Information for learners
Updated 1 October 2021
Our Dunedin and Cromwell campuses have started on-campus learning again. All the campus buildings are now open but please scan in and follow any signage.
Our Auckland International Campus remains closed currently.
We know these alert levels may feel tougher than last time around. Your health and wellbeing remains our top priority and support is available so please reach out if you need to. Find all the contacts you need in the Student Support section below.
Alert Level 2 - updates
Students are now allowed to travel from the Auckland region to the rest of the country to continue their studies.
Following these changes, the Ministry of Education issued updated guidance to students on cross-boundary travel from an Alert Level 3 area to an Alert Level 2 area:
- Students in an Alert Level 3 area are permitted to return to their principal home or place of residence in an Alert Level 2 area, or relocate their home or place of residence on a permanent or long-term basis as a result of attending tertiary education in an Alert Level 2 area. Students must not change their accommodation if they have been directed by a medical officer of health to isolate.
- Students in an Alert Level 3 area intending to move into tertiary student accommodation in an Alert Level 2 area should contact their provider before they leave their current accommodation to facilitate this movement.
- When travelling across an Alert Level boundary, students must carry evidence of a negative COVID-19 test result, or a medical certificate confirming they do not have COVID-19 symptoms and, for a particular physical or other need, are unable to have a COVID-19 test. You must get tested or be examined within the 72 hours prior to crossing the Alert Level boundary. (Students should also provide this evidence to student accommodation providers before moving in.) Students must also carry evidence of their purpose of travel and destination e.g. proof of accommodation arrangements when travelling.
- Once in an Alert Level 2 area, students who have relocated from Alert Level 3 are able to follow Alert Level 2 rules, including attending their tertiary provider and participating in social gatherings, consistent with public health requirements. Students should, however, be alert to symptoms and get tested if any symptoms develop.
We know this may cause some stress and concern for you all. Please continue to reach out to our Student Support teams.
Alert Level 2 - Returning to campus
At Alert Level 2, we have increased mask wearing requirements both on campus and in other public spaces in our community. Please be kind and respectful of personal preferences when it comes to wearing face coverings on campus. This will feel a bit different to what we're used to, and it's important we look after each other.
When and where you will need to wear a mask on campus
- You will need to wear a mask when in indoor public areas such as the Hub or the Customer Service desks (at Dunedin and Cromwell campuses).
- You will need to wear a mask in some settings due to additional industry health and Level 2 requirements - e.g. health areas, Tapuae gym, hairdressing/beauty etc. If you are using these areas, you will be provided with the relevant information.
- You will not need to wear a mask:
- during classes/workshops (although they are recommended in this setting)
- when working alone or meeting in small groups where distancing and contact tracing is possible.
- You are welcome to wear a mask in all settings if you feel more comfortable doing so.
Remember - face coverings are required when you're in an area where there are lots of people and you will be unlikely to be able to note all of the people you came in to contact with, or in general when you are around people who you don't know. In classes there will be class registers taken, making contact tracing much easier.
Provision of face coverings on campus
- You'll need to bring your own masks/face coverings from home. You may like to bring 2 or 3 with you on your first trip to campus so that you have spare(s).
- If a mask is required, there will be supplies available through Campus Services and at some locations around campus (e.g. Customer Services). We have a limited supply that needs to be well managed, so please use these as a last resort (e.g. if you need a change of mask during the day, or if you have forgotten or lost your mask).
- Face coverings should be changed each day, and either disposed of or washed daily.
- We have ordered OP branded face masks which will be available for sale at Customer Services later in the month - look out for an announcement soon.
For information about how to make a mask, check out the guides on the COVID-19 website.
- You must scan the Covid-19 QR code at entrances to OP buildings or record your details on the manual sign-in sheets. This is a mandatory requirement from the Government.
- You need to connect to an OP wireless network on arrival if you have a mobile device. This will be used to aid tracing inside our buildings.
- Please continue to practice physical distancing - stay at least 1 metre away from others (2 metres in public areas).
- Regularly wash and dry your hands thoroughly.
- Don't touch your face.
- Cough and sneeze into your elbow.
- Regularly disinfect surfaces.
- Stay home if you are sick.
- Get tested for Covid-19 if you have cold or flu-like symptoms - call your GP or Healthline and stay away from campus.
- OP campuses will continue to be cleaned thoroughly daily, by our usual cleaning company.
