Dear students and colleagues
This campus announcement aims to inform the UCT community about recent developments on campus.
1. Unleashing a new global university
UCT hosted the first in its series of digital events aimed at reimagining the new global university on Monday, 29 June. Challenging international thought leaders on the globalisation of higher education, the first conversation asked: “How virtual can academic conferences go?” The events in the series run until Monday, 7 September.
The next event will be held on Monday, 13 July and will focus on “International collaborations: how can we shift the power towards Africa?” Other events in the series will take place as follows:
2. Weekly COVID-19 cases update
As at 7 July, the total number of reported COVID-19 cases at UCT is 77. This total comprises 58 non-health sciences staff members and 19 students, of which five are Faculty of Health Sciences students on clinical platforms. The number of reported recoveries for staff is 35. Recoveries for students are not included as not all cases are managed by the Department of Student Affairs. There have sadly been six deaths reported – five staff members and one student.
3. Return to campus framework
The UCT executive has issued updates on how the university will coordinate the phased return to campus for staff and students. The framework does not signal a return to normal. Staff and students may only return to campus if they have been specifically issued with an invitation. If this invitation has not been issued, you may not return.
The small group of staff and students who are invited back to campus will have to adhere to very strict health and safety guidelines. All UCT staff must continue to work remotely unless invited back to campus as an essential service – this is a very small group. Although the university is putting a number of measures in place, staff and students are encouraged to take personal responsibility for their health.
4. UCT pays homage to COVID-19 frontline workers
The UCT Choir has paid tribute to the country’s essential workers at the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic. The choir’s rendition of the traditional isiZulu hymn, Thuma Mina, is also dedicated to UCT community members battling COVID-19 and those who lost their lives or family members to the virus.
5. UCT’s commitment to eradicating racism
The Leadership Lekgotla has reaffirmed the university’s commitment to the eradication of all forms of racism and inequality, including, but not limited to women, black staff and students, and the LGBTIQ+ community. This comes following the horrendous killing of George Floyd in the US. This inhumanity was displayed to a global audience and once again exposed the suffocating and deadly legacy of centuries of systemic racism and structural inequality. The Leadership Lekgotla also fully supports and endorses the Council’s statement which commits to the eradication of all forms of racism across UCT.
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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 and implement a national lockdown from 26 March.
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.