UCT needs your support now more than ever

20 April 2020 | From Kgethi

Dear parents, guardians and sponsors of UCT students

Today our students began a week of online orientation to prepare for the start of the second term on 28 April at the University of Cape Town (UCT). This is a new experience for them. We expect many questions and anxieties about continuing classes remotely. While we have a full spectrum of student support in place at UCT, the most important support will come from you. As you help your child to create space and time in the home to manage a study schedule, I ask you to also help them deal with any worries that might arise. Your encouragement is vital to build the confidence to embark on this online programme.

UCT students who have questions about emergency remote learning should contact their faculty supervisors, course lecturers and tutors via email and Vula, the dedicated student platform. We will do all we can to respond to these questions. We have also made provision for students to reduce their course load if necessary, and to get additional help when campus reopens. We are committed to each student’s success. You can play a vital role in helping to keep their spirits up during this time.

We are all dealing with the strange reality that the COVID-19 pandemic and national lockdown have created. UCT is making every possible effort to complete the academic year successfully, despite the enormous challenges we face. This has involved an incredible level of commitment by academics, tutors, faculty members, professional and support staff across UCT. In a very short time, they have adapted lesson plans to ensure that class materials and lectures are available to students during lockdown.

The plan makes full use of the university’s investments in technology, infrastructure and expertise developed over the past few years – all part of UCT’s long-term plan to create the best possible teaching and learning environment. Digital connectivity, for instance, gives students more flexibility in managing their course assignments, and the convenience of reviewing lectures and asking questions online at any hour.

UCT has provided unusual levels of support to students during this crisis. This includes transportation for those who needed it to return home ahead of lockdown; surveying students about their ability to work from home; accessing and providing laptop computers on loan to students who meet the criteria; setting up a Call Centre and Referral System to handle student queries about connectivity as well as health and pyscho-social issues; developing an online orientation programme for emergency remote learning; reaching successful agreements with all four of South Africa’s major service providers for zero rated access to university online platforms; increasing support for student counselling over the phone and online; as well as the unexpected expenses necessary to make as much teaching as possible available online. We are setting up an additional system to distribute printed learning materials and USB drives for students who cannot access the internet in any form.

This week we will begin providing 30GB data bundles to all students who have valid South African cell numbers with any of the four major operators, along with the delivery of laptop computers on loan to qualifying students.

This is in addition to UCT’s work with government to seek a potential vaccine, provide low-cost personal protection equipment for healthcare workers, and deal with the increased healthcare needs of the province. But our primary focus is to ensure that every student can complete the academic year successfully. The entire university is invested in getting every student through this difficult period, both academically and emotionally. We will continue to assess what works, identify problems and develop solutions. We are determined to conclude the academic year with as little delay as possible.

UCT is a community of people – researchers, lecturers, and professional and support staff – who are committed to developing African skills and creativity to solve global problems. COVID-19 is just such a challenge, requiring UCT to take on an enormous level of additional costs to support students. You can assist in this important task by helping your child through this crisis.

Thank you for your continued support.

With kind regards,

Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng

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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
UCT 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
UCT 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.