Kia ora koutou. With just over three weeks of lock-down behind us, we are aware that many of you are asking about what teaching plans are in place for the rest of semester one, given the current restrictions due to the Covid-19 outbreak. With the ongoing uncertainty around exactly when the Government will lower the Covid-19 Alert Level down to Level 3 or 2, and further uncertainty about what will be allowed (or advisable!) at these levels, we want to provide a clear direction for students and staff for the remainder of semester one.
The Carey leadership team has decided that all semester one courses (including both undergraduate and postgraduate block courses) will continue to be facilitated online through to the end of semester one 2020. Courses will be delivered through a mixture of CareyOnline, Zoom and other associated eLearning platforms (as they have been since 30 March 2020 when the lock-down restrictions came into place). This decision is based on the current information available to us from Government, the Ministry of Health, NZQA and the Ministry of Education. The decision also recognises that there is much more to consider that the Alert level alone – it is important to consider the stability of any future change to the alert level, and the practicalities involved in re-opening our campus.
The Government has made it clear that, if at Level 3 NZ were to see a return to increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases then they would quickly return us to Level 4. This carries a significant risk that Carey might re-open its campus only to have to close it again at short notice, with all the obvious difficulties and disruption this would create. In addition, at Level 3 some campus-based activities would in theory be able to resume, but there would still be stringent restrictions applied to physical distancing and sizes of groups, which would severely disrupt on-site learning and teaching activities.
We are also trying to balance access and equity issues during this time. Some staff and students will find it much more difficult than others – due to personal circumstances, home environments and other factors – to shift between on-site and off-site modes of work and study. We want to try and make sure we do not unfairly disadvantage some people over others.
For these reasons, we want to give our staff and students clarity and certainty by making the commitment now to continue online/distance learning for the rest of semester one 2020, regardless of the Government’s alert level. Stay safe, kia kaha.