- Wipes and other cleaning products will be made available for those working on campus to undertake cleaning of work surfaces / machine controls they have used throughout the day.
- It is recommended that surfaces that are used by individuals are wiped when they arrive on campus, during the working day and just before they leave.
- Hand sanitiser will be made available.
- While keeping to your bubble is no longer required, we encourage you to do what you can to limit interactions with others.
- It is recommended, where practical, that you interact with your own school/college groups with physical distancing of one metre between people.
- Social gatherings and staying on campus for longer than is required is discouraged.
Yes. Campus facilities such as the Tapuae Gym, the Robertson Library and on-campus cafes will be open but will have additional Covid-19 requirements. Please follow all the guidelines that these facilities have in place.
On campus food outlets will be restricted so please be prepared and bring your lunch and water bottles where possible please.
Gatherings (including events and ad-hoc gatherings) of more than 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors are not allowed. This doesn't apply to classes/workshops however.
We're a diverse group of tauira (learners) and kaimahi (staff) at OP, and there will be some people who are at a higher risk of severe illness if we were to contract COVID-19.
The government has issued a lot of detailed information and advice about what might make someone high risk, and about what those who are high risk should consider doing at work and home at the various Alert Levels.
- You can access the general link with advice for people at higher risk of severe illness of COVID-19.
- Guidance for Alert Level 3 is on this link.
- Guidance for Alert Level 2 is on this link.
We want to support you all to be able to continue to learn safely, whether that's at home or on campus.
- If you have concerns about returning to campus due to being at higher risk of severe illness, please speak with your kaiako (lecturer). They can chat with you about how we can support you to safely return to campus or continue to learn from home.
- You do not need to provide any personal information about your medical condition(s) or any other private information. However, you will need to provide information about what measures or support you need.
- Learning and teaching can be carried out on campus again from Monday 13 September (unless you have been contacted by your lecturer confirming other arrangements).
- You will receive information from your lecturer by Friday 10 September outlining how your course will be delivered. If you do not have this information by Friday, please contact your lecturer directly or contact our Student Support team.
- All staff and learners must be in a position to move to fully remote / online delivery on 24 hours notice.
- Please also remember to keep checking your OP emails daily in case your lecturer or the Critical Incident Management Team need to update you.
The Robertson Library will be open again from Friday 10 September. Please see the ‘Library Hours’ section on the University Library website for all current opening hours.
Library services at Covid-19 Alert Level 2
- OP students and staff must be connected to the OP Wi-Fi or use the Covid-19 QR code when entering the library. If you do not have a device that can connect to the OP Wi-Fi, or you cannot access the NZ Covid-19 Tracer app, you must use the manual sign-in sheet available inside the entrance/reception.
- Face coverings are strongly encouraged but not mandatory.
- During Alert level 2, physical access to the Dunedin libraries is not available to Alumni and other non-University registered library users.
- All OP staff and students can request physical library items from the University of Otago Libraries and collect them at the Robertson Library, using the Library catalogue. Supply of items may take up to 5 working days. Instructions for this are on the Robertson Library homepage under 'Place a request on items'.
- The Library service for distance students and staff is also available and instructions for this are on the Robertson Library homepage under 'Distance learners'.
- Face-to-face service support will be limited.
- Full inter-loan services will resume on Monday 13 September.
- Please return your library books. All fines and fees have been suspended until Alert Level 1.
This email account will be monitored Monday–Friday, 8:30–5pm.
Don’t have broadband at home because cost is a barrier?
Skinny Jump might be your answer.
What’s Skinny Jump?
Skinny Jump is a new, low-cost prepaid broadband package available from Skinny Mobile. At Skinny, they believe that every New Zealander deserves to have the opportunities to learn and thrive in the modern digital world – a belief shared by Otago Polytechnic. So, we’ve partnered with Skinny so you can have the chance to access this package.
Read more - https://www.skinny.co.nz/jump/home/
What’s the deal?
- $5 for 30GB data
- First 30GB free
- Free modem delivered directly to you
- Top up as you go – can renew the plan five times a month (maximum 150GB every month at a cost of $25)
- No credit checks
X Activity like online gaming and streaming vidoes can burn through data and Skinny Jump wasn’t created for lots of these kinds of activities (if you feel that you’d use more than 150GB a month, Skinny Jump might not be right for you).
Is it for me?
