COVID-19 Info for Research Students: Update #6

Kia ora Graduate Research Students,

This Update #6 provides guidance for you with regard to Level 3 and additional information relevant to support, changes and opportunities.  

New Zealand COVID-19 Alert Levels

New Zealand’s COVID-19 Alert Level will change to Level 3 at 11.59pm Monday 27 April. Under Level 3 it is expected that graduate research students and AUT staff continue to work from home/remotely whenever possible.

You can find the latest information on COVID-19 from New Zealand’s COVID-19 information website and via AUT’s COVID-19 update page (and doctoral candidates can also access the AUTi COVID-19 intranet page).

Access to and use of AUT Campus Facilities Under Level 3

Some of you may be hoping/expecting that you will be able to access AUT campus facilities in a Level 3 scenario (i.e. from Tuesday 28 April). AUT will not be re-opening its campuses and will only be permitting access via application and in special circumstances (note that all your electronic access swipe cards have been temporarily disabled).

Applications to access any campus facility (including AUT Millennium) should be made via your Primary Supervisor and you must provide these special circumstances. Approval for these applications will be considered by the relevant Head of School and the decision made by the Faculty Dean.

If you are granted permission to access a campus building you will need to download the AUT app because it will be needed to enter and exit spaces around the University. This is to allow us to meet Government tracking requirements for contact tracing. The app only records the scanning of QR codes and the information is only stored by AUT, for the purposes of contact tracing. The AUT app can be downloaded from the Apple Store and Google Play.

Tech Central Access for Students who do not have Internet or Computers at Home

Tech Central will reopen on Tuesday 28 April at the City Campus (WA409A), North Campus (AL125) and South Campus (MA202/MAPODS). Hours are Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. Students must apply online (Note: Due to physical distancing requirements, space is limited).

Contact tracing will be in place and the spaces will be fitted with distancing markers and hand sanitiser. Equipment will be cleaned between each use. Contactless student ICT support will be provided by freephone: 0800 288 428

Relocating AUT Equipment to Home

If a graduate research student wishes to relocate AUT equipment to their home (such as computers, testing devices, tools) they must seek specific permission via their primary supervisor. The primary supervisor must obtain written permission via their Head of School and Faculty Dean to access a campus and relocate this equipment. Again, this will only be approved in special circumstances.

Accessing AUT IT Services from Home

AUT has created an opportunity for you to remotely access AUT computers from home. This may be useful for you if you wish to access data/software that is stored on the AUT computing system. You can find out more information on this via this video tutorial.

The Fees-free Research Project/Dissertation/Thesis Extension Paper

Enrolment into the COVID-19 fees-free extension paper occurs on completion of your current enrolment at the request of your primary supervisor.

AUT Doctoral and Vice-Chancellor’s Doctoral Scholarships

Current AUT funded doctoral scholarship students may apply to have their scholarship extended for the period of their enrolment extension. These applications must be made via the AUT Scholarships Office (scholarships@aut.ac.nz) and will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Currently Enrolled International PhD Students Overseas

The Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) has relaxed the requirement of a maximum of 12 months overseas for research related activities for international PhD students paying domestic tuition fees. This only applies to the period of time affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. When it becomes possible, international PhD students will be expected to return to New Zealand to complete their PhD programme.

Amendments to Research Ethics Approvals

All existing AUTEC approvals for research which brings researchers into close proximity to human participants are suspended until New Zealand is placed in below Alert Level 2 (ie. Alert Level 1 or zero/no alert level). Graduate research students and their supervisors who wish to amend their research to collect data using more distant/remote means can put in an application to amend their AUTEC approval.

Financial Support Options

Financial hardship grant: AUT’s Student Hub manages a short-term financial hardship grant which can be made available via application for deserving students. Graduate research students (domestic and international) are eligible to apply. For more specific advice and information on potential sources of financial support for students please email: studenthub@aut.ac.nz

Stay Connected

The Graduate Research School is offering a number of “Stay Connected” opportunities. These will be offered via Zoom and are as follows:

Coffee with Annalise If you have any questions related to research support, or you just want company to chat about your day over coffee, drop in for a chat with GRS staff member Annalise Davidson. The online drop-in sessions are scheduled on:

*Sessions may change subject to demand

Korero with the Dean: Prof Mark Orams, Dean of the Graduate Research School will be offering online “drop-ins” for graduate research students and supervisors for Q&As. The next scheduled session is 10-11am Wednesday 29 April: Access through Zoom

Online Resources and Learning Opportunities

The Graduate Research School is continuing to develop and offer online resources for graduate research students and their supervisors on the Student Digital Workspace (SDW) and here on Thesislink. In particular, you may find this resource on “Doing Fieldwork in a Pandemic” helpful in re-thinking your research plans.

Health and Wellbeing

Emiliana Faapoi, Postgraduate Student Support Advisor with the Graduate Research School, is offering one-to-one sessions for graduate research students who are feeling anxious and isolated during this challenging time. Please contact Emiliana to make an appointment: emiliana.faapoi@aut.ac.nz

To book an appointment with Student Counselling and Mental Health please phone (09) 921 9292 or email counselling@aut.ac.nz

The next Wellness Toolkit session focuses on “Building resilience – Self-care and self-compassion” and is on Wednesday 13 May, 3pm – 4.30pm via Microsoft Teams.

Employment and Tenancy Issues Support

The AUT Students Association (AUTSA) Advocacy Team can help you if need advice and support with regard to your rental accommodation and/or employment. The team can be contacted via email advocacy@aut.ac.nz or text/call 021 195 1178.  Information about other services they provide can be found on the website.

Assistance for Graduate Research Students Supporting Whanau/Families

Students with family, especially our international students with children who may not have enough money for food can find out about organisations who are providing food parcels to those in need on this website COVID-19 Auckland Support Advice and Resources.

Fun Stuff to Do When You Are Taking a Break

Studio 55 is the official “maker-space” of the AUT Library. They are offering fun and creative projects which people can do from home during their down-time. They are also on Facebook and Instagram and encourage people to share ideas or photos of their masterpieces.

Enquiries, Questions and Concerns

If you have any specific concerns, questions or issues you would like help with, please email the GRS grs@aut.ac.nz and we will do all we can to help you.

Noho ora mai rā

Graduate Research School Team

About Graduate Research School (Auckland University of Technology)

The Auckland University of Technology Graduate Research School offers support and resources to all postgraduate students at AUT. Come and visit us on the 5th floor of the WU building.

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