Tertiary and international students
COVID-19 Tertiary and international education bulletins for providers and students
The bulletin is our central channel for communicating key COVID-19 information to tertiary and international education providers and students.
Where else can students find more information?
- You can email your questions to:
- You can read our detailed tertiary education guidance about the traffic light system on COVID-19 Protection Framework for tertiary and international sector
- Additional detailed information on vaccinations and study continuity is available at Information on vaccinations and study continuity
- For general information on the traffic light system, visit COVID-19 Protection Framework (traffic lights) — covid19.govt.nz
- For health advice, please refer to the Ministry of Health’s website COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) — health.govt.nz
- For resources in Te Reo Māori, visit Te reo Māori — covid19.govt.nz
- For information to support Pacific communities, visit Ministry for Pacific Peoples — Facebook
- For resources in sign language and easy read formats, visit Alternate formats — covid19.govt.nz
- To keep updated on travel restrictions and visa information visit COVID-19 — immigration.govt.nz
- For advice for international students in New Zealand, visit COVID-19: what you need to know — naumainz.studyinnewzealand.govt.nz
What the traffic light system means for students
Rules for tertiary education at Red
From 11:59pm Monday 4 April 2022, there is no longer a government vaccination requirement for staff, students, or visitors to go onsite at a tertiary education premises at Red.
Tertiary providers may still maintain vaccination requirements for staff where these requirements continue to be supported by an updated workplace health and safety risk assessment, but the reason will need to be specific to their role and set of circumstances. If you are a student and you also work for your provider (for example as a tutor), you will need to follow the staff vaccination requirements of your provider, if applicable.
Tertiary providers may also require students and visitors who come onsite to provide evidence of vaccination, for example to align with a workplace health and safety policy, provided this does not breach any contractual restrictions or laws (including the Human Rights Act).
Tertiary providers should work with their staff, students and representative organisations when identifying workplace health and safety risks and how these will be managed.
At Red, tertiary education can continue, with extra public health measures in place. However, if you don’t want to come into physical learning environments, you should talk to your provider about options for learning remotely.
Everyone on tertiary education premises will need to wear a face mask indoors when attending formal teaching or learning activities, or if they are on the parts of the premises that are open to the public. There are some exceptions to this – for example, people with a condition that means they can’t wear a face mask. Staff may choose not to wear a face mask while presenting in class if they are able to maintain 2m physical distancing from others (unless required by their tertiary education provider).
Providers will also need to put limits in place for how many people can be in a certain area at the same time. This should be clearly communicated to students.
What institutions must follow the tertiary education requirements at Red?
The tertiary education requirements at Red affect universities, Te Pūkenga, wānanga, private training establishments (PTEs) and community education providers (except for registered schools). The tertiary education requirements at Red do not apply to government training establishments (e.g. Royal New Zealand Police College).
These requirements for tertiary at Red apply anywhere that tertiary education happens onsite at your provider. This includes lecture and tutorial rooms, campus libraries, computer rooms, and student common areas. There is more information about campus gyms, cafes and shops below.
Tertiary providers must not impose vaccine requirements in some situations
There are some places where a tertiary education provider must not impose a vaccination requirement.
Your tertiary provider (or a business or service operating onsite at a tertiary provider) must not deny you access on vaccination grounds if you want to go into any place or service that meets a basic need (e.g. most health and disability services, early childhood education and schools, dairies, pharmacies, and supermarkets). However, vaccination mandates may apply to workers in some of these businesses (e.g. health and disability services).
Furthermore, in general a tertiary provider must not deny you access on vaccination grounds if you are a secondary school student going onto a tertiary education site as part of your learning (e.g. part of a school learning programme, or a secondary-tertiary course like STAR or Gateway). However, if your learning on the tertiary education site takes place in a workplace that is subject to a workforce vaccination requirement, either imposed by government or by the tertiary provider or business themselves, then you are required to be vaccinated. See also below on what workforce vaccination requirements mean for secondary tertiary students.
The Government does not require you to be vaccinated to stay in student accommodation. However, accommodation providers may have put their own requirements in place. Tertiary accommodation providers should review their vaccination policies to ensure they align with current public health guidance.
Rules for tertiary education at Orange and Green
Providers may choose to put in place their own vaccination requirements at Orange and Green based on a workplace health and safety risk assessment. Providers should work with students and staff to make these plans, and should make sure that everyone is aware of what is required. Providers should also review these plans to ensure they continue to align with current public health guidance.
Public health measures (for example capacity limits, physical distancing, face masks and ventilation) are encouraged at Green, and strongly recommended at Orange
Workforce vaccination requirements continue to apply to some sectors
Workers in the following sectors are still covered by a government workforce vaccination mandate:
- health and disability sector workers
- prison staff
- border and MIQ workers.
The inclusions of these workforces in the Vaccination Order will be reviewed again by 27 June 2022 and 26 September 2022.
Anyone who works or volunteers in a sector covered by a Government workforce vaccination mandate will need to be vaccinated at Red, Orange and Green.
