COVID-19 Information

The University of Canterbury campus is currently under Covid Alert Level 2.

Campus is fully open with teaching and learning available both online and in person (where possible), and end of year exams will proceed as planned.

For all locations of interest following the Otautahi Christchurch community cases, click here>

Alert Level 2 TEC guidelines can be found here>

Moving around campus: Please carry your Canterbury Card with you on campus. You may need it to scan into some spaces.

QR codes
It is a government requirement that you scan the QR codes as you move about campus.
It is important that you scan the unique building QR code at the main entrance to each building every time you enter (this includes access via link buildings/walkways), and also scan the unique floor level QR code for each separate floor/level that you access within a building, including via stairs, lifts or other walkways. If you’re in doubt, scan the QR code.  

Please wear a face covering. 

Physical distancing
You might see limits on the number of people in some spaces around campus to allow everyone to move around safely and physically distance.

Based on current health guidance regarding ventilation, the University is adjusting mechanical ventilation systems to increase fresh air flow into buildings where possible.

The changes are aimed at limiting the airborne transmission of the Covid-19 virus and will be implemented by the FM team over the coming days. This may result in some changes to building temperature. If you have any questions send them to

Remember to protect yourself and others from COVID-19 by following these simple steps

  • wear a face covering
  • maintain physical distancing and good hygiene
  • stay home if you're unwell
  • keep track of where you’ve been using the NZ COVID Tracer app and,
  • get vaccinated.


At UC we strive to create a campus culture of belonging, understanding, inclusiveness and caring. Any signs of discrimination surrounding a virus that doesn’t discriminate on race or religion will not be tolerated. Please be compassionate and kind, we are all in this together.

If you have any questions or concerns, speak to your line manager, course coordinator or email

UC will reopen Wednesday 8 September, allowing time for a phased and safe return to campus, and adherence to the updated guidelines that minimise risk and help Aotearoa to fight Covid-19.

Staff, before coming back to campus, please check that your manager’s Health and Safety plan has been completed.

Alert Level 2 Guidelines
We understand from the TEC’s most recent guidance (6 September) that the following guidelines apply. TEC guidelines are updated here.

  • Class sizes: The social gathering limits of 50 indoors at Alert Level 2 do not apply to education-related gatherings. We are awaiting further guidance from the TEC on appropriate limits on class sizes and physical distancing requirements and will update you as soon as possible regarding what this means for in-person class.
  • Contact-tracing: remains critical. UC is responsible for ensuring detailed contact tracing information for every student, staff and visitor on campus. You are required to scan the QR codes as you move about campus, including rooms, buildings and all social and eating areas. Please check that Bluetooth has been enabled on the app.
  • Face coverings: Face coverings must be worn in student health services, pharmacies, banks and other retailers on campus. Face coverings are strongly recommended at all other times, including in libraries, teaching and learning spaces, research and laboratory spaces and shared office spaces where practicable, but they are not mandatory. In in doubt, best to wear a face covering.
  • Conducting research: All research and related activities are allowed, provided public health control measures for TEOs are in place. At UC, research groups can return to campus if there is an approved Alert Level 2 Health and Safety plan approved.
  • Noho marae: Overnight noho marae will not be permitted at Alert Level 2, due to the increased risk of transmission of Covid-19.

The Central Library in Puaka-James Hight will open from 10am – 5pm on Thursday 9 September and Friday 10 September. The Library will then be closed over the weekend and will reopen on Monday 13 September.

In Level 2 only UC students and staff can access the Puaka-James Hight and Engineering and Physical Sciences Libraries, and you will need your Canterbury Card. Face coverings will be compulsory in libraries.

For more information on library hours click here.

UC Rec&Sport
The team is planning to open on Thursday 9 September – please check the UC Rec&Sport webpage for updates.

Haere-roa and cafes
Haere-roa will reopen for study from 8am on Monday 13 September. Cafes will also begin to reopen, with Café 101 likely reopening on Wednesday 8 September and most UCSA cafes reopening on Monday with slightly reduced hours – check here for more. The Foundry will open from 2pm – 7pm on Friday 10 September.

Based on current health guidance regarding ventilation UC is adjusting their mechanical ventilation systems to increase fresh air flow into buildings where possible. The changes are aimed at limiting the airborne transmission of the COVID-19 virus and will be implemented by the FM team over the coming days and may result in some changes to building temperature. If you have any questions send them to

Face covering exemption
A medical assessment is not needed for a face covering exemption. Students should not be referred to the health centre for a certificate.

Some qualifications require students to undertake placements in the community, including in schools/kura, early childhood centres, or health/medical facilities. For these qualifications you will be required to be vaccinated in line with the NZ Government regulations, and supply evidence of your vaccination status. Please contact your College for further information. 

Students will need to be fully vaccinated to apply for the following qualifications:




Social work:


In addition, the following qualifications may require you to be fully vaccinated:



It’s important to look after yourself and others in these uncertain and unique times, so check out the online wellbeing hub where there’s a wealth of handy information covering anxiety and stress and mind and body, for both staff and students.

