COVID-19 update from Ara - 2 April

News News & events
Ministry of Education updates:
COVID-19 update 1 April 2020

Kia ora tātou,

We hope the week is finding you - and those you are with - safe and well in your bubbles. Please continue to keep connecting and looking after each other as you enjoy a slightly early mid-semester break.

We are progressing with our plans for how online and distance delivery will resume after the Easter period. This will vary across our different programmes and we will share the details in an update, and through your tutors, early next week. We know that there may be some programmes that are unable to deliver via distance and that some students may not have access to devices or have capacity to engage in this learning.

Please don’t be concerned about what distance delivery might look like or mean for you, as we are working hard to come up with options for as many learners as possible with plenty of support in place.

Here are a few useful reminders and updates for this week:

  • The Ministry of Education released a useful update with information for tertiary students on Monday. You can read it here.
  • Our team has been regularly sharing tips and useful information via our social media channels. Make sure you’re following us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to see these updates. We’re also using social media to inform you about activities you can connect with remotely, such as online sessions anyone can join beginning on Thursday at The Zone (our gym).
  • Our Health Centre team remains contactable via email, including a counsellor in Christchurch and one in Timaru. Our Doctor is also able to assist Health Centre patients with repeat prescriptions. Email susan.woods@ara.ac.nz if you would like to connect with the Health Centre team or if you require a repeat. Please send your full name, DOB and medication information in the email to Susan.
  • For any students who are completing distance learning through TANZ eCampus, this learning has continued. Your tutors would have been in touch directly about your programmes.

We will provide another update on our main website and on myAra early next week.

Ngā manaakitanga – take care of yourselves

Tony Gray
Chief Executive

COVID-19 update 26 March 2020

Kia ora tātou,

As you will be aware New Zealand has now moved to COVID Alert Level 4.

We hope each of you, your families and friends are safe and well. It’s really important to look after yourself and support each other as we adjust to the changes we are all facing.  While we all begin to get familiar with connecting in a different way, please remember to keep in touch with your tutors and others in your course as best you can.

As previously communicated, teaching in any format won't be happening until after Easter, but my colleagues will still be in touch with you to ensure everything is ok.

Our team is planning how online and remote delivery to you will work as it will be different for various courses, so look out for more information about this.  If you had assignments or assessments due now, your tutors will let you know about changes to dates and how we will be working with you on this.

Our tutors are very aware that technology and access availability is different for everyone. For example, some of you may be in homes with several users needing to use a single device. You’re likely to hear from someone at Ara who will talk to you about your specific technology and access to online/remote learning.

We advised previously that internship or placement activity is currently suspended. Where courses relate to an essential service (medical and broadcasting), there are some activities which will continue, but decisions on this will be ongoing.  If this applies to you, your tutor will be in touch with you directly.

It’s easy to keep in contact with Ara if you need support:

  • Our Contact Centre is fully operational Mon-Thur 8am – 5pm  Fri 9am - 4.30pm. If you have any general questions please email info@ara.ac.nz or call them on 0800 242 476
  • Our ICT Service Desk remains available from 8.30am – 4.30pm weekdays. The Service Desk can be contacted on (03) 940 8800.
  • Our Health Centre located in the Madras St campus is closed. Care for our registered/enrolled patients will be provided by Moorhouse Medical Centre. Please ring ahead if you need to see a doctor – call (03) 365 7900). Please advise the reception staff you are an Ara student.
  • The Health Centre team is available via email for general health queries and counselling support:

We will continue to provide regular updates on our main website and on myAra.

Ngā manaakitanga – take care of yourselves.

Tony Gray
Chief Executive

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24 March 2020

Kia ora Ara students, friends and supporters

We’re well into the process of getting Ara ready for the move to Alert Level 4 by 11.59pm tomorrow, Wednesday 25 March. This is in compliance with the Government instructions issued yesterday New Zealand-wide. All Ara sites are now closed for students.

The health, safety and wellbeing of all students and their family and friends remains a priority, and it’s really important for you to look after yourself and support each other as we adjust to all these changes.

