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:
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.
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:
Communication and Marketing Department
Read previous communications:
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Coronavirus disease 2019 (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. The intention of these drastic measures is to “flatten the curve” and contain the spread of the coronavirus to enable healthcare workers to more effectively treat those affected. Although South Africa has recently reached a peak of COVID-19 infections, the country is expecting a surge in positive cases in August.
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.
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.
As the COVID-19 crisis drags on and evolves, civil society groups are responding to growing and diversifying needs – just when access to resources is becoming more insecure, writes UCT’s Prof Ralph Hamann.03 Jul 2020 - 6 min read Republished
The Covid-19 crisis has reinforced the global consequences of fragmented, inadequate and inequitable healthcare systems and the damage caused by hesitant and poorly communicated responses.24 Jun 2020 - >10 min read Opinion
Our scientists must not practise in isolation, but be encouraged to be creative and increase our knowledge of the needs of developing economies, write Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng, vice-chancellor of UCT, and Professor Thokozani Majozi from the University of the Witwatersrand.09 Jun 2020 - 6 min read Republished
South Africa has been recognised globally for its success in flattening the curve, which came as a result of President Ramaphosa responding quickly to the crisis, writes Prof Alan Hirsch.28 Apr 2020 - 6 min read Republished
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.