Additional support/resources for UC staff can be found here>

Here are just a few of the other support services available across UC, Otautahi and Aotearoa New Zealand:

Cleaning Schedule: 1 (Toilets, changing rooms and Showers)    

  • Toilets, urinals and hand wash basins will be cleaned and sanitised every day using hospital grade sanitiser.    
  • Floors will be mopped using a disinfectant on daily basis.   
  • Replenish toilet paper, hand soap and roller towels to ensure adequate supplies until next service.   
  • Sanitise the toilet paper, had soap, roller towel dispensers, vanity units and sanitary bins.   
  • Scrub and sanitise the showers on daily basis.   
  • Toilets in the operational areas will be cleaned and sanitised during the day at regular intervals and also the supplies replenished as required.   
  • All the high touch points like door handles, taps etc. will be sanitised as high priority.    

Cleaning schedule: 2 (Kitchens/ tea rooms/ Heat & Eat areas)     

  • Kitchens and tea rooms to be cleaned and sanitised on daily.   
  • Hard floor surfaces mopped using a disinfectant.   
  • Rubbish cleared daily.   
  • All the high touch points to be sanitised with a hospital grade sanitiser daily.  
  • All the student Heat & Eat areas will be cleaned every day in the mornings and also will be cleaned and sanitised at regular intervals throughout the day.   
  • Tea towels and hand towels replaced daily.    

Note- Please wash your hands only in the washroom areas before using the kitchen to maintain the hygiene in the kitchen premises.   

Cleaning Schedule: 3 (Computer labs)    

  • All the floors Vacuumed daily using a vacuum with the HEPA filter.  
  • All the surfaces will be sanitised daily using a hospital grade sanitiser.  
  • High touch points like door handles, door panels and light switches, etc. will be sanitised daily.   

Note – Cleaners will be sanitising keyboards and mice only in shared computer labs each morning during alert level 2.

Cleaning Schedule: 4 (Meeting rooms/ board rooms, staff lounges, Tutorial rooms)    

  • Meeting room, tutorial room tables and surfaces will be sanitised every day.   
  • All the carpeted floors Vacuumed using a vacuum with the HEPA filter and hard floors will be mopped using a disinfectant on daily basis.   
  • Rubbish cleared daily.   
  • High touch points like door handles will be sanitised daily.   

Cleaning Schedule: 5 (Reception areas, corridors, foyers, waiting rooms, lifts, stairs and entrances)    

  • Rubbish cleared daily.   
  • All the carpeted floors Vacuumed using a vacuum with the HEPA filter and hard floors will be mopped using a disinfectant on daily basis.    
  • All the reception area surfaces, touch points, tables will be sanitised daily.   
  • Stairs will be mopped and the handrails will be sanitised daily.   
  • Lift buttons and high touch points in the lifts will be sanitised every day.   
  • All the entrance door handles and any other high touch points in the corridors will be sanitised every day using hospital grade sanitiser.    

Cleaning schedule: 6 (Offices)    

  • All the carpeted floors Vacuumed using a vacuum with the HEPA filter weekly.   
  • Rubbish will be cleared as per the schedule clean. 
  • Personal desks will be sanitised using a hospital grade sanitiser during the scheduled clean if the users have cleared the desks for cleaners.  
  • All the high touch points like door handles, switch boards etc. will be sanitised during the scheduled clean.  

Cleaning schedule: 7 (PC1, PC2 Labs& Workshops)    

  • Cleaners will only maintain the floors.   
  • All the floor areas will be mopped using a disinfectant daily.   
  • Lab owners are responsible for the maintenance of hygiene and sanitisation of work benches and touch points.  
  • Cleaners do not empty Lab rubbish bins. Lab technicians to arrange that.    

Latest Course Information: AKO | LEARN sites will be kept up to date with the latest detailed course information.

Lectures: Lectures will continue online and will also be held in-person from Monday 13 September unless otherwise indicated on the AKO | LEARN site. Students are encouraged to attend lectures online in order to reduce demand for seats in lecture theatres.  Staff and students that do attend in-person will be expected to wear a face covering for the duration of the lecture and students are expected to keep a seat between themselves and the next person to allow for physical distancing.

Labs, tutorials, specialist classes and study spaces: These may continue with physical distancing. Where 1 metre physical distancing cannot be maintained, face coverings are required. Students and staff are expected to bring their own face covering but if they have forgotten, they can obtain a mask from the security office and are available for sale at the pharmacy.

Tests and Exams:Under Alert Level 2, a limited number of tests and exams may go ahead in person with physical distancing. End of year exams will go ahead as planned. Check AKO | LEARN of your course for details.

Campus Attendance: Students who are unable to come to campus due to being subject to travel restrictions or due to health concerns will be accommodated via online learning and online versions of any assessment. Students are required to notify their course coordinators as soon as possible if they are unable to come back to campus.

Conducting research: All research and related activities are allowed, provided public health control measures for TEOs are in place. At UC, research groups can return to campus if there is an approved Alert Level 2 Health and Safety plan.

Noho marae: Overnight noho marae will not be permitted at Alert Level 2, due to the increased risk of transmission of Covid-19.

Field trips: Day field trips can go ahead if they can adhere to Alert Level 2 safety protocols. Overnight field trips will be considered on a case-by-case basis.  Students should check with their course coordinator for specific details on any planned field trips.


Connectivity issues or Technology assistance

If you don’t have access to a device suitable for online study in your bubble, or don’t have an internet connection (or one that’s reliable enough), please email UC at with your:
  • full name
  • date of birth
  • student ID number
  • current physical address
  • contact phone number,
  • and an outline of your situation.
Once your email has been received, someone from UC will contact you on the phone number provided.

