NZSWS's response to covid-19
Back on 1st January, when most of us were still knee-deep celebrating (or recovering from) the New Year, no-one could have predicted how the year would develop. Barely four months later we’ve found ourselves isolated in our own lockdown world. These are strange and worrying times.
At NZSWS the spectre of Covid19 meant we had to decide how to operate during Level 4 and Level 3. We noted that some APPs quickly moved to online teaching. However when I discussed this with Josh and Ronald we all felt this was not optimal and that learning in a classroom remained the way to go.
Wine is a sensory subject and without the interaction of classroom based learning and with it the ability to discuss and interact with fellow students and (mostly importantly) the opportunity to share great wines, it seemed too sterile.
Had we gone down the online route it would also have meant either we'd have to charge a much bigger course fee in order to send out cases of wine to each student, or decant wines into small vials and deliver these somehow. I'm not sure how we could have guaranteed the integrity of samples (I'm still waiting for a bottle of wine to arrive from Blenheim despatched over two weeks ago). In our opinion neither option was viable.
But more importantly, uppermost in our minds was that realisation that many of our students pay for these courses personally and we were concerned about their well-being. At a time of great upheaval we received emails from students, many of whom had either lost their jobs or had been put onto minimum hours by their employer. For all, their focus was quite rightly on their jobs, relationships, financial commitments.
Now at last we are about to move to Level 2. So allowing for a couple of weeks for things to settle down, we've set some new dates in Auckland and Wellington and reconfirmation of the Blenheim dates. As things ease we hope that we'll be back in Hawkes Bay and Queenstown before too long.
We've always tried to help out students with payment plans so if you are keen to study but would prefer to space out the cost, then do get in touch and we can try work something out.