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Ko Kā Tikaka Mate Korona / Covid – 19 Vaccination Policy

Approval Date
16 December 2021
Approved By
Chief Executive
Next Review
15 June 2021
Deputy Chief Executive: People, Culture and Safety
Baldrige Criteria
Workforce focus
Aroka / Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to establish the position of Otago Polytechnic Ltd on vaccination against COVID-19 for Otago Polytechnic Ltd kaimahi, tauira and visitors to its premises.

This policy applies to kaimahi (including staff, contracted staff, contractors, volunteer workers and people gaining work experience) and tauira (learners) of Otago Polytechnic Ltd (currently enrolled and prospective) and invited visitors and guests to Otago Polytechnic Ltd campuses and sites.

This policy does not apply to secondary school students who are involved in secondary-tertiary provision at an Otago Polytechnic site, as per the Ministry of Education guidelines in the COVID-19 Protection Framework.

This policy will be reviewed at least six (6) monthly, and as Government mandates and regulations are released. It will be updated when deemed necessary by the Chief Executive.

We are mindful of our responsibilities as a responsible Te Tiriti o Waitangi partner.  We will work closely with our papatipu rūnaka mana Whenua and will be guided by them in regard to tikaka that contributes to the hauora, wellbeing and safety of kaimahi, tauira, contractors and visitors to Otago Polytechnic.

Kā whakamāramataka / Definitions

Staff / Kaimahi: engaged through People and Culture on an individual or collective employment agreement, on a permanent, fixed term or casual basis. This applies to current and prospective kaimahi.

Contractors: engaged on a contract for service through Business Services. This policy applies to current and prospective contractors.

Learners / Tauira: all learners who are enrolled in an Otago Polytechnic programme of study. This will policy will also apply to future tauira.  

Visitors: anyone who is not a Staff member,  Learner, Contractor who wishes to attend an Otago Polytechnic site.

Otago Polytechnic site: any building, location or premise owned or operated by Otago Polytechnic. This includes all Polytechnic land and buildings in Dunedin, Cromwell, Wanaka, and any site where a programme or part of a programme is delivered to more than one learner. This also includes Otago Polytechnic student accommodation in Cromwell, and Te Pā Tauira in Dunedin.

Vaccination: Full and current vaccination against Covid – 19 via a New Zealand Government approved vaccine, as confirmable via My Vaccine Pass.

My Vaccine Pass: The New Zealand Government’s method of enabling individuals to confirm their vaccine status.

Kaupapa Here / Policy

Ko Te Tirohaka Whānui - Overview

Otago Polytechnic Ltd is committed to doing everything practicable to enable a safe working and learning environment for tauira, kaimahi and visitors.

 As part of this commitment, Otago Polytechnic Ltd is adopting this policy to support the public health response to COVID-19 and to manage the risk of COVID-19 being contracted by those within our places of work and study (considering the infectious nature of this virus and the potential for asymptomatic transmission).

 Otago Polytechnic Ltd as a PCBU (Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking), has a primary duty of care under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015, and must ensure the health and safety of tauira, kaimahi and visitors to its places of work. While risk controls, such as physical distancing, hand-sanitising and the wearing of face coverings, are important to prevent transmission of the virus, the Government position is that vaccines are the most effective control.


Ko te tauki o te Kaupapa Here - Policy Statement

  1. Only kaimahi, tauira, visitors and contractors, who are fully vaccinated against covid-19 (and can provide evidence of such), or who hold a Government-approved exemption from covid-19 vaccination, are permitted on Otago Polytechnic Ltd sites.
  2. Any person who does not provide evidence of their vaccination when requested will be asked to leave the premises.
  3. Non-disclosure of vaccination status will be reasonably deemed to mean not vaccinated, and individuals will be treated accordingly.
  4. For kaimahi and tauira who do not need to come onsite, vaccination is required:

a.      if part of their role or learning requires that they attend the premises of a placement provider or other third party who requires visitors to be vaccinated
b.      if their programme of study falls within scope of the Vaccination Order (or such other legislation as requires vaccination).
c.      if a risk assessment otherwise supports vaccination. (Note: This requirement applies in relation to current and future kaimahi and tauira)

  1. Records of vaccination status will be held in accordance with the Privacy Act 2020 and any applicable Government directives.
  2. Kaimahi and tauira of Otago Polytechnic who work or learn on another Te Pūkenga subsidiary site will need to abide the policy of that Te Pūkenga subsidiary.


