COVID-19 Info for Research Students: Update #9

Kia ora Graduate Research Students,

The opportunities provided under Alert Level 2 will be a relief for many of you. As you will have seen via the media announcements, we have much more flexibility now, but we must remain disciplined and vigilant in following the Ministry of Health guidelines (see COVID-19 information website).

This week’s update report provides you with information relevant to the permissions and conditions for resuming (or continuing) with your mahi (work) as a graduate research student.

We recognise that, for some of you, this will continue to constrain your ability to return to your projects and this will be frustrating. Please try to remain patient and do reach out to us at the GRS (grs@aut.ac.nz) if you need help.

You can find the latest information on AUT’s operations under Alert Level 2 via our COVID-19 update page (and doctoral candidates can also access the AUTi COVID-19 intranet page).

Access to Campus Facilities During Alert Level 2

In general, we’re asking everyone to continue to work remotely until the end of semester one (18 June 2020) if possible. However, if you consider that access to a campus facility is crucial for your work you can apply for permission to access a campus building/facility via the following process: 

  1. Request access via your Primary Supervisor. You will need to demonstrate the reasons why returning to a campus building/facility is essential for your work as a graduate research student.
  2. Your Primary Supervisor, if they support your request, will need to seek approval from their relevant Head of School (or line manager). The ultimate authority to approve requests sits with the relevant Faculty Dean.  
  3. If your request to access a campus building/facility is approved, you then need to fill out the AUT On-site Access Request Form (note this applies both for a once only access, including picking up equipment, and approval for ongoing access). You need to complete this form in order for AUT to meet our contact tracing obligations under Alert Level 2 conditions.
  4. The AUT Estates/Security department will then contact you with instructions on how to arrange your visit(s) to campus. 
  5. Before coming on campus download the AUT mobile app and “tag in-and-out” of all spaces on campus, by scanning the QR code at key access points. You can download the AUT app from the AppleStore or Google Play onto your smartphone. 

Protocols for social distancing (minimum of one metre from others), maximum of groups of 10 people, hygiene (e.g. frequent hand washing; coughing/sneezing into your elbow; no sharing of equipment/work stations without appropriate cleaning) must be strictly followed when on campus (or elsewhere).

IF YOU DO NOT FEEL WELL, DO NOT COME TO CAMPUS.

Contact your health professional (GP) or the Health Line ph 0800 611 116

Please note: Access to certain areas on campus may be restricted for safety and security reasons.

If you are granted permission to access campus buildings and facilities this will be restricted to between the hours of 7.30am to 5.30pm on weekdays only. 

Guidance for Ethical Research Practice Under Alert Level 2 

AUTEC advises that data collection involving physical proximity to other people may resume at Alert Level 2 as long as researchers and participants are complying with Ministry of Health Guidelines, including: 

  • Limiting the size of gatherings; 
  • Maintaining physical distancing; and 
  • Collecting sufficient information to enable quick and accurate contact tracing should the Ministry of Health request it. 

AUTEC encourages graduate research students to consult with their Primary Supervisor, and the AUTEC Secretariat if necessary, to develop protocols that are in line with Ministry of Health guidelines, and appropriate for their specific research project. If these protocols are different than those approved for your research project by AUTEC, you will need to seek an amendment (via your Primary Supervisor) to your approval using the EA2 form which can be found here

You are also reminded to prioritise the safety of your research participants, yourself and any research assistants, particularly when people in an at-risk category are involved. 

Please submit new Ethics Applications and Amendments to existing AUTEC approvals by email to ethics@aut.ac.nz. Submit these in a single .pdf file containing the application and related documents with the EA form at the beginning and the other documents in the order stated in the form. 

Start Your Day With a Karakia

AUT Assistant Pro-Vice Chancellor Dr Valance Smith is leading a karakia (blessing/prayer) to begin each week-day for our AUT whanau (family). If you wish to join in with this kaupapa (customary practice) please link in via Zoom (use the password: autaia) at 9am each week-day.

Māoritanga – Our Culture is What Connects Us 

The Office of Maori Advancement is forming a community to help our whānau build a greater understanding of Te Reo Māori and Māori culture. Their online social platform will provide a space for exploration and learning new perspectives – and how to incorporate them into your studies, professional and personal life.

If you’re interested in joining, please complete the form to express your interest and we’ll be in touch.

Helping You to Get “Job-Ready”

Graduate research students are invited to engage in the online workshops run by AUT’s Employability and Careers team to get prepare for future employment opportunities. Read more.

Exclusive Webinar with Nigel Latta and Natalie Flynn on How to Stay Motivated  

AUT is offering a unique opportunity to our students and staff to tune into an exclusive webinar with Nigel Latta and Natalie Flynn, well known psychologists and authors. Hear from these experts on how to how to stay healthy, manage stress and anxiety, overcome feelings of isolation – and stay motivated in difficult times.  Register here for the event on Tuesday 19 May.

Staying Connected

The Graduate Research School is continuing to offer 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 scheduled for 10-11am Wednesday 20 May. Click here to gain access through Zoom.

Shut Up and Write (SUAW) Zoom Sessions

SUAW sessions are now available via Zoom. The online drop-in sessions are scheduled on Mondays 9:30 – 11:45am. Access through Zoom.

Continued development of SDW and Thesislink

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.

Stay well, be kind and hold onto your ambitions for your degree. You will get there!

Noho ora mai rā,

The 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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