If you’re a domestic student of any kind or self-funded international PhD student experiencing financial difficulties as a result of COVID19, please reach out either to advisors in the UCSA Advocacy and Welfare team or Te Waka Pakakano MaoriPacific and Rainbow.

If you’re an international student not studying at PhD level and experiencing financial difficulties as a result of COVID19, please talk with advisors in the UCSA Advocacy and Welfare team or Student Care team.

If you are experiencing financial hardship but it’s not related to COVID19, there are still assistance options available. We encourage you to contact the UCSA Advocacy and Welfare team or Te Waka Pakakano MaoriPacific and Rainbow advisors.

Please note that COVID19 specific financial supports will remain open for some time as we navigate our way through the pandemic, and that eligibility criteria apply in all cases. You can find out more on UC’s financial assistance webpage.

These are some Frequently Asked Questions and Answers related to Pay and Leave. Please raise any concerns about Pay or Leave with your Manager/Head and your People and Culture Business Partner.


If it is Alert Level 4 or Level 3 and I am unable to work from home, will I still get paid?
All continuing staff, who cannot work from home and who are not engaged in Alert Level 4 business or an exempt service, will continue to be paid their normal pay under Alert level 4.

There may be alternative work options that staff are able to do from home. Please keep in touch with your Manager/Head and People and Culture Business Partner.

I’m a fixed term staff member, will I still get paid?
All fixed term staff will continue to be paid their normal pay under any Alert Level.

If you submit a timesheet, then you should continue to submit timesheets in accordance with your normal schedule of work. Please continue to submit timesheets continuously rather than at the end of a term or semester.

Please talk to your Manager/Head and People and Culture Business Partner if you have any concerns.

I’m a casual staff member, will I still get paid?
Casual staff will be paid for any period of work agreed between the casual staff member and UC.

Please talk to the Manager/Head and People and Culture Business Partner if you have any concerns.

My child’s school is closed and it is impacting on my ability to work.
Staff should work from home to the extent possible. Staff will continue to be paid their normal pay.

Please regularly talk with your Manager/Head and People and Culture Business Partner about your workload and hours so that they can ensure you are supported.


I want to take some annual leave.
You can apply for and take annual leave under any Alert Level, per the normal process.

What if I am sick and I do not have any sick leave available?
If a staff member is sick (or they are caring for a sick dependant) and they do not have any paid sick leave entitlements, they may be able to use their paid sick leave in advance or paid discretionary leave may be available.

Is there paid special leave for staff who are required to self-isolate?
Where a staff member is required to self-isolate (or must care for a dependant who is required to self-isolate) they should work from home to the extent possible.

Paid special leave may be available for staff who are required to self-isolate in line with Ministry of Health advice, where it is not practicable for the staff member to work from home.

If you become unwell during your self-isolation, then you will need to apply for sick leave.

At all Alert Levels self-isolation is required for people who display symptoms relevant to Covid-19, test positive for Covid-19, or have been in close contact with someone who tests positive for Covid-19.

Household members, of a person who has either attended a location of interest or is a contact of a positive case, are also required to self-isolate until that person receives a negative Covid-19 result.

Aotearoa New Zealand has embarked on its largest ever vaccination campaign, which will provide free COVID-19 vaccines for everyone over the age of 16 years old.

UC supports the aims of the COVID-19 vaccination strategy and will act in accordance with NZ employment and health and safety laws, government guidelines and directives to ensure our people can get vaccinated without being disadvantaged.

UC strongly encourages staff and students to get the COVID-19 vaccination. Everyone will be eligible to book their vaccination from September 1 2021. Visit the Government’s COVID-19 website for more>

The vaccination is voluntary but it’s worth remembering that when you get vaccinated, you’re not just protecting yourself, you’re also doing your bit by reducing the risk of passing COVID-19 to your whanau, friends and community.

The vaccine is not available from the UC Health Centre. You will be able to choose the vaccination centre most convenient to you, once you’ve been notified (from the Ministry of Health or District Health Board) that you are eligible to receive the vaccination.

Vaccination FAQs:

FAQ 1: What else can I do to reduce the risk of getting COVID-19?
The vaccination supports, but does not replace, other infection prevention and control measures such as the use of personal protective equipment and cleaning, physical distancing, personal hygiene, and use of the NZ COVID tracer app. [Ministry of Health]

FAQ 2: Can I get my vaccination done during work hours?
In alignment with our organisational values, the University will support you to receive your vaccination, by allowing you to get vaccinated during work hours, without using annual leave or losing pay.  This also applies if you need to take your dependents to get vaccinated.

You don’t have to tell your manager that you are getting vaccinated unless you want to. Just let them know you have a medical appointment you need to go to. 

FAQ 3: Will there be a mass vaccination event at UC?
A pop up vaccination clinic for the entire UC community will be available from Haere-Roa in early October. Confirmation to come.

FAQ 4: Do I have to get vaccinated to do my job or work-experience placement?

Vaccinations are voluntary and are not required for most work. There may be some roles that should only be performed by a vaccinated person however, due to the risk of transmitting the virus to vulnerable people.

Risk assessments should be conducted for roles that are identified as high-risk, to determine if the role can only be performed by a vaccinated person. This may impact on UC employees and students engaging in work-integrated learning, field work, and contract-based work in high-risk environments.

