COVID-19 (coronavirus) information

COVID-19 (coronavirus) information

Last updated 24 June 2021
Last updated 24 June 2021

Tertiary Provider and International Bulletin

COVID-19 Update Wednesday 23 June 2021

Wellington COVID-19 Alert Level change

A man who flew from Sydney to Wellington on 19 June 2021, and returned to Sydney on 21 June 2021, has been confirmed as being positive for COVID-19. As a result, the Wellington region is now at COVID-19 Alert Level 2 until 11.59pm on Sunday, 27 June. The Wellington area includes Wairarapa and Kāpiti Coast. The rest of New Zealand remains at Alert Level 1.

Advice for people who live in, or visited Wellington 19 June 2021 to 21 June

Wellingtonians and visitors to Wellington are encouraged to check the Ministry of Health’s locations of interest page, to find out if you might have been exposed to COVID-19 by being in the same place, at the same time as a confirmed case. If you were potentially exposed, follow the guidance for the particular location of interest, which is on the same page.

COVID-19: Contact tracing locations of interest | Ministry of Health NZ

At Alert Level 2, there are differences in how we access services. You can continue to go to work, school and tertiary education, but you should follow public health measures and consider others around you. Detailed information on Alert Level 2 guidelines is available on the COVID-19 website. 

For people outside of Wellington, the Ministry of Health reminds everyone to please remain vigilant and stick to the basics:

  • If you’re sick, stay home. Do not go to work or school. Do not socialise.
  • If you have cold, flu or COVID-19 symptoms, call your doctor or Healthline on 0800 358 5453 and get advice about getting tested.
  • If you have been told to self-isolate you legally must do so immediately.

Detailed guidelines for Tertiary Education Organisations

You will be familiar with the detailed guidelines for Tertiary Education Organisations (TEOs) on how to operate under different Alert Levels. These are available on the Ministry of Education websiteThis sets out the expectations that Wellington will need to operate under during Alert Level 2.

Welfare of students and staff

Alert level changes can be unsettling and may impact learners who study away from home and are unable to or choose not to return home. The number one priority remains the welfare of students and staff and ensuring that they remain safe and well during this time. Providers are reminded of their international and domestic pastoral code obligations.

The Ministry of Health website contains a useful range of mental health and wellbeing resources your staff might need for themselves or to assist students, they can be found at their website.  

COVID-19 vaccination information

Things change quickly so stay up to date by following the links below:

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

https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus

For cross-agency information about COVID-19, including what support is available, health advice, and travel restrictions visit the All-of-Government website https://www.govt.nz/covid-19-novel-coronavirus/

For resources in Te Reo Māori, visit https://covid19.govt.nz/updates-and-resources/translations/te-reo-maori/

For information to support Pacific communities, visit https://www.facebook.com/MinistryforPacificPeoples/

For resources in sign language and easy read formats.

To keep updated on travel restrictions and visa information visit https://www.immigration.govt.nz/about-us/media-centre/news-notifications/coronavirus-update-inz-response

 Advice for international students in NZ https://naumainz.studyinnewzealand.govt.nz/help-and-advice/healthcare/the-coronavirus-what-you-need-to-know

For additional advice for tertiary providers/whare wānanga visit the Ministry of Education website http://www.education.govt.nz/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-3/       

Update: 23 March 2021: COVID-19 Update

On Saturday, 27 February, the government announced that from 6am, Sunday, 28 February, the Auckland Region will be at Alert Level 3 and the remainder of New Zealand will be at Alert Level 2, for 7 days.

We know that you are familiar with the alert level guidance for tertiary education organisations and continue to implement appropriate measures for your staff and students. You can read the detailed Guidelines for Tertiary Education Organisations on how to operate under different Alert Levels, on the Ministry of Education website.

Welfare of students and staff

This will remain an unsettling time for some. As always, the number one priority remains the welfare of students and staff and ensuring that they remain safe and well. Providers are reminded of their international and domestic pastoral code obligations. The Ministry of Health website has a range of mental health and wellbeing resources to assist, they can be found on the Ministry of Health website.     

Alert Level 2/3 border crossings

At Alert Level 3 students and staff are strongly advised to stay where they are unless they have a compelling reason to move and are eligible to travel.

If students or staff wish to travel for personal reasons between Alert Level 3 and Alert Level 2 regions, they need to check whether they are eligible to travel on the Unite Against Covid-19 website

The full list of permitted reasons, and what evidence people need, is on the Unite Against Covid-19 website. If they don’t meet the permitted criteria they may apply for an exemption on the Ministry of Health website

Information about travel across the Auckland regional boundary for work reasons, including what is permitted and how to apply for an exemption if necessary, is available on the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment website.

Information for people who have visited Auckland

The Ministry of Health has advised that students, staff and others that have visited or left Auckland recently do the following:

  • Check the locations of interest page to find out if you might have been exposed to COVID-19 by being in the same place at the same time as a confirmed case. If you were potentially exposed, follow the guidance for the particular location of interest, which is on the same page.
  • Monitor yourself for symptoms of COVID-19, including some of the less usual symptoms like muscle aches and pains and fatigue. Details of symptoms to look out for are on the Ministry of Health website.
  • Keep a record of where you’ve been. Use the COVID Tracer App to scan QR codes and make sure you’ve got Bluetooth turned on in the app. This helps with contact tracing.
  • Everyone should follow the Alert Level guidance relevant for where they are staying.

Managed Isolation and Quarantine and Immigration New Zealand changes

Following a recent review of the costs of running Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ), changes are being made to the fees charged to temporary entry visa class holders, including any international students arriving in New Zealand.  Full details are available on the MIQ website.

On 23 February 2021, Immigration New Zealand announced they will bring more visa processing onshore and close offices in Mumbai, Manila and Pretoria by March 2021. Full details are available on the Immigration New Zealand website.

If you have questions about how these changes affect the tertiary sector, please get in contact with the Ministry of Education. 

COVID-19 testing and treatment

Everyone in New Zealand, including international students, can get free COVID-19 testing and treatment — you do not need to be a New Zealand citizen or resident. This access is irrespective of citizenship, visa status, nationality or level of medical insurance coverage.  

You may need to pay for a test if it’s for the purpose of entering another country.

You can find more information about this on the Ministry of Health's website.

Things change quickly so stay up to date by following the links below:

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

For cross-agency information about COVID-19, including what support is available, health advice, and travel restrictions visit the All-of-Government website

For additional advice for tertiary providers/whare wānanga visit the Ministry of Education website. 

Update: 1 March 2021: COVID-19 Update

Last Saturday the government announced that from 6am, Sunday, 28 February, the Auckland Region will be at Alert Level 3 and the remainder of New Zealand will be at Alert Level 2, for seven (7) days.

You will be familiar with the alert level guidance for tertiary education organisations, and we have confidence that you will continue to implement appropriate measures for your staff and students. However for quick reference on how to operate under different Alert Levels, see Detailed tertiary guidelines for alert levels. Note we have updated some guidance related to tertiary accommodation, set out in the section ‘Detailed guidelines for Tertiary Education Organisations’.

Welfare of students and staff

This will remain an unsettling time for some. As always, the number one priority remains the welfare of students and staff and ensuring that they remain safe and well during this time. Providers are reminded of their international and domestic pastoral code obligations. The Ministry of Health website contains a useful range of mental health and wellbeing resources your staff might need for themselves or to assist students, view on the website.          

Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT)

As you know, a new case of COVID-19 (Case M) has been identified as an MIT student. Our thoughts are with the MIT community and we thank them for all the leadership they are showing through this process. Ministry of Health has advised that under Alert Level 3 all MIT students should stay home and close contacts will be followed up by Public Health staff. You can check for updates on the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19: Contact tracing locations of interest, available on the Ministry of Health website.

Detailed guidelines for Tertiary Education Organisations

As a result of the recent change to alert levels, we have updated some guidance relating to students’ movements in and out of accommodation.

