Dear Leadership Lekgotla colleagues
I recently sent a COO Desk to you to explain the arrangements in respect of COVID-19 management on campus during 2022.
I am now writing specifically on the issue of the flexibility pilot we have introduced across campus with the intention to optimise venue capacity and use, and enable us to maximise on-campus teaching. UCT has the support of Higher Health to pilot this intervention but must still maintain appropriate physical distancing.
Please take note of the following important elements of the pilot intervention:
Firstly, the 50% capacity limitation has been relaxed. We are able to do this given that engineering controls, in the form of ventilation, are already in place in venues.
Secondly, we are reducing the 1.5 m physical distancing requirement in venues to 1 m. The seating spaces in all teaching and learning venues are now spaced using a distance of 1 m between persons.
The provision of KN95 masks for each person in the venue is an added safety precaution. Colleagues in the Properties and Services department have prepared centrally bookable venues in this manner. Faculty leadership must please ensure that all faculty managed spaces, including research and laboratory spaces, are marked out for 1 m distancing.
We are supplying three KN95 masks to staff and students as an added safety precaution. These masks have been certified by the National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NRCS). Stocks of the KN95 masks will be available at the CANSA Building in Main Road, Mowbray and can be ordered through an online ordering system facilitated by UCT’s Occupational Health and Safety services. We are phasing in the supply of KN95 masks and all faculties must request enough stock in order to issue three masks per staff member and three masks per student that will be attending face-to-face engagements. Students living in UCT residences should collect their masks from their residence. Students not in residence should collect their masks from their specific faculty. Faculties and residences are required to keep a record of the issuing of masks. We are aware that some KN95 masks have been independently purchased in some departments and we appreciate those proactive measures.
I continue to encourage staff and students to get vaccinated and to observe basic health and safety protocols to prevent the transmission of the COVID-19 virus, including physical distancing, wearing of masks, and hand hygiene.
If you have any queries or need assistance please contact the COVID-19 Occupational Health and Safety representative in your faculty, department or residence.
I trust these interventions will enable us to return to more face-to-face teaching and learning and assist us in creating an enhanced campus experience for our students.
Dr Reno Morar
Chief Operating Officer
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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.