Click here for information on assessing whether a specific role needs to be performed by a vaccinated worker>

UC will not require employees or students to provide information on their vaccination status unless they are in a role that can only be done by a vaccinated person.

If an employee or student is unvaccinated or does not wish to be vaccinated but is working/learning in a role that can only be performed by a vaccinated person, this will need to be worked through by the employee/student, People and Culture, and the relevant union.

If you think you are in a role that should only be performed by a vaccinated person, please discuss this with your manager. If this situation applies, managers should contact their People and Culture Business Partner to complete a risk assessment. 

FAQ 5: Can I travel overseas for work yet?
Refer to section two of the COVID-19 Information page: ‘travel recommendations for staff and students.

FAQ 6: What about personal overseas travel?
UC cannot impose restrictions on personal travel. Personal travel is undertaken at the risk of the traveller; however, the University strongly recommends travellers be fully vaccinated before they travel overseas. 

Being fully vaccinated should reduce your risk of getting or transmitting COVID-19, and the impact on your health if you do. 

FAQ 7: What happens if borders close while I’m travelling overseas?
Before booking any overseas trip, you should consider that borders might close unexpectedly and plan what you would do in this situation.

You should also consider what you would do if you had to go into Managed Isolation Quarantine (MIQ).

  1. Ensure you have enough annual leave to cover you for an unexpected, extended period of time off work. You might be able to work flexibly from overseas, home or MIQ if suitable work is available but only if you and your manager both agree to this. 
  2. If you don’t have enough annual leave available and working flexibly is not possible, you would be required to take leave without pay. 
  3. If you’re sick during any period of annual leave, self-isolation, or MIQ then you can apply for sick leave. If you don’t have enough sick leave, please speak to your manager.

FAQ 8: If I feel unwell from the COVID-19 vaccination am I expected to come to work?
Sick leave may be taken if you feel unwell following the COVID-19 vaccination. Alternatively, you can work flexibly from home if that’s possible in your role; UC will support you to do this. If you don’t have enough sick leave available, please speak to your manager.

FAQ 9: Should I be concerned about working around unvaccinated people? 
A person’s vaccination status is private and confidential, unless they are working in a role that can only be done by a vaccinated person. This means that in most cases UC will not know if a person has been vaccinated so public health precautions, such as physical distancing, handwashing/sanitizing, cleaning regimes etc. continue to be important.

In general, unless a vaccination is needed for health and safety reasons, work is unlikely to be unsafe solely because it is done around unvaccinated workers. If you have strong concerns you may be at risk, please speak to your manager. 

Remember that vaccinated people are less likely to get the virus, transmit the virus, or get very unwell from the virus.   

FAQ 10: What should I do if I’m feeling unwell?
At this time of the year, there are a number of respiratory viruses circulating in the community. Some of the symptoms of these viruses will be similar to COVID-19 symptoms; fever, dry cough and tiredness.

If you are sick, stay home and call Healthline on 0800 611 116 for health advice and information on what to do next.


From 11.59pm Tuesday 28 September, UC students based in Auckland can return to their flats and/or Halls of Residence if they:

  • Contact their accommodation provider to confirm their return
  • Complete a negative Covid-19 test before they leave, and present it at the border

Returning students are not required to self-isolate upon their return to Christchurch, however accommodation providers may request evidence of a negative Covid-19 test, following their arrival.

Type of Travel

Travel Approvals

Essential Purposes

Domestic Business Travel[1]

SLT approval required for travel to and from L3 and L4 regions.

Line Manager approval required for travel between and within L1 and L2 regions.

Travel may only proceed to and from L3 and L4 regions if deemed essential and permitted by government regulations.

No need to demonstrate that travel is for essential purposes for travel to and from L1 and L2 regions but staff are encouraged to prioritise alternative means of conducting university business in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Trans-Tasman Business Travel

SLT approval required.

Travel may only proceed if deemed essential[2].

International (or long haul) Business Travel

SLT approval required

Travel may only proceed if deemed essential.

[1] Note that domestic business travel may only proceed between and within regions in Alert Levels 1 or 2. 

[2] Essential travel includes: Travel whose purpose cannot be achieved by any other means; data collection / fieldwork; Student agreement obligations (e.g., externally funded travel); collaborative research meetings that require face-to-face; school visits.

The University strongly recommends staff be fully vaccinated before travelling overseas.

The Risk Advisory Committee will keep current restrictions under continuous review and advise if there are any changes.


The UC Health Centre suspended in person bookings for a period in 2020, following the arrival of the COVID-19 virus in Aotearoa New Zealand, in order to ensure the safety of their patients and staff.

Currently, patients may be seen in person or be given a phone or video consultation. It is also possible to request repeat prescriptions from your usual doctor through our ‘Managemyhealth’ portal

Health Centre bookings can be made by calling 03 369 4444.

We remain vigilant and will not see you unless you have already arranged an appointment.

PLEASE do not come to the clinic without having booked an appointment.

Regardless of the reason for your appointment you will be asked, when booking and on arrival, questions pertaining to COVID-19. You must answer honestly so that we can most safely attend to your needs.

We may be able to assist many of you by giving advice on the phone or writing prescriptions that can be sent to the uni or other pharmacist.  If for any reason the uni pharmacy needs to close, the pharmacist will deliver medication to the UC Health Centre, where it can be collected during specific hours.

