Limiting the COVID-19 health risk and other updates

23 September 2020 | Campus Announcement

Dear colleagues and students

This campus announcement aims to inform the UCT community about recent developments on campus.

1. Your role in limiting the health risk of returning to UCT

It is critical that those who return to campus adhere to all public health and safety protocols. For access to campus, each staff member and student must first receive a letter of authorisation. Everyone who returns to campus at this time will need to observe all public health and safety protocols.

Students can only return to residence if they have received an invitation and may only arrive on the date specified on that invitation. Students are urged to exercise individual accountability in complying with the obligatory public health safety measures to protect their own health and that of the residence community.

Because of the need for social distancing, it is safest to limit the number of people on campus and in rooms. For this reason, the executive still encourages students and staff members who can study and work from home to continue to do so.

Although the country has moved to lockdown level one, staff and students are still advised and encouraged to follow the three basic protocols of wearing a face mask, social and physical distancing, and sanitising/washing hands and surfaces. There is an individual and collective community responsibility to be compliant in order to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

2. Update on COVID-19 cases

The university has, as at 22 September, 101 reported COVID-19 cases among non-health sciences staff. Staff recoveries stood at 88. The number of reported students’ cases is 36, including 10 health sciences students on clinical platforms. The number of staff and students sadly lost to the pandemic remains nine and one respectively.

3. Commemorating Heritage Month

In commemorating Heritage Month, UCT reflected on what this means in terms of its history and collective heritage.

For the past few years, the university has been considering the names of buildings on its campuses as part of the ongoing transformation process. Several buildings have been named to reflect the diverse staff and student community at the institution.

This month there were plans to carry out the next phase relating to the Sutherland human remains restitution project, found to have been obtained unethically by the university in the 1920s. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this process has to be delayed and will be carried out once circumstances permit.

webinar on decolonialisation and decoloniality was hosted, which looked at the emergence of decolonial thought and discourse. The university’s Works of Art Collection (WOAC) committee is also reshaping UCT’s art collection – which comprises approximately 1 700 artworks across 70 UCT buildings – and transforming it into a resource for researchers, curators and students.

4. Inaugural Lecture: Professor Hussein Suleman

The next VC’s Inaugural Lecture will be presented by Professor Hussein Suleman, head of department and professor in Computer Science in the School of Information Technology. His lecture is titled “Computer Science at times of crisis: reflecting on societal drivers for software and algorithm design” and will take place on Wednesday, 30 September 2020 at 17:30 on the Microsoft Teams online platform.

5. AFC virtual dialogue and debate

The Chair of the Academic Freedom Committee, Professor Elelwani Ramugondo, invites staff and students to a virtual dialogue and debate, titled “Can research be harmful and if so, what does this mean for academic freedom?”. The event will be held on Wednesday, 30 September from 17:00-18:30 via the Microsoft Teams Platform.

The dialogue and debate will be moderated by Professor Pierre de Vos and panellists will include Professor Ambroise Wonkam (Division of Human Genetics), Associate Professor Kelley Moult (Department of Public Law), Dr George Hull (Department of Philosophy) and Professor Marc Blockman (Division of Clinical Pharmacology).

The event will include an interactive question and answer session. Join this important dialogue and debate, it is open to all.

6. Year in Review 2019 available online

Over the past year, UCT took further steps towards making its campus a more inclusive space and made a series of decisions to address questions about sustainability that higher education is grappling with around the world. The Year in Review 2019 gives a broad overview, and a few highlights, of the institution’s activities, goals and its many achievements over the previous year.

7. The new Jammie Shuttle App

Staff and students are reminded that UCT has partnered with GoMetro in creating a mobile/cellphone Jammie Shuttle App. The app provides timetables and real-time information on the Jammie Shuttles, including the expected time of arrival at each bus stop on any given route, allowing the user to reduce waiting time. The app also displays the bus movements on a map and this information gets updated in real-time, thus ensuring that notices for delays or incidents are immediate.

The app has many more features and functions that aim to create a good experience for staff and students riding the Jammie Shuttle. It will also link to Metrorail and other transport networks to allow for a better commute from home to campus.  

To download and register for the app, use your standard UCT system login details (staff/student number and current password).

For support in setting up or using the app, please contact 021 650 5289 (office hours), 021 650 2222 / 080 650 2222 (after hours),

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