Working remotely, leaving residences and other UCT responses to COVID-19

17 March 2020 | Campus Announcement

Dear students and colleagues

This campus announcement aims to inform you of the University of Cape Town (UCT) resources that are available to assist staff and students in responding to the unfolding spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

1. Tools to help staff members stay productive when working away from campus

Some parts of the university are looking at the possibility of rearranging work to allow staff to work remotely to prevent the spread of COVID-19. UCT’s extensive remote working toolkit enables colleagues to remain productive while working off campus. The toolkit, which is available on the Information and Communication Technology Services web page, considers essential elements, such as security, connectivity, email and calendar access, and real-time communication.

2. Remote teaching guide and webinars for lecturers and academic support staff

The Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching (CILT) in the Centre for Higher Education Development (CHED) has resources to help lecturers and academic support staff to prepare online teaching and learning activities. The Remote Teaching Guide discusses how to create a plan for teaching remotely, present content, engage students in learning activities, conduct assessments and provide clear and regular communication. CILT is running a special series of webinars to present this material online, beginning on 17 March 2020. Recordings of these webinars will be available.

3. Resources for students who have to vacate residences

The UCT executive engaged with the Students’ Representative Council on Monday, 16 March 2020, to discuss concerns that arose following the decision to end Term 1 early and to close residences. UCT recognises that decisions of this nature, while taken under rapidly changing and entirely unforeseeable circumstances, can be inconvenient. This decision was taken to uphold the most important public health principle: to ensure containment of the disease as far as possible. The university has put measures in place to support students requiring assistance with vacating residences within 72 hours from 16 March 2020. These measures include:

  • ensuring immediate payment of allowances to all students who are on financial aid
  • working with external travel agencies on possible travel plans for students
  • working with the Department of Home Affairs in cases involving international students
  • making provision for the safe storage of students’ personal belongings.

4. Update on temporary closure of Baxter Theatre

The Baxter Theatre Centre has cancelled all performances with immediate effect to help minimise the risk of spreading COVID-19. As a result, all performances planned by the South African College of Music, including the lunchtime concerts on Wednesday and Thursday, are also cancelled. The Baxter will be closed until the end of April 2020.

  • Please contact the Baxter Theatre to request a refund of purchased tickets or to arrange to donate your tickets in support of the performing arts.

5. The UCT Coronavirus Disease 2019 web page and other important contacts

COVID-19 has created an environment of constant change, so it is important to keep up to date. The UCT Coronavirus Disease 2019 web page is updated frequently with the latest information related to the disease, UCT’s response as an institution, messages from the vice-chancellor and other UCT executives, and articles and news about academic responses.

Please note the following important telephone numbers:

  • The National Institute for Communicable Diseases hotline 0800 029 999
  • The UCT Student Wellness Service can be contacted on 021 650 5620 or 021 650 1271 (after hours)
  • UCT staff can contact 021 650 5685

Communication and Marketing Department

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UCT’s response to COVID-19

COVID-19 is a global pandemic that caused President Cyril Ramaphosa to declare a national disaster in South Africa on 15 March and implement a national lockdown from 26 March.

UCT is taking the threat of infection in our university community extremely seriously, and this page will be updated regularly with the latest COVID-19 information.

Frequently asked questions


Daily updates

Friday, 16 October 10:05, 16 October 2020
Wednesday, 14 October 12:50, 14 October 2020
Tuesday, 22 September 14:10, 22 September 2020
Friday, 11 September 10:05, 11 September 2020
Monday, 31 August 12:20, 31 August 2020
Wednesday, 12 August 10:20, 12 August 2020
Friday, 7 August 11:24, 7 August 2020
Thursday, 6 August 18:26, 6 August 2020
Monday, 27 July 14:00, 27 July 2020
Wednesday, 15 July 09:30, 15 July 2020
Monday, 13 July 14:25, 13 July 2020
Monday, 6 July 16:20, 6 July 2020
Thursday, 25 June 10:15, 25 June 2020
Tuesday, 23 June 12:30, 23 June 2020
Thursday, 18 June 17:35, 18 June 2020
Wednesday, 17 June 10:45, 17 June 2020
Tuesday, 2 June 12:20, 2 June 2020
Friday, 29 May 09:25, 29 May 2020
Monday, 25 May 14:00, 25 May 2020
Thursday, 21 May 12:00, 21 May 2020
Wednesday, 6 May 10:00, 6 May 2020
Tuesday, 5 May 17:05, 5 May 2020
Thursday, 30 April 17:10, 30 April 2020
Tuesday, 28 April 10:30, 28 April 2020
Friday, 24 April 09:35, 24 April 2020
Thursday, 23 April 17:00, 23 April 2020
Wednesday, 22 April 14:25, 22 April 2020
Monday, 20 April 17:45, 20 April 2020
Friday, 17 April 12:30, 17 April 2020
Thursday, 16 April 09:45, 16 April 2020
Tuesday, 14 April 11:30, 14 April 2020
Thursday, 9 April 09:00, 9 April 2020
Wednesday, 8 April 15:40, 8 April 2020
Wednesday, 1 April 15:50, 1 April 2020
Friday, 27 March 11:40, 27 March 2020
Thursday, 26 March 18:30, 26 March 2020
Tuesday, 24 March 15:40, 24 March 2020
Monday, 23 March 15:40, 23 March 2020
Friday, 20 March 16:00, 20 March 2020
Thursday, 19 March 09:15, 19 March 2020
Wednesday, 18 March 16:00, 18 March 2020
Tuesday, 17 March 12:50, 17 March 2020
Monday, 16 March 17:15, 16 March 2020

Campus communications

Online staff assembly and other updates 15:09, 30 September 2020
Fee adjustments and other updates 15:21, 16 September 2020
Call for proposals: TLC2020 10:15, 26 August 2020
SAULM survey and other updates 15:30, 5 August 2020
COVID-19 cases and other updates 15:26, 5 August 2020
New UCT Council and other updates 15:12, 15 July 2020
Upcoming UCT virtual events 09:30, 15 July 2020
Pre-paid data for UCT students 14:25, 22 April 2020
Update for postgraduate students 12:55, 20 April 2020


Video messages from the Department of Medicine

Getting credible, evidence-based, accessible information and recommendations relating to COVID-19

The Department of Medicine at the University of Cape Town and Groote Schuur Hospital, are producing educational video material for use on digital platforms and in multiple languages. The information contained in these videos is authenticated and endorsed by the team of experts based in the Department of Medicine. Many of the recommendations are based on current best evidence and are aligned to provincial, national and international guidelines. For more information on UCT’s Department of Medicine, please visit the website.

To watch more videos like these, visit the Department of Medicine’s YouTube channel.

Useful information from UCT

External resources

News and opinions

Statements and media releases

Media releases

Read more  

Statements from Government


In an email to the UCT community, Vice-Chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng said:
“COVID-19, caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2, is a rapidly changing epidemic. [...] Information [...] will be updated as and when new information becomes available.”


We are continuing to monitor the situation and we will be updating the UCT community regularly – as and when there are further updates. If you are concerned or need more information, students can contact the Student Wellness Service on 021 650 5620 or 021 650 1271 (after hours), while staff can contact 021 650 5685.