If you have respiratory symptoms (cough, sore throat, fever), your appointment may be held somewhere other than the Health Centre building, so please listen carefully to instructions.

It is really important that you answer honestly our questions about cough, sore throat, fever and more. This information will help us to better prepare for your appointment and keep you and our staff safe.

If you need assistance with AKO | LEARN or Echo 360, first check the e-Learning Help for Staff site.  You will find Zoom help sessions on this site also. The Future Learning and Development team is ready to assist you if needed, simply log a ticket through the Future Learning & Development Assyst portal


Respondus Monitor and Lockdown Browser are available for invigilating online assessment through AKO| LEARN quizzes.

Future Learning & Development provides support for Learn and Echo for individual courses.

Please visit the e-Learning Support for Staff on AKO |LEARN for help. If you need additional assistance, file a request via Assyst and the team will be in contact.

In the event of a lockdown, Future Learning & Development will liaise with the Colleges and Schools to provide teaching support for staff in:

  • Online engagement
  • Online facilitation
  • Online assessment

Queries can be sent to

Registration form – students at higher risk of severe illness

The Student At-Risk Register has been reactivated. The At-Risk Register is for students with health concerns who are at  higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 and/or living with people with health concerns that increases their vulnerability to COVID-19.  

  • If you registered in 2020, you will need to register again with your 2021 course details.
  • If you are already on the register but the information is not correct please update
  • If you are not registered and you have a health concern (or living with/caring for someone with health concerns) that meets the criteria please register here

The Postgraduate Research Office has a Learn page for communication with current Doctoral and Master’s thesis students (> 90 points).

An FAQ section on the AKO | LEARN site provides answers to common questions related to COVID-19. Some of the key information is also reflected here for all staff to view.

Prospective Research Students

I am an international student intending to commence my postgraduate research degree at UC soon. How might COVID-19 affect this?

For international students hoping to commence postgraduate research at UC, please note that the New Zealand borders are currently closed, except to citizens and permanent residents. For incoming international students, this means that you will not be able to travel to NZ at this time. Your PhD start date may need to be delayed until the borders have reopened.

In some cases, the Dean of Postgraduate Research will approve a PhD student commencing their studies from overseas. This depends on a number of factors (e.g., whether adequate supervision and resources can be provided, and whether you are able to progress your work from your current location). Your proposed supervisor must make an official request to the Dean of Postgraduate Research before this will be considered. Please discuss this possibility with your proposed supervisor in the first instance.

For up-to-date information regarding COVID-19, immigration, and travel to Aotearoa New Zealand, click here>

I am a New Zealand citizen or resident intending to commence my postgraduate research degree at UC soon. How might COVID-19 affect this?

COVID-19 does not affect the enrolment or commencement of postgraduate research degrees for New Zealand citizens or residents. However, prospective students should discuss their proposed research topic with their supervisor to determine if any adjustments in focus or scope may been needed during this extraordinary time.

Current Postgraduate Research Students

Due dates, submissions and examinations

Can I get an extension due to the Covid lockdown?

All thesis students (as defined above) who were due to submit their thesis in August or September 2021, and have not enrolled beyond those dates, will be granted a two week grace period for submission. You will not be enrolled for this grace period and do not have to pay fees. This means:

  • Students planning to submit their thesis by 31st August 2021 will be granted a grace period for submission until the 14th September.
  • Students planning to submit their thesis by 31st September 2021 will be granted a grace period for submission until the 14th October.

This extension will be automatically processed at thesis submission if you submit by the dates provided above. If thesis submission does not occur by the relevant dates, students will need to apply for an official extension.

The Dean of Postgraduate Research has also announced a new process to request an extension of one month to your studies.
More information about this extension can be found here>
You will need to apply via an online portal>

When I am ready to submit my thesis, how will the extensions work? Will I need to apply for these?

If you meet the criteria mentioned above, your thesis extension will be automatically applied at the time of thesis submission. However, for any additional extensions related to the lockdowns, students will need to go through the formal extension application process.

As mentioned above, the Dean is currently considering an extension application process for thesis students of up to one month for the 2021 lockdown. This will require a specific application, but more information will be provided soon.

How will oral examinations take place with travel restrictions due to COVID?

Oral examinations will be held via video conferencing (UC recommends Zoom).

Relevant parties involved (e.g., PhD candidate, oral chair, supervisor, and oral examiner) will participate via video conferencing from wherever they are currently located.

Your oral chair will contact you to schedule the oral exam. If you have any concerns or queries, please contact the Postgraduate Research Office (

Financial hardship

We are aware that some postgraduate students are experiencing financial difficulties at present. If you are experiencing financial hardship that will have an impact on your studies, you may be eligible for financial support. 

Students requesting financial support can contact the UCSA Advocacy & Welfare team in the first instance to discuss their situation. The UCSA Advocacy & Welfare team will review your situation and provide advice on the application process. As a general guide, students are eligible to apply for financial support if they can demonstrate that their capacity for continued study may be in jeopardy due to financial hardship. However, as financial support is limited, being eligible does not mean you will be approved for support. Financial support is also not intended as a form of income support and will not be provided to pay for ongoing expenses.

Please note that each application is assessed on a case by case basis and has criteria attached to them. Finally, we understand this is a time of uncertainty. Please do make an appointment with the UCSA Advocacy & Welfare team if you are facing financial hardship.

Health and Wellbeing

What health and wellbeing support is available?

