This campus announcement aims to inform the UCT community about recent developments on campus.
1. In commemoration of Uyinene Mrwetyana
On Monday, 24 August 2020, the Uyinene Mrwetyana Foundation will co-host a webinar in commemoration of the life of the late UCT student, Uyinene Mrwetyana. The webinar will be staged in collaboration with the Psychological Society of South Africa and the University of South Africa’s Masculinity & Health Research Unit. It will unpack violence against women, with leading psychologists including UCT’s Professor Floretta Boonzaier as part of the programme.
2. Inclusive Practice Speaker Series
Western Cape universities are co-hosting an Inclusive Practice Speaker Series this year. The series brings together practitioners, scholars and civil society organisations to provide thought leadership that cultivates and contributes to an anti-racism position for the higher education sector. The next seminar is titled “Beyond task teams, investigations and transformation committees: Confronting racism in higher education”, and will take place from 14:30-16:30 on Monday, 31 August 2020.
3. Update on COVID-19 cases in the UCT community
As at 18 August, the reported number of positive COVID-19 cases among non-health sciences staff members was still 89, with no new cases reported since the last update. Of these, 73 staff members have recovