Some Health Science students who are unable to enter New Zealand because of the COVID-19 travel ban are facing a deadline of March 30 to arrive in New Zealand, or may need to defer their studies to 2021.
An email leaked to Critic revealed this deadline for “late starts”. In the email, Divisional Associate Dean (Academic) for Health Sciences, Professor Lois Surgenor, said all affected students had been contacted and “have all had their option choice cleared”, but did not specify how many students are expected to defer.
A University spokesperson said the Uni has been working behind the scenes for several weeks to ensure all effected students have had “viable study options”. These “include late start options, deferral of studies to 2021, but also to second semester 2020 where feasible.” The leaked email from Surgenor specified that only "a small number" were able to defer to second semester 2020.
The University of Otago have been public about their willingness to aid students in self-isolation, if the ban were to be lifted and they could get to campus. So far, the Government seems unfazed by the calls from universities and the national union of student associations (NZUSA) for an exemption for tertiary students to the travel ban.