Dear undergraduate students,
Greetings and best wishes for 2021. You all did extremely well last year despite the many challenges we faced, and we look forward to welcoming you back into our academic programmes.
You are already aware that the University of Cape Town (UCT) has elected to pursue teaching and learning in 2021 in terms of a “physically distanced, low-density campus” approach. This is to mitigate the risk of the spread of COVID-19 during this second wave, and in preparation for a possible third wave.
As such, it was decided by Senate that all undergraduate courses will be offered via a combination of online lectures and face-to-face activities in small groups. To allay any anxiety, we wish to assure you that 2020 taught us, as a university, valuable lessons about how best to conduct online teaching in ways that keep you actively and productively engaged throughout.
Please take note that different courses have different attendance requirements and approaches to learning. While faculties such as Engineering & the Built Environment and Health Sciences require students to be physically present on campus, others, including Humanities, Commerce and Science, specify which courses do and do not require students to attend classes in person. The Faculty of Law will conduct all teaching entirely online.
Please ensure that you consult your faculty’s web page and make contact with your course convenors. It is most important that you understand exactly what is expected from you in your specific programme and faculty.
For your peace of mind, we are confident that all teaching venues identified for use during the year are safe, with appropriate ventilation. All health protocols, including the compulsory wearing of masks, physical distancing and sanitation, are in place to ensure we take care of ourselves and one another as we fight this pandemic together.
For students who have residence accommodation at UCT, we urge you to take advantage of the associated benefits that staying in residence provides, including relevant internet and data access for all courses.
When courses are fully online, you need to ensure you have sustainable internet access during the year, along with a device suitable for home learning.
Should your faculty require you to be on campus for in-person learning for any of your courses, you will be expected to attend. Faculties offering face-to-face teaching cannot provide an online alternative.
Similarly, if you are enrolled in a course that requires invigilated examinations, you will have to travel to Cape Town to write your exams on the set dates.
The normal academic rules will apply to manage situations where students are unable to return to campus for any reason, with each case subject to scrutiny by the relevant faculty committees, as is usually the case.
The university will continue to provide data for students who need it to complete their courses, and further details will be provided on data-arrangements following registration.
We look forward to a productive year ahead, during which we are committed to continue delivering world-class learning experiences, wherever you are in your journey to graduation.
Associate Professor Lis Lange
Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Teaching and Learning
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