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Message for Ara Learners

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26 January 2022

On Monday 24 January 2022, New Zealand shifted into red setting on the COVID-19 Protection Framework. At the red setting only vaccinated people (learners, staff and visitors) can enter Ara sites.   

We will be taking an enforcement approach to application of the policy as this is now a mandate from central government.   

Please note that there are some exemptions to the vaccination regulations including: 

  • People accessing the Health Centre 
  • Whānau and tamariki accessing Early Learning Centres 
  • Secondary students accessing the campus for the purposes of: 
  • A secondary-tertiary programme held on Ara premises (dual-enrolments) 
  • A school learning programme part of which is held on Ara premises (STAR programme) 

We have developed these frequently asked questions (FAQs) in response to potential questions, and to guide you through the process to register your My Vaccine Pass to enter an Ara site.  

If you have any enquiries or questions, please contact the Ara Contact Centre phone 0800 24 24 76 or email info@ara.ac.nz. The hours are Monday – Thursday: 8:00am – 5:00pm and Friday 9.00 am to 4.30pm. If you are not vaccinated, please make contact with Ara as soon as possible so that we can identify potential solutions quickly.  

What is the Ara COVID 19 vaccination policy?  

On Monday 24 January 2022, New Zealand shifted into the red setting on the COVID-19 Protection Framework. At the red setting only vaccinated people (learners, staff and visitors) can enter Ara sites. Tertiary students with a My Vaccine Pass can attend classes, lectures, computer labs, workshops, tutorials and meetings in person and can access research spaces, student support and advisory services. 

Tertiary students who do not have My Vaccine Pass are not allowed on site and should call the Ara Contact centre on 0800 24 24 76 or info@ara.ac.nz  to discuss learning options. 

alternative learning options. 

How will this decision be implemented and enforced?  

Anyone entering an Ara site must show their My Vaccine Pass to gain entry. 

Ara has set in place a simple three step registration process to enable ongoing access to facilities for learners and staff. 

Step 1: Scan your My Vaccine Pass at specific scanning points. 

Step 2: The system will automatically update your Ara Security Pass to show you are vaccinated.    

Step 3: Swipe in as normal to access the places you need to go.    

If you are not on site over the next few weeks you will still be able to scan your pass once you arrive at Ara.  

If you are new to Ara you will need to bring your My Vaccine Pass when you apply for your Ara Security Pass and the process will be completed at that time.  

Where are the scanning points?  

Locations for scanning your My Vaccine Pass are as follows:   

Madras Campus – C Block Student Lounge, ground floor   

Monday – Friday 

8.00 am – 4:30 pm.   

Woolston Campus – Security Office  

Monday – Friday  

8.00 am - 5.00 pm   

Timaru Campus – TA Block Main Entry  

Monday – Friday  

8.00 am - 5.00 pm   

Ashburton Campus – Front Door Reception  

Monday – Friday  

8.00 am - 5.00pm    

Oamaru Campus – Reception   

Monday – Friday  

8.00 am - 5.00 pm    

Manawa Campus  

Details to come 

 

What proof will I need to show?  

You will need to show your My Vaccine Pass or a Ministry of Health approved vaccine exemption to gain access to Ara sites.  

Will medical exemptions be accepted?  

Yes, a Ministry of Health approved vaccine exemption will be accepted.  Any person with an exemption will have been issued with a My Vaccine Pass.

How can I get support to assist me with this change?  

You can contact the Ara contact Centre on 0800 24 24 76 or info@ara.ac.nz.  

You can also talk to your manager, tutor or programme leader to access additional support.  

If I have a negative COVID-19 test within 24 hours, can I come on campus?  

No. A negative test will not change your vaccination status. You will need to be fully vaccinated or have a Ministry of Health approved vaccine exemption.   

I have already commenced study at Ara but do not want to be vaccinated. Can I complete my studies?  

It is our intention to work with learners who are unable, or do not intend to be vaccinated, to establish a pathway forward. We will try to identify options that work for the individual and their whānau and ways that we can continue to maintain your access to education as far as is possible.  

We recommend that you talk to your tutor or student advisor about your decision and any options. Make sure that you take good advice before making any final decisions.   

I have not enrolled and want to study at Ara, but I am not vaccinated.  

You will need to be fully vaccinated to enrol for study at Ara. You can contact us with any questions – 0800 24 24 76 or info@ara.ac.nz.  

Will unvaccinated people be able to access health services?  

Yes.  

Exceptions to the vaccination rules include: 

  • People accessing the Health Centre   
  • Whānau and tamariki accessing Early Learning Centres   
  • Secondary students accessing the campus for the purposes of a secondary-tertiary programme held on Ara premises (dual-enrolments) or a school learning programme part of which is held on Ara premises (STAR programme)   

I am a caregiver with children enrolled at the Early Learning Centre. Can I drop children at the Early Learning Centre on campus if I am not vaccinated?  

Yes.  

Exceptions to the vaccination rules include: 

  • People accessing the Health Centre   
  • Whānau and tamariki accessing Early Learning Centres   
  • Secondary students accessing the campus for the purposes of a secondary-tertiary programme held on Ara premises (dual-enrolments) or a school learning programme part of which is held on Ara premises (STAR programme)   

Where can I find information on the vaccine?  

Getting vaccinated is a personal choice and it is important you make an informed choice. We encourage you to get advice from a trusted source like the Ministry of Health, the Government’s COVID-19 website or talk to your doctor.  

Who can I talk to in Ara to get more information on this?  

You can contact us with any questions on 0800 24 24 76 or info@ara.ac.nz.  

You can also talk to your manager, tutor or programme leader to access additional support.  

I am a secondary school student engaged in learning courses at Ara and I am not vaccinated. Can I still complete the course?  

There are specific instances where students will not be required to be vaccinated, as set out in the COVID-19 Public Health Orders. The policy states that it will not apply to secondary school students who are completing their studies at Ara sites.  This applies to: 

  • Secondary students participating in a secondary-tertiary programme held at tertiary education premises (“Dual Enrolments”). 
  • Secondary students participating in a school learning programme of which part is held on tertiary education premises (“STAR Enrolments”).  

We will be writing to you individually to let you know about requirements and site access. 

What if I do not have an Ara Security Pass?  

If you are new to study at Ara and don’t yet have an Ara Security Pass, then you will need to take your My Vaccine Pass with you when you apply for an Ara Security Pass.  

How do I get a My Vaccine Pass?  

You need to visit the following site to access information on obtaining a My Vaccine Pass https://covid19.govt.nz/covid-19-vaccines/covid-19-vaccination-certificates/my-vaccine-pass/#how-to-get-my-vaccine-pass

What happens if I do not register My Vaccine Pass?  

You can register your My Vaccine Pass at any time from 24 January 2022. This will be an ongoing process with no end date for the registration process.   

If you do not scan your My Vaccine Pass to get your Ara Security Pass updated you will only be able to enter a small number of public access sites, and you will be required to show your My Vaccine Pass every time you enter a site. This is not a long-term solution.  

When does registration of My Vaccine Pass start?  

You will be able to complete the registration process on site from 24 January 2022.  

What happens after My Vaccine Pass expires?  

Information about this has not yet been shared by central government. Once we know more, we will update our process.  

I am having issues with the registration process – where can I get more help?  

There is a team assisting with scanning at the locations below. They will be able to assist at all My Vaccine Pass scanning points. 

Madras Campus – C Block Student Lounge, ground floor   

Monday – Friday 

8.00 am – 4:30 pm.   

Woolston Campus – Security Office  

Monday – Friday  

8.00 am - 5.00 pm   

Timaru Campus – TA Block Main Entry  

Monday – Friday  

8.00 am - 5.00 pm   

Ashburton Campus – Front Door Reception  

Monday – Friday  

8.00 am - 5.00pm    

Oamaru Campus – Reception   

Monday – Friday  

8.00 am - 5.00 pm    

Manawa Campus  

Details to come 

 

Do I need to use my Ara Security Pass every time I come on site?  

Yes. You will need to use your Ara Security Pass each time you come onto an Ara site. Please do not enter using someone else’s Ara Security Pass. This will complicate any tracing we may need to carry out in case of an outbreak of COVID-19.  

Will I be able to go into the cafes without showing My Vaccine Pass?   

No. The Public Health Orders require you to show your My Vaccine Pass each time you enter a food or drink service. Ara has no discretion on this.   

When I scan My Vaccine Pass, are you collecting vaccination information about me?   

No. The scanning process will only be recording the expiry date from the My Vaccine Pass as an indicator we have seen it, and so that we can send you a reminder that your My Vaccine Pass is about to expire in the future. We will not be capturing any personal or detailed vaccination information as part of this scanning process.   

Do I need to have had a booster shot to be fully vaccinated?  

The Government has made booster shots mandatory for some staff. Ara will inform people individually of this requirement.   

I am a contractor/visitor to an Ara site – what do I need to do to access Ara?  

To visit an Ara site, you will need to show your My Vaccine Pass to the security team on site at Ara as you enter our main reception area. If you do not have a My Vaccine Pass you will not be able to enter Ara. Please discuss this with your Ara contact if you have any questions before coming on site.  

Can I use a rapid Antigen test instead of getting vaccinated? 

Rapid Antigen Testing is not an option under the red setting on the COVID-19 Protection Framework. 

Do I need to wear a mask on site at Ara? 

Yes. Government has made changes to the mask policy which will come into effect from the 4th February. Here are the details: 

  • A face covering will need to be an actual mask and attached to the head by loops around the ears or head. This means scarves, bandannas, or t-shirts should not be used.  

Please remember the following rules apply now: 

  • Learners must bring face masks with them when attending on-site activities. 
  • Wearing face masks is MANDATORY for learners when in areas that are open to the public, when attending formal teaching or learning activities, learner support services, accessing food and drink businesses and other close-proximity businesses, and attending events and gatherings. You can take your mask off to eat, drink and exercise. 

Do I have to maintain physical distancing on site? 

Yes. There is a 1-metre physical distancing and capacity limits 


24 January 2022

Kia ora learners, 

On Monday 24 January New Zealand shifted to the red setting under the COVID-19 traffic light system. As a result, only vaccinated people (learners, colleagues and visitors) can now enter Ara sites. We will be taking an enforcement approach to application of the policy as this is now a mandate by central government. As a result, you will need to show your My Vaccine Pass to enter any Ara site. There will be security on site checking passes. 

Please note that there are some exemptions to the vaccination regulations including: 

  • People accessing the Health Centre 
  • Whānau and tamariki accessing Early Learning Centres 
  • Secondary students accessing the campus for the purposes of: 
    • A secondary-tertiary programme held on Ara premises (dual-enrolments) 
    • A school learning programme part of which is held on Ara premises (STAR programme) 

Later this week we will be writing to inform you about how to register your Ara access pass to ensure on going access to campus facilities on a regular basis. 

Please do not send or upload any details to Ara right now as we will have a very specific process in place to manage registration. If you have already sent information through, this will not be stored, and you will need to resubmit it once the formal process is in place. 

Masks are Mandatory 

It is mandatory to wear a mask on site at Ara when you are indoors, and you must maintain 1m physical distance from others. We know mask wearing makes a difference in reducing the spread of the virus so please ensure you follow this rule. You may need to take a break outside more regularly to make it easier to manage mask restrictions.  

Unwell – stay home and take a test 

Please stay home if you have any COVID -19 symptoms. If vaccinated these might be quite minor. Make sure you get tested and stay at home until you receive your results. 

More information 

You can find out more about the red traffic light status and how it impacts tertiary institutes here: 

https://covid19.govt.nz/traffic-lights/life-at-red/education-at-red/tertiary-education-at-red/ 

If you have any concerns or issues about the vaccination policy, please call the Ara contact centre on: 

Phone: 0800 24 24 76 

Email: info@ara.ac.nz 

Hours: Monday – Thursday: 8:00am – 5:00pm 

                       Friday: 9:00am – 4:30pm 

You may be feeling uncertain about what is happening, and it is important to remember to be kind and supportive of each other during these challenging times.  We will be providing regular updates so keep an eye on your email. 

We look forward to welcoming you on site to Ara for a new year of study. 


