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

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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 2020 and to implement a national lockdown from 26 March 2020. UCT is taking the threat of infection in our university community extremely seriously, and this page will be updated with the latest COVID-19 information. Please note that the information on this page is subject to change depending on current lockdown regulations.

Minister of Health, Dr Joe Phaahla, has in June 2022 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.

In July 2022, the University of Cape Town (UCT) revised its approach to managing the COVID-19 pandemic on UCT campuses in 2022.
Read the latest document available on the UCT policies web page.


Campus communications


Adjusting to our new environment 16:50, 23 June 2022
VC Open Lecture and other updates 17:04, 13 April 2022
Feedback from UCT Council meeting of 12 March 2022 09:45, 18 March 2022
UCT Council
March 2022 graduation celebration 16:45, 8 March 2022
Report on the meeting of UCT Council of 21 February 2022 19:30, 21 February 2022
UCT Council
COVID-19 management 2022 11:55, 14 February 2022
Return to campus arrangements 2022 11:15, 4 February 2022

UCT Community of Hope Vaccination Centre

On Wednesday, 20 July, staff from the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) Faculty of Health Sciences came together with representatives from the Western Cape Government at the UCT Community of Hope Vaccination Centre at Forest Hill Residence to acknowledge the centre’s significance in the fight against COVID-19 and to thank its staff for their contributions. The centre opened on 1 September 2021 with the aim of providing quality vaccination services to UCT staff, students and the nearby communities, as well as to create an opportunity for medical students from the Faculty of Health Sciences to gain practical public health skills. The vaccination centre ceased operations on Friday, 29 July 2022.

With the closure of the UCT Community of Hope Vaccination Centre, if you still require access to a COVID-19 vaccination site please visit the CovidComms SA website to find an alternative.


“After almost a year of operation, the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) Community of Hope Vaccination Centre, located at the Forest Hill residence complex in Mowbray, will close on Friday, 29 July 2022. I am extremely grateful and proud of all staff, students and everyone involved in this important project.”
– Vice-Chancellor Prof Mamokgethi Phakeng

With the closure of the UCT Community of Hope Vaccination Centre, if you still require access to a COVID-19 vaccination site please visit the CovidComms SA website to find an alternative.

Thank You UCT Community

Frequently asked questions


Global Citizen Asks: Are COVID-19 Vaccines Safe & Effective?

UCT’s Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine (IDM) collaborated with Global Citizen, speaking to trusted experts to dispel vaccine misinformation.

If you have further questions about the COVID-19 vaccine check out the FAQ produced by the Desmond Tutu Health Foundation (DTHF). The DTHF has developed a dedicated chat function where you can ask your vaccine-related questions on the bottom right hand corner of the website.

IDM YouTube channel | IDM website


“As a contact university, we look forward to readjusting our undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in 2023 as the COVID-19 regulations have been repealed.”
– Prof Harsha Kathard, Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Teaching and Learning

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.