COVID-19 – Information for Students and Whānau

 

23 March 2020

As you are aware the Corona Virus, also known as COVID-19 has recently been declared a global pandemic.  The Ministry of Health advises that with continued vigilance the chance of widespread community outbreak is expected to remain low.

This document has been prepared to give you and your whānau information about how New Zealand School of Radio is preparing and responding so we can continue to support you as best we can if things change. It also outlines what we need from you to help us do that.

As the COVID-19 landscape is changing every day, advice from the Ministry of Health is also subject to change, so we may need to also change how we respond and manage this situation.  Please keep in touch with Managing Director, Craig Wilson and check this site regularly for updates.

Some of our students have health issues or compromised immune systems that may make them more susceptible to COVID-19 complications. You may be one of these people or a family member which makes you of priority concern for us. We have been updating our pandemic and emergency response plans and are actively monitoring advice from the Ministry of Health and have an emergency management team in place so we can respond as needed.

 

On the 21 March, the Prime Minister announced an alert system for COVID-19. These set out the public health and social measures that need to be taken in New Zealand.

The alert levels are:

  • Level 1 – Prepare
    Disease is contained
  • Level 2 – Reduce
    Disease is contained, but risks of community transmission growing
  • Level 3 – Restrict
    Heightened risk that disease is not contained
  • Level 4 – Eliminate
    Likely that disease is not contained

 

New Zealand is currently at level 3 – Reduce for the next 48 hours and will then go to level 4- Eliminate on Wednesday

 

Level 4 Eliminate

Likely that disease is not contained.

 

Risk assessment

  • Sustained and intensive transmission
  • Widespread outbreaks

 

Range of measures (can be applied locally or nationally)

  • People instructed to stay at home
  • Educational facilities closed
  • Businesses closed except for essential services (e.g. supermarkets, pharmacies, clinics) and lifeline utilities
  • Rationing of supplies and requisitioning of facilities
  • Travel severely limited
  • Major reprioritisation of healthcare services

 

Source: Covid19.govt.nz

 

For New Zealand School of Radio this means:

  • Our classes are suspended as of Monday 23rd March and the school will be closed for the next four weeks as advised by the Ministry of Health. We encourage you to pick up the phone or send us an email, if you have questions or concerns.
  • Our team are continuing to prepare to work flexibly as required, so we can continue to offer you high-quality support.
  • Our team is currently considering options for the current semester students about completing the current course, we will work through those questions in the coming days.
  • Our doors will be closed and locked so there is no access.
  • We will still take applications for next semester however it is not guaranteed that semester 2 will go ahead, we will keep you advised.
  • The current scheduled Taster Course for April 7th will be cancelled and students will receive a full refund.
  • Core staff will be working from home.
  • Our work continues, albeit a little different to what some of us are used to. Be patient and kind with each other as we work through this.
  • Remember we are physical distancing and isolating ourselves, not socially isolating ourselves. Keep up the communication and online / phone interactions.
  • If you need anything or have any questions please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

 

So in order to protect the health of you, your family, our staff and the wider community it is important that we are all:

 

Looking after yourself – It is essential that we look after ourselves as well as those close to us. We have all heard the messages about personal hygiene practices and physical distancing and we simply need to implement them. We need to heed the messages about staying at home – from Wednesday we are all on self-isolation with limited allowable opportunities to access the community. If you have specific personal circumstances that could be impacted significantly by these events, then please talk to someone about this and we will certainly try our hardest to be of assistance to you.

Although we have now reached 102 cases, the outbreak is being contained but we know how quickly things can change. This is why the Government has chosen to implement Alert Levels 3 and 4 this week – this is our best shot at keeping this outbreak to reasonable levels. We can still hope for the best but must prepare and take action for the worst – this is just common-sense.

 

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It’s caused by a type of coronavirus. There are simple steps you can take to protect you and your family/whānau.

 

How is it spread?

COVID-19, like the flu, can be spread from person to person. When a person who has COVID-19 coughs, sneezes or talks, they may spread droplets containing the virus a short distance, which quickly settle on surrounding surfaces. You may get infected by the virus if you touch those surfaces or objects and then touch your mouth, nose or eyes. That’s why it’s really important to use good hygiene, regularly wash and thoroughly dry your hands, and use good cough etiquette.

 

Symptoms

COVID-19 can cause respiratory infection ranging from mild to severe. 80 per cent of infected people experience a mild to moderate illness, for example, fever, cough and breathing difficulties. Older people and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as diabetes, heart disease) are more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus.

Symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to a range of other illnesses such as influenza. Having any of these symptoms does not necessarily mean that you have COVID-19.

 

Symptoms include:

  • fever
  • coughing
  • difficulty breathing

Difficulty breathing is serious and may be a sign of pneumonia, requiring immediate medical attention.

  • It can take between two to 14 days to become unwell.
  • There is currently no vaccination for COVID-19.
  • Prevention and simple tips to stay well
  • Because of the way the virus spreads, it’s really important to practice good hygiene and physical distancing.

 

Here are some simple tips to take to stop the spread of illnesses like COVID-19 and the flu:

  • Wash and dry hands regularly. Wash hands using water and soap for 20 seconds. Then dry hands for 20 seconds:

o    Before eating or handling food

o    After using the toilet

o    After coughing, sneezing, blowing your nose or wiping children’s noses

o    After caring for sick people

  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow or by covering your mouth and nose with tissues
  • Put used tissues in the bin or a bag immediately
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
  • Avoid personal contact, such as kissing, sharing cups or food with sick people
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects, such as doorknobs
  • Avoid close contact with people with cold or flu-like illnesses
  • Stay away from work, school or large gatherings if you are sick

 

Travel Information

As at 16 March 2020, people returning from overseas (with the exception of the Pacific Islands) are required to self-isolate for 14 days following their return.

The Ministry of Health advises that self-isolation is one of the most effective ways we have of keeping individuals, families and our communities safe and healthy and stopping the spread of COVID-19.

The travel information is subject to change so please check the Ministry of Health website for updated information.

 

Exposure to COVID-19

If you have been in contact with someone with a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 you may need to self-isolate.  Contact the Healthline for more information.

 

Call Healthline 24/7 on 0800 358 5453 if you need to speak to someone.

 

Visit www.govt.nz/covid-19-novel-coronavirus for more information.