Dear students and colleagues
The shift to Lockdown Level One from midnight on Sunday, 20 September 2020, combined with the phased return of some students and staff members to campus, is raising many questions about the possible effect on the University of Cape Town (UCT).
I am writing to remind you that our top priority is the health and safety of every person who enters campus property. For this reason, only those who have received written invitations or letters of authorisation may return.
All of us on campus, staff members and students, need to help each other to follow the basic rules for reducing the chance of spreading infection:
Everyone who returns to campus at this time will need to observe all public health and safety protocols.
Students can only return to residence if they have received an invitation to do so, and may only arrive on the date specified in that invitation. Students exercise individual accountability in complying with the obligatory public health safety measures listed above, to protect their own health and that of the residence community.
Catering operations will resume from 1 October 2020 for students who have meal plan options. Students undergoing compulsory quarantine can collect daily meal packs at a designated point within the residence during quarantine. Students will only be allowed in the dining hall after they have completed their compulsory quarantine and must comply with the dining hall protocols.
Cleaning materials and refuse bags will be provided to residence students to freshen up their rooms and dispose of refuse. Students will remain responsible for their room hygiene.
As a campus community, we are relying on each of you to take personal responsibility to follow these protocols and to remind each other if someone happens to forget them. Because these protocols are so important, there is also a legal responsibility to follow them. In adhering to these protocols, we are fulfilling our part of the collective community responsibility to help protect people from the impact of this pandemic. We are jointly responsible to protect all students, staff and visitors to UCT, as well as their loved ones at home. We are responsible for each other and UCT will take the required action against any breach of these protocols.
In an effort to prevent persons who may be infected with COVID-19 from entering the university and transmitting the infection, Campus Protection Services (CPS) colleagues are under instruction to check all people coming onto campus. For access to campus, each staff member and student must first receive a letter of authorisation to enter campus. You must complete a daily COVID-19 symptom checklist using the Higher Health app. No person will be permitted to enter campus without the ‘green light’ on the app as evidence that you are symptom safe to do so.
You must be able to show the Green result of the Higher Health app every day, along with your letter of authorisation. Access to buildings will be monitored by CPS colleagues. Anyone entering a building must use the hand sanitiser at the entrance*. Stricter protocols may also be required for access to certain labs and offices.
Because of the need for social distancing, it is safest to limit the number of people on campus and in rooms. For this reason, we still encourage UCT students and staff members who can work from home to continue to do so.
I urge you to read the frequently asked questions (FAQs) about UCT’s response to COVID-19. We will continue to update the FAQs as new information becomes available.
It is important to remember what President Cyril Ramaphosa said: “By any measure, we are still in the midst of a deadly epidemic. Our greatest challenge now – and our most important task – is to ensure that we do not experience a new surge in infections.”
Because we are a campus community, it is important to watch out for each other. We do this by each taking personal responsibility to follow the protocols during this COVID-19 pandemic as well as helping others to be compliant with the protocols. Thank you for paying attention to these rules and helping each other to follow them.
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 and implement a national lockdown from 26 March.
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.
Getting credible, evidence-based, accessible information and recommendations relating to COVID-19
The Department of Medicine at the University of Cape Town and Groote Schuur Hospital, are producing educational video material for use on digital platforms and in multiple languages. The information contained in these videos is authenticated and endorsed by the team of experts based in the Department of Medicine. Many of the recommendations are based on current best evidence and are aligned to provincial, national and international guidelines. For more information on UCT’s Department of Medicine, please visit the website.
To watch more videos like these, visit the Department of Medicine’s YouTube channel.
As the COVID-19 crisis drags on and evolves, civil society groups are responding to growing and diversifying needs – just when access to resources is becoming more insecure, writes UCT’s Prof Ralph Hamann.03 Jul 2020 - 6 min read Republished
The Covid-19 crisis has reinforced the global consequences of fragmented, inadequate and inequitable healthcare systems and the damage caused by hesitant and poorly communicated responses.24 Jun 2020 - >10 min read Opinion
Our scientists must not practise in isolation, but be encouraged to be creative and increase our knowledge of the needs of developing economies, write Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng, vice-chancellor of UCT, and Professor Thokozani Majozi from the University of the Witwatersrand.09 Jun 2020 - 6 min read Republished
South Africa has been recognised globally for its success in flattening the curve, which came as a result of President Ramaphosa responding quickly to the crisis, writes Prof Alan Hirsch.28 Apr 2020 - 6 min read Republished
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.