Dear colleagues and students
The University of Cape Town (UCT) leadership has made progress on addressing the need for additional study spaces on campus in compliance with COVID-19 protocols. Extended library hours, access to computer labs and additional spaces elsewhere are now being prepared for use by students.
Study spaces for day students
UCT will introduce study spaces for day students from 19 April 2021until 24 December 2021. The intended users are students not living in residences who due to structural and systemic inequality have limited internet connectivity and/or are studying in conditions not conducive for learning.
However, the university remains committed to maintaining a low-density campus and urges students to access campus only if it is necessary. We discourage students who may have health and medical risks from accessing campus. If in doubt, please contact the Student Wellness Service (SWS).
A selected number of venues have been set up on campus and these spaces will be monitored by study space marshals. The study space marshals are trained senior students who report to the Department of Student Affairs (DSA). The study spaces will operate from 08:00 to 20:00, Monday to Friday daily.
In the coming days, DSA will provide further directions about how to access the study spaces.
As part of our provision of facilities for the planned, phased return to campus, library opening hours will be extended from 09:00 to 22:00, Monday to Friday. In accordance with current Disaster Management Act Regulations, which guide institutional lockdown requirements, maximum occupancy will remain at 100 in the main library. The air conditioning is being upgraded, in a phased manner, to provide enhanced ventilation to minimise viral loads.
CPS and Jammie Shuttle
Campus Protections Services (CPS) will be extended to provide for staff and student safety during the new extended library hours. The Jammie Shuttle service will be extended to correspond with the 22:00 library closing time. These new provisions will come into effect from Monday, 19 April.
Faculties and UCT’s Information and Communication Technology Services (ICTS) have put substantial effort into assessing their labs for COVID-19 compliance with regards to social distancing, air conditioning and ventilation, and layout to maximise capacity. Some faculty labs have been opened within these limitations. Some of the faculties have opened their labs, at 50% capacity, for face-to-face teaching, and some have made lab computers accessible remotely. In order to help students with their planning, ICTS has created a dedicated webpage with all the information about lab availability.
Student Housing labs
Student Housing will open their labs for use from Friday, 16 April. COVID-19 marshal training has been given to the lab assistants, areas have been demarcated in the labs and the necessary personal protective equipment has been supplied.
All residence libraries will be reopened and the university’s COVID-19 Coordinating Committee has approved that residence spaces that can be utilised for academic purposes can be reopened.
We would like to encourage residence students to please utilise these spaces first in order to allow day students access to the campus spaces that have been opened.
Although we continue operating under COVID-19 protocols, which limit us in so far as the support that can be offered for students, we remain committed to supporting students as much as we can as an institution.
Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng
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