“I ... must ... stay at home, not go out. Wash wash wash wash wash my hands. Wear a mask, don’t see friends. Wash wash wash wash wash my hands.”
That’s the song Oaky wants every child to know and sing twice to help them stay safe and healthy while also having fun.
Oaky is a fictional little acorn and the star of the Oaky series of fun picture books for children. Oaky and the Virus is one of seven books in the series, all of which were written by Athol Williams, senior lecturer at the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business (GSB), and illustrated by management consultant Taryn Lock.
In addition to Williams’s work at the GSB, where he specialises in corporate responsibility and ethical leadership, he is also an acclaimed author, poet and, along with Lock, co-founder of the non-profit organisation Read to Rise.
Due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Oaky publisher Theart Press has released the book for free distribution and download to help keep children at home, reading and avoiding infection. Theart Press also encourages the public to contribute to Read to Rise, which is fundraising for care packs for children in vulnerable communities.
Fun and educational
Oaky and the Virus follows Oaky and his sister, Oaket, as they learn about COVID-19 in a fun, accessible and educational way. As soon as the two acorns learn about the virus, they quickly practise the appropriate safety measures: they wear their masks, wash their hands and stay at home.
In the established Oaky tradition, the story is followed by a quiz, which helps children with comprehension skills and allows parents and teachers to engage with children about what they’ve read.
The ebook is also accompanied by a YouTube video, which teaches children the song, and translations of the book in all official languages are underway, with Sepedi and isiZulu versions already available.
Williams encourages parents to send their children’s reactions to the book and the song via email or share it on social media.
And remember, you must:
“Stay at home, not go out. Wash wash wash wash wash my hands. Wear a mask, don’t see friends. Wash wash wash wash wash my hands.”
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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 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.
“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.
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.
“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.