Dear students and colleagues
The University of Cape Town (UCT) is already preparing for the 2021 academic year and we are looking forward to welcoming back returning students and helping first-year students to feel at home on campus.
While COVID-19 is still with us, we all need to learn from the lessons of 2020. We’ve seen how difficult it was for many of our students to learn remotely for various reasons, including their social conditions. For safety reasons, UCT will adopt physically distanced learning next year, but in a way that will allow students to benefit from the resources available here. So it’s important that students return to campus in 2021, even if they will be working online. We are working hard to help everyone to succeed.
UCT residences will open on 25 February 2021 for postgraduate students and on 1 March for new and returning undergraduate students.
Some students will be permitted to return to residence earlier, to complete their requirements for the 2020 academic year. To limit the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, UCT is organising single-room residence accommodation and a ‘safe arrival’ quarantine period. If students become a close contact of a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, we will follow the ‘close contact quarantine period’ as prescribed by the Department of Health.
Limiting the spread of COVID-19 is a responsibility we all share
All students, staff members and visitors to UCT will be required to abide by the health and safety procedures and protocols on campus. These protocols are designed to help everyone adhere to the four basic rules:
Health support is available for students
The Student Wellness Service (SWS) in the Department of Student Affairs will continue to provide pandemic-related support to students, including screening for symptoms on arrival to residence and providing information about the prevention of COVID-19 infection before arrival. UCT’s responses to COVID-19, and the answers to frequently asked questions, are available on our dedicated web page.
The SWS offers primary health care and medical, counselling and social work services, including:
Students will need laptop computers in 2021
For students to receive the full value of UCT’s physically distanced learning in 2021, they will need to have access to their own laptop computers, which will allow them to access online teaching and academic support resources 24/7.
UCT is preparing study spaces on campus that will meet the health and safety protocols under COVID-19 conditions.
These spaces will be clearly marked to indicate the maximum number of occupants to comply with physical distancing requirements. Students using UCT venues and other facilities are required to follow the prescribed rules and regulations and to co-operate with students and staff in observing these limitations.
Students will be informed about what documentation they will need to carry to be allowed on campus in 2021.
While UCT remains an open campus, access points are limited to allow our Campus Protection Services to screen everyone who visits the university, as part of our health and safety precautions.
I wish each of you a restful holiday and a safe arrival to UCT next year.
Professor Loretta Feris
Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Transformation
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.