I'd like to share with you today that:

  • We have moved the term break forward to begin today. This means there is no teaching happening in any format from today until after Easter.
  • Tutors are working on revising assessment and assignment due dates that fall within the changed break time and will be in touch with students around these,
  • Your tutors are currently working together to find the best ways to deliver your courses from Wednesday 15 April onwards. Information about how classes will resume at this time will be communicated when plans are finalised.
  • If you’re on or about to start an internship or placement, this will be suspended. For more specific details, please contact your individual tutors.
  • All StudyLink living costs and student allowance payments will continue while Ara is closed.
  • Our ICT Service Desk remains available for you from 8.30am – 4.30pm weekdays. The Service Desk can be contacted on (03) 940 8800 during these hours.
  • Our Ara Contact Centre is fully operational weekdays 8.30am – 5pm. If you have any general questions please email info@ara.ac.nz or call them on 0800 242 476.
  • O-House (student accommodation) will be closed by end of this week. Students are now being assisted with their travel arrangements and local accommodation options

The Incident Management Team continues to meet on a daily basis to coordinate our ongoing response to this rapidly-changing situation. We will continue to communicate via updates on our main website and on MyAra.

Ngā manaakitanga – take care of yourselves.

Tony Gray

Chief Executive

23 March 2020

Kia ora Ara students

Following the Government announcement today the Ara Incident Management Team has determined that the following will happen:

All face-to-face teaching will finish at the end of today, 23 March 2020, and all campus locations will be closed to students and the public from tomorrow, 24 March 2020.

·     The mid-term break will be brought forward and begin tomorrow (Tuesday 24 March 2020) and run until Easter – 14 April 2020 inclusive. We are intending to begin remote delivery of Ara courses, wherever possible, immediately after Easter. We will communicate more detail around this with you as this is confirmed.

We’re encouraging all of you to make sure that family and personal arrangements are in place over the next few days.

Personal health needs to remain a priority for all of you. Anyone who has health concerns should contact their GP or Healthline on 0800 358 5453.

We recognise that this is a challenging and constantly changing scenario, so please continue to look after yourselves and those around you. We will communicate updated messages and any changes to you via myAra and our website.

Ngā manaakitanga – take care of yourselves

Tony Gray

Chief Executive

COVID-19 update 21 March 2020

Kia ora students and Ara supporters

As you will be aware, earlier today the Government announced that New Zealand is at Alert Level 2 for COVID-19.

Education is operating at Level 2, which means Ara remains open and our courses are continuing to be delivered in the same way they have been. At this time, tutors will continue to be teaching classes and support for students remains available.

Employers are being asked to adopt flexible work practices where this is practicable.  Ara team members are being encouraged to adopt the recommendation from Government and work from home, where it is practical outside teaching activity and support for students. This is likely to reduce the number of staff on most Ara sites.

Please do not come to Ara classes or campus sites if you are unwell, and let your tutor know if you are not going to be in class. We will continue to communicate updated messages and any changes with you.

Ngā manaakitanga

Tony

18 March 2020

We have released a series of FAQs around COVID-19 – they are available here.

You will appreciate this is a regularly changing landscape; we will continue to share updates with Ara staff and students as often as possible. Please check myAra regularly for latest updates.

16 March 2020

We have confirmed a decision to postpone the upcoming Ara graduation ceremonies read more

9 March 2020

COVID-19 continues to be something on everyone’s minds and the situation worldwide is changing on a daily basis. We’ve updated our frequently asked questions.

Our latest update for colleagues reminded people to be vigilant about personal hygiene, as this is the best way to protect yourself. If you need to contact a health professional please do this by phone first – don’t just drop into a health centre. We’re also reminding colleagues and students who are unwell to stay at home.

Ara is focused on supporting colleagues and students and we’re looking ahead to make sure the right plans are in place. Let’s all make sure we are looking out for each other.

We will continue to provide updates regularly.

2 March 2020

Over the weekend it was announced that there is one confirmed case where an individual who has travelled to New Zealand has COVID-19. This person is in isolation and is reported to be recovering well.

We are aware that the level of concern which some people may be feeling may be increasing. The country remains ready and well prepared, and the situation is the same at Ara.

Our Coronavirus management group continues to meet every second day and will continue to provide updates related to COVID-19 as required. The most important thing to remember, and focus on, is personal hygiene and diligent hand washing.

We are currently reviewing protocols around travel so we can ensure business continuity and provide care for colleagues.

Ministry of Health continues to provide information for travellers which is updated regularly. All colleagues with travel plans should remain aware of, and follow, this advice.

If you have any questions about COVID-19 please get in touch with Healthline (0800 358 5453) or contact our Health Centre (03 940 7566).

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:

30/1/2020

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.