Dear students and staff
During these uncertain times, the University of Cape Town (UCT) remains committed to providing support even while you are not on campus and under conditions of self-isolation. We acknowledge that current national and global conditions may create some levels of stress and anxiety. There are two important principles that guide us. First, that we continue to support you to remain healthy, physically and mentally; and second, that operations should continue virtually and online, where possible.
For example, the following support services remain available to you:
Student Financial Aid
Staff are working off site, focusing on finalising student funding for 2020. This includes:
Important information for financial aid and GAP-funded students will be shared via Vula, so students need to check their Vula Financial Aid tab.
Student Wellness Services
Even while students are away from campus, they can access certain Student Wellness Service (SWS) resources. SWS bookings can be made online, via email or on the UCT mobile app.
To help students through self-isolation and lockdown, SWS has made the following resources available:
Counselling: Students can continue to access their therapists for counselling via telephone or Skype. Sessions can be booked as usual, either online or via email. Students can book with any of the counsellors on the SWS booking site – they don’t have to book with their usual faculty counsellor.
The UCT Student Care Line continues to provide 24-hour telephonic counselling on 0800 24 25 26.
Beginning in Term 2, therapists will share tips for maintaining physical and mental health online, to support students as the teaching programme shifts to online learning.
Medical Advisory: Students can seek medical advice by calling SWS on 021 650 5620. Please note: these calls are not consultations. Students can also book a request online for a consultation with the Clinical Nurse Practitioner, who will call back at the appointed time.
Beginning in Term 2, the SWS medical team will share health self-help tips online to support students.
COVID – 19 queries from anywhere in South Africa can be directed to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases Hotline: 0800 029 0999.
Referral letters to other facilities and external services will be provided upon receipt of an emailed request.
Peer counselling support: Peer-counsellors from SWS will offer counselling and public awareness programmes on Monday to Saturday from 12:00 to 17:00. Peer support is also available via telephonic contact, Skype, Zoom and email. Appointments can be arranged via direct messenger or the SWS website.
Services provided by the Office for Inclusivity and Change (OIC) are continuing via virtual platforms such as Microsoft Teams, Skype for Business and Zoom. These services help to build and maintain unity and solidarity across UCT – all the more important during the self-isolation caused by the COVID-19 crisis. We call on all UCT stakeholders, students and staff members to meet online to continue their education journeys and transformation improvement plans. In this way, we can sustain the momentum and progress initiated earlier this year, and come back together again in stronger unity.
Critical services for disabled students continue, as does survivor support in the form of individual and group counselling which is being provided online for participating survivors. UCT survivors can join online counselling for individuals and groups, by contacting the new Survivor Support Officer, Yumna Seadat who joins UCT from Rape Crisis.
Academic leadership development
Dr Robert Morell will continue to meet with members of the New Generation of Academics Programme (nGAP) and the Next Generation Professoriate (NGP) via Skype and will communicate via newsletters. The relevant members of staff can also use email groups for nGAP and NGP to stay in touch as a cohort.
Social Responsiveness Hub resources for community engaged teaching and research
The Social Responsiveness (SR) hub will meet virtually during this period to support staff and students in their SR activities as follows:
This information demonstrates our commitment to providing support during these uncertain times. Updates will be communicated to you as they develop.
Professor Loretta Feris
Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Transformation
Updates will be posted on UCT’s Coronavirus Disease 2019 feature page on the UCT News website.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Please view the republishing articles page for more information.
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. This was followed by the implementation of a national lockdown, which has been in effect since midnight on 26 March and has recently been extended to 30 April. The intention of this drastic measure is to “flatten the curve” and contain the spread of the coronavirus to enable healthcare workers to more effectively treat those affected.
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.