Dear colleagues and students
This campus announcement aims to inform the UCT community about recent developments on campus.
1. Honouring staff at UCT Annual Awards
Just over 300 University of Cape Town (UCT) will be honoured during the virtual UCT Annual Awards ceremony scheduled to be broadcast online this evening, 2 December 2020. Now in their third year, the awards recognise and acknowledge outstanding achievements of UCT’s extraordinary staff members. The categories in which staff are honoured are the ad hominem promotions, Alan Pifer Award, Distinguished Teacher Awards, Long Service Awards and the Vice-Chancellor’s Excellence Awards.
2. Virtual graduation celebrations
In one of the most bittersweet moments for the university, UCT will celebrate the 2020 graduations virtually this month as communicated recently. UCT would normally have celebrated students’ achievements in a regular graduation ceremony, but due to the prevailing COVID-19 circumstances, special virtual graduation ceremonies have had to be arranged.
For the March 2020 cohort of graduates, the graduation celebratory event is scheduled for Monday, 14 December. The graduation celebration for the December 2020 cohort of graduands will be broadcast on Tuesday, 15 December. Both will commence at 18:00 and will be broadcast online via the UCT website and social media platforms.
UCT recognises that students and their families would have preferred the regular on-campus graduation ceremony. The university reiterates that the health and safety of students, their family and staff members will continue to be a priority and is the overriding reason for deciding on the alternative of a virtual event.
3. UCT’s COVID-19 cases update
As at 1 December 2020, UCT has 122 reported cases of COVID-19 among non-health sciences staff members, with 102 recoveries. The number of students who have tested positive for the virus is 62, which includes 16 Faculty of Health Sciences students on clinical platforms.
The university has, regrettably, recorded a notable increase in new cases reported in the last seven days. New staff cases, for instance, are three times more than the previous figure in the preceding seven-day reporting period. The nine new staff cases recorded this week are the highest weekly tally since the reporting period ending 4 August 2020. The university continues to urge members of the UCT community to adhere strictly to all COVID-19 protocols, with the virus spreading rapidly particularly in the Western Cape and Eastern Cape.
The university has lost nine staff members and one student to the virus.
4. SWS peer counsellors’ campaign: Overcoming procrastination
It’s been a long year. Most of you are exhausted from the circumstances that you’ve had to adapt to and it’s natural to have increased levels of procrastination as you try to process the stress you are under. The Student Wellness Service’s peer counsellors have some quick tips on how you can manage procrastination as you study for your final exams.
Follow the UCT Student Wellness Peer Counselling Service on Instagram for more tips, information and resources while being connected to a community that understands how you are feeling and can offer you professional and empathetic support. If you feel that you need to speak to someone, please book a session or call the SWS UCT Careline 0800 242 526.
5. Finance commercial development questionnaire
The Commercial Development unit within the UCT Finance Department is in the process of reviewing its strategy. As part of this process, the unit is running a survey among members of the UCT community. The survey asks participants about their key needs and barriers in relation to six broad commercial business pillars on the UCT campus, namely, food and beverage consumption, payment methods, information and advertising, accommodation, travel, and health services. The survey should take approximately 15 minutes to complete. Upon completion, a participant’s email address will be entered into a draw to stand a chance to win one of the 20 vouchers worth R500.
6. Appointment of Executive Director: Student Affairs
A new Executive Director: Department of Student Affairs will join UCT with effect from 1 February 2021. Mr Pura Mgolombane joins UCT from the University of the Free State, where he holds the position of Dean: Student Affairs. He will take over from Dr Moonira Khan, who will retire at the end of the year. Mr Grant Willis will serve as acting Executive Director for the month of January 2021.
Communication and Marketing Department
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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.