Skinny Jump is for those who don’t have a broadband connection at home because cost is a barrier. Skinny specifically support those most at risk of digital exclusion (as identified in the Government’s digital inclusion blueprint).
If one or more of the following sounds like you, then you are probably eligible:
- Families with children
- Job seekers
- People with disabilities
- Refugees and migrant communities
- Those in social housing
- People suffering financial hardship
Is it available everywhere?
You’ll need to live in an area that is covered by the Skinny network. Check whether Skinny Jump is available at your home address here >
How do I get this package?
As well as the above criteria, there may be other circumstances that make you eligible.
The best way to find out whether you meet the joining criteria and can get Skinny Jump is to talk to our Otago Polytechnic Student Success team. They work as a Skinny Jump Assessment Centre and will work with you on whether you are eligible and help you to sign up for the deal.
- Dunedin and distance students: Student Success (Dunedin) 0800 762 786 | firstname.lastname@example.org
- Central Otago students: Student Success (Central Otago) 0800 765 9276 | COTAdvisors@op.ac.nz
- Our Te Punaka Ōwheo team are also able to assess Skinny Jump applications: 0800 762 786 | email@example.com
Please contact your lecturer first if you are having problems with online learning.
For further technical support, our IT Service Desk is available and will be happy to help you.
Dunedin, Central and distance students
Phone 0800 765 948
Auckland Campus students
Phone 0800 111 212
One of our second year nursing students, Nika Wood, has developed this handy A-Z list of support contacts including things like the Plunket Helpline and Foodbank details.
And if you need support or want to talk to one of our teams at OP, please reach out to:
(Freephone from NZ) 0800 762 786
(Intl.) +64 3 477 3014
(Freephone from NZ) 0800 765 9276
(Intl.) +64 3 445 9900
(Freephone from NZ) 0800 111 212
(Intl.) +64 9 309 0301
Te Punaka Ōwheo
(Freephone from NZ) 0800 762 786
(Freephone from NZ) 0800 762 786
(NZ direct.) 03 479 6082
After hours support
Phone +64 21 735 421
Phone 0800 376 633
Need to talk
Freetext 1737 anytime
Mental Health support
The Mental Health Foundation have launched a nationwide mental health and wellbeing campaign called Getting through together Whāia E Tātou Te Pae Tawhiti specifically aimed at providing support and resources to New Zealanders while we deal with self-isolation struggles and uncertainty about the future.
They have three core messages:
- Distance, not distant.
- Isolation, not isolated.
- Aroha from afar.
Support and resources are available on their website and cover everything from daily wellbeing to workplace wellbeing, identity and culture, parenting and whānau.
Online self-help tools
There are also three new online self-help tools:
- Melon - a programme that empowers you to take control of your health and provides self-care support through resources, modules, coaching and an online community
- Mentemia - an app that coaches mental wellbeing which is free to all New Zealanders (co-funded by John Kirwan)
- Staying on Track - a free course that introduces easy-to-use, practical strategies to cope with the stress and disruption of day-to-day life as a result of COVID 19
These provide different levels of support and practical strategies to cope with the stress and disruption of day-to-day life.
The Government have also launched a new tool for parents called Sparklers at Home to support children's wellbeing. This website offers fun wellbeing activities and ideas to support whānau to look after their wellbeing and feel good. Everything from how to talk to kids about COVID 19 to ideas about juggling work and learning.
If you're struggling a little with money during this time, don't panic. Help is available through our Student Hardship Fund!
- If you need support financially or help with accessing technology (or the internet), please fill in this form.
- You can fill this application form in from your mobile phone or from your desktop computer.
- Please ensure you complete the form and then click SUBMIT - otherwise we won't receive it.
- Keep an eye on your student email account - we'll send the outcome of your application to that.
Important! You are allowed to apply for this fund more than once.
If you're an international student and are struggling with money or technology, please contact our Student Support team.
We all need food and essential items such as medicine through Covid-19 lockdowns, so please don't try to go without. This fact sheet has information about the many ways of getting food and other essential items to you.
This fact sheet has information for all New Zealanders about:
- Food delivery
- If you can't get food delivered
- Staying safe when getting food delivered
- Financial help to buy food
Polykids will be open on a very limited basis for children of essential workers from Tuesday 7 September.
Forth Street (opposite Otago Polytechnic Campus)
Dunedin +64 3 479 6169
You will continue to get your regular Student Allowance and Student Loan living costs payments if you’re still enrolled and studying.
