Following yesterday’s announcement by the Prime Minister, and the Ministry of Education guidelines for tertiary institutions, UCOL has announced details of how students’ learning will progress during COVID-19 Alert Level 3.
To ensure student and staff safety, and minimal disruptions to their learning, the majority of students will continue to learn via distance during alert level 3. The exception will be for students who are due to finish their qualification this semester, but need to complete practical learning, or an on-site assessment/exam in order to qualify.
“UCOL graduates are in high demand in many industries, and as a priority, we want to ensure that we do everything we can for the students who are about to complete their qualifications. That way, they can get to work as soon as possible in high need industries,” says Dr Jerry Shearman, UCOL Executive Director of Education and Applied Research. “Our teaching teams are identifying programmes and students that are in this situation, and we will contact these students soon to make arrangements for them to come back to UCOL campuses potentially as early as next Tuesday, 28 April, where we can safely do so.
“This includes observing rules for physical distancing and recording systems to contact trace everyone on campus. Students will be put into groups of no more than 10 people, including staff, in any one group bubble. We will re-organise our facilities to ensure they can do their activities following distancing rules, with cleaning and security also in place. It’s these extra steps that will make sure learning can continue in a safe and appropriate environment. Our Facilities and Health & Safety Teams play a key part in getting the campus ready.”
The number of students taking part in on campus activities is likely to be very small, with the majority of them being students in the Trades and Applied Technologies Faculty, on UCOL’s Manawatū and Whanganui campuses. All staff and students not involved in these select programmes will remain off campus.
“Our priority is keeping our UCOL whanāu safe. By keeping our distance now, we’re ensuring that safety, and are doing our part to get our country back to Level 2. UCOL’s Incident Management Team continues to meet on a daily basis to plan ahead. UCOL’s essential systems are working well for non-teaching staff who are working safely from home, for example finance systems, making sure accounts and payments are processed and paid promptly, and staff are paid on time.”