Resurgence of COVID-19 cases and other updates

21 October 2020 | Campus Announcement

Dear colleagues and students

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

1. Resurgence of COVID-19 cases

The University of Cape Town (UCT) community is reminded to remain vigilant in the wake of the resurgence of COVID-19 cases in the southern suburbs, where cluster outbreaks have been identified and at least three COVID-19 cases were reported specifically at UCT. Students and staff members are urged to continue exercising caution by avoiding spaces and places where there is greater exposure to the virus, and reminded that it is more important than ever to continue safe health practices.

2. Annual research symposium and research function

The UCT community is invited to attend two virtual events to be hosted by the Research Office. The Research Symposium will present an opportunity to rethink the PhD in Africa and the Global South and collaborate with the d-school at UCT. The Research Function will present an opportunity to meet Dr Linda Mtwisha, the new Executive Director of the Research Office, and hear her in conversation with Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng and Professor Sue Harrison about what the next year might bring for research at UCT.

3. Limited reopening of UCT Libraries

The network of UCT Libraries across campuses and faculties reopened on 12 October as self-study spaces only during restricted hours, and at certain locations due to their spatial layout and seating capacity. This is in line with UCT’s approach to the completion of the 2020 academic year using remote teaching, along with the phased return to campus of some students and staff members following lockdown. The libraries will be staffed by small core teams as determined by the limited services currently on offer and the REDCap personal health assessment results. Libraries with spatial and proximity constraints have been excluded from this arrangement. These are WH Bell Music Library, Hiddingh Hall Library and Bolus Herbarium Library.

4. Update on COVID-19 cases

The university has 104 reported positive COVID-19 cases among non-health sciences staff as at 20 October. A reported 91 staff members have recovered. With regards to students, 74 cases have been reported, including 12 health sciences students on clinical platforms.

The staff and students’ deaths due to the pandemic remain nine and one respectively. The university has created a dedicated web page through which we pay tribute to students and staff lost during the pandemic.

5. UCT cleaning services available under strict conditions

UCT cleaning staff are working under very strict conditions in line with lockdown level one. Their duties are limited to specific public areas. This means that staff members and students need to take responsibility for cleaning and sanitising their own rooms and workspaces, including doorknobs and other surfaces that they may touch. Students in residence and staff members working on campus must empty their own refuse bins.

Please respect the cleaners’ boundaries, which have been set to protect all of us. Staff can, however, request cleaning of public spaces such as reception areas, meeting rooms and toilets.

Contact the cleaning service team: Paulina Johnson, 063 058 3496; Mogamat Benjamin, 083 775 6016; or Marlin Arendorff, 079 602 0246.

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