Tertiary accommodation advice for Alert Level Three

  • We strongly recommend that during an Alert Level 3 lockdown, where possible, students remain in their current accommodation.
    • Students already in accommodation (including hostels, halls of residence, and self-contained flats) can remain there. Student accommodation should remain open. Providers should support the safety and wellbeing of students and allow them to self-isolate, as required. Students are also able to travel home if necessary.
    • Students due to go into student accommodation in Alert Level 3 areas should remain in their current accommodation if possible.
    • Students residing in an Alert Level 3 area but due to begin study outside of this area should remain in their current accommodation if possible.
  • Students do have permission under the current COVID-19 Health Order to move into their new accommodation at Alert Level 3 if necessary, assuming they are relocating on a permanent or long-term basis, but we would advise against this unless either:
    • it is not feasible for them to continue to stay in their present accommodation; and/or
    • staying in their current accommodation would prevent them from participating in classes or other activities of the programme of study they are enrolled in (this will not usually be the case if their place of study is at Alert Level 3).
  • If relocating on a permanent or long-term basis and needing to travel across an Alert Level boundary to get there, students will require evidence to show at the boundary. This could include proof of enrolment, and/or proof of accommodation arrangements. But no special permission to travel is required. Detailed information is available on the Covid-19 website.
  • If, in any of the above scenarios, a student requires additional support to move (for example, to move personal items, or support to set-up in their new accommodation if this is their first time moving out of home), there is allowance for a single support person. If a student was going to be accompanied by more than one person, an exemption would need to be sought from the Ministry of Health.
  • Students with questions or concerns about their accommodation situation should contact their accommodation provider in the first instance.

Tertiary accommodation advice for Alert Level Two

  • Students are able to move into new accommodation. This includes hostels, halls of residence, and self-contained flats. Scenarios related to moving from an Alert Level 2 area into an Alert Level 3 area, and vice versa, are covered in the above section ‘Tertiary accommodation advice for Alert Level Three’.
  • Alert Level Two protocols should remain in place in new and existing accommodation.  This includes displaying QR codes and providing the ability to self-isolate if necessary.
  • Guidelines for accommodation providers are available in Detailed tertiary guidelines for alert levels (pdf) document. Also available to download as a word document Detailed tertiary guidelines for alert levels (Word, 48 Kb)

Update: 15 February 2021: COVID-19 Update - Alert Level change

Yesterday, the government announced that from 11:59pm, Sunday 14 February 2021 the Auckland Region will be at Alert Level 3 and the remainder of New Zealand will be at Alert Level 2, for 72 hours.  This is to ensure that we prevent the virus from spreading in our community.

You will be familiar with the alert level guidance for tertiary education organisations, however a quick reference on how to operate under different Alert Levels is available on the Ministry of Education’s website.

The number one priority remains the welfare of staff and students, and ensuring that they remain safe and well during this time. The Ministry of Health website contains a useful range of mental health and wellbeing resources your staff might need for themselves or to assist students.

The guiding principles for all alert levels for tertiary education organisations are found on the Ministry's website.  As per government advice the following is worth noting:

  • Travel in and out of Auckland is restricted to essential travel only. If you are an Aucklander you can travel to Auckland to return home.
  • While it is not mandatory to wear a face mask or face covering while on campus, wearing them is advised where it is not possible to practice social distancing or to carry out contact tracing. This includes, for example, in crowded spaces on TEO campuses, or teaching and learning situations where close physical contact cannot be avoided.

The guiding principles at Alert Level 3 for tertiary education organisations in the Auckland region are:

  • All teaching and other activities should be done remotely wherever possible.
  • Where it is not possible to deliver teaching online, some facilities may remain open (e.g. for research, post-graduate teaching, lab/workshops, or noho-based delivery).
  • Any class, workshops, etc., that open, must be limited to 20 people or less. Each group is considered a ‘bubble’ and should not interact with any other student/staff bubbles of 20.
  • Distance learning provision will be available for other students.
  • Social distancing and contact tracing requirements must be met in all situations.
  • Wearing face masks (or other face coverings) is mandatory on public transport and advised if out and about, for example visiting the supermarket.
  • Student accommodation should remain open and in a position to provide appropriate support to allow students to self-isolate, as required.
  • Large classes or gatherings (of more than 20 people) are not allowed.
  • Workplace-based learning is subject to the policies and practices being applied to that type of workplace.
  • Vulnerable people (or those caring for/living with vulnerable people) should not carry out any onsite work or learning.
  • Any educational facilities affected by COVID-19 will be closed for a specific period of time.

