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