May graduations cancelled, uni working on other issues

University of Otago graduation ceremonies in May have been cancelled.

University of Otago vice-chancellor Harlene Hayne outlined a raft of changes to university programming in an email to staff yesterday.

‘‘Although the challenges we are all facing are unprecedented, they are not insurmountable,’’ Prof Hayne said.

Graduation ceremonies in August were expected to go ahead as planned. But because of the uncertainty surrounding Covid-19 and ‘‘future public health controls’’, she warned ‘‘this could change’’.

The tertiary open day event scheduled for May 3-4 has been postponed.

The university was making contingency preparations for all staff to be able to work or teach from home.

It had reduced the seating capacity of St David Lecture Theatre to under 500 in line with Government regulations on gatherings.

It was also advising all New Zealand students and staff overseas of a request made yesterday for all New Zealanders overseas to return.

‘‘The university is currently working through the impact on staff overseas on sabbatical and for other reasons.''

Rumours that a Dunedin man diagnosed with coronavirus was a university staff member were untrue, she said.

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