What this means for your staff

  • Stay home. All teaching, meetings, and other usual on-site activities should continue to be done remotely, wherever possible.
  • If teaching online is not possible, you can run limited classes for 20 people or less to resolve that issue. Strict physical distancing and ‘bubbles’ should be maintained at all times.
  • Staff can go on site to prepare for practical workshops/classes, following the physical distancing guidelines.
  • Physical distancing guidelines. 2m outside home, or 1m in controlled environments, for example onsite at TEO’s.
  • Essential only i.e. for delivery of teaching/learning, research or for effective management and governance functions that cannot be done remotely, and then only within your local region.

What this means for your students

  • Stay home. Where students can access their courses online, they will continue to do so. For those students where delivery online is not possible some facilities may open (e.g. for research, postgraduate teaching, lab/workshops, or noho-based delivery).
  • Hostels, halls of residence or self-contained flats will remain open and Ministry of Health guidelines on hygiene and social distancing will remain.
  • Students are encouraged to wear masks or face coverings when out and about.
  • Student services, such as counselling and health services should continue to operate, with consultations delivered online or over the phone, where possible. Other supports available are;
    • GP or local community health centre
    • Youthline 0800 376 633 www.youthline.co.nz
    • Need To Talk by calling or texting 1737
    • In an emergency always call 111
  • Answers to questions about Student Allowance and Living Cost payments can be found on StudyLink’s website.
  • Students can attend a class or lab or workshop with a group of other students (of up to 20 students and staff), but not then move on to multiple other classes with different groups.
  • Any class, workshop, laboratory etc., that opens, must be limited to 20 people or less. Each such group is considered a ‘bubble’ and should not interact with any other student/staff bubbles of 20.

Update: 15 January 2021: Border exception for some returning international tertiary students

COVID-19 Update - Border exception for some returning international tertiary students

On 14 January 2021, the Government approved an exception class for 1,000 bachelor’s degree level and above tertiary international students to return to New Zealand and continue their studies. These students need to hold or have held a valid visa to study in 2020 and have studied in New Zealand in 2019, or 2020 towards their current qualification and be returning to study with their current provider. 

This exception provides the sector a further opportunity to welcome back international students and delivers on a part of the Government’s long-term recovery plan for the international education sector.

The Government will continue to work with the sector to consider how suitable models can be developed to bring in more students over time as and when it is safe to do so. Capacity at MIQ will remain a significant consideration in any further exceptions and International Education also needs to be considered alongside a number of competing priority sectors.  Providers should take a conservative approach to planning for 2021 and prepare for a range of scenarios.

Eligibility criteria and process

To be eligible for this border exception students will need to

  • be studying at bachelor degree level or above
  • hold or have held a visa for 2020
  • have studied in New Zealand in 2019, or 2020 toward their current qualification and be returning to study with their current provider, and
  • provide evidence that they have access to $20,000 annually to meet living costs.

Priority will be given to students who are closest to graduation.

Students will need to undertake the border exception process with Immigration New Zealand.

Entry for these students will be phased and dependent on the availability of space in our managed isolation and quarantine facilities to ensure their arrival does not impact on the ability of New Zealander citizens and residents to return home.

All students entering New Zealand will comply with Government advice and regulation relating to COVID-19, which includes a 14-day managed isolation period in Government facilities, payment of the isolation charges and relevant mandatory COVID-19 testing. Students will need to book their space through the allocation system and are will be responsible for the standard charges for managed isolation. 

Students with questions about this border exception should contact their providers in the first instance.  The Ministry will work directly with Peak Body representatives to manage the process.

Read the Minister’s announcement.

View information from the Ministry of Education.

Archived bulletins (2020)