Seasonal flu alert and other updates

05 June 2024

Dear colleagues and students

As the flu season is upon us, the University of Cape Town (UCT) encourages staff and students to take preventative measures to stay healthy. Read more about this and other recent developments on campus.

1. Seasonal flu alert

To ensure the health and safety of everyone on campus, the Occupational Health, Safety and Environment (OHSE) division encourages the UCT community to take steps to prevent the spread of flu this winter. Some preventive measures include:

  • Ensure proper ventilation in classrooms and offices by keeping doors and windows open, if possible.
  • Stay up-to-date with the flu vaccination, and make sure children have their whooping cough vaccination.
  • Practice good hygiene: wash your hands, avoid touching your mouth, eyes and nose, and cover coughs and sneezes.
  • Avoid close contact with sick individuals.

The Dis-Chem Wellness Centre, located on lower campus, offers flu vaccination free of charge to UCT Kaelo My Health Members (PC 2-6). Discovery Health members pay for the vaccine unless they are over 65 years or have chronic medical conditions.

Students with flu-like illness can book an appointment for a consultation at Student Wellness Service (SWS) or visit the pharmacy at Ivan Toms Building for over-the-counter medication. Students can also call the SWS line on 021 650 5620 (office hours) or 021 650 1271 (after hours) for advice.

Higher Health recently issued an update regarding a spike in the number of cases of students presenting flu-like symptoms. Typical symptoms of the influenza virus include fever, malaise, headache, runny nose, sneezing, reduced sense of smell, metallic taste in the mouth, chills and cough.

2. Call for applications: UCT Teaching Innovation Grant

Individual academics, teams or departments are reminded that the deadline to submit their intention to apply for the UCT Teaching Innovation Grant is 5 June 2024.

The UCT Teaching Innovation Grant funds initiatives that are aligned with Vision 2030 and aimed at making teaching at UCT more effective.

This grant is available to support individuals or teams who are engaged in developing innovations to or designing or re-designing curricula or courses aimed at improving student learning, including through the design of digital materials for blended or online learning as well as open educational resources. A limited number of grants of up to R30 000 are available to support such projects.

Interested individuals can submit their intention via email to Cindy Gilbert. Applicants do not need to provide any details other than their name and intention. They will be invited to attend a briefing session on 10 June 2024 (13:00–14:00 via Microsoft Teams).

The closing date for applications is 28 June 2024.

3. Trans-Gariep Inter-Institutional Undergraduate Leadership Programme

The Department of Student Affairs (DSA) invites all undergraduate students to join the Trans-Gariep Inter-Institutional Undergraduate Leadership Programme from 10 to 20 July 2024, for a transformative self-leadership journey.

The application deadline is Saturday, 15 June 2024.

4. Call for expressions of interest: Innovation Builder Fund

UCT’s Innovation Builder Fund (IBF) is accepting new expressions of interest. The IBF was launched in 2019 with the primary goal of nurturing and advancing UCT research projects that have demonstrated an initial proof of concept. The fund is designed to support projects that have been assessed as commercially viable and where research outputs have either been protected or have protectable intellectual property (IP).

This unique opportunity not only provides financial support but also aids in maturing research outputs and mitigating associated risks, thereby preparing them for later-stage funding. Successful projects will receive a grant ranging from R150 000 to R500 000 to aid in their development. Applications are welcomed from researchers across all disciplines who are conducting innovative research with the potential for commercial application and IP protection.

To express your interest, fill in the expression-of-interest form and send to Mpho Baisitse. The deadline is 17 June 2024.

More information about the IBF, including detailed application requirements and procedures, is available online.

5. UCT Open Textbook Award: call for nominations

The UCT Open Textbook Award is now in its fifth year and has proved to be a crucial mechanism for supporting innovative open education activity that addresses challenges related to the cost and accessibility of teaching and learning materials, as well as curriculum change and multilingualism, at UCT.

Open textbooks are freely available, openly licensed educational resources with affordances for dynamic, collaborative approaches to textbook authorship, quality assurance and publishing. In addition to the cost-saving aspect, open textbooks provide a means through which to engage students as co-creators and share teaching and learning materials beyond the institution.

Nominations are now open for the 2024 UCT Open Textbook Award; and can be made either by open textbook authors or by a third party. The deadline for nominations is 28 July 2024.

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