This campus announcement aims to inform the UCT community about recent Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) updates.
1. Updates on UCT COVID-19 cases
UCT is pleased to report that the first student to test positive for COVID-19 at the university has now fully recovered. The student left self-isolation late last week.
Since the last update issued on 1 April, UCT has recorded one positive case of COVID-19. The staff member is currently receiving treatment. The process of contact tracing got underway immediately and all persons identified will remain in quarantine for 14 days.
UCT has now had seven cases of COVID-19 – four staff members and three students. This includes the two cases referred to above.
Updates on COVID-19 cases in the UCT community are now issued weekly.
2. Student access survey and loan laptops
The university leadership is preparing to continue the academic work in the context of COVID-19. As such, it is important to understand students’ circumstances in order to provide appropriate support. All students are requested to complete the Student Access Survey as soon as possible.
As a result of cost and availability, UCT cannot allocate computers to all the students who do not have devices. Financial need is the overarching criteria.
3. Research and postgraduate work during lockdown
Challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic provide great uncertainty and anxiety for many researchers who are unable to proceed with aspects of their projects for the moment, and have time-limited funding. Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Sue Harrison has provided updates on what UCT is doing to support the research project and tips on how to continue your work.
4. UCT committed to continuing the academic year
The university has received a number of enquiries from students and parents regarding tuition and residence fees for 2020.
UCT, like all other public universities, is committed to ensuring that we complete the 2020 academic programme and graduate students. To this end, we are working closely with government, other universities and key stakeholders to ensure that we deliver on our mandate of providing quality higher education and research.
At this stage, it is too early to make any pronouncements that will have far reaching implications on the entire university community and the country. It is important to note that we are all putting necessary measures in place to ensure students complete their academic programmes before the end of the year.
The Department of Higher Education, Science and Technology and the National Student Financial Aid Scheme, who are the two major contributors to the higher education sector, have already confirmed their commitment to supporting the sector as best as possible during these uncertain times.
Thank you for your continued support and for your patience as we make plans for completing the academic year.
5. Tips on how to create a comfortable home workspace
Suzanne Key, occupational health nurse practitioner at UCT’s Safety, Health and Environmental unit in Properties and Services shares a few tips on how to set up your workspace at home and staying healthy during lockdown. These include practical workstations to avoid discomfort, the importance of a routine and regular exercise, and how to curb unhealthy snacking.
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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 regularly with the latest COVID-19 information. Please note that the information on this page is subject to change depending on current lockdown regulations.
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.