Covid-19 update – Tuesday 31 August

Kia ora koutou, 

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has confirmed that all of Aotearoa New Zealand, except Auckland and Northland, will move to Alert Level 3 from 11.59pm tonight.

The Incident Management Team and the Vice-Chancellor have decided how teaching and learning, and the university’s other operations, will proceed under the lower alert level, based on the latest guidelines provided by the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC). The Alert Level 3 guidelines have been updated from those introduced last year, acknowledging the more infectious nature of the Delta variant.

Access to campus

Under Alert Level 3 all teaching, assessments, meetings and other usual on-site activities will continue to be carried out online wherever possible.

However, a process has been developed in line with the new TEC guidelines to ensure some safe access to the University of Canterbury campus on a very limited basis.

Academic staff can apply to carry out teaching and research activity on campus or as field work under Alert Level 3.  This will be limited to postgraduate research students, final year honours students and in specialised programmes, final year undergraduate students.  

  • This will only be available for teaching and research that cannot be carried out online and will be limited to groups with a maximum size of 10 people including staff.
  • Access to campus under Alert Level 3 will be strictly managed and we encourage staff to read and thoroughly familiarise themselves with the process to prevent any inconvenience.

For more detailed information about the application process, click here.

Please note that processing and review will be required for each application. Staff will be notified of the outcome as soon as possible, but this may take several days.  Please email with any questions or concerns.

Accessing campus for equipment

During Alert Level 3, staff can arrange to collect their personal chair from their office.

To collect your chair, please report to security and the security team will guide you to the building for access. Please remember to bring your chair back upon your return to campus.

If for any reason you’re unable to access campus for pickup, please email UC Protect to request a delivery.

Bubble management on campus

If a class, workshop or lab that cannot be delivered online is granted permission to be held on campus, the number of people involved must be limited to 10 people or less.

Each of these groups is considered a separate “bubble” and must not interact with any other student or staff bubble.

Each bubble of 10 or less will be strictly managed to ensure appropriate infection control measures, such as physical distancing of 1 metre and mask wearing, are being met.

  • Classes will be limited to two hours and with shared equipment sanitised between use.
  • Everyone must sign in and out at Security each day and they must scan the building QR Code and swipe their identification cards to access spaces. This is required in order to enable contact tracing of individuals in the event of possible exposure to the virus.
  • Students and staff may travel within their region to attend class or work.

Study spaces

There will be limited study spaces on campus for students who cannot do so from home and strict protocols will need to be followed. If students require this service or need more information, they can email

Face coverings

Staff and students should bring face coverings with them, and wear them at all times while on campus. Face coverings should be worn when accessing services like UC Security, UC Health and in situations where physical distancing may be difficult.

Support for staff and students

Thank you to all the staff who filled out the Pulse survey to let us know how you are feeling. We are currently analysing the results. In the meantime, we would like to remind staff whose wellbeing might not be so good to reach out for help through your line manager or through the services that are available such as:

  • Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) – 0800 327 669,
  • Chaplaincy services – Reverend Dr John Fox, 027 357 1628,
  • Ministry of Health Need to talk? – Free phone or text 1737
  • Lifeline – 0800 543 354 or text HELP to 4357 for free, 24/7, confidential support

This can be a tough time for us all, so make sure you take opportunities to get fresh air and connect with your bubble and colleagues.

Keeping active is an important part of mental health and wellbeing. Just a reminder that all staff can now access the UC Rec&Sport App for free until at least 30 September 2021.

Don’t forget to book your appointment to get your vaccine if you haven’t already. You don’t need to use sick leave to attend a vaccination appointment or to take a family member to be vaccinated.

More information

The UC Covid information page is regularly updated and has a wealth of information. If you have any questions about UC’s Covid response, please email or speak to your line manager.

Today’s email to all students is here

For the latest information visit the Government Covid-19 website.

We will be in touch again soon. Dealing with uncertainty is difficult and it’s okay to not be at your best at the moment. What is important is that you look after yourself and those around you.

Kia aroha ki te tangata
(we extend care and empower others),

Leanne Keenan
Incident Controller