Our current status
Currently, New Zealand is at COVID-19 Alert Level 2, meaning there is more freedom of movement, but all activity needs to be undertaken safely and social distancing should be maintained.
To continue to serve and support the MDS community, as well as doing our part to limit the spread of COVID-19, we will continue to deliver all programmes remotely for the duration of Level 2. Our current plan is to return to campus in the week beginning 6th of July for all programmes, providing New Zealand is at Alert Level 1 by that stage.
Our physical campus remains inaccessible to staff (with the exception of Approved Staff), students and public at Alert Level 2, however our team are still here to help. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone 09 303 0402.
The key points for students to be aware of at this stage are:
- Student swipe card access will remain deactivated until further notice.
- All programmes will continue to be delivered remotely, using the interactive tools that your tutors and lecturers will have shared with you. The remote learning set up looks a little different for each programme, so make sure you are in regular communication with your faculty to ensure you are prepared to learn safely and effectively from home.
- Attendance remains mandatory in our remote learning environment. Your tutors will be taking attendance in your virtual classrooms, so you still need to email email@example.com if you are unable to attend class.
- We are continuing to work on the practicalities of our eventual return to campus in the week beginning 6th July, providing we are at Alert Level 1 by then. This will be a gradual, flexible process for both staff and students, and we will be ready to adjust our plans in line with any changes in the government’s advice. Remote learning options will remain in place during the transition, so students will have the option to return to campus or continue learning from home at Alert Level 1.
Help is here for you.
Our wonderful School Counsellor, Flora, is available to help you work through any feelings of stress and anxiety you may be experiencing and can provide sessions via Skype or Zoom. Simply email firstname.lastname@example.org to get in touch with her. You will also have received a number of emails detailing the Student Services that remain available to you remotely, so please make sure to frequently check your Student Emails.
Learning from Home
Learning remotely may present challenges for some students, so we want to remind you that we are here to support you as best we can throughout this time. We want to ensure that all students have a safe space from which to work, so if you do have any concerns about learning from home, please reach out to your Programme Leader. We are committed to assisting you to ensure you can continue to learn.
We are here to guide you throughout this process.
This is a challenging time for everyone, but remember that support is here. If you have general questions or concerns about our immediate plans, you can email email@example.com or phone 09 303 0402.
The key points for staff to be aware of at this stage are:
- Only Approved Staff will be able to access the campus during Alert Level 2 and strict contact tracing measures will be in place. Staff wishing to access campus will need to discuss their requirements with their managers, as well as submitting a request to Xanthe detailing their situation.
- Remember that Gwen Arago-Kemp is able to provide support around Working from Home Checklists and workplans. Our IT Team are also offering remote support. A reminder to log any tickets through the Helpdesk, rather than emailing the team directly.
Help is here for you.
This is an uncertain and sometimes stressful time for all of us. Remember that the EAP programme is available free to all staff and is a great resource to draw on if you are experiencing feelings of stress and anxiety
The 24 hour phone number is 0800 327 669 or visit: https://www.eapservices.co.nz/services/employee-assistance-programme/.
Advice from the MoH
Advice from the NZ Ministry of Health
New Zealand's dedicated COVID-19 website contains a wealth of useful advice and information around protecting yourself and our wider community.
The government have issued clear guidelines for Alert Level 2 that are essential for everyone to understand and adhere to.
Practising social distancing and maintaining good hygiene are the most important way to stop the spread of infection.
Basic hygiene measures include:
- hand hygiene – that is, washing hands regularly with soap and water, or cleansing with hand sanitiser
- staying at home and contacting your healthcare provider if you are sick
- coughing or sneezing into a tissue or your elbow and then performing hand hygiene
- cleaning surfaces regularly.
The use of personal protective equipment (PPE), such as face masks can reduce the spread of infection when used correctly and in the appropriate context. For most people in the community, PPE such as face masks are not recommended. However, for people with symptoms of an acute respiratory infection, the World Health Organization recommends that there may be benefit in wearing a face mask to reduce the spread of infection to other people.
Alert Level 2
Advice from the government about what you should do
We have now entered COVID-19 Alert Level 2, meaning we now have more freedom of movement, but it’s up to each one of us to keep the rest of New Zealand safe. Business are able to open if they can do so safely, travel between regions is now permitted and social gatherings of up to 10 people can now take place.
