Dear undergraduate and postgraduate students
We hope you are well under the prevailing circumstances and are taking care of yourselves.
As the university leadership prepares to continue academic work in the context of COVID-19, it is vital that we understand your circumstances, and that we explain clearly how we as the leadership are able to help.
We are therefore writing with an important request, and to provide guidance on the approach that the University of Cape Town (UCT) will use to allocate laptop computers.
We are asking ALL STUDENTS to complete the Student Access Survey as soon as possible, even if you have recently completed a similar survey from UCT. The survey asks questions about the conditions where you are now living and how those conditions will affect your ability to study. These include your access to Wi-Fi and the Internet; access to a quiet place for dedicated study or research; the hours when you expect to be able to study or do research, among others.
It is very important that you provide us with the information requested in the survey. The sooner the university receives your reply, the sooner we can process the students who need help.
Conditions for receiving a laptop computer from UCT
As you will understand, due to both cost and availability UCT cannot distribute computers to all the students who do not have devices (including those who had them but lost them through theft or an accident). For this reason, it was necessary to develop criteria and special conditions for allocating the limited number of computers that are available. The overarching criteria should be financial need.
The laptops to be distributed will be allocated only to students in these categories:
The computers will be loan laptops – not a donation – and they must be returned to UCT at the end of the 2020 academic programme. If the laptop is returned after the 2020 academic programme, there will be no cost to the student. The laptops will be issued to students at a cost of R4 150 that will serve as a deposit, to be charged to the student’s fee account. This charge will be reversed once the laptop is returned after the completion of the 2020 academic programme.
To make it possible to allocate these laptops, UCT needs to cross-check the information we have from Financial Aid, the Postgraduate Office and the faculties with the information we are asking from you in this survey.
While UCT understands the difficulties faced by UCT students who are living in neighbouring countries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC), we regret that UCT is unable to provide laptops to foreign students in those countries. The logistics are simply not available. SADC and other foreign students without access to computers, as well as South African students who have no online connectivity, will be given an opportunity to catch up with their studies through blended learning (which combines online lectures and face-to-face tutorials) once the university is able to reopen. The academic calendar will be adjusted so that students are not prejudiced in terms of the length of their studies and their funding.
In the meantime, stay healthy and take care of yourselves. We as the UCT leadership are doing our best to be present for you in these difficult circumstances.
With warm regards,
Prof Loretta Feris – DVC: Student Affairs
Prof Sue Harrison – DVC: Research
A/Prof Lis Lange – DVC: Teaching and Learning
Updates will be posted on UCT’s Coronavirus Disease 2019 feature page on the UCT News website.
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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. 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.