COVID-19 UPDATE: 25 February 2022

COVID-19 UPDATE: 25 February 2022

Move to Phase 3 

Kia ora SAE whānau,

Yesterday, the COVID Response Minister Chris Hipkins announced that New Zealand is moving to Phase 3 of the Omicron response.

So, what is Phase 3 about 

In simple terms, Omicron is now widespread in the community. Case numbers will continue to rise sharply over coming weeks as we reach the peak of the Omicron wave. While this might feel scary, it’s important to remember that we’ve been preparing for this moment. 

SAE is well placed to cope with the Omicron outbreak. The safety measures we’ve put in place are designed to minimise the spread should we have a positive case on campus. We witnessed this earlier this week, when the risk associated with the positive case we had at SAE was deemed as low. There was no need to close the campus or ask people to self-isolate. Rather, all staff and students including close contacts were simply asked to monitor for symptoms.

The safety protocols we are operating under are attached. I’d like to particularly emphasize 3 main points:

  • It’s critical that you are wearing a surgical-grade mask while on campus. Please wear it correctly – fully covering your nose and mouth. We all need to help monitor this. If you see someone who is not wearing a mask correctly, please (kindly ) ask them to adjust it. If anyone continues to not wear a mask correctly, they will be asked to leave campus immediately.
  • In terms of physical distancing rules, try to keep around 1m distanced from each other as much as you can. I recognise this is not always possible in some of our SAE spaces – hence the importance of wearing a mask when in close proximity to others.
  • Please stay home if you are feeling unwell and seek a COVID test if required

What you need to do if you test positive to COVID-19

If you test positive to COVID-19, either through a PCR test or a RAT test, please alert me immediately. We need to determine if you’ve been on campus while infectious, and if so, I’ll undertake some contact tracing with you and inform our SAE community.

Who needs to self-isolate?

Under Phase 3, you only need to self-isolate if you have tested positive to COVID-19 or if you are a household contact. You will need to isolate for 10 days and not visit SAE at any time during that period.

While you are self-isolating, we will work with you to ensure you can continue to zoom through to classes where possible. And, once you can return to SAE, we’ll help catch you up on sessions you may have missed.

What about Close Contacts?

Close Contacts no longer need to self-isolate. Rather, just monitor for symptoms and if you become unwell then go home and seek a COVID test.

If you’ve been self-isolating as a Close Contact this week, we are asking that you remain off campus for just a few more days. From next Monday 28 Feb, if you are well, you are welcome to return to SAE.

Attached are some updated COVID procedures that outlines the step-by-step approach we’ll take should you test positive to COVID-19 or become a household or close contact.

The shift to Phase 3 places more responsibility on the individual. Be mindful of where you go, who you visit, and whether you are feeling unwell. If you are with vulnerable people such as visiting an aged care facility, do everything you can to ensure you are not taking COVID-19 with you. Continually monitor for symptoms, and if you ever feel unwell, please seek a COVID test and self-isolate if it’s positive. 

While we’ll likely see more COVID cases at SAE, remember that we have been preparing for this moment. Over these next few weeks, more than ever, I ask that you strictly follow the safety protocols we’ve put in place: wear a mask, physically distance as much as possible, scan/sign in each day, and stay home if you are feeling unwell. In so doing, you help me to help keep our SAE community safe.

As always, please reach out if you have any questions or concerns. I’m best reached by Slack @s.major or email

Kia kaha e te whānau.