This campus announcement aims to inform the UCT community about recent developments on campus.
1. Guidelines on completing the 2020 academic year
In consultation with faculties and student representatives, the 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.
2. Update on COVID-19 cases
As at 28 July 2020, UCT has a total of 102 reported COVID-19 cases. The number of infected non-health sciences staff members is 77, of which 57 have recovered. The reported number of student cases is 25, which includes eight Faculty of Health Sciences students on clinical platforms. There have sadly been 10 deaths in the UCT community – nine staff members and one student.
3. Support for staff members
The university is aware that some staff may be having challenges coping during this period of uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For staff and their family members who require support, the Independent Counselling and Advisory Services (ICAS) counsellors are available for telephonic counselling. Staff can contact them via the toll-free number 080 111 3945; send a call back request to *134*905# or email email@example.com. ICAS counsellors are also available for chatting via the online app ICAS On-the-Go. The code for UCT staff is UNI003.
The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) also offers free telephonic counselling to anyone suffering from depression, anxiety and other mental health disorders. To contact them staff can call 0800 171 171 (toll-free from a Telkom line 24 hours a day), send a call back request to 31393, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the SADAG Facebook page for daily expert Q&A from 13:00 to 14:00. There is also much useful information about how to cope with the daily stresses of working during the national lockdown on the SADAG website and practical tips to cope in a time of anxiety on the SADAG podcasts.
To find out more about UCT support during COVID-19, visit the Frequently Asked Questions page.
4. Call for applications: UCT Teaching Innovation Grant
Individual academics, teams or departments are invited to apply for the UCT Teaching Innovation Grant to fund initiatives aimed at making teaching at UCT more effective. This grant is available to support individuals or teams who are engaged in developing departmental, programme or faculty level innovations to curricula or courses aimed at improving student learning. Grants of up to R20 000 are available to support such projects.
5. Appointment of executive director: research
Dr Linda Mtwisha has been appointed as the new executive director of research at UCT with effect from 1 October 2020. She joins UCT from the University of Johannesburg, where she is the senior director of strategic initiatives and administration.
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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.