What the new term at UCT will look like

27 March 2020 | DVC A/Prof Lis Lange

Dear students

Greetings. I hope you are well and taking care of yourselves. As we now move into the countrywide lockdown for 21 days, as announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa, we have a better view of how the academic calendar will change at the University of Cape Town (UCT), when the term will restart, and how teaching and learning will take place.

Our plan is set out below, in the hope that this will answer some of your questions. Some specific dates might still change, depending on the COVID-19 situation, but this will give you some idea of what the new term will look like.

Term 2 (week 6-12 of the first semester) will start on 20 April. It will be scheduled as follows:

  • 20-24 April: Student orientation: How to learn online
  • 27 April: First week of Term 2 teaching starts.

Things that you need to know to put your mind at rest:

  • There will be no formal invigilated exams at the end of the semester.
  • Instead, assessment will be continuous during the term and you will need to obtain duly performed (DP) credit in your courses.
  • You will find details about the assessments and the DP requirements of your courses in their respective Vula sites before classes resume.
  • The courses you take online will be graded as PASS or FAIL (no marks will be assigned). This will not hurt your chances of getting a distinction when you graduate.

Learning online is very different from learning face-to-face. Because of this, we are preparing a guide for you that we will use during the Student Orientation (20–24 April). It will help you understand how you need to work to succeed in your courses.

Important for you to know:

  • You are not expected to carry the same workload online that you would have had face-to-face. We will provide the detail of this within the next week.
  • You will not have to sit in front of your computer at the time of your lectures. You will be able to access and download your lectures; to listen to or watch them as often as you need to; and then do your assignments in your own time.
  • We understand that for some of you, studying away from the university will be intimidating and you will need more support. You can get this support by staying in touch with your course convenors and tutors in the numbers provided in Vula.
  • For those of you whose courses require practical work or field work, this part of your courses will be done on campus once we reopen and the situation has stabilized.
  • We are developing support for you in the form of tutors and consultation times with your lecturers using Vula, WhatsApp and SMS. Contact details will be given to you in each course.
  • We know that some students did not receive laptop computers. We have identified those students and once the lockdown is finished (on 17 April), we will start distributing laptops to them. We have contracted a company that will deliver the computers to you wherever you are.
  • We are working to ensure that you have the necessary data to access your courses online. The detail of this will also be available next week. Please note that all communication will come to you from official UCT platforms.

To serve you better, we need to know what your needs are. Next week we will send out a survey about devices, connectivity and workspace. The survey will be sent via email and SMS. Please respond to it. It is very important that your course convenors know where you are, how you are working and what you need.

This is the second message I have sent to you on this topic. You can review the first message online if you missed it for any reason.

Next week, when there is more clarity about other elements of our programme, I will write again.

In the meantime, take care of yourselves and be assured that we are here to support you.

Warm regards,

Associate Professor Lis Lange
Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Teaching and Learning

Updates will be posted on UCT’s Coronavirus Disease 2019 feature page on the UCT News website.

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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
Chair of 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
Chair of 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.