Returning UCT’s buildings to academic activity

21 April 2021 | Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng

Dear students and colleagues

Thank you for your patience as we seek ways to return to full academic activity at the University of Cape Town (UCT) under COVID-19 regulations. We were hampered by the flare-ups of burning vegetation early this week and it has taken time to inspect the buildings while areas were still smouldering. I’m sure you understand that our first priority is to ensure the health and safety of everyone who needs to return to campus buildings.

I am writing to explain the process for resuming academic activities in the buildings on our Rondebosch campuses as quickly as possible.

We have brought an independent external technical team onto campus to work with UCT’s internal Operational Health & Safety (OHS) team, to assess the air quality in selected buildings that were not damaged by fire. These teams established a programme to ensure the air quality of campus buildings through appropriate ventilation and aeration before students and staff members return. Assuming there is no new flare-up of the fire on campus and no unexpected damage is found, this work will continue through Friday in some buildings. In addition, external cleaning services will help our UCT cleaning staff to prepare the buildings for use.

The Deans will work with heads of department and OHS staff to inspect their respective buildings. As each building is made ready, the Deans will inform their respective faculties on the schedule for reopening that building. This will commence on Thursday and we hope it will be completed on Friday.

Obviously, where there is significant damage, this process will take longer. The special collections, the Biological Sciences facilities housed in the Pearson Building and the upper campus residences are particular areas of concern. But we are looking for ways to mitigate the impact of these losses on the academic project.

Of course, as a campus community we will continue to adhere to COVID-19 protocols. Please remember to wear your masks, wash or sanitise your hands regularly and maintain a social distance of 1.5 m even while you are in evacuation accommodation. The fire has passed and that is a relief, but the pandemic remains a threat.

I wish you well in returning to the academic environment and to your research, teaching and learning.

Sincerely

Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng
Vice-Chancellor


Please note: Donations can be made online through the UCT Alumni Ways to Give web page.

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In an email to UCT students, Vice-Chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng said:
“Thank you for your patience as we seek ways to return to full academic activity at the University of Cape Town under COVID-19 regulations. Our first priority is to ensure the health and safety of everyone who needs to return to campus buildings.”

UCT is deeply grateful to all the donors who supplied food and other essential items for our students, and to everyone who has so generously offered other forms of support and assistance.

Everyone who would like to support the #UCTFire emergency relief fund is urged to please make financial donations to UCT through the UCT Alumni Ways to Give web page.

Donations can also be made by EFT using the details below:
Account name: UCT Donations Account
Bank: Standard Bank of South Africa
Branch code: Rondebosch Branch, 025009
Account number: 07 152 2387
Swift code: SBZAZAJJ
Please include your donor name if you so wish, as well as the reference for your donation, e.g. Name Surname, #UCTFire.

Messages of support


Cengage EMEA 17:00, 7 June 2021
Ricardo de Sao Joao 16:00, 17 May 2021
J.P. Morgan 10:00, 17 May 2021
Unilever Southern Africa 16:10, 6 May 2021
Iziko Museums of South Africa 16:20, 5 May 2021
Sciences Po, France 10:05, 4 May 2021
The University of Tokyo 09:00, 30 April 2021
McCall MacBain Foundation 16:00, 29 April 2021
Stephen Toope, Chair of IARU 23:50, 27 April 2021
Mazi Asset Management 21:00, 27 April 2021
The National Archives (UK) 17:40, 27 April 2021
Universiteit Antwerpen 16:20, 26 April 2021
Yale University 21:15, 23 April 2021
SOAS University of London 17:00, 23 April 2021
University of Nairobi 15:45, 23 April 2021
Zhejiang University 12:05, 23 April 2021
University of Glasgow 11:20, 23 April 2021
Durham University 18:20, 22 April 2021
Sanlam Corporate Team 16:00, 22 April 2021
MANCOSA 16:00, 22 April 2021
Mastercard Foundation 13:30, 22 April 2021
National Research Foundation 09:05, 22 April 2021
Taylor & Francis 08:20, 22 April 2021
McGill University, Canada 21:35, 21 April 2021
Wild Bean Café 19:50, 21 April 2021
Worldwide Universities Network 19:10, 21 April 2021
University of Groningen 13:35, 21 April 2021
National University of Lesotho 11:00, 21 April 2021
Google South Africa 10:35, 21 April 2021
Chinese Ambassador Chen Xiaodong 09:00, 21 April 2021
George Whitefield College 08:40, 21 April 2021
Virginia Tech 02:00, 21 April 2021
University of Southampton 18:10, 20 April 2021
University of the Free State 17:25, 20 April 2021
KU Leuven 15:45, 20 April 2021
Northwestern University 15:45, 20 April 2021
Council on Higher Education 14:00, 20 April 2021
Times Higher Education 11:45, 20 April 2021
Regent Business School 11:15, 20 April 2021
Professor Crain Soudien 09:05, 20 April 2021
University of the Western Cape 09:00, 20 April 2021
Bishop Tshalo Katshunga 07:30, 20 April 2021
National Library of France 20:50, 19 April 2021
Thabo Mbheki Foundation 20:00, 19 April 2021
Stellenbosch University 19:10, 19 April 2021
Chinese Embassy in South Africa 17:20, 19 April 2021
University of Hull 17:00, 19 April 2021
University of Copenhagen 13:25, 19 April 2021
Cape SA Jewish Board of Deputies 13:10, 19 April 2021
Mastercard Foundation 10:50, 19 April 2021
Stellenbosch University 09:20, 19 April 2021
Minister Blade Nzimande 09:15, 19 April 2021
Committee on Higher Education 09:10, 19 April 2021
University of the Witwatersrand 09:05, 19 April 2021
University of Pretoria 09:00, 19 April 2021

 

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