It’s 2022 and COVID is still a thing. By a comparative measure, New Zealand has passed its COVID-19 test better than most. But with the government’s new #LetItRip approach, we now face our worst outbreak since this pandemic started. Models are showing that Auckland is past its peak and the University of Auckland has since made the decision to return to campus following the mid-semester break. Teaching will now resume on campus from 2nd May. But many questions remain. How safe are immunocompromised students and staff on campus? Will social distancing play any role on campus? Are our buildings equipped with adequate ventilation? Craccum tries to uncover the answers to these questions
Will social distancing and vaccine passes play a role in attending lectures?
Use of the NZ COVID Tracer app while on campus will not be required on campus. QR codes will continue to be available throughout our campuses, for those who wish to use them. Vaccine passes are no longer required as of 4th April. There are some University activities where Government vaccine mandates still apply, such as healthcare.
For buildings without heating, ventilating, and air conditioning systems, will the University be commissioning the use of High efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters to reduce COVID-19 risk?
The University hasn’t responded as of publication. It’s anyone’s guess as to whether these will be supplied with COVID updates and changes coming through each day. Until then, you’ll have to keep smelling your cohort’s farts.
The Tertiary Education Union released a statement saying, “On-site work (at the University) should be minimised, and ventilation, rapid antigen tests, and N95 or surgical masks should be available”. Will the University supply any rapid antigen tests or N95 or surgical masks to students?
The University has stated that it has “20,000 RATs stored on campus, with another 20,000 on order”. The University has also stated that it wishes to retain this 20,000 as buffer stock. The University will therefore allocate these RATs where they deem brings the most benefit. As the University’s RAT supply improves, more activities and areas of the University will become eligible. The University hasn’t responded as of publication regarding any supply of N95 or surgical masks. Until then, its BYO mask (and flask).
Are immunocompromised students expected to attend compulsory classes?
Immunocompromised students will have to apply to be enrolled in remote streams in courses that offer them. As of now, there is no clear indication of what students who are particularly vulnerable, who have caring responsibilities for vulnerable dependents, or have other exceptional reasons preventing them from attending on campus will have to do once teaching returns to campus. The University has stated that students enrolled in a remote stream of a course that has been previously agreed to be dual delivery, will still be able to access a fully remote version of a course.
The University hasn’t responded as of publication regarding what will happen to vulnerable/immunocompromised students enrolled in classes with no fully remote version. GG, guess it’s everyone for themselves.