Dear colleagues and students
Many of us woke up this morning to the news that our Minister of Health, Dr Joe Phaahla, has repealed some of South Africa’s remaining COVID-19 regulations: namely, sections 16A, 16B and 16C of the Regulations Relating to the Surveillance and the Control of Notifiable Medical Conditions under the National Health Act. We are now no longer required to wear masks or limit gatherings. Venue restrictions and checks for travellers coming into South Africa have now also been removed.
What this means for the University of Cape Town (UCT) is that we are no longer restricted by regulations about people in indoor public spaces, including public transport such as the UCT Shuttle. We can resume working from campus; resume the public gatherings that are so vital to campus life; and stop wearing face masks in classes, lectures, labs and meetings. We acknowledge that some of you may still choose to wear a mask and we encourage everyone to be respectful of the choices of others.
UCT remains committed to normalising our in-person and on-campus activities as soon as possible. Many staff have already returned to on-campus and in-person engagements. Staff will need to engage with their heads of department and by agreement with their line manager, may continue to work remotely in combination with in-person and on-campus activities.
Since the start of the pandemic in South Africa in March 2020, UCT has adhered to the national regulations and found ways to carry on the academic project and public events, including the use of online resources. Now that the restrictions have changed, we will assess our current plans and protocols so that we can return to normal life as a campus community as soon as possible.
We also understand that many of you may have questions regarding managing COVID-19 in this new environment. We are working with experts in the university to set up information sessions so that you can have your questions answered. We will communicate these dates and times with you shortly.
On behalf of the leadership of UCT, I thank each of you for your diligence in helping to keep UCT as safe as possible during the height of the pandemic. It was difficult for all of us but we learnt to persevere and be creative within the regulations. We will communicate further on decisions we make as a result of the lifting of restrictions.
In the interim, I take this opportunity to wish those taking a mid-year break a safe and refreshing vacation.
Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng
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