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To: Vice Chancellors and Chief Executives of New Zealand Universities and Polytechnics
Record our classes in response to COVID-19
Dear Vice Chancellors and Chief Executives of New Zealand Universities and Polytechnics
We are students across New Zealand universities and polytechnics asking for your support during the COVID-19 public health crisis.
As the government increases travel restrictions and encourages people to avoid mass gatherings, we want to ensure that our safety is met with help and support from our education providers.
We believe that these measures need to be introduced urgently. Although classes have not yet been cancelled, it is important that we are supported to stay home when we begin to feel any signs of sickness or where it is important we self-isolate to protect members of our family who have heightened vulnerability.
As a temporary measure during the COVID-19 pandemic, recordings should be available to ALL students, not only those with medical certificates or those who are in self-isolation. This is because we want to avoid over burdening the already inundated health service and to give students flexibility to stay home if they are feeling unwell.
Why is this important?
➡️PLEASE RECORD ALL OUR CLASSES
Please record all our classes, lecturers, tutorials and workshops.
➡️PLEASE MAKE ALTERNATIVE ARRANGEMENTS WHERE RECORDING IS REALLY NOT POSSIBLE
We understand that not all classes can be recorded. We’re not talking about classes that are best taught in a face-to-face context, because we know that showing up to class is the best option.
We are talking about laboratories, practical courses and trades classes that for reasons of practicality are not able to be recorded.
Alternative arrangements could look like:
1) Rearranging the course schedule so that all physical workshops and laboratories are taught in an intensive block period once the progression of COVID-19 has slowed.
2) Putting all course materials, including readings and additional materials online.
3) Adjusting the assessments or the assessment schedule so that students do not have to be physically present in classes. This could include relaxing requirements about physical assessment hand-ins.
➡️PLEASE SUPPORT STUDENTS
Class recordings alleviate inequity in our community, as they ensure that students who need to self-isolate for personal reasons are not punished for doing so.
However, there are issues that need to be catered for.
This includes making financial and practical support available to students and staff who do not have access to the internet or a device.
It also means continuing to pay ALL staff, including those on casual contracts such as students who work as tutors, demonstrators or research assistants.
If classes are cancelled, teaching staff should be supported to record classes off campus, or host classes over Zoom.
We would also appreciate increased availability and monitoring of hand sanitizers, soap and clean paper towels on campus to prevent the spread of germs.
We understand that there are financial limitations to the tertiary sector recording all classes. We strongly encourage you to collaborate and work together, and to support smaller institutions in your region. In a public health crisis like this, it is far better for everyone to work together.
New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations
Te Mana Ākonga
Auckland University Students’ Association
Massey University Students’ Association
Albany Students’ Association
Otago University Students’ Association
Student Connection Weltec and Whitireia
Students Association at Wintec
Lincoln University Students’ Association
Victoria University of Wellington Students’ Association
Massey University of Wellington Students’ Association
Waikato Students' Union