Kā whakawātea, kā whakarerekē ki te Kaupapa Here - Exemptions/Variations to policy

The Chief Executive may approve a variation to this policy when an approved risk assessment identifies a low risk to kaimahi, tauira and visitors.


Requests for exemptions must be made directly to the DCE: People, Culture & Safety (for kaimahi) and the DCE: Academic Delivery (for tauira). They must outline the reasons for the request for the exemption, how long the exemption may need to be in place for, and what alternatives are suggested. Any supporting evidence should also be provided (e.g., from a medical professional).

 In considering the request, input will be sought from other relevant staff as outlined below. Support in making decisions may also be sought from the Kaitohutohu Office, the Chaplain, and/or a staff union at the request of OP or the applicant. Applicants will be advised of who may need to be involved in the decision-making process, and the privacy and confidentiality of the application will be strictly maintained. Information will be shared on a strictly need-to-know basis and will be stored in accordance with the Privacy Act 2020.


Kaimahi requests

Tauira requests

  • Formal Leader
  • Director Health and Safety
  • Chaplain (in the case of religious grounds)


  • Head of Programme and/or College
  • Director Health and Safety
  • Academic Registry team
  • Student Success team
  • Te Punaka Ōwheo team
  • Chaplain (in the case of religious grounds)


Affected kaimahi

For any kaimahi who is unvaccinated, Otago Polytechnic Ltd will:

  • engage in a review process that gives all parties full understanding of the other parties’ considerations and concerns.
  • support the kaimahi to get vaccinated if vaccination is the agreed option.
  • Ensure that the kaimahi has access to any support needed throughout the process – e.g. from EAP services, our Chaplain, or other wellbeing, religious or cultural supports.
  • genuinely consider redeployment or other alternatives (such as working from home), if available, when vaccination remains unacceptable to the kaimahi but necessary for Otago Polytechnic Ltd.
  • provide paid notice when alternative options are not possible or agreeable to the kaimahi and Otago Polytechnic, or are trialed but deemed not viable after a trial period, and vaccination remains unacceptable to the kaimahi.


Before any final decisions are made by Otago Polytechnic in respect of serving notice to a kaimahi who is not vaccinated, the kaimahi will be given reasonable opportunity to challenge the decision and present a feasible alternative. The Chief Executive (or their nominated representative) will make final decisions regarding continued employment.


Affected tauira

Circumstances will vary for each tauira unable to complete their course due to this policy or because of a requirement of a third-party placement provider. Accordingly, it is not possible, nor appropriate, to present a definitive policy to cover each circumstance.


Decisions will be made by the Chief Executive (or their nominated representative) having regard to:

  • the options that can realistically be offered to a tauira in that scenario
  • the relevant programme in which the tauira is enrolled
  • the stage a tauira is at and the possibility of that tauira being able to successfully enter the workplace if they continue to pursue that programme of study
  • the current terms and conditions of enrolment relating to the tauira.


When determining whether an exception can be made, the following criteria would be referenced:

  • can an exemption be safely granted?
  • will an exemption contravene or undermine any legislative mandates?
  • can affected tauira transfer into online learning (bearing in mind that limited resources do not enable dual modes of delivery long term)?
  • is continuation in the particular course of learning practical or in the best interests of the tauira in light of the limitations on future employment options in that field?
  • what options have been discussed?


Where an opportunity to transfer to another programme (within Otago Polytechnic or another Te Pūkenga subsidiary) is feasible, Otago Polytechnic Ltd will transfer the fees paid (or payable) towards that programme. Only fees paid for the semester in which the transfer takes place will be transferred towards the new programme. Historical fees and other costs incurred will not be transferred.


In relation to requests for refunds, the default position is that refunds will be assessed in accordance with Otago Polytechnic’s Withdrawal, Transfer, Cancellation and Refund Policy. Should the request be based on exceptional circumstances, the position is that a choice not to be vaccinated is not an exceptional circumstance as it is a matter within the control of the tauira (exceptions to this may be granted by the Chief Executive or their delegate, based on application).  


Kā Tohutoro / References


This policy will supersede other Otago Polytechnic policies. This list will be populated prior to 1 February 2022.



Approved by

Dr. Megan Gibbons

Chief Executive

Otago Polytechnic Limited


Date: 16 December 2021