Information for parents and whānau

With Omicron starting to rapidly increase across Aotearoa New Zealand, we want to reassure you that we have plans and processes in place to ensure the safety and wellbeing of your loved one while they are studying with us. 

Our focus is on ensuring our students feel supported and informed so their focus can be on their study and settling into student life. 

Our top priority is the welfare and wellbeing of any student who is isolating for any reason. 

We’ve been working closely with organisations like the Southern District Health Board (SDHB) and are working within new guidelines provided by the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health. These outline how Covid-19 cases will be managed on our campuses and teaching sites across all three COVID-19 phases. If you want to read the full guidelines, you can access it via the Ministry of Education website.  

Plans and processes
  • We’ve been following the Ministry of Education’s contact tracing processes and continue to adapt these according to the phase that New Zealand is in.
  • We have a good system in place for registering positive cases and close contacts so we can check on their welfare and provide support/food/medicine if needed.
  • We cancelled our Dunedin-based graduation and are holding an online celebration instead – we have also asked our registered graduates if they would like an ‘alternative’ celebration once we reach the ‘orange’ setting.
  • We cancelled on campus orientation events but provided an online welcome video, along with online support information and resources (our staff are also ensuring contact is made with students so we know they have everything they need, especially those starting with us for the first time).
  • We’re limiting numbers of people on campus by ensuring that some staff can still work from home.
  • We have a cleaning programme in place with a focus on high-touch areas, and our teams are prepared for deep cleaning if required.
Rules on campus
  • Masks have to be worn in all indoor settings (i.e. in all public spaces and in classrooms -unless students have an exemption). Masks can be removed when eating and drinking.
  • We’re also encouraging everyone to maintain excellent personal health and hygiene measures.
Support for your loved one

We know the timing of this outbreak isn’t great, with many of our students arriving in Dunedin for the first time. Our top priority is the welfare and wellbeing of our students. We want, as much as possible, for them to enjoy their first semester with us and to become familiar with the support and services that we offer. 

  • We’ve created an online welcome video which we’ve played across our channels.
  • We’ve also created an online student support video directing them to our services.
  • We’ve set up a dedicated Covid support webpage (
  • And we have a wide range of student support and welfare services.
  • Money and technology assistance can be gained through our Student Hardship Fund (application form here >)
  • And we’re offering food/essential items support by delivering food/care parcels to those students most in need.
  • Any student who tests positive for Covid or who is isolating is encouraged to let us know by filling in the relevant form (these have been sent to students).
  • Within this form, we are asking students if they want a welfare check in or if they need support with food or medicine (or anything else).
  • Our student support team and volunteers from across our staff community are then making these checks or delivering the parcels.  
How we're keeping our students up-to-date
  • We’re keeping our website up-to-date with the latest information and are also sending regular emails to our students.
  • We have advised students to add a forwarding email address to their OP student account if they’d rather just keep checking their personal email accounts.
  • We have an online Student Hub where updates, info and key links are added for all students to see. We’re also posting updates on our social media channels (OP Facebook and OP Instagram).
  • We pulled together a PowerPoint for all our lecturers to show to their students during the first couple of weeks of their study. And lecturers were also provided with our student support online video to play for students.
What you can do

Please encourage your loved one to:

  • get the booster (vaccination is still the key way to slow the spread of the virus and to lessen symptoms)
  • get tested if they feel unwell and/or develop symptoms
  • tell Otago Polytechnic if they test positive or are needing to isolate
  • not be shy if they need support or help and to reach out to us – it’s what we’re here for!
Any questions?

If you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to get in touch with us.