Ministry of Education Bulletin 29/04 – Tertiary Students (Domestic)

This bulletin provides guidance on the Health Act (COVID-19 Alert Level 3) Order 2020 and the implications for TEO operations and planning for Alert Level 2.

Ministry of Education Bulletins:

Handy COVID-19 Whitecliffe links:

This bulletin provides guidance on;

  • Health Act (COVID-19 Alert Level 3) Order 2020 and the implications for TEO operations
  • Planning for Alert Level 2

Health Act (COVID-19 Alert Level 3) Order 2020 and the implications for TEO operations

Last Friday, the government signed the Health Act (COVID-19 Alert Level 3) Order 2020 which sets out the legal framework for operating under Alert Level three, including the minimum requirementsfor TEO operations. This order came into effect at 11.59pm, Monday 27 April.

The key message under Level 3 remains: staff and students should continue to work/learn from home where this is possible.

We have updated our detailed guidance for TEO’s operating under Alert Level 3 to ensure alignment with this new Health Order, which you can access here. The guidelines are not significantly different from last week but have been strengthened in terms of infection control, following Worksafe guidelines, outdoor gatherings and physical distancing in student accommodation.

A summary of these guidelines for how TEOs should operate under Level 3 is provided below.

Requirements for operating under Level 3

  • Providers operating under any Alert Level must ensure that appropriate infection control measures and Worksafe guidelines are met (as relevant to that Alert Level).
  • Infection control measures for TEOs under Level 3 include: physical distancing, contact tracing, maintaining stable bubbles.
  • Worksafe have provided guidelines on how to keep your staff healthy and safe, reduce the chances of COVID-19 recurring and ensure that you can continue to operate without moving back to Level 4.
  • To enable contact tracing, TEOs must collect names, contact details, buildings visited, etc., on all staff, students, contractors (e.g. plumbers, electricians, cleaners), who go on site.
  • Physical distancing at Level 3 within tertiary facilities means keeping 1m away from people at all times.
  • Staff should not have multiple bubbles.

Accommodation and food

  • In tertiary accommodation:
    • Bubbles should be maintained.
    • Close contact should be limited to people of the same ‘bubble’ (which may be a single floor in a halls of residence); common social and recreation areas should be closed (except those shared by a single ‘bubble’); and there should be split shift access to common areas for staff
    • Contact tracing processes must be in place, as per the requirements for operating under level 3 above
  • Students who left residential accommodation before lockdown, to join a “bubble” with friends, family or whānau, should not return to student accommodation under Level 3.
  • Private flats are not covered by this TEO guidance.
  • On campus food venues should be closed to customers, but may operate for delivery and contactless collections in compliance with relevant infection control measures.

Site Access and outdoor gatherings

  • Site Access permissions are not required under Level 3.
  • Anyone who is not a student/staff/contractor (e.g. plumber, electrician, cleaner) should not be on site at a tertiary education facility.
  • Outdoor gatherings on tertiary campuses are not allowed.
  • TEOs may wish to put up signs around campus stating there must be no gatherings

Key messages to communicate to your students are:

  • Stay home. Courses will still be delivered remotely, wherever possible. If a tertiary facility is opened (i.e. for research, postgraduate teaching, lab/workshops, or noho-based delivery), then students/staff may travel locally (or to their neighbouring region) to attend these classes.
  • Stay in your “bubble”. Hostel, hall of residence or other accommodation will remain open to those who have stayed during Level 4. Ministry of Health guidelines on hygiene and social distancing will remain. If you moved to join a “bubble” with friends, family or whānau, you must stay home. You cannot return to your student accommodation under Level 3.
  • There is extra help if they need it. They can access financial assistance or support through;
      • student support package here
      • emergency assistance to cover costs of food, rent etc. here
      • assistance for international students here
      • counselling and support e.g. through their GP of local community centre

Planning for Alert Level 2

  • Now we have moved to Level 3, planning is underway for the eventuality of moving to Alert Level 2. Note we do not currently have a timeframe for any potential shift in Alert levels. A review of our current alert level is due from the government on the 11th May.
  • At the heart of being able to move to Level 2 and beyond will be the ability of providers to ensure that appropriate infection control measures and Worksafe guidelines are met (as relevant to that Alert Level).
  • We have provided some high level guidelines for Level 2 and we will be working with you in the coming days to ensure we come up with workable solutions for the sector that is aligned to the government guidelines

Things change quickly so stay up to date:

For answers to questions about Student Allowance and Living Cost payments refer to StudyLink’s website

Students can access support for urgent and unexpected costs such as food and rent here

For health advice, refer to the Ministry of Health’s website

For official Government information about COVID-19 (novel coronavirus), including health advice and travel restrictions visit the All-of-Government website

For more advice for students, visit the Ministry of Education website

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