Unvaccinated people are banned on tertiary campuses, but online study is an option

Staff and students will need to be vaccinated to come to Massey University campuses next year.

David Unwin / Tips

Staff and students will need to be vaccinated to come to Massey University campuses next year.

Palmerston North higher education students and staff will need to be vaccinated for Covid-19 to be on campus next year, although online studies will remain an option for the unvaccinated.

Massey University and polytech UCOL have introduced Covid-19 vaccination mandates where people will need to be vaccinated to be on campus.

Massey’s vaccination policy goes into effect on February 14, which includes all face-to-face and campus teaching facilities such as libraries, gymnasiums, health departments and accommodation rooms.

UCOL will only allow vaccinated people on campus, starting February 1.

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Massey’s Vice-Chancellor Jan Thomas said in a statement the move was intended to balance the rights of people to make their own decisions about vaccinations against the rights of people who want to study and work in a safe environment.

“Massey has an obligation to protect the health, safety and well-being of our Whānau University.

“While we realize that not everyone agrees with the policy, we believe this is the best course of action to keep our campuses and people safe.”

Thomas said the university would work with students who did not want to be vaccinated so that they could complete their studies remotely.

There are many courses available through e-learning, which the unvaccinated can register for.

Massey University Vice Chancellor Jan Thomas said Massey had an obligation to protect the university whānau.

David Unwin / Tips

Massey University Vice Chancellor Jan Thomas said Massey had an obligation to protect the university whānau.

A Massey spokeswoman said the university will collect information from staff and students about their immunization status by February 14.

It did not have the number of people vaccinated, but a recent anonymous survey of over 6,500 staff and students showed that 94.4% of staff and 88.2% of students were fully or partially vaccinated.

The spokeswoman said the university will work with staff who have chosen not to be vaccinated to find a solution appropriate to their role.

The university did not provide its staff.

Visitors and entrepreneurs on campus will need to show their vaccination card and register securely.

Staff, students and visitors will need to show their vaccination cards to access facilities, including the library, recreation centers and food outlets.

Massey’s decision on its vaccine policy will be reviewed in November.

A spokesperson for UCOL said the institute wanted everyone to be sure they can get to campuses safely and to minimize the risk of transmitting the disease.

If a UCOL staff member does not get vaccinated, options will be considered, including redeployment, but if redeployment is not viable, they have the right to terminate their employment, according to the policy.

UCOL did not provide figures on the number of students and staff vaccinated.

When the policy is implemented next year, UCOL will ask staff and students for their immunization status, most likely by checking immunization cards.

The spokeswoman said circumstances would vary for each unvaccinated student.

“Some may not be able to complete their degree course due to a work placement requirement. UCOL will engage in good faith in a process to identify alternative options for each student.

She said online study may be an option.

UCOL develops the details of access to the campus. Staff and students can access the sites with their ID card, while the public is greeted at the main entrance on Princess Street.

UCOL has 470 employees, including 342 in Manawatū, 65 in Whanganui, 47 in Wairarapa, 6 in Horowhenua and 10 at smaller sites.

It had 7,318 domestic students this year and 297 international students.

Massey had 30,048 students this year, including 3,514 international students.