Academic year 2021 and other updates

17 December 2020 | Campus Announcement

Dear students

This campus announcement aims to inform the University of Cape Town (UCT) community about recent developments on campus.

1. Academic year 2021

Plans for the 2021 academic year at UCT are based on the understanding that the COVID-19 pandemic will continue. The university will operate as a low-density campus in the first semester of 2021. Undergraduate teaching and learning as well as research will use both asynchronous and synchronous online activities (asynchronous activities can be accessed at any time, while synchronous activities will require participants to attend according to a specific schedule); face-to-face teaching of small groups in COVID-compliant venues under physically distanced learning conditions; and physically distanced research activities in low-density labs, studios and workshops will operate on a rotation basis, to reduce the number of people in each space at any time.

For postgraduates, the mode of operation will depend on the nature of the programme, the number of students in the programme and the availability of venues. Laboratory, studio, seminar and group work will run on a roster basis to help maintain physical distancing. Fieldwork and internships will be set up to comply with both the needs of the programme and health protocols. Guidelines for fieldwork under COVID-19 conditions are available.

2. Graduation 2020 wrap

On 14 and 15 December, the university explored unchartered territory, with thousands of graduates honoured in virtual graduation celebratory events – the first of their kind for the university since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. UCT congratulates the March and December 2020 graduates on their academic success during an exceptionally challenging year. Full video recordings of both sessions are available on the UCT graduation feature page as well as the university’s YouTube and Twitter accounts. The graduation page also has many articles paying tribute to some of UCT’s extraordinary graduates.

3. Report on UCT Council meeting of 5 December

Council held its last meeting of the year on Saturday, 5 December and made a number of key decisions. These included the approval of UCT’s new strategic plan, Vision 2030. Council expressed its unanimous approval for this vision and committed fully to work with the executive in the implementation of Vision 2030. Council also approved the Policy on Sexual Misconduct. The policy underscores the university’s commitment to creating and maintaining an institutional environment which ensures the dignity of its employees, students and other key university stakeholders. Council thanked the university community for successfully nearing the completion of the 2020 academic year, amid many challenges and complexities.

4. UCT’s COVID-19 cases update

As at 15 December 2020, UCT has 158 reported cases of COVID-19 among non-health sciences staff members, with 116 recoveries. The number of students who have tested positive for the virus is 83, which includes 16 Faculty of Health Sciences students on clinical platforms. The university has lost nine staff members and one student to the virus.

The university continues to urge members of the UCT community to remain alert to the reality of increasing infections in the country.

5. ICTS walk-in centre open by invitation only

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to hit the Western Cape particularly hard, the Information and Communication Technology Services (ICTS) reminds the university community that the walk-in centre at ICTS-on-Main in Mowbray remains closed for general assistance. Staff and students may only visit the centre by invitation, after following the official procedure. If you have not followed the procedure, unfortunately ICTS cannot assist you immediately and you'll need to wait outside the building until you can be attended to.

6. SWS Peer Counselling campaign: You survived 2020 – rest and have a happy holiday

Some of you might still have exams and assignments to complete. But it is safe to say, you made it to the end of 2020! The events of this year have been tiresome and overwhelming. The Student Wellness Service’s peer counsellors encourage you to truly take some time off to rest, reflect and recuperate. Follow the UCT Student Wellness Peer Counselling Service on Instagram to connect to a community that treasures self-care and wellbeing over everything else. If you feel that you need to speak to someone, please call the SWS UCT Careline 0800 242526.

Know that there is always support available for you.

7. Season’s greetings

This is the last regular weekly campus announcement for 2020, which has been an incredibly difficult year. We would like to wish everyone well over the festive season. Please keep safe and adhere to appropriate COVID-19 regulations and protocols. If necessary we will issue specific campus announcements during this period, with the regular weekly campus announcement resuming in January 2021.

Communication and Marketing Department

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