23 January 2022

NZ Moves to Red COVID setting

This morning (Sunday 23 January) the Prime Minister announced that New Zealand will move to the red setting under the COVID-19 traffic light system at midnight tonight as a result of community spread of Omicron.  This means that Ara will be operating at Red from tomorrow (Monday 24 January) and while we will be operating as normal there will be a number of additional restrictions in place. This includes:

1. All learners, staff and visitors to all Ara sites must be fully vaccinated to come on site. If you are not fully vaccinated you will not be allowed on site. Please make sure you bring your My Vaccine Pass with you to Ara to ensure access. As per Government guidelines, this policy does not apply to:

  • Secondary school students, when they are participating in a secondary-tertiary programme, or a school learning programme hosted at Ara Institute of Canterbury Ltd sites.
  • Clients who are accessing health services at an Ara Institute of Canterbury site
  • Children enrolled at the Early Learning Centres at Ara Institute of Canterbury site
  • Parents or caregivers of children enrolled at Early Learning Centres unless they are a volunteer or worker at the premises
  • Children under the age of 12 years and 3 months
  • Any person who has a Government approved COVID-19 vaccination exemption

2. Any learners that are not fully vaccinated or covered by the exemptions above must not come on-site and should contact their department to discuss options.

3. Any colleagues that are not fully vaccinated must not come on-site and should contact their manager to discuss options.

The Ara COVID-19 working group has been developing plans to manage a shift to the Red setting, we will be in a position to confirm further details with you on Monday 24 January.

In the meantime, you are encouraged if eligible to get a vaccine booster. It is mandatory to wear a mask and maintain distancing requirements. You should also track your movements and if you have any COVID symptoms then get tested and isolate as per the Government guidelines.


 

14 January 2022

In late December Ara made the decision to implement a requirement that all learners, Ara staff and visitors, to all Ara Institute of Canterbury sites, must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or have a Ministry of Health approved vaccine exemption by 14 February 2022.

We want to make the compliance process as smooth and as easy as possible, and we are currently finalising the details of implementation. Once these are confirmed we will share them with you. This information will be provided in sufficient time for you to meet any compliance requirements before the policy comes into effect on the 14th February 2022.

We want to reinforce that this is not a no jab/no study policy.  It is our genuine intention to work with every unvaccinated learner to identify ways that they can continue to maintain access to education as far as is reasonably possible.

If you are unvaccinated and require support, we encourage you to contact us and provide your details. To do so, or if you have any other questions, you can contact us on 0800 24 24 76 or info@ara.ac.nz We appreciate your patience as we complete the process for implementing the vaccination policy. Any enquiries lodged with us will be responded to as soon as the process is finalised.


22 December 2021

Ara Institute of Canterbury has made the following decision regarding COVID-19 vaccination for anyone attending our campuses or undertaking face-to-face activities on our sites or campuses. This includes staff, students, contractors, visitors and members of the public. Specifically:

Ara will implement a requirement that all learners, Ara colleagues and visitors, to all Ara Institute of Canterbury sites, must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or have a Ministry of Health approved vaccine exemption by 14 February 2022. For those people receiving Pfizer vaccines, this will mean they must have had their first vaccination by 24 January 2022.

We have developed these frequently asked questions (FAQs) in response to potential questions. These will be updated as more questions and answers arise.

We are currently working through the practicalities of managing implementation and as soon as details are confirmed we will share that information through our Ara channels.

In the interim you can contact us from 10 January 2022 with any questions on 0800 24 24 76 or info@ara.ac.nz.

FAQs

What is the Ara COVID 19 vaccination policy?

Ara Institute of Canterbury has made the following decision regarding COVID-19 vaccination for anyone attending our campuses or undertaking face-to-face activities on our sites or campuses. This includes staff, students, contractors, visitors and members of the public. Specifically:

Ara will implement a requirement that all learners, Ara colleagues and visitors, to all Ara Institute of Canterbury sites, must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or have a Ministry of Health approved vaccine exemption by 14 February 2022. For those people receiving Pfizer vaccines, this will mean they must have had their first vaccination by 24 January 2022.

Why has this decision been made?

Ara made the decision following completion of a health, safety and risk assessment and a consultation process where most of those who provided feedback supported the decision.  The key reason behind this requirement is to ensure that Ara is providing a safe environment for everyone on campus. Vaccination is the best way to achieve this.

How will this decision be implemented and enforced?

We are still finalising the practicalities of managing implementation of this requirement and as soon as details are confirmed we will share that information with you so you can prepare for any requirements. 