Answers to questions about Student Allowance and living cost payments can be found on StudyLink’s website.
StudyLink can also help over the phone and through MyStudyLink in most cases.
If you need extra help during this time you can find information about emergency assistance here.
Hours: Monday - Friday, 7.00am-6.00pm
And of course, you can always talk to us about your programme, and any questions or concerns you have about StudyLink.
Phone: 0800 762 786
If you've lost a part-time job due to Covid-19, our Career Services team are here to help you. They're available to discuss job seeking options or how to improve your CV and cover letters in a competitive job market.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like support.
Below is a list of all Covid-19 vaccination options close to the Dunedin Campus.
There is a lot of media coverage right now about the rates of vaccination in NZ against COVID-19.
Since the start of the latest outbreak, there has been an increase in the number of vaccination sites around the country, and now all people (including children aged 12 and over) are able to access the vaccine if they wish to.
We wanted to let you know what our guidelines are around getting the Covid-19 vaccine and coming on to campus.
This will apply to you and all OP staff.
- The choice to get vaccinated is yours alone, based on your own beliefs and advice from people like your GP. It’s important to access information about the COVID-19 vaccine from trusted sources like the Ministry of Health and the Government’s Covid-19 website.
- We understand that some people are unable to get the vaccine, due to an underlying health condition.
- We will not be asking you to declare your vaccination status. Should you wish to volunteer this information to your classmates or teachers – that’s your choice. If someone at OP asks you for this information, you do not have to provide it.
- We will not be limiting access to campus based on vaccination status. If you are not vaccinated, you will still be able to come to campus. Again, we will not be asking for this information from you.
If you are feeling anxious about coming to campus based on your vaccination status, or that of others on campus, please reach out for support. See contact details below in the Student Support section.
It's really important to understand the most up-to-date list of Covid symptoms so that you know when to seek advice.
Common symptoms include:
> a new or worsening cough
> a fever of at least 38c
> shortness of breath
> sore throat
> sneezing and runny nose
> temporary loss of smell or taste.
Less common symptoms include:
> muscle pain
> nausea and vomiting
> confusion and irritability.
If you feel unwell or are flatting with someone who is unwell…
1. Stay home until you are/they are well.
2. Monitor symptoms and seek further advice from health professionals if you are unsure.
> Student Health: 0800 762 786 / email@example.com
> Healthline: 0800 358 5454
3. Continue stringent hygiene practices - regularly wash and thoroughly dry your hands; sneeze and cough into your elbow; clean or disinfect shared surfaces regularly and wear a face covering on public transport.
Student Health Centre
Harbour Terrace, M Block, Dunedin campus
Monday to Friday, 8.30am-5.00pm
Freephone 0800 762 786 (and ask for Student Health) or call direct +64 3 479 6082
The Student Health Centre is located on our Dunedin Campus. For students who have paid the Student Health Levy as part of their fees, the cost for a consultation is $15, or is free if you have a current Community Services card.
If you have not been charged the Student Health Levy (for example distance students), the service is still available but at a higher rate - please enquire for further details.
Student Health appointments
We are available for medical appointments Monday-Friday, 9.00am-4.30pm. However you will need to book in for a phone consultation first before being seen.
This means our doors will remain locked and all appointments will be triaged over the phone. Please be aware there may be a delay in answering your call but please be patient and we will answer as soon as we can.
Central Otago Campus
You may be entitled to a subsidy at these medical centres (please check at the time you make the appointment). Please make sure you call ahead to these medical centres as well.
Cromwell Family Practice
Aspiring Medical Centre
Cromwell Medical Centre
Wanaka Medical Centre
Auckland International Campus
Please contact our Student Success team for advice regarding recommended medical centres in Auckland.
Phone +64 21 0282 8711
Student Success is available online for Learning and Pastoral Support
Online hours: 8.30am - 5.00pm, Monday - Friday
Phone 0800 762 786 (freephone within NZ)
Phone +64 3 477 3014 (from overseas)
Phone 0800 765 9276 (freephone within NZ)
Phone +64 3 445 9900 (from overseas)
Phone 0800 111 212 (freephone within NZ)
Phone + 64 21 02828711 (from overseas or within NZ)
Te Punaka Ōwheo support staff are available for our tauira. Get in touch - we're here to help.
Phone 0800 762 786 (freephone within NZ)
After-hours pastoral care: 021 735 421