Dear colleagues and students
This campus announcement aims to inform the UCT community about recent developments on campus.
1. Your role in limiting the health risk of returning to UCT
It is critical that those who return to campus adhere to all public health and safety protocols. For access to campus, each staff member and student must first receive a letter of authorisation. 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 and may only arrive on the date specified on that invitation. Students are urged to exercise individual accountability in complying with the obligatory public health safety measures to protect their own health and that of the residence community.
Because of the need for social distancing, it is safest to limit the number of people on campus and in rooms. For this reason, the executive still encourages students and staff members who can study and work from home to continue to do so.
Although the country has moved to lockdown level one, staff and students are still advised and encouraged to follow the three basic protocols of wearing a face mask, social and physical distancing, and sanitising/washing hands and surfaces. There is an individual and collective community responsibility to be compliant in order to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
2. Update on COVID-19 cases
The university has, as at 22 September, 101 reported COVID-19 cases among non-health sciences staff. Staff recoveries stood at 88. The number of reported students’ cases is 36, including 10 health sciences students on clinical platforms. The number of staff and students sadly lost to the pandemic remains nine and one respectively.
3. Commemorating Heritage Month
In commemorating Heritage Month, UCT reflected on what this means in terms of its history and collective heritage.
For the past few years, the university has been considering the names of buildings on its campuses as part of the ongoing transformation process. Several buildings have been named to reflect the diverse staff and student community at the institution.
This month there were plans to carry out the next phase relating to the Sutherland human remains restitution project, found to have been obtained unethically by the university in the 1920s. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this process has to be delayed and will be carried out once circumstances permit.
A webinar on decolonialisation and decoloniality was hosted, which looked at the emergence of decolonial thought and discourse. The university’s Works of Art Collection (WOAC) committee is also reshaping UCT’s art collection – which comprises approximately 1 700 artworks across 70 UCT buildings – and transforming it into a resource for researchers, curators and students.
4. Inaugural Lecture: Professor Hussein Suleman
The next VC’s Inaugural Lecture will be presented by Professor Hussein Suleman, head of department and professor in Computer Science in the School of Information Technology. His lecture is titled “Computer Science at times of crisis: reflecting on societal drivers for software and algorithm design” and will take place on Wednesday, 30 September 2020 at 17:30 on the Microsoft Teams online platform.
5. AFC virtual dialogue and debate
The Chair of the Academic Freedom Committee, Professor Elelwani Ramugondo, invites staff and students to a virtual dialogue and debate, titled “Can research be harmful and if so, what does this mean for academic freedom?”. The event will be held on Wednesday, 30 September from 17:00-18:30 via the Microsoft Teams Platform.
The dialogue and debate will be moderated by Professor Pierre de Vos and panellists will include Professor Ambroise Wonkam (Division of Human Genetics), Associate Professor Kelley Moult (Department of Public Law), Dr George Hull (Department of Philosophy) and Professor Marc Blockman (Division of Clinical Pharmacology).
The event will include an interactive question and answer session. Join this important dialogue and debate, it is open to all.
6. Year in Review 2019 available online
Over the past year, UCT took further steps towards making its campus a more inclusive space and made a series of decisions to address questions about sustainability that higher education is grappling with around the world. The Year in Review 2019 gives a broad overview, and a few highlights, of the institution’s activities, goals and its many achievements over the previous year.
7. The new Jammie Shuttle App
Staff and students are reminded that UCT has partnered with GoMetro in creating a mobile/cellphone Jammie Shuttle App. The app provides timetables and real-time information on the Jammie Shuttles, including the expected time of arrival at each bus stop on any given route, allowing the user to reduce waiting time. The app also displays the bus movements on a map and this information gets updated in real-time, thus ensuring that notices for delays or incidents are immediate.
The app has many more features and functions that aim to create a good experience for staff and students riding the Jammie Shuttle. It will also link to Metrorail and other transport networks to allow for a better commute from home to campus.
To download and register for the app, use your standard UCT system login details (staff/student number and current password).
For support in setting up or using the app, please contact 021 650 5289 (office hours), 021 650 2222 / 080 650 2222 (after hours), firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read previous communications:
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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.