Have we engaged with our Treaty partner?

Yes, we have engaged with local Ngāi Tahu hapū representatives.

What proof will I need to show?

You will need to show your My Vaccine Pass or a Ministry of Health approved vaccine exemption.

What date does this requirement come into operation?

Ara requires learners and colleagues to have their first vaccination by 24 January 2022 and be fully vaccinated by 14 February 2022.  

What does fully vaccinated mean?  

This means that you need to have had a full course of any of the COVID-19 vaccines that have been approved by a government health authority or approval authority. A full course of some of the approved vaccines is one dose only.

You can have a combination of different vaccines if that combination is an approved course in the country you received them. Each of the vaccines must be on the list of approved vaccines.

The booster is not a requirement for “full vaccination” at this stage, but the status of this may change and we will keep you updated with requirements.

Will medical exemptions be accepted?

Yes, a Ministry of Health approved vaccine exemption will be accepted.

How can I get support to assist me with this change?

You can contact us from 10 January 2022 with any questions on 0800 24 24 76 or info@ara.ac.nz.

You can also talk to your manager, tutor or programme leader to access additional support.

I do not want to be forced to be vaccinated. This decision impacts my freedom of choice.

We acknowledge that vaccination is a personal choice. However, anyone who is not fully vaccinated or does not have a Ministry of Health approved vaccine exemption will be unable to enter Ara campuses or facilities. This includes but is not limited to teaching and learning spaces (such as workshops, classes, labs, tutorials, meetings, exams and assessments), libraries, student services, student accommodation, gyms, offices and research and related activity settings.

If I have a negative COVID-19 test within 24 hours can I come on campus?

Not at this time. A negative test will not change your vaccination status. You will need to be fully vaccinated or have a Ministry of Health approved vaccine exemption. Ara will continue to be guided by Ministry of Health scientific information and Public Health Orders. Ara is considering the feasibility of using rapid antigen testing as a way of supporting unvaccinated colleagues and learners to continue their engagement. Further guidance on this will be available in the new year.

I have already commenced study at Ara but do not want to be vaccinated. Can I complete my studies?

It is our genuine intention to work with learners who are unable or do not intend to be vaccinated, to establish a pathway forward. We will try to identify options that work for the individual and their whānau and ways that we can continue to maintain their access to education as far as is possible.

We recommend that you talk to your tutor or student advisor about your decision and any options. Make sure that you take good advice before making any final decisions. 

I have not enrolled and want to study at Ara, but I am not vaccinated.

You will need to be fully vaccinated to enrol for study at Ara. You can contact us from 10 January 2022 with any questions – 0800 24 24 76 or info@ara.ac.nz.

Will unvaccinated people be able to access health services?

Ara recognises that some people accessing services and/or education at Ara sites are legislatively exempt from vaccination requirements and cannot be excluded on the basis of their vaccination status. They include:  

  • Secondary school students engaging in their programmes at Ara;
  • Clients accessing medical services (Health Centre, Osteopathic Clinic);
  • Clients accessing early learning centre services;
  • Children under the age of 12 years and 3 months; and
  • Those people who are medically exempted by the Ministry of Health.

I am a caregiver with children enrolled at the Early Learning Centre. Can I drop children at the Early Learning Centre on campus?

Ara recognises that some people accessing services and/or education at Ara sites are legislatively exempt from vaccination requirements and cannot be excluded on the basis of their vaccination status. They include:  

  • Secondary school students engaging in their programmes at Ara;
  • Clients accessing medical services (Health Centre, Osteopathic Clinic);
  • Clients accessing early learning centre services;
  • Children under the age of 12 years and 3 months; and
  • Those people who are medically exempted by the Ministry of Health.

If I withdraw from Ara and then change my mind and get vaccinated, can I re-engage?

Yes. If enrolment for your chosen course or programme of study is still available.  We recommend that you talk to your tutor or student advisor about any changes to your circumstances.

Where can I find information on the vaccine?

Getting vaccinated is a personal choice and it is important you make an informed choice. We encourage you to get advice from a trusted source like the Ministry of Health, the Government’s COVID-19 website (https://covid19.govt.nz/covid-19-vaccines/) or talk to your doctor.

