Dear colleagues and students
I am writing to provide further information and clarity on how the University of Cape Town (UCT) will work this week. Please read this email carefully to understand how you might be affected.
Fee blocks have been lifted
Following on my communication on Sunday, 14 March about the beginning of the academic year, we have implemented Council’s decision to lift students’ fee block on registration in respect of 2020 debt. By the end of yesterday, fee blocks had been lifted for about 1 700 students and 99% of all undergraduate students had been registered across all faculties.
The academic year begins today
All faculties agree that there is no academic reason to further delay the start of the academic programme. The principle of not leaving any student behind applies and all faculties will support students who were delayed in joining the academic programme.
In consultation with the deans, we have decided to start the academic year today, 16 March, with the following provisions:
This arrangement will remain in place until Tuesday, 23 March. I will communicate again to provide further updates.
We urge you to maintain health and safety protocols
We note that you may wish to engage in demonstrations or gatherings aligned to the national protest. Please keep in mind that, for the safety of yourself and those around you, all COVID-19 protocols remain in place, especially during activities that attract many people. Any gathering, regardless of its purpose, creates the real risk of creating a super-spreader event. We urge everyone participating in protest activities to continue wearing your masks, keep a physical distance of at least 1.5 m from other people and wash your hands or use sanitisers during any gatherings.
We reiterate UCT’s commitment to access higher education and further emphasise the institution’s decision to not leave any student behind.
Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng
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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 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Minister of Health, Dr Joe Phaahla, has in June 2022 repealed some of South Africa’s remaining COVID-19 regulations: namely, sections 16A, 16B and 16C of the Regulations Relating to the Surveillance and the Control of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.
“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.
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.
“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.