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.


Read previous communications:

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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 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.


Campus communications


Adjusting to our new environment 16:50, 23 June 2022
VC Open Lecture and other updates 17:04, 13 April 2022
Feedback from UCT Council meeting of 12 March 2022 09:45, 18 March 2022
Chair of Council
March 2022 graduation celebration 16:45, 8 March 2022
Report on the meeting of UCT Council of 21 February 2022 19:30, 21 February 2022
Chair of Council
COVID-19 management 2022 11:55, 14 February 2022
Return to campus arrangements 2022 11:15, 4 February 2022

UCT Community of Hope Vaccination Centre

On Wednesday, 20 July, staff from the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) Faculty of Health Sciences came together with representatives from the Western Cape Government at the UCT Community of Hope Vaccination Centre at Forest Hill Residence to acknowledge the centre’s significance in the fight against COVID-19 and to thank its staff for their contributions. The centre opened on 1 September 2021 with the aim of providing quality vaccination services to UCT staff, students and the nearby communities, as well as to create an opportunity for medical students from the Faculty of Health Sciences to gain practical public health skills. The vaccination centre ceased operations on Friday, 29 July 2022.

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.


“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.

Thank You UCT Community

Frequently asked questions


Global Citizen Asks: Are COVID-19 Vaccines Safe & Effective?

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.

IDM YouTube channel | IDM 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.