Massey University has postponed new arrivals of students from the Chinese city at the centre of the coronavirus outbreak, and telling at-risk students and staff to stay away.
Between 50 and 70 full-time students from the outbreak epicentre of Wuhan were expected to come to New Zealand this year to study at Massey’s three campuses in Auckland, Wellington and Palmerston North.
Asked by Massive what it would do to prevent the contagious outbreak from reaching other students, a Massey spokesperson did not answer the question directly, but said,
“Massey University is taking proactive steps to ensure all its staff and students are aware of the health emergency and risks regarding the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China.
“As you can appreciate this is a constantly evolving situation. The University has convened a working group to monitor the situation, work through the logistics and ensure everyone has the information they need and that appropriate actions are taken.”
It then directed enquiries to a Massey website, where it was providing updates. This site said staff and students from New Zealand tertiary institutions who may be at high risk of exposure because they have recently been to China, or have been in close contact with someone confirmed with the virus, should delay the start of their study or work year for 14 days and voluntarily stay away.
There are a total of 15 students from Wuhan who were expecting to attend a 21 day programme at Palmerston North next month. However, the university postponed their studies until further notice.
Massey Pro-Vice Chancellor Stephen Kelly announced on Wednesday that the university was monitoring the spread of coronavirus closely.
“The working group is also focused on addressing questions that our staff have regarding actions they can take to support you at this time,” he said.
No cases of the virus had been reported among university staff and students.
Massey has partnerships with Wuhan University, Qingdao University, Huazhong Agricultural University and a number of education agencies based in Wuhan.
“Massey University and its partners have agreed to continue to monitor the situation closely and will look to hold the short courses between July and December 2020,” said Professor Kelly.