AUT responds to student petition by closing for a week to prepare for online learning

Source: 1News

Auckland University of Technology (AUT) has today told students it will close from tomorrow as pressure mounts following petitions for online learning to begin in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Online petitions calling for AUT and the University of Canterbury to move their classes online because of the coronavirus pandemic has already received more than 2100 signatures shortly after they were created.

The University of Auckland and Massey University announced it will suspend all classes beginning tomorrow to allow staff to plan and prepare for potential longer term closures, and to stop its spread.

Students at AUT said in a petition, launched today, "AUT is currently the only university in Auckland that is open, and has plans to continue in-person teaching until the government steps in and advises them to stop."

Today AUT issued a statement saying teaching and assessments will be suspended for one week, however AUT campuses would remain open.

“Students are welcome to use our facilities including Tech Central, our Libraries, specialist labs, studios, research facilities, cafes, and other services,” the statement said.

“During this week the University will be completing preparations for alternatives to normal class teaching, including on-line and other approaches.

“This is part of our ongoing preparation to be ready should there be a requirement by government for universities to close. At present, this is not a requirement,” the statement said.

All AUT accommodation would remain open.

University of Canterbury students yesterday launched a petition calling for classes to be moved online, saying, "So many students are not attending their classes right now, for various reasons, but it all comes back to the fact that there is an ongoing, widespread pandemic. They are not listening to us."

The petition has already received 1482 signatures. 

New Zealand so far has 52 cases of the respiratory illness after 13 more cases were confirmed today.