Your health and well-being are extremely important to us. If you would like to talk with someone, please contact the Student Care Team to make an appointment using their online booking system. The Postgraduate Research Office is also always willing and available to assist you, so please do not hesitate to email or call. 

The UC Student Care Team website also have lists of existing online resources that you might find useful. One particular link is to the Mental Health Foundation of NZ webpage – it has a whole section on Apps, e-therapy and guided self-help

Border exemptions for International students

If you are a current UC student and eligible for return to New Zealand under the border exemption category, please see the border exemption webpage

What can I study as an offshore student?

  • New to UC students (2021) can study online with UC’s Start Online, Finish on-campus pathway; this pathway lets you start your degree now and transition on to campus once the New Zealand borders open to international students. Discover all online courses and programmes here.
  • Current UC students continuing their studies offshore – please liaise with your college advisor and to discuss your options.

What support services are available for online learning?
UC has many services in place to support you in your online learning. This includes academic support, e-learning tools, and a range of student care services.

  • Student Care Advisors - provide practical advice for your well being and success as a UC student -
  • Academic Skills Centre / Pokapu Pukenga Ako - free advisory service and resource hub to help you improve your writing and study strategies. The UC Academic Skills Centre (ASC) offers distance students support for 1-1 appointments, some quick queries are answered here. You can contact ASC by phone: +64 (03) 369 3900 or Toll Free 0800 827 748, and ask for the Academic Skills Centre or email to make an appointment.
  • UC Library supports your learning and provides access to research database. UC Library provides some key online services including Ask Live chat box, specialist subject librarians, and access to the online research database. 
  • Equity and Diversity Services - provide a range of supports for students with disabilities -
  • College Student Advisors - please liaise with your college advisor
  • UCSA Student Advocate - provide advice on your situation, future options and provide support on navigating the university system 

See all support services here

Where do I find information about online enrolment and orientation?

  • Information on enrolling online, uploading documents and using AKO | LEARN can all be found here.
  • There are also resources to help you with your study to AKO | LEARN. If you are experiencing particular difficulties adjusting to learning in the online environment, it’s important to reach out to your course coordinators and let them know. 

Visa information

Do I need a valid student visa to begin my studies online?
You do not need a valid student visa to begin your studies online outside of New Zealand, but you will need one before you travel to UC. It is still important to ensure you would be eligible for a student visa to be able to travel to New Zealand and continue your studies when the New Zealand border is reopened to student visa holders.

You can check the Immigration New Zealand website for updates.

Student Visa suspension for new students
The New Zealand borders do continue to remain closed to all non-citizens and non-residents. From 10 August 2020, the Government suspended the ability for those offshore to apply for a temporary visa, including student visas. This suspension has been extended until February 2022.

Immigration New Zealand advises not to apply for a student visa at this time (because it will not be processed). When the border situation changes we will be in touch with you. Please visit Immigration NZ for more updates.

If you are a current UC student and eligible for return to New Zealand under the border exemption category, please see the UC border exemption webpage.  

What if my travel to New Zealand is delayed?
If you are an international student impacted by COVID-19 please contact our International Team so we can keep you fully informed.

If you are a current UC student and eligible for return to New Zealand under the border exemption category for bachelors and postgraduate students, please see the UC border exemption webpage

Doctoral students can contact the Dean of Postgraduate Research ( and their supervisors. Other postgraduates should contact the relevant College.

Financial Assistance
We know that being a student can be financially challenging, and that the COVID-19 pandemic has compounded the issue for some. There are many financial hardship support mechanisms provided by UC and the UCSA. More information about financial support for international students can be found here.


Gatherings and events that are not directly education-related, such as speaking events open to the public, cultural events, social events etc.
No more than 100 people can gather at events under Alert Level 2, will impact many of our traditional end of year events, unless we to move to Alert Level 1. 

For anyone planning to attend smaller gatherings [under 100 people] please ensure you are wearing a face covering, and you’re implementing a safe physical distance from others.

To allow sufficient time for students, whanau and friends to book and/or make changes to flights and accommodation, the University will confirm by 15 November whether December’s graduation ceremonies can proceed.

If Otautahi Christchurch has not reached Alert Level 1 by this date, December’s ceremonies will be cancelled, and all qualifications will be conferred in absentia. 

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Graduation Office.

Regrettably the Eke Tangaroa | Celebration for Maori graduates and graduands and the December Pasifika Graduation Celebration have been cancelled as the team were unable to meet Covid-19 event requirements. 
If you were intending to attend either event and would like more information, please contact

International Student Arrival Week

Throughout the year, we have the privilege of welcoming new and returning international students into the UC whanau (family).

  • Book your appointment for International Enrolment in Person here.
  • New Student Induction – UC offers an arrival week programme for all international students arriving to study at UC for the first time. The programme will help you get settled to start your semester, introducing you to specific learning-related information at UC here as well as a great opportunity to meet fellow students, services on campus and student leaders.


Q: What extra help is available to help me study this semester?

  • Student Care Advisors - provide practical advice for your well being and success as a UC student -
  • Academic Skills Centre / Pokapu Pukenga Ako - free advisory service and resource hub to help you improve your writing and study strategies -
  • Equity and Diversity Services - provide a range of supports for students with disabilities -
  • College Student Advisors - please liaise with your college advisor
  • UCSA Student Advocate - provide advice on your situation, future options and provide support on navigating the university system There are also numerous resources to help you with your study in LEARN

General Support

Q: Who can I talk to if I have questions about my study and life in New Zealand in general?

