Guidelines on completing 2020 academic year

27 July 2020 | DVC A/Prof Lis Lange

Dear students

In consultation with the faculties and with student representatives, the University of Cape Town (UCT) Executive has decided to finish the 2020 academic year using remote teaching.  This decision, which implies a change in the academic calendar, has been approved by Senate and Council.

The country is currently experiencing the predicted peak of COVID-19 infection and we are advised that another peak is likely to occur in August.  We will not be able to maintain the necessary social distancing if we return to face-to-face teaching in campus lecture halls and other academic spaces in the fourth term. Nor will we be able to accommodate all students in residence under safe conditions.

Taking this into account as well as what we have learnt from the experience of remote teaching in Quarter 2,  we are continuing the second semester of 2020 in the same way. 

The amended UCT calendar is aligned with the phased return of students, including those registered in performing arts courses and those needing to undertake practical blocks. The phased return will also continue, by invitation, for select groups of postgraduate research students who need to use on-campus facilities to complete their research projects, where this can be accommodated appropriately.

Calendar highlights

The most important points to highlight in the new calendar are as follows:

The second semester has 64 teaching days and 13 days of vacation between 21 September and 4 October.

  • Quarter 3 starts on  3 August  and ends on 18 September.
  • Quarter 4 starts on 5 October and ends on 13 November.
  • From 5 October to 16 October there is a practical block for the second quarter component of first semester
  • From 19 October to 13 November there is a practical block for second semester courses.
  • Consolidation takes place between 16 and 18 November
  • Exams for second semester courses start on 19 November and end on 9 December
  • Exams for first semester courses start on 10 December and end on 22 December.

Please note that the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment and the Faculty of Health Sciences are managing their calendars in a slightly different manner due to their specific requirements, however, they will also be teaching remotely.

Return to campus

We are well aware that many students would prefer to return to university residences.  We need to manage simultaneously students’ needs, health risks and the availability of safe spaces under lockdown conditions. Therefore we will continue with a phased approach for the return of students, where possible or needed. 

During September and October different groups of students will be invited to return to campus to complete work in their courses. Some of these students will be invited to return to residences, while others, who did not live in residence accommodation earlier this year, will be invited to come back to campus. The identification of these students will be done centrally in collaboration with the faculties and the Department of Student Affairs. Within the next month we will be making specific announcements as to how this will take place.

I wish you and your loved ones well. Please continue to look after yourselves during these very challenging times.

Warm regards

Associate Professor Lis Lange
Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Teaching and Learning

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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.