All updates in this article are accurate as of Thursday 9 September.
Since Level 2 (Delta Edition) was announced, students have been wondering how the University would function under the new guidelines. There were a few chains of communication that operated slowly, with the Ministry of Education not providing guidelines for universities until Wednesday. After that, guidance was released in a riveting series of “COVID-19 student update” emails.
Generally, classes and studying at Uni involve a lot of people in a room together, which is exactly what the Government has told us to avoid. So understandably it’s been a bit tough to work out.
For classes, there will be one metre social distancing, which means some rooms will have changed. There can be a maximum of 100 people per class. Some programmes will continue online only. You should have been told on Friday whether or not your programme was continuing online or going back in person. It might even vary paper-to-paper depending on numbers and availability of rooms.
In terms of masks, the Uni has not said “you must wear a mask all the time”, but reading between the lines, you should. Their guidelines say you should always bring a mask with you to campus. You have to wear one at Student Health, Unipol, and any shops or cafes on campus. They are “strongly recommended” everywhere else. “In particular, they should be worn indoors where 1m physical distancing is difficult or not possible (such as entering and exiting lecture theatres and in lifts),” the 8 September update says.
The University will be contact tracing like mad. Snapchats to Critic Te Arohi show giant (almost the size of a person) QR codes outside the doors to Central Library. They’re also tracing people through the wifi, so make sure your phone is connected.
Central, Science, Health Science, and Robertson Libraries opened on Friday. The Law Library, depending on when you’re reading this, should be open (it opens on Monday 13 September). More study centres may open in the future. But, if you’re only after books, you don’t need to hang around and peruse the shelves. They’re running a click and collect service, just like the supermarket.
Staff and postgraduate students get Premium Access Library Subscriptions, complete with click and deliver borrowing, where a flock of semi-literate trained pigeons will deliver books to you anywhere on campus.
You can now get vaccinated on campus if you haven’t already got the jab. The centre is open in the Faculty of Denistry’s Walsh Building, Tuesday and Friday 9am to 4pm.
Exams will all be online, save for a few clinical practicals. Everything else, from theatre to botany, will be handled using the same exam format as last year. Alex, a second-year, lamented that “even if there’s a few stuck in Auckland, I reckon it’s their problem to handle online. I don’t see why I can’t do mine in person.” Alex is in the humanities, and said that “doing my exam online defeats half the point. I can’t even cheat.”