Your health and well-being are extremely important at this time. The Student Care Team is your international support team and is available for consultations. If you would like to talk with someone, please make an appointment using their online booking system. The UC Student Care Team website also has lists of existing online resources that you might find useful. One particular link is to the Mental Health Foundation of NZ webpage – it has a whole section on Apps, e-therapy and guided self-help

UC also has a dedicated email address for all COVID-19 related issues and enquiries. If you have a question that has arisen because of COVID-19, please email in the first instance. 

Finally, the International Relationships Office – are here to help you navigate your transition into your new world. We encourage you to go directly to the specialist support services available, however if you feel a little lost – just reach out and we can help guide you.

Financial Support

Financial Hardship

There are many financial hardship support mechanisms provided by UC and the UCSA. This support is design to help with immediate, short-term emergencies/unexpected costs, and they can not be used for tuition fees. Applicants will need to provide evidence to support their hardship applications. In general, one needs to have less than $1000 in the bank to qualify as having hardship.

Education New Zealand (ENZ) has established an International Student Hardship Fund in response to the COVID-19. This means that the University can apply to ENZ for support if all available resources are exhausted. Individual students can not apply to the grant directly.

Please note that all international students are required to provide proof of funds to Immigration New Zealand when applying for a student visa. If you have been granted a student visa for a year and have provided financial documents to Immigration to prove your financial capability, you will need to explain the reasons for seeking hardship support at this point.

Examples of hardship:

  • You are on a tight budget and have an unexpected dental bill to pay
  • You rely on regular money transfer from home & COVID-19 disrupted the immediate transfer schedule

What is not regarded as hardship:

  • Perceived loss of income due to not being able to get a job
  • Failing courses and having to pay fees to repeat them

If you are unsure about whether your circumstances fit with the description above, please contact the UCSA Welfare & Advocacy Team in the first instance. We appreciate that all international students would feel impacted by COVID-19 in their unique ways. However, it is important to remember that these funds are established to protect and care for the most vulnerable and most affected students.

Q: I’m financially struggling - what can I do?

If you are experiencing financial hardship that will have an impact on your studies, you may be eligible for financial support. Please contact the UCSA Advocacy & Welfare team in the first instance to discuss your situation. UCSA Advocates will assess your circumstances and may make a further referral to Student Care if your situation fits the criteria for International Student Welfare Fund.  

The New Zealand Ministry of Education provides information here. Please don’t be too proud to ask for help. These are difficult times and these organisations are here to help you.

Q: I’ve lost my job due to COVID-19. Is there anything to supplement my lost income?

Students (including International students) who are legally entitled to work and are employed by a New Zealand employer can be covered by the wage subsidy. The subsidy covers employees who are working part-time, or on a casual or contract basis. Please note that as the subsidy is paid to employers, the subsidy does not cover international or domestic students who were not in employment before COVID-19. A useful link to the details of the policy is available here.   

Health and Insurance

Q: What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

The following information is from the Ministry of Health.

The symptoms of COVID-19 are one or more of the following:

  • a cough
  • a high temperature (at least 38°C)
  • shortness of breath.
  • sore throat
  • sneezing and runny nose 
  • temporary loss of smell 

These symptoms do not necessarily mean you have COVID-19. The symptoms are similar to other illnesses that are much more common, such as cold and flu. Shortness of breath is a sign of possible pneumonia and requires immediate medical attention. Symptoms take up to 14 days to show after a person has been infected. A person can pass on the virus to others before they know they have it - from up to two days before symptoms develop.

If you have these symptoms, please telephone Healthline (free) on 0800 358 5453 or your doctor immediately.

Q: How do I get a test for COVID-19?

If you are concerned about any COVID-19 symptoms you are experiencing, please immediately contact Healthline (for free) on 0800 358 5453 or call your doctor in New Zealand.

According to the Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB), healthline is necessary to be tested at a Community Based Assessment Centre (CBAC). If you do not have a referral, you will not be tested at a CBAC, so you must first ring Healthline (0800 358 5453) or your doctor.

No on-demand or drop-in COVID-19 testing is being carried out at Christchurch Hospital.

Q: How much will a COVID-19 test cost?

A consultation that results in a referral for COVID-19 testing, the test itself and any follow up if the test result is positive, is covered under public health funding.

If you are under the care of  UC Health and if the test comes back negative, then you are responsible to pay for any ongoing care (but the initial consultation and the test still remains free) – whether your insurance covers this is up to the insurance to determine. UC Health will invoice you their normal fee.

If the initial consultation does not warrant a COVID-19 test, then UC Health will bulk bill Studentsafe (or the student will pay if they have another insurer).

 Q: Insurance – things to know about COVID-19 related claims

Pandemics are usually excluded from insurance policies. The University preferred provider (Studentsafe/Allianz) has issued a statement previously stating that policies purchased after 30 January this year are purchased with awareness of COVID-19, hence the insurance company won’t pay any claim that is caused by, or in any way connected with this event for policies purchased after this date.  It is recommended, however, that you do submit a claim for medical and medical repatriation costs if your insurance policy was purchased prior to 30 January 2020. 

