This campus announcement aims to inform the UCT community about recent developments on campus.
1. Approved 2021 academic calendar
The 2021 calendar has been adjusted and is no longer accurate due to changes made in response to COVID-19. Up-to-date information is available on the UCT Coronavirus Disease web page.
2. Update on COVID-19 cases
The university has 105 reported positive COVID-19 cases among non-health sciences staff as at 27 October. A reported 92 staff members have recovered. With regards to students, 47 cases have been reported, including 15 health sciences students on clinical platforms.
Staff and students’ deaths due to the pandemic remain nine and one respectively. The university has created a dedicated web page through which we pay tribute to students and staff lost during the pandemic.
3. P18 parking discs for 2021
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, applications for student parking discs will only be done online. All Masters/PhD students interested in a parking disc for 2021 are invited to add their details to the online Microsoft list in order to be issued with a P18 parking disc for an annual fee. The online list will only be made available on the first working day of November, which is next week Monday, 2 November 2020. Please note that there are 120 bays available. Only the first 120 students will be accepted, and once this number is reached the application process will be closed off.
To complete the form please go to the link on 2 November.
4. Virtual graduation ceremonies
Graduations are undoubtedly the highlight of the university’s calendar year, and occasions celebrated with great pride. In adopting a very cautious approach guided by the regulations permissible under lockdown alert Level 1 that have a limit of 250 persons for an indoor event, and a limit of 500 persons for an outdoor event, the December 2020 graduations will be hosted online. This decision was not taken lightly but was underpinned by the need to consider the health and safety of the university community. Details of the virtual events will be shared at the appropriate time with the affected students.
The details will relate to arrangements for the virtual event in respect of the ceremonies that were planned for March 2020 but had to be suspended following the national lockdown, and for which qualifications were awarded in absentia; and the virtual ceremony in respect of the December 2020 graduating cohort.
5. HR reminder: Annual Leave
Studies show that, in South Africa, more than 50% of employees do not take the annual leave which is due to them. While this may indicate that we are a hard-working nation, there are many studies which show that there are disadvantages to not taking a break. Also, while there may be a desire to grow a workforce of super-efficient and hard-working employees, people do need rest.
Taking annual leave, and using it for its intended purpose, allows staff to take paid time off from work to rest, reduce stress levels, re-energise the mind and body, practice self-care and spend time with loved ones.
In unusual circumstances, where leave days may be lost as a result of operational requirements preventing staff from taking leave, a formal request and detailed motivation as to why the leave could not be granted and must be carried forward is to be submitted to your HR Administrator by 1 December 2020. These will be considered in accordance with the Council approved policy and HR Delegations of Authority. The deadline of 1 December 2020 is to ensure sufficient time to effect the necessary system changes and it will therefore not be possible to consider requests which come in after this deadline.
6. Manage your productivity with Microsoft tools
The Information and Communication Technology Services (ICTS) Training team is running several free information sessions that highlight new and useful features in some of the Microsoft products that are frequently used. The next session titled ‘Powerpoint on steroids’ is taking place on Tuesday, 3 November 2020, 10:00–11:00. Join to learn more.
7. Irma Stern Museum website & education
The recently launched UCT Irma Stern Museum (ISM) website enables the public to virtually ‘visit’ the museum as the COVID-19 pandemic continues while also supporting teaching and learning in South African schools. The website, through images, texts and timelines, gives insight into the life and work of the artist Irma Stern – one of South Africa’s most noted artists – and houses an extensive education section. Besides being educational, by featuring upcoming exhibitions and events, tour offerings, logistical information and venue hire opportunities, the website will make visits to and interaction with the ISM easier once it opens to the public again. Importantly, this new website is designed to visually pay tribute to Irma Stern, the work she collected, and serve as a reminder that the museum represents a valuable part of African cultural heritage and a valuable part of UCT’s heritage.
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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.