Dear colleagues and students
This campus announcement aims to inform the UCT community about recent developments on campus.
1. Resurgence of COVID-19 cases
The University of Cape Town (UCT) community is reminded to remain vigilant in the wake of the resurgence of COVID-19 cases in the southern suburbs, where cluster outbreaks have been identified and at least three COVID-19 cases were reported specifically at UCT. Students and staff members are urged to continue exercising caution by avoiding spaces and places where there is greater exposure to the virus, and reminded that it is more important than ever to continue safe health practices.
2. Annual research symposium and research function
The UCT community is invited to attend two virtual events to be hosted by the Research Office. The Research Symposium will present an opportunity to rethink the PhD in Africa and the Global South and collaborate with the d-school at UCT. The Research Function will present an opportunity to meet Dr Linda Mtwisha, the new Executive Director of the Research Office, and hear her in conversation with Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng and Professor Sue Harrison about what the next year might bring for research at UCT.
3. Limited reopening of UCT Libraries
The network of UCT Libraries across campuses and faculties reopened on 12 October as self-study spaces only during restricted hours, and at certain locations due to their spatial layout and seating capacity. This is in line with UCT’s approach to the completion of the 2020 academic year using remote teaching, along with the phased return to campus of some students and staff members following lockdown. The libraries will be staffed by small core teams as determined by the limited services currently on offer and the REDCap personal health assessment results. Libraries with spatial and proximity constraints have been excluded from this arrangement. These are WH Bell Music Library, Hiddingh Hall Library and Bolus Herbarium Library.
4. Update on COVID-19 cases
The university has 104 reported positive COVID-19 cases among non-health sciences staff as at 20 October. A reported 91 staff members have recovered. With regards to students, 74 cases have been reported, including 12 health sciences students on clinical platforms.
The staff and students’ deaths due to the pandemic remain nine and one respectively. The university has created a dedicated web page through which we pay tribute to students and staff lost during the pandemic.
5. UCT cleaning services available under strict conditions
UCT cleaning staff are working under very strict conditions in line with lockdown level one. Their duties are limited to specific public areas. This means that staff members and students need to take responsibility for cleaning and sanitising their own rooms and workspaces, including doorknobs and other surfaces that they may touch. Students in residence and staff members working on campus must empty their own refuse bins.
Please respect the cleaners’ boundaries, which have been set to protect all of us. Staff can, however, request cleaning of public spaces such as reception areas, meeting rooms and toilets.
Read previous communications:
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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.