A 2020 year-end message

29 December 2020 | From Dr Reno Morar

Dear colleagues and students

With 2020 drawing to a close, many of you are on a much-needed break and spending quality time with loved ones and family members you haven’t been able to see for many months due to lockdown restrictions. Cherish each and every moment and please continue to be vigilant in all of your engagements.

As you take a much-needed break, please remember that President Cyril Ramaphosa moved the country to Alert Level 3 with effect from midnight, 28 December 2020.

This year has been very challenging as the COVID-19 pandemic forced us to adapt to new ways of doing things and being. Many of you had to balance working and studying from home with taking care of family members who needed home schooling or medical care. Some of you have, sadly, lost loved ones, friends and family members and we continue to share in your pain. Many South Africans have had to deal with high stress levels and mental health issues while at the same time supporting loved ones through economic hardships brought on by the pandemic. We as a broader community have all shown grit and resilience, and in addition, staff and students have gone that extra mile to ensure that the University of Cape Town (UCT) functions optimally. Our appreciation for your commitment cannot be overstated.

Wherever you may be in the country, we urge each and every member of the UCT community to play their part in supporting the call to stop the rapid spread of infections across the country. We are especially cognisant of the impact that our individual behaviour has on the health sector and other services during this time, mindful that we have members of the UCT community, including colleagues and students, working in the health sector and many other services supporting the fight against the pandemic. We urge you all to rally behind every effort to slow the spread of the virus and protect the public health system from being overwhelmed.

Let us each take personal responsibility and play our part in the fight against the virus.

We remind you to please adhere to the following Alert Level 3 guidelines in order to keep yourself and those around you safe:

  1. Always wear a mask that covers your mouth and nose when you are in a public space, including supermarkets, minibus taxis, buses, trains, airplanes and around people you do not live with.
  2. Wash your hands with soap and water regularly and use hand sanitiser when out in public spaces.
  3. When traveling, try keeping one or more windows slightly ajar to allow for good ventilation in the vehicle.
  4. Avoid crowded public spaces.
  5. Maintain a physical distance of at least 1.5m from others and ensure that your loved ones do the same.
  6. Avoid using public toilets if possible. Use hand sanitiser both before and after using a public toilet.
  7. Avoid going to restaurants that serve buffet meals.
  8. Do not use public drinking fountains. Only drink water or other beverages from your own container and do not share with others.

Finding our communities back in Lockdown Level 3 prescripts is certainly not how we would have envisaged ending the 2020 year. Adhering to the health and safety measures as prescribed is even more important now as we end the 2020 year and enter into 2021. 

I believe that we all want to start the new year on a healthy note and so we all need to adhere to the prescribed measures to ensure we are safe and that we play our part in protecting our loved ones. During the festive period this time around, let each of us try to take a break and relax while reflecting on the victories and blessings you experienced this year, no matter how small they may seem. As we remember our experiences of 2020, which may well have deep and mixed emotions for many of us, I encourage everyone to take the time to light that candle on New Year’s eve in honour of everyone who has contributed to carrying us through 2020.   

I wish you all well for 2021. May you begin the new year with renewed strength. Enjoy your holiday and please keep safe.


Dr Reno Morar
COO and Acting Vice-Chancellor

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