious disease. There are two types of ‘contacts’ – close contacts and casual contacts. Health services give advice to both of these contact types on what they need to do.
See the Ministry of Health website for more information on contact tracing and what to do if you have had casual or close contact with a confirmed case.
Good hygiene is the best defence
The best way to ward off any illness is good hygiene. Remember to:
- Stay home if you feel unwell.
- Cough or sneeze into your elbow or by covering your mouth and nose with tissues.
- Put used tissues in the bin or a bag immediately.
- Wash your hands with soap and water often (for at least 20 seconds).
- Try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell.
- Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean.
- Avoid personal contact, such as kissing, shaking hands, hugging, sharing cups or food.
- Practise social distancing - avoid contact with groups or large numbers of people.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects, such as doorknobs.
As more people on our campuses get tested for COVID-19, it is important that we respect their privacy. It is up to the individual if they choose to let others know they are being tested. The University will not release personal details of any students who are feeling unwell.
It is not until someone tests positive that the Ministry of Health and District Health Board will lead the process of letting those in close contact with the person they know.
Understandably, it can be a stressful time when either a staff member or student must be tested.
Please look after yourselves and be mindful and respectful of everyone on campus.
Further information and resources
- WHO situation updates and the latest advice on the COVID-19 is available from the WHO website.
- Ministry of Health: https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus
- International SOS: https://pandemic.internationalsos.com/2019-ncov?utm_campaign=APAC-2020-Q3-nCoVWuhanWebinar&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Eloqua
- Important information for parents and caregivers (in simplified Chinese)
- ENZ Key information webpage
- Download: Coronavirus: How to reduce your risk. A3
- Download: Information for travellers (Simplified Chinese)
- Download: Information for travellers arriving to New Zealand