Who can I talk to in Ara to get more information on this?

You can contact us from 10 January 2022 with any questions on 0800 24 24 76 or info@ara.ac.nz.

You can also talk to your manager, tutor or programme leader to access additional support.

I am a secondary school student engaged in learning courses at Ara and I am not vaccinated. Can I still complete the course?

There are specific instances where students will not be required to be vaccinated, as set out in the COVID-19 Public Health Orders.  The policy states that it will not apply to secondary school students who are completing their studies at Ara sites.  This applies to:

  • Secondary students participating in a secondary-tertiary programme held at tertiary education premises (“Dual Enrolments”).
  • Secondary students participating in a school learning programme of which part is held on tertiary education premises (“STAR Enrolments”).

Are other tertiary institutes enforcing vaccination?

All institutes are considering mandatory vaccination, and many have already implemented this requirement.


Kia ora Ara students

COVID-19 vaccination requirements to study at Ara

As at 3 December 2021

The following information is subject to change and will be regularly updated.

As you make your study decisions, it’s important you read this information on COVID-19 vaccinations and what it might mean to you.

To study some programmes at Ara, you now need to be vaccinated against COVID-19. As this is also being considered for all programmes in all New Zealand polytechnics (including at Ara) you need to be prepared for changes:

Vaccination requirements at Ara at this time – for both new and returning students

Programmes where you now MUST be vaccinated against COVID-19 to study at Ara and/or complete your placements in a setting covered by the ‘Vaccinations Order’:

Students in these scenarios must have their second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine before the close of 1 January 2022. This is required as part of the Government ‘Vaccinations Order’ (COVID-19 Public Health Response (Vaccinations) Order 2021):

  • Early Childcare Education
  • Health and Wellbeing
  • Medical Imaging
  • Midwifery
  • Nursing
  • Osteopathy (Musculosketal Health)
  • Social Work

Programmes where you may need to be vaccinated to study at Ara:

Students on these programmes have close contact with others as part of their course-work. Under the New Zealand COVID-19 Protection Framework (the ‘traffic lights’), vaccination is required for those who provide services that require close contact. This could affect your study in:

  • Beauty Therapy
  • Hairdressing and Barbering
  • Hospitality, Cookery and Bakery
  • Massage Therapy
  • Sport, Nutrition and Health Promotion

Ara is currently reviewing these programmes to determine if students enrolled in them will need to be vaccinated. Please continue to check this page for updates.

Vaccination may also be required for students who have work-based learning such as placements, apprenticeships, internships, etc as part of their study. For example, if the business you are based at requires their employees to be vaccinated, then you will need to be vaccinated too. 

Visiting parts of our Ara campuses:

There are parts of our Ara campuses where you will need to be vaccinated to visit as part of complying with Government requirements. These places currently include, (but there may be more soon):

  • Ara gym facilities
  • Ara cafes

Making your study decision:

Please email the Ara Contact Centre team on info@ara.ac.nz in the first instance if you have questions about how your vaccination status will affect your study decision – now and in the future. Even if you don’t need to be vaccinated yet, this might change either before you start, or partway through your course.

Making your vaccination decision:

Ara strongly encourages all staff and students to get vaccinated against COVID-19 as part of helping to protect the health and safety of ourselves, whānau, friends and our communities.

Getting vaccinated is a personal choice and it is important you make an informed choice. We encourage you to get advice from a trusted source like the Ministry of Health, the Government’s Covid-19 website or talk to your doctor.

You do not have to share your vaccination status with us. However, if we ask you and you don’t provide that information, we’ll assume you’re not vaccinated. This could impact on your study if vaccination is required. 

Getting ready to study at Ara in 2022:

We know it isn’t easy to keep up with vaccination rules and regulations while things are changing. We are here to help you work through what you need to know so you can make a study decision that’s right for you.

If you’re partway through a programme where you now need to be vaccinated, you will have been (or soon will be) contacted to discuss what you need to do before returning in 2022.

For further information, please email info@ara.ac.nz in the first instance. Or you can phone us on 0800 24 24 76 – thank you for your patience if there is a delay in answering your call. Returning students can also make contact with their tutors.

Important: If you choose not to get vaccinated against COVID-19 we cannot guarantee you will be able to complete your programme of study.