Students start making their way back

University of Otago student Megan Clark (centre), of Blenheim, is picked up from Dunedin Airport...
University of Otago student Megan Clark (centre), of Blenheim, is picked up from Dunedin Airport on Saturday by fellow students Bonnie Feng (left) and Caitlin Li Calsi (right), who remained in Dunedin during the lockdown. Students are returning to Dunedin following New Zealand’s move into Alert Level 2, which allows tertiary education institutions to resume lectures under strict conditions. PHOTO: CHRISTINE O’CONNOR
Some students have arrived back in Dunedin, some are flying in this week, some never left and a few have been up to their old tricks.

Police linked a couch burning on Saturday night to students but they otherwise reported little activity from the weekend.

Some students were jetting to Dunedin from Auckland this morning before their return to classes.

Four flights from Christchurch were scheduled today.

The University of Otago had prepared to welcome back thousands of students since the Covid-19 lockdown was lifted last week.

Otago Polytechnic would reopen its Dunedin and Central Otago campuses today and pupils would return to schools en masse.

Both the university and polytechnic brought in a raft of measures designed to make their campuses safe for the return of many staff and students under Alert Level 2.

That included hygiene and contact-tracing protocols.

Schools, too, would be subject to health and safety precautions, though physical distancing would not be possible on school buses.

Dunedin Airport general manager of business development Megan Crawford said Air New Zealand brought forward its Auckland to Dunedin service to meet demand.

The jet service had been due to start on June 1.

"It was important to us that the students could get back," she said.

A police spokeswoman said yesterday evening no issues had arisen from any student gatherings that day.

Police received a report of a gathering in Forth St on Saturday shortly before midnight and spoke to those involved.

Firefighters from the Willowbank station attended couch fires on Friday and Saturday nights.

Senior Station Officer Cameron McLachlan said they went to a couch fire in Castle St at 10.20pm on Friday and one in Leith St at 10.50pm on Saturday.

Otago Polytechnic’s contact tracing would be managed through a mobile phone application developed by its own staff.

They tested and completed the app in mid-April.

 - Grant Miller 

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