The exclusion clause is imposed by the insurer and is outside the University’s control. However, as COVID-19 is a notifiable disease, it is expected that the key medical costs associated with the disease would be covered through the public healthcare. For more information, please see the Ministry of Health website.


Q: I want to drop down to two courses this semester - will this affect my visa?

In the first instance, please contact the Student Care Team ( to discuss your circumstances.

Immigration New Zealand requires a minimum of three courses (minimum of 45-course points per semester) to qualify for a student visa. At this stage, Immigration has not changed this requirement for student visa holders. 

For information regarding Immigration New Zealand’s response concerning COVID-19 please see Student visa COVID-19 information.

We also suggest you discuss changes to your courses with your course coordinators. 

Q: How can I extend my student visa?

Current students that need to extend their visa and are residing in Christchurch may apply through UC. Please check out our webpage here. You can request assistance by emailing:


Q: When can my family come to join/visit me in NZ?

We appreciate your desire to be reunited with your family. However, travelling involves health risks to your family members, yourself, and potentially the New Zealand public. There are also practical limitations such as the travel restrictions imposed by governments. 

Immigration New Zealand has issued statements relating to visa application and travel. You can see updated information here. 

Q: How should I arrange travel home?

We appreciate the uncertainty that you may be feeling at this time. 

The New Zealand border is currently closed to almost all travellers to help stop the spread of COVID-19. The travel ban applies to all arrivals into New Zealand whether it is by air or sea. Find out the latest about travel here.

If you are considering travelling home, please contact your embassy or consulate general’s office and register your details with them. This means that you will receive the most updated travel and border restriction information from your home government. This also means that if your government has organised flights for its citizens to return home, you will be notified. 

Please be aware that once you return home, you will need to wait until any border restriction are lifted in order to return to New Zealand. 

UC are working closely with Universities New Zealand and the Ministry of Education to welcome a small number of international students back to Aotearoa New Zealand, and the UC campus, in 2021.

“The University of Canterbury’s top priority is the health and wellbeing of New Zealanders, and we’re proud of the work of UC academics and researchers, including Michael Plank, Alex James and Arin Basu, in highlighting the best practice in the fight against COVID-19. UC students overseas have had their study severely impacted, and we’re delighted that a small number will soon be able to return to Aotearoa to complete their studies.”
Tracey Wilson, Director of International Relations, University of Canterbury.

International postgraduate students returning to UC

In late 2020, a small number of international postgraduate students were approved to return to the UC campus following the initial government exemption, which will see up to 250 international postgraduate students return to Aotearoa New Zealand in 2021 to continue their research studies.

For more on the border exemption for international postgraduate students, including their COVID-19 and Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ) requirements, click here> 

International undergraduate students returning to UC

In early 2021, following the success of the initial border exemption process, the New Zealand government announced a second exemption that would allow up to 1,000 undergraduate students to return to Aotearoa New Zealand, in stages, to continue their tertiary study.

New Zealand’s education sector are working closely to identify the students eligible for the new exemption. We will be in touch with those who we believe will fit into our allocations, once final details have been confirmed.

For more on the border exemption for international undergraduate students, including their COVID-19 and Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ) requirements, click here>

Working from home for staff (equipment, office supplies, IT, health and safety)

In order to ensure the University continues to operate effectively it is crucial that we are all ready for a potential lockdown and a subsequent move to working from home, on very short notice (+/-24hrs).

IT Assistance
All key information can be found on the ITS Website - - Staff TAB

If you need any advice or help refer to the ITS Website, if your request is urgent please call the ITS Service Desk on ext 95000.

Working from Home Set-Up and Health and Safety
Please refer to the University’s Protocol: Working from Home for Managers/Heads and Staff specifically in relation to COVID-19 

Ensure you are registered for Remote access:

Most work undertaken at home will be on a computer. Please complete the Online Ergonomic Self-AssessmentIf specific ergonomic equipment is required, the University will do its best to provide it, however this is subject to availability and practicality depending upon the alert level we are in.

In order to support you effectively whilst working from home, and in particular supporting our essential online teaching and learning programmes, please contact your manager to ensure your work set-up is well placed to support you. It is important to first try to source items from within the University. Our experience during the previous lockdown was that it is best to be prepared - think headsets, desks, multiple monitors, monitor stands, etc. We would expect staff to take chairs from their desks and return it when the alert level drops.

If you have IT assets at home, please register the asset IDs with your Manager.

Purchases and Office supplies
When working from home we should follow the normal purchase procedures.  This involves raising a requisition through your Buyer and using a Purchase Order. New suppliers will be required to complete a supplier set up form. Most purchases will follow this route. 

Note: The University does not purchase print devices for home use. If volume printing is required, please contact

In the event of an emergency purchase being required, confirm the purchase with your Manager first, then contact Procurement who have the relationships with our suppliers and may be able to organise special terms. P Cards can only be used in an emergency if there is no existing supplier relationship that can provide the necessary item or service. Check Unimarket for existing suppliers or contact Procurement on

The University is a large organisation and has the support of the Government.  There is no risk to suppliers not being paid.  Generally, our terms are payment 20th of the month following the month of receipt of invoice. Do not agree to payment in advance without consulting Procurement (

A reminder about purchasing and good governance.

UC Provided Staff Mobiles (data)
If you have a UC mobile phone and you are getting data warnings, don't panic.  The IT team have worked with our provider to ensure that our pool is large enough to manage these increases during this time.

Last updated: Nov 19, 2021 08:13