Impact of COVID-19 adjusted level 4 and other updates

30 June 2021 | Campus Announcement

Dear colleagues and students

A number of decisions have been made recently that affect both staff and students. These include adjustments to the UCT academic calendar due to the country moving into adjusted lockdown alert Level 4. Read more on this and other updates below.

1. Impact of the adjusted Level 4 COVID-19 regulations on the academic calendar

With the country now under adjusted Lockdown Level 4, the UCT academic calendar has been affected. This includes deferring invigilated group exams and suspending on-campus undergraduate and postgraduate classes, tutorials, and undergraduate laboratory practices, except for students on a clinical platform who should await further guidance. Residences will remain open for students already in university accommodation.

Researchers, including postgraduate research students and postdoctoral research fellows (PDRFs), should adhere to established protocols and the curfew to continue with their work.

The university will share any further details at a later stage.

2. Farewell to Professor Ronnie and Dr Ally

The Vice-Chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng pays tribute to the Dean of the Faculty of Commerce, Professor Linda Ronnie, and the Executive Director of the Development and Alumni Department, Dr Russell Ally, as they are about to vacate the crucial roles they have held at UCT.

3. Report on UCT Council meeting of 19 June

The UCT Council met on Saturday, 19 June 2021 and several major decisions were made, including the renaming of Smuts Hall residence and the approval of three important UCT policies: the UCT Disciplinary Procedure, the Policy Addressing Bullying, and the UCT Collections and Stewardship Policy.

4. Virtual July graduation

The UCT graduation ceremonies will take place virtually from 12 to 19 July 2021. Ceremonies will be staged through online broadcast events which will be pre-recorded. The recordings will be available for viewing on all UCT social media platforms, through the UCT graduation web page and on the UCT News website.

5. NIH announces critical changes to effort reporting

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has recently published a notice alerting grant-holding institutions to upcoming changes to the ‘Biosketch’ and ‘Other Support’ document requirements. These changes will be effective from 25 January 2022, but grant holders and applicants need to start preparing for these changes already, particularly the “Other Support” requirements. Failure to meet the new requirements may cause the NIH to withdraw your application from consideration.

An important aspect of the changes is the increased assessment of the time commitments of NIH-funded researchers on their full suite of grants – both NIH and other grants – to ensure researchers are not committed beyond 100% of their time across all activities, whether supported by external funders or in kind.

6. How to make UCT phone calls while working remotely

Since the start of the pandemic, many people have been working via Microsoft Teams. Teams provides great collaboration tools, but when it comes to making phone calls, you can only contact UCT numbers. If you need to call someone outside of UCT, please use Skype for Business – bearing in mind that calls are charged to your department, and the types of calls you can make are determined by your UCT dialling plan.


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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.

Thank You UCT Community

UCT Community of Hope Vaccination Centre

The University of Cape Town in partnership with the Western Cape Government (WCG) have reinforced our commitment to bringing hope to the residents of the Mother City with the launch of the world‑class Community of Hope Vaccination Centre that opened its doors on Monday, 30 August 2021.
The site is located on Main Road in Mowbray – in the Forest Hill Residence – and access is from Broad Street. The site is open every day: Monday to Friday from 08:00 to 15:00.

#UCTCOVIDPledge – social media elements

Customised Facebook frames and Instagram stickers are now available on those social media platforms. Watch the tutorial videos here to see how easily you can show your support for the #UCTCOVIDPledge.


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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.