Campus arrangements for undergraduate students

12 March 2021 | DVC A/Prof Lis Lange

Dear undergraduate students

We are in the final countdown to the start of the academic year, and I am writing to confirm how we will be managing undergraduate teaching and learning during the first semester of 2021.

Until the COVID-19 pandemic is over, we need to ensure that the University of Cape Town (UCT) remains a low-density campus. This will allow us to maintain physical distancing in order to minimise transmission of the virus. We will achieve this by using online teaching and learning, and physically distanced teaching that is conducted on campus under specific conditions.

Accessing campus

Campus can be accessed by students who are required to be on campus because of the demands of their degrees. At this point in time, this means students in the Faculty of Health Sciences; students in the Faculty of Engineering & the Built Environment; selected classes in the Faculty of Commerce; second- and third-year students in the Faculty of Science; and performance, creative arts and languages students in the Faculty of Humanities.

All other students who are not staying in residence and do not need to be on campus for academic reasons are strongly encouraged not to come to campus. This will help us to maintain low-density spaces.

Study spaces

We are aware that some students might need to come to campus to make use of space to study and access the internet. As such, we have identified dedicated spaces where students will be able to work while observing physical distancing protocols and wearing masks. These spaces will be carefully monitored and controlled.

Health screening

Students coming onto campus must have their student cards and are required to present the outcome of their UCT Daily Health Screening app to the Campus Protection Services (CPS) officers at campus checkpoints or faculty entrance points as required. As of 1 April 2021, as indicated in the COO Desk of 5 March, the Higher Health screening app will be fully replaced by the UCT Daily Health Screening app.

Please remember that the well-being of all UCT staff and students depends on our individual behaviour. So, please remember to:

  • wear a face mask at all times
  • maintain a physical distance of at least 1.5 m from others
  • wash or sanitise your hands regularly.

If low-density conditions do not prevail on campus, we will have to institute stricter control measures to access campus. This will be communicated if necessary.

I want to encourage you to complete a survey on campus access and other obstacles to online learning, which will be forwarded to you on 31 March 2021. This survey will help us to identify students who may face obstacles to participating fully in online learning.

I hope you had a great start into 2021, and wish you well for the start of the academic year. Take care of yourselves and one another.

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 regularly with the latest COVID-19 information. Please note that the information on this page is subject to change depending on current lockdown regulations.


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Welcome to 2021 14:30, 17 February 2021

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Commemorating a year of COVID-19

At midnight on 26 March 2020, South Africa went into the first nationwide hard lockdown. A year later, we remember those who have died and those who have been affected by COVID-19, as well as the pandemic’s effects across society and campus. We are especially grateful for the front-line health workers who have done so much for so many.


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.