Coronavirus update from Ara

News News & events

10 Feb 2020

10 February – Frequently Asked Questions

We have continued working hard to make sure Ara has the right plans in place to support colleagues and our students as required, particularly those who have been in China over the summer break. Our Coronavirus Management Group continues to meet every 48 hours.

The most important thing to remember is to be vigilant about personal hygiene, as this is the best way to protect yourself. A full set of FAQs, including many of the questions that colleagues and students have been asking, is available here:

Update  - 3/02/2020

Our Coronavirus Management Group (CMG) met this morning and reviewed our approach and actions, following activity over the weekend, including the Government announcement around travel restrictions.

There are currently no instances of coronavirus in New Zealand and the risk remains low. We will continue to review the situation and will continue to provide regular updates.

We continue to remind everyone to look after yourselves and ensure other colleagues and students are safe and well, and to be vigilant about personal hygiene. Anyone with concerns should contact our Ara Health Centre on 03 940 7566 or call Healthline on 0800 611 116.

Our International Student Advisor Team are making personal contact with learners who are impacted by the travel restrictions. Our Academic Departments are currently exploring a range of options for these students to continue to study with Ara and to minimise any impact for them.

Ara has suitable arrangements in place for a small number of colleagues who have travelled from China most recently.

Anyone who has visited mainland China (not Hong Kong) and returned in the last 14 days should make this known to Ara as soon as possible:


At the time of writing this update no cases of the coronavirus have been detected in New Zealand, and the New Zealand authorities still consider the risk from the virus as low. The Ministry of Health (MoH) is monitoring the situation closely.

Ara is following advice from the Ministry of Health (MoH), the Ministry of Education (MoE) and the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC). The health of our students and staff is a priority and we will continue to provide public updates on this page.

Establishing our Coronavirus Management Group (CMG)

A CMG has been convened at Ara and has a number of colleagues involved to coordinate our activity related to Coronavirus. This group is being led by Chief Executive Tony Gray. The CMG is monitoring the situation closely and meeting regularly.

What do students and colleagues need to know or do?

Ara has asked colleagues or students who have specifically visited China over the summer break to make this known to Ara as soon as possible.  This applies to anyone who has spent any time in China, and has returned to New Zealand within the last 14 days. Please note that this does not include anyone who transitioned through China on a connecting flight and remained at the transit airport.

What is Ara doing to reduce the risk of anything spreading?

We are providing alternative accommodation for two weeks for a small number of students who have been residing in China and are coming to live in Ara accommodation (Otautahi House) while they study with us. This is to reduce the potential risk from the close proximity for all students who will be living alongside each other and sharing communal lounges, kitchens and bathroom areas.

We are working alongside our homestay agency to ensure appropriate plans are in place for international students with these living arrangements.

Taking care of self and others

We are asking colleagues and students who are unsure about any signs and or symptoms to seek advice from their GP or medical professional in the first instance.

Anyone who makes contact with the Ara Health Centre should do this initially by phone, rather than make a physical visit. Any Ara colleague or student can call the Ara Health Centre on (03) 940 7566. Anyone can call Healthline on 0800 611 116 any time.

Regular updates are also being shared on the NZ Ministry of Health website and WHO website.