COVID-19 UPDATE 26 AUGUST 2020
Kia ora SAE students
Earlier this week, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that our current Alert Level 3 is being extended for a few more days until midnight Sunday. As of Monday morning, Auckland will step down to Alert Level 2. This is great news for SAE, as it means we can commence our new Trimester under the lower Alert Level, and thereby allow more teaching to occur on campus.
The Ministry of Health has issued some updated advice for operating under Alert Level 2 – namely the use of masks, contract tracing via the NZ COVID-19 app and limiting mass gatherings to a maximum of 10 people. Accordingly, we have updated our Level 2 protocols and this new version is attached. Please take a moment to review this document before we commence Trimester 3 next Monday 31 August.
So, what does Alert Level 2 mean for SAE Auckland?
The attached protocols provide more detail, but in short, here are the key principles:
- Our SAE Auckland campus will be fully open, including our studios, labs and office
- Studios will be fully open, 8am-10pm, Monday to Sunday
- Equipment can be booked and taken off site as per normal
- All staff, students and visitors must register their entry to campus by scanning the NZ COVID-19 app. If you are unable to use that app, we also have manual contract tracing stations set up at the entranceway to each building.
- The 10-person limit for mass gatherings does not apply to a controlled environment such as schools or tertiary. We are able to have a full class on site.
- However, our biggest challenge is the need to maintain physical distancing of at least 1 metre. In order to do that, we will need to have around half of our classes working online at any given time so that there is enough room for those on campus to spread out.
- Our academic team are currently working through how to manage this online/on campus mix to ensure all students get adequate time with our studios/labs/equipment.
- Please keep a close eye on your Slack channel where regular posts will provide information about where your class is being held.
- Your Axis timetable is also being updated to indicate if you will be attending class online or on campus
- Outside all our classrooms, labs and studios is a poster indicating the maximum occupancy of that room. Please adhere to these numbers.
- Mask wearing is now mandatory on public transport and encouraged in all other public settings. We encourage you to wear a mask on campus, particularly when you are in close proximity to others such as within our studios.
- Please stay home if you are sick. If you are displaying any symptoms as outlined on the COVID-19 website, please seek medical advice.
- For those staff and students at high risk of illness with COVID-19, we advise that you stay home throughout Alert Level 2. Please note, a medical certificate may be required. Staff will be in contact with you to discuss how best to support your learning whilst studying from home.
- Ongoing hospital-grade cleaning is occurring across our campus nightly, with a particular focus on high risk areas such as doorknobs and handrails.
You’ll be pleased to know that there have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 amongst any SAE Auckland staff or students. We are hoping that by adhering to our strict Alert Level 2 protocols attached, we will continue to keep our campus and SAE community safe.
Finally, we know this is tough. This is not the way you imagined studying this year and I’m very aware that the second lockdown has been particularly challenging. It is quite normal to feel despondent and overwhelmed right now. Our Student Support team are available every day and can help you access free, confidential counselling at any time. Please reach out if you need some support. This also extends to your mental health and wellbeing, and I’d like to point you to a range of resources available on the Ministry of Health website that might be helpful. When you return to campus for Trimester 3, please, above all else, be kind and courteous to all those around you. I know, collectively, we can get through this.
Enjoy the rest of your trimester break. Stay safe and well within your bubble. And we look forward to seeing you on campus and online for Trimester 3 from next Monday onwards.
Ngā mihi nui,