Dear colleagues and students
The University of Cape Town (UCT) has launched Africa’s first university-based online high school in partnership with the Valenture Institute. Read more on this and other updates.
1. UCT Online High School launch
UCT has partnered with the Valenture Institute to launch the UCT Online High School. This is a first for a university in Africa and it follows months of discussions, research and engagements with the university Council, government and other key stakeholders.
Admission to the UCT Online High School opened on 21 July 2021, with classes expected to commence in January 2022.
The UCT Online High School is an expression of the transformative purpose the university has committed to as part of Vision 2030 – to unleash human potential for a fair and just society. The university is playing its part in addressing the systemic challenges facing the country’s basic education system. This is also where the academic excellence of UCT can be extended to high school learners across all communities in South Africa.
The full curriculum of the UCT Online High School will also be available as an open education resource throughout South Africa. This means learners will have free access to a self-paced curriculum where they can progress at their own pace.
2. VC’s Open Lecture: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
The next Vice-Chancellor’s Open Lecture for 2021 – which will be delivered virtually – will be presented by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, internationally acclaimed author and renowned feminist. The lecture is titled "The Idolatry of Theory: a defense of storytelling."
It will take place on Wednesday, 28 July on the Microsoft Teams online platform.
Please register online to attend the lecture.
3. Support for staff and students affected by recent developments
Following last week’s events in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, some UCT staff and students may have been left distressed as they or family members may have been directly affected. UCT encourages affected students to please contact Student Wellness Service at 021 650 1017; or access 24-hour counselling through the UCT Careline, 0800 24 25 26 or by texting 31393. Staff in need of assistance can make use of the ICAS toll-free service at 080 111 3945 or send a please-call-me to *134*905#.
4. UCT Health App now available for contractors and visitors
An updated version of the UCT Health App is now available for UCT staff members who invite external parties onto campus. The new version allows for visitors, vendors and contractors to complete the UCT Daily Health Screening before coming onto campus. They will be asked the same health questions as the app used by the UCT community.
Personal information will remain confidential to the attending medical practitioner and will not be distributed to any other parties. Each visitor who completes the app will receive a return email to verify the completed Daily Health Screening and a link to the screening result.
A link is available to download the Excel template for bulk visitors such as workers on a construction or maintenance project. Letters of Authority will no longer be issued to visitors, vendors or contractors as the Health App visitor invite with Daily Health Screening results will be accepted by Campus Protection Services staff.
5. Update on UCT’s COVID-19 cases
As at 15 July, the university has 456 reported cases of COVID-19 among non-health sciences staff members, with 388 recoveries. The number of students who have tested positive stands at 187, with 167 recoveries. The university has lost 19 staff members and three students to the virus.
6. Guide to claiming home office expenses for income tax deductions
If a staff member meets a specific set of strict conditions, the South African Revenue Service (SARS) will allow them to claim a tax deduction for the time they worked from home during the 2021 tax year. UCT’s tax advisors have compiled a guide and remote work letter template to assist with claims. Any queries about claims should be channelled through staff’s own financial advisor.
According to SARS, while all claims for home office expenses may be subject to further verification or audit, it is important to note that there is a high likelihood that a taxpayer who claims home office expenses for the first time will be selected for verification or audit.
7. ICTS scheduled maintenance on Sunday, 25 July
Please note that Sunday, 25 July will be an extended Information and Communication Technology Services (ICTS) scheduled maintenance slot from 07:00 to 17:00. Unless advised to the contrary, do not expect any ICT services to be available for the duration of the maintenance slot.
Please remember to consult the scheduled ICTS maintenance slots for 2021 before planning any teaching, conferences, meetings, etc that require ICT services.
For more information, see the article on why ICTS schedules regular monthly maintenance slots.
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