Working remotely, leaving residences and other UCT responses to COVID-19

17 March 2020 | Campus Announcement

Dear students and colleagues

This campus announcement aims to inform you of the University of Cape Town (UCT) resources that are available to assist staff and students in responding to the unfolding spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

1. Tools to help staff members stay productive when working away from campus

Some parts of the university are looking at the possibility of rearranging work to allow staff to work remotely to prevent the spread of COVID-19. UCT’s extensive remote working toolkit enables colleagues to remain productive while working off campus. The toolkit, which is available on the Information and Communication Technology Services web page, considers essential elements, such as security, connectivity, email and calendar access, and real-time communication.

2. Remote teaching guide and webinars for lecturers and academic support staff

The Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching (CILT) in the Centre for Higher Education Development (CHED) has resources to help lecturers and academic support staff to prepare online teaching and learning activities. The Remote Teaching Guide discusses how to create a plan for teaching remotely, present content, engage students in learning activities, conduct assessments and provide clear and regular communication. CILT is running a special series of webinars to present this material online, beginning on 17 March 2020. Recordings of these webinars will be available.

3. Resources for students who have to vacate residences

The UCT executive engaged with the Students’ Representative Council on Monday, 16 March 2020, to discuss concerns that arose following the decision to end Term 1 early and to close residences. UCT recognises that decisions of this nature, while taken under rapidly changing and entirely unforeseeable circumstances, can be inconvenient. This decision was taken to uphold the most important public health principle: to ensure containment of the disease as far as possible. The university has put measures in place to support students requiring assistance with vacating residences within 72 hours from 16 March 2020. These measures include:

  • ensuring immediate payment of allowances to all students who are on financial aid
  • working with external travel agencies on possible travel plans for students
  • working with the Department of Home Affairs in cases involving international students
  • making provision for the safe storage of students’ personal belongings.

4. Update on temporary closure of Baxter Theatre

The Baxter Theatre Centre has cancelled all performances with immediate effect to help minimise the risk of spreading COVID-19. As a result, all performances planned by the South African College of Music, including the lunchtime concerts on Wednesday and Thursday, are also cancelled. The Baxter will be closed until the end of April 2020.

  • Please contact the Baxter Theatre to request a refund of purchased tickets or to arrange to donate your tickets in support of the performing arts.

5. The UCT Coronavirus Disease 2019 web page and other important contacts

COVID-19 has created an environment of constant change, so it is important to keep up to date. The UCT Coronavirus Disease 2019 web page is updated frequently with the latest information related to the disease, UCT’s response as an institution, messages from the vice-chancellor and other UCT executives, and articles and news about academic responses.

Please note the following important telephone numbers:

  • The National Institute for Communicable Diseases hotline 0800 029 999
  • The UCT Student Wellness Service can be contacted on 021 650 5620 or 021 650 1271 (after hours)
  • UCT staff can contact 021 650 5685

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