During a disruption

Emergency response

The key priorities are to save lives, protect property, prevent harm to the environment, restore essential University infrastructure and restore academic and administrative functions.

For further guidance, refer to the University's Emergency Response and Management guidelines.

Student and staff welfare

  • The safety and wellbeing of staff and students is paramount in the event of a major disruption. Business Continuity Plans (BCPs) establish the responses by the faculties and service divisions, and should be referred to.
  • The University’s legal obligations to ‘educate’ (signed under ‘normal’ business-as-usual scenarios) will be secondary to staff and student welfare in severe cases (‘special powers’ in cases of emergency).
  • The University will take account of the impact of a disruption on student engagement before resuming coursework to ensure that students who are disproportionately affected are not penalised.

Managing distressed students

A major event which can severely impact on students’ ability to concentrate on academic work would be led by the University Crisis Management Team. Strategies that staff can apply to manage the cognitive disruption of students include:

  • Acknowledge the feelings of uncertainty and anxiety with students, either virtually or in person. While it is impossible to shelter students from actual uncertainty, responding to students in a supportive and understanding manner can help develop a tolerance of ambiguity and build resilience.
  • At times when cognitive disruption is high and students are also dealing with difficult personal circumstances, teachers should try to create routine in whatever environment is available, and communicate expectations. If consistent routine is not available, teachers should seek to create routine in other ways. Sending regular communication, or having regular scheduled online events can create a sense of normality, routine and structure.
  • Direct students to the CALM (Computer Assisted Learning for the Mind) website
  • If you are concerned about a student please use the guidelines below to help guide your actions.
  1. If you are unsure how to handle a situation with a distressed student please call University Health and Counselling on 09 923 7681 or visit their website
  2. If you consider you or anyone else might be in danger please call 111 or UniSafe on 966
  3. If the situation does not require immediate action but you would like advice on the most appropriate course of action, contact the Student Proctor on ext. 87005

Recognising your own stress

Be mindful that responding to an emergency situation can have an impact upon your own well-being. Ignoring a problem poses the risk that it will intensify and may affect more aspects of your life.

The University provides 24-hour access to confidential, professional services which can help support you.
Employee Assistance Programme (EAP)
Phone: 0800 327 669.

  • Seek support from a supervisor or reach out to somebody you trust.
  • Consider arranging a catch up meeting with your HOD.
  • If you are a HOD or in a supervisory role arrange catch up meetings with staff on a one-to-one basis.

University Health and Counselling Service

Jayd Hickey
Practice Manager
University Health and Counselling Service
Phone: +64 9 373 7599 ext 88487
DDI: +64 9 923 8487

Kimberly Farmer
Counselling Lead
University Health and Counselling Service
Phone: +64 9 373 7599 ext 85304
DDI: +64 9 923 5304
Mobile: +64 21 679 318.