This campus announcement aims to inform the University of Cape Town community about recent Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) developments and other updates on campus.
1. Lockdown letters
In order to foster a sense of community during the COVID-19 lockdown, a new initiative – #UCTLockdownLetters – invites you to share your stories about life and survival at home.
How are you coping as parents, partners, siblings and individuals? How has the lockdown affected you and your ability to work? What does your work-from-home space look like? What adaptations have you made? How do you cope with stress? What will you do differently after the lockdown?
This is your space to express yourself in any medium you choose: in words, prose, poetry, audio, video or pictures. Your contributions will be curated as part of a special platform designed for sharing – and to create a unique archive for future UCT communities.
Please send your submissions to LockdownLetters@uct.ac.za.
2. Update on UCT COVID-19 cases
UCT has not had any reported new cases of COVID-19 since the last weekly update issued on 22 April. The university has now gone for three successive weeks without any new infections.
3. Data provisioning and laptop deliveries continuing
UCT is continuing to attend to laptop deliveries and provisioning of data to students as urgently as possible.
Laptop deliveries started on 24 April and only a limited number can be delivered per day. UCT is working as fast as possible to complete the deliveries by, at the latest, 8 May. Students with MTN and Telkom Mobile received data last week, while Vodacom started loading data on 28 April. Cell C data is being provisioned since midnight on 30 April.
Students who have not received the data or laptops are asked to log a call with ICTSfirstname.lastname@example.org for assistance only after the dates specified above.
All four network providers have now zero-rated access to specified UCT sites. A dedicated webpage has been created on the ICTS website that will be updated regularly when and if additional sites are zero-rated.
4. SHAWCO launches #BeKindOnline initiative
UCT’s Students’ Health and Welfare Centres Organisation (SHAWCO) has launched the #BeKindOnline initiative in an effort to provide food and sanitary essentials to three of Cape Town’s most marginalised communities.
Spearheaded by SHAWCO, in association with local non-governmental organisations, the #BeKindOnline initiative has committed to feeding 1 000 families in Manenberg on the Cape Flats and providing essential sanitary parcels to 500 families in Hout Bay’s Imizamo Yethu and Hangberg informal settlements in the next few days. In order to successfully reach this goal, SHAWCO is calling on the UCT campus community and greater Cape Town to contribute.
To feed one person a day costs just R11; to feed that same person for a full week costs R77; and R308 is what it costs to feed a family of four for seven days. Sanitary parcels cost R200 (or R50 per week) and include soap, hand sanitiser, sanitary towels, household detergents, a bucket and sponge, masks, as well as health promotional pamphlets in English and isiXhosa.
Banking details for donations:
Standard Bank | Account name: SHAWCO | Account type: Business Cheque
Account no: 072 713 305 | Branch: 025 009 | Swift code: SBZAZAJJ | Reference: Your name
4. How UCT is supporting research work during COVID-19
The lockdown due to COVID-19 has had a significant impact on UCT’s research work. However, the university has taken various actions to support researchers and postgraduate students. An immediate concern to the research community is the effect of the lockdown on research contracts and the need to secure ongoing funding. The Research Contracts and Innovation Office have engaged proactively with sponsors and funding agencies for the possibility of extending contracts. The research office has also developed a selection of FAQs around aspects of research at UCT that aim to support researchers during this unusual period.
5. Updates on remote teaching progress
Online teaching started on Tuesday, 28 April. There is a challenge of delays in the delivery of laptops. These delays will have a knock-on effect on the ability of some students to join in the teaching term. This will require course conveners to be flexible in terms of submissions of work, continual assessments and other matters.
The next two weeks will be used to monitor how remote teaching is working, identifying problems that need addressing, and identifying those students who need to be supported more directly or in different ways.
6. Conference Management Centre online support
The Conference Management Centre (CMC) at UCT is available to support online event needs during these times of uncertainty. The CMC is making use of the Microsoft Teams and Zoom platforms. This includes live polling, note taking, recording content and feedback surveys. CMC is also offering its services for basic online events at no charge during the COVID-19 pandemic.
7. Election of a PASS staff member to Council
The membership of the UCT Council includes one member of the professional, administrative, support and service staff in pay classes 7-13 elected by the staff in these pay classes. Members of the PASS staff in pay classes 7-13 are invited to vote for one of the three nominated candidates to fill this membership category for the term of office 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2024.
Please log into Vula with your UCT user credentials and select the “ PASS 7-13: Election ” tab. The candidates’ statements of intent and abbreviated CVs are available on the “Resources” page of the site. Vote for the candidate of your choice by clicking on the question on the “Poll” page.
Voting is now open and will close at 16:00 on Wednesday, 5 May 2020.
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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 and implement a national lockdown from 26 March. The intention of these drastic measures is to “flatten the curve” and contain the spread of the coronavirus to enable healthcare workers to more effectively treat those affected. Although South Africa has recently reached a peak of COVID-19 infections, the country is expecting a surge in positive cases in August.
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.