That said, there is still a need to maintain physical distancing and widespread testing will continue. For, clear comprehensive details on what you can do at Level 2, visit the COVID-19 Level 2 page.
Remember, that no matter which Alert Level we find ourselves at:
Food will always be available – production will continue, distribution will continue, supermarkets will continue. You will always have access to food.
Medicines will always be available.
Healthcare for those that need it will be available.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) still do not recommend travel outside of New Zealand. In order to reduce the chances of COVID-19 spreading within New Zealand, additional border measures have been implemented and domestic travel is still restricted.
You'll find more detail about travel restrictions here.
Symptoms of COVID-19
- difficulty breathing.
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, make sure to phone your healthcare provider, or the dedicated COVID-19 Healthline number: 0800 358 5453.
Difficulty breathing is a sign of possible pneumonia and requires immediate medical attention.
Practising good hand and sneeze/cough hygiene is the best defence against most viruses. We encourage all students and staff to:
wash their hands often with soap and water before and after eating as well as after attending the toilet
avoid contact with others (including touching, kissing, hugging, and other intimate contact)
cough and sneeze into their elbow
It is worth reiterating that good hygiene and ongoing health is essential in ensuring our campuses are healthy and productive places. We always encourage students and staff to practice the highest standards.
Managing your mental wellbeing
The Ministry of Health website has a lot of helpful information on managing our mental health during this time:
We are in uncertain and unprecedented times, and everyone will respond differently to how COVID-19 is impacting them.
It’s completely normal for people to be feeling a wide range of emotions, including worried, anxious, scared.
We are all in this together, and while we might not be able to be physically in touch right now, it’s important to stay connected in other ways.
New Zealand is known for its manaakitanga and now more than ever we need to remember the power of kindness and uniting together.
While there are things that we can’t control at the moment, there are things you can do to boost your mental wellbeing and that of your loved ones.
Top ways to look after your mental wellbeing
- Staying connected with others is so important for our wellbeing and helps to make us feel safer, less stressed and less anxious. We can support each other to get through this. While we are limiting social contact to contain the spread of COVID-19, there are still lots of ways we can connect.
- Acknowledge your feelings and reach out for support. It is completely normal to feel overwhelmed, stressed, anxious, worried or scared in the current situation. Allow yourself time to notice and express what you are feeling. This could be by writing them down in a journal, talking to others, doing something creative, or practising meditation. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling, or make use of MDS's trusted counselling resources.
If over days and weeks your distress or stress symptoms are escalating or you feel you are not coping, all Media Design School's network of support is here to help you. Students can speak with our Student Counsellor, Flora, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, and staff can access the EAP at any time. You can also call or text 1737 to talk with a trained counsellor for free, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- Wherever possible we should try to stick to our daily routines. Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time, eat at regular times, shower, change your clothes, have regular e-meetings with colleagues or virtual coffee dates with friends, do your chores. Meditating and exercising can help you to relax and have a positive impact on your thoughts. Try not to increase unhealthy habits like comfort eating, drinking or smoking.
- Assisting other people who might need help and reaching out to those who may be feeling alone or concerned can benefit both you and the person receiving support.
- Seek accurate information from legitimate sources. You may find it useful to limit your media intake. Get the facts in order to help distinguish facts from rumours. Seek information updates at specific times during the day once or twice.
- If you are currently getting help with your mental health, continue with this if possible and notice if your symptoms are getting worse. Talk to Flora, your GP, counsellor, case worker or mental health team about how they can continue supporting you. Can your appointments take place over the phone, via email, text or video chat? What tips do they have to help you get through? Who can you call if you need help urgently? Write this down so you have it handy when you need it.
See the Ministry of Health's advice on wellbeing in self-isolation for more information.
Where can I get more information?
While we are working hard to keep this page updated as we receive new advice, the Ministry of Health's website is your best source of up to date information.
If you have other questions or concerns, contact Healthline at 0800 358 5453 or your GP for medical advice. Healthline has translators and interpreters available 24/7 in 150 languages and they do have Mandarin and Cantonese speaking staff available.