With New Zealand going back into lock-down with the start of a second Covid-19 wave, the residents of New Zealand are frustrated, scared and confused. Moreover, the students of New Zealand are wondering how they’re going to get through the year academically, financially and safely. However, during this uncertain time, The University of Auckland is setting out a good example to support all of their students.
The University of Auckland has made the decision to go into remote learning until the mid-semester break,
which is the 21st of September, regardless of the alert levels in the country, assuming the alert levels will be lower by that time.
The decision to carry on with remote learning despite lower alert levels, is to provide their students and staff with more predictability during the coming months, as the Government responds to the Covid-19 situation in Auckland. This is because they found that in the beginning of the year, it was much better to be certain than to open and close the campuses in short time frames.
However, the university has stated that if alert levels are lowered by September 21st, students and staff members are welcome to return to campus if they wish and the University will provide them with as much on-campus services as possible.
Speaking to Naomi Bradshaw, an Innovation and Entrepreneurship Engagement Manager at the university. “I know of colleagues working in areas such as accommodation and health and wellbeing who are working on ways to service the needs of our students in anticipation of a variety of scenarios, depending on how the rest of the year unfolds.” She says, “I am really proud at the concern and care demonstrated by my colleagues who are doing their best in trying circumstances.”
However, making the decision to remain closed is not the only thing the University is doing to provide support to their students. Naomi also says: “There are a lot of learnings that came out of NZ’s first lockdown and the University is reviving these responses to make the best possible learning experience we can for our students given the circumstances – things like click and collect for library books.”
The University of Auckland isn’t only providing their students within the country support, but their students abroad as well. The university has partnered up with Southwest University (SWU) in Chongqing and Northeast Forestry University (NEFU) in Harbin, to open dedicated learning centres for their students who remain in China during the Covid-19 crisis.
The University of Auckland China Learning Centres has given their students the opportunity of joining classmates on campus, and participate in face-to-face tutorials with local learning facilitators and online classes delivered by the University of Auckland’s top academics.
They are also providing their students with an $1,000 relocation allowance for students limited by Covid-19 travel restrictions.
The University of Auckland is working with the New Zealand government on options to welcome international students back to campus when it is safe to do so, but plans were not confirmed for 2020.
Image: Clock Tower building, University of Auckland