This campus announcement aims to inform the UCT community about recent Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) updates and other developments on campus.
1. Weekly update on UCT COVID-19 cases
UCT has had one new positive COVID-19 case reported since the last weekly update was issued on 30 April. The staff member is attached to a department that has been working remotely for at least the past six weeks. The relevant line managers are providing support.
The latest case means UCT has now had eight COVID-19 cases. Six of the eight individuals who previously tested positive have fully recovered (three students and three staff members).
2. Western Cape COVID-19 testing facilities
A number of department of health clinics in the Western Cape are available for individuals to be tested if they are concerned that they may have contracted COVID-19.
A full list of clinics is available at: www.westerncape.gov.za.
3. Chancellor applauds university community
In a message to the campus community, UCT Chancellor Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe noted that like institutions across the globe, UCT is facing a highly complex and evolving situation. Dr Moloi-Motsepe applauded the UCT executive and the Leadership Lekgotla of deans and executive directors who lead and manage a community of 34 000 staff and students, with courage, dignity and compassion. She also applauded other members of the campus community – students, staff, researchers and alumni – for their resilience, dedication and support.
4. Remote teaching updates for undergraduate students
UCT is continuing to attend to outstanding laptop deliveries 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 on all networks have now received data. In addition, all four network providers have 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.
5. Building the future through the COVID-19 UCT Emergency Fund
The university has set up a COVID-19 UCT Emergency Fund to assist in the fight against the virus and its impact on the UCT community. This fund has so far helped with needs such as providing transportation for students who needed to return home ahead of lockdown, disinfecting buildings as they were vacated, sourcing laptop computers and arranging their delivery to needy students, providing personal protective equipment (PPE) to essential staff members who needed to remain on campus, and purchasing data bundles for students who are able to study online at home, to name a few. The laptops alone have incurred a total cost of about R16.4 million. When the lockdown is lifted and students and staff start returning to campus, the COVID-19 UCT Emergency Fund will help to provide for other needs, such as PPEs to ensure their safety.
6. ICTS scheduled maintenance
Please note that on Sunday, 10 May 2020, Information and Communication Technology Services (ICTS) will perform scheduled maintenance from 09:00-17:00. Unless advised to the contrary, staff and students are advised not to expect any ICT services to be available for the duration of the maintenance slot. Please remember to consult the scheduled ICTS maintenance slots for 2020 before planning any teaching, conferences, meetings, and other activities that require ICT services.
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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. This was followed by the implementation of a national lockdown, which has been in effect since midnight on 26 March and has recently been extended to 30 April. The intention of this drastic measure is to “flatten the curve” and contain the spread of the coronavirus to enable healthcare workers to more effectively treat those affected.
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.