#UCTLockdownLetters launch and other updates

30 April 2020 | Campus Announcement

Dear colleagues

This campus announcement aims to inform the University of Cape Town community about recent Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) developments and other updates on campus.

1. Lockdown letters

In order to foster a sense of community during the COVID-19 lockdown, a new initiative – #UCTLockdownLetters – invites you to share your stories about life and survival at home.

How are you coping as parents, partners, siblings and individuals? How has the lockdown affected you and your ability to work? What does your work-from-home space look like? What adaptations have you made? How do you cope with stress? What will you do differently after the lockdown?

This is your space to express yourself in any medium you choose: in words, prose, poetry, audio, video or pictures. Your contributions will be curated as part of a special platform designed for sharing – and to create a unique archive for future UCT communities.

Please send your submissions to LockdownLetters@uct.ac.za.

2. Update on UCT COVID-19 cases

UCT has not had any reported new cases of COVID-19 since the last weekly update issued on 22 April. The university has now gone for three successive weeks without any new infections.

3. Data provisioning and laptop deliveries continuing

UCT is continuing to attend to laptop deliveries and provisioning of data to students as urgently as possible.

Laptop deliveries started on 24 April and only a limited number can be delivered per day. UCT is working as fast as possible to complete the deliveries by, at the latest, 8 May. Students with MTN and Telkom Mobile received data last week, while Vodacom started loading data on 28 April. Cell C data is being provisioned since midnight on 30 April.

Students who have not received the data or laptops are asked to log a call with ICTS-helpdesk@uct.ac.za for assistance only after the dates specified above.

All four network providers have now zero-rated access to specified UCT sites. A dedicated webpage has been created on the ICTS website that will be updated regularly when and if additional sites are zero-rated.

4. SHAWCO launches #BeKindOnline initiative

UCT’s Students’ Health and Welfare Centres Organisation (SHAWCO) has launched the #BeKindOnline initiative in an effort to provide food and sanitary essentials to three of Cape Town’s most marginalised communities.

Spearheaded by SHAWCO, in association with local non-governmental organisations, the #BeKindOnline initiative has committed to feeding 1 000 families in Manenberg on the Cape Flats and providing essential sanitary parcels to 500 families in Hout Bay’s Imizamo Yethu and Hangberg informal settlements in the next few days. In order to successfully reach this goal, SHAWCO is calling on the UCT campus community and greater Cape Town to contribute.

To feed one person a day costs just R11; to feed that same person for a full week costs R77; and R308 is what it costs to feed a family of four for seven days. Sanitary parcels cost R200 (or R50 per week) and include soap, hand sanitiser, sanitary towels, household detergents, a bucket and sponge, masks, as well as health promotional pamphlets in English and isiXhosa.

Banking details for donations:

Standard Bank | Account name: SHAWCO | Account type: Business Cheque

Account no: 072 713 305 | Branch: 025 009 | Swift code: SBZAZAJJ | Reference: Your name

4. How UCT is supporting research work during COVID-19

The lockdown due to COVID-19 has had a significant impact on UCT’s research work. However, the university has taken various actions to support researchers and postgraduate students. An immediate concern to the research community is the effect of the lockdown on research contracts and the need to secure ongoing funding. The Research Contracts and Innovation Office have engaged proactively with sponsors and funding agencies for the possibility of extending contracts. The research office has also developed a selection of FAQs around aspects of research at UCT that aim to support researchers during this unusual period.

5. Updates on remote teaching progress

Online teaching started on Tuesday, 28 April. There is a challenge of delays in the delivery of laptops. These delays will have a knock-on effect on the ability of some students to join in the teaching term. This will require course conveners to be flexible in terms of submissions of work, continual assessments and other matters.

The next two weeks will be used to monitor how remote teaching is working, identifying problems that need addressing, and identifying those students who need to be supported more directly or in different ways.

6. Conference Management Centre online support

The Conference Management Centre (CMC) at UCT is available to support online event needs during these times of uncertainty. The CMC is making use of the Microsoft Teams and Zoom platforms. This includes live polling, note taking, recording content and feedback surveys. CMC is also offering its services for basic online events at no charge during the COVID-19 pandemic.

7. Election of a PASS staff member to Council

The membership of the UCT Council includes one member of the professional, administrative, support and service staff in pay classes 7-13 elected by the staff in these pay classes. Members of the PASS staff in pay classes 7-13 are invited to vote for one of the three nominated candidates to fill this membership category for the term of office 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2024.  

Please log into Vula with your UCT user credentials and select the “ PASS 7-13: Election ” tab. The candidates’ statements of intent and abbreviated CVs are available on the “Resources” page of the site. Vote for the candidate of your choice by clicking on the question on the “Poll” page.

Voting is now open and will close at 16:00 on Wednesday, 5 May 2020.


Communication and Marketing Department

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