Furthermore, outside of the government vaccination mandates, businesses can assess whether specific work in their workplace requires vaccination if a risk assessment identifies this is necessary for work health and safety purposes.
Students who are doing placements in areas an area covered by a workforce vaccination requirement will need to be vaccinated.
You can find out more information about this on the Unite Against COVID-19 website.
What information do I have to give my provider or employer under workforce vaccination requirements?
If you’re required to be vaccinated under a government workforce vaccination mandate to continue your training or to work onsite at a tertiary provider, your provider or employer will request vaccination information from you. This will include asking whether you are vaccinated, the dates of your COVID-19 vaccine doses, and which vaccine(s) you received. This information may be gathered in addition to your My Vaccine Pass.
Providers have obligations under the Privacy Act 2020 and the COVID-19 Public Health Response Act about how they collect, hold, use and disclose your vaccination information. They should explain why the information is being collected, that the information will only be used to comply with relevant legislation and COVID-19 Orders, and what the consequences are if you do not provide the information requested.
What information do I have to give my provider if they implement their own vaccination requirement?
Providers may ask whether you have been vaccinated and to display your My Vaccine Pass, or other suitable evidence, if they consider there is a valid health and safety or public health purpose to obtain this information.
However, you do not have to disclose your vaccination status (unless there is a government workforce vaccination mandate that applies). If you choose not to disclose your vaccination status, tertiary education providers may assume that you are unvaccinated and this may have implications regarding your study.
Vaccination requirements may apply to secondary-tertiary students taking part in workplace-based
If a secondary school student is undertaking workplace-based learning as part of their course, and if there is a workforce vaccination requirement for that workforce, then these vaccination requirements take precedence over the school student vaccination mandate exemption. This includes vaccination mandates imposed by government (e.g., for healthcare workers) and by a tertiary provider or business themselves (based on a workplace health and safety risk assessment). This applies both where the workplace-based element occurs onsite at a tertiary provider or at a business (not onsite at a tertiary provider).
In these instances, these secondary-students must be vaccinated to participate in that specific programme (or that specific part of their programme that is work-based).
You can find out more information about workplace vaccination mandates on the Unite Against COVID-19 website.
You can find out more information about vaccination requirements in workplace-based learning outside of tertiary education premises on our website.
Rules for cafes, shops, gyms, and events on tertiary education sites
Cafes, shops and gyms on tertiary education sites must follow the requirements set out in the traffic light system that apply to that type of business (rather than the rules for tertiary providers). This could include capacity limits.
Events on tertiary education sites must also follow the requirements set out in the traffic light system. This could include limits to the number of people who can attend and face mask requirements.
You can find out more information on these requirements on the Unite Against COVID-19 website.
Providers’ obligations for supporting their students
Providers have obligations to students under the Education (Pastoral Care of Tertiary and International Learners) Code of Practice 2021 (the code). This includes requirements to support student wellbeing and safety, involve students and communities in decision-making, and share information in a timely, accessible, and transparent way. This includes when providers are making decisions relating to COVID-19.
You can find out more information about the code and what it means for you.
Providers should make sure you know whether any vaccination requirements apply to you, and how they might affect your study. This includes making sure you are informed before you enrol in course and during your study. If you may not be able to complete a qualification because you are unvaccinated, providers should advise you to withdraw before the withdrawal deadline.
Support while you are studying
Where possible, providers should work with students to provide online or alternative learning options for students who can’t, or don’t want to, go onsite.
Sometimes this may not be possible, for example, if a course has a large practical component that can’t be done online. We encourage providers to work with individual students in these situations.
If your class/course can’t be done online and you are still enrolled in study, StudyLink can keep on paying your loan or allowance. You can find out more information about this on the Studylink website.
StudyLink may also be able to help students facing urgent or unexpected costs. You can find more information about this on the StudyLink website.
The Hardship Fund for Learners (HAFL) provides temporary financial help for learners struggling because of COVID-19. It remains available until 30 June 2022.
Support if you have to withdraw from your study because of COVID-19
If you withdraw from your study because of COVID-19, you will stop getting your StudyLink loan or allowance. However, you might be able to get other financial help, such as a Jobseekers support benefit.
StudyLink may also be able to take this into account if you want to apply for a loan or allowance in future. You can find more information about this on the StudyLink website.
TEC may also be able to exclude this from counting towards any of your Fees Free entitlement. You can find out more information about this on the TEC website.
Codes of practice for the pastoral care of domestic and international learners
The new Code of Practice for the pastoral care of domestic and international learners, and the accompanying dispute resolution scheme for domestic tertiary learners, came into effect on 1 January 2022. The code sets out the expectations that tertiary education organisations and schools enrolling international students must meet for learners’ safety and wellbeing.
A key principle of the code is that students are able to make informed decisions about their wellbeing and safety, and that their provider supports them to access appropriate help when needed.
For more information about what the code means for you, visit: