Friday, 17 April

17 April 2020


The University of Cape Town (UCT) has rearranged the academic year to ensure students complete the semester and the full academic year. The executive is aware that some students may experience some remote working challenges and have made provision for this.

Here’s what undergraduate students need to know:

  • UCT purchased laptops for students and these will be distributed based on financial need. The laptops will be delivered as soon as government approves the courier service clearance.
  • UCT has established agreements with Cell C and Telkom for zero-rated data for South African websites. This guarantees free access to UCT websites like Vula, video lectures, the Library website, Open UCT, and UCT’s primary website.
  • A call centre and referral system will be established to handle connectivity queries, as well as health and psycho-social issues. The university will also monitor student participation in remote learning via Vula.
  • For students who can’t access the internet in any form, the university will distribute printed learning materials and USB drives to keep up with their courses. Due to the extended lockdown this has proceeded slowly, but UCT will keep students informed about the progress.
  • Orientation Week starts on Monday, 20 April, and will help students adapt to the online learning environment. The university expects students to engage with learning for at least 30 hours per week.
  • Formal teaching starts on Tuesday, 28 April.
  • The deadline for dropping courses has moved to 8 May, and a special version of the change of curriculum form will be available next week.
  • For most courses there will be continuous assessment through quizzes, tests and assignments. First semester courses will not be examined through invigilated examinations (there are a few exceptions to this in the Faculty of Engineering & the Built Environment). Annual courses will have invigilated examinations at the end of the year.
  • Lab, field and studio work cannot be taught remotely and the necessary adjustments will be communicated directly to students via their faculties.

The UCT community is invested in getting students through this difficult and uncertain time.

Read the DVC’s Desk.

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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 regularly with the latest COVID-19 information. Please note that the information on this page is subject to change depending on current lockdown regulations.


Frequently asked questions


Commemorating a year of COVID-19

At midnight on 26 March 2020, South Africa went into the first nationwide hard lockdown. A year later, we remember those who have died and those who have been affected by COVID-19, as well as the pandemic’s effects across society and campus. We are especially grateful for the front-line health workers who have done so much for so many.

News and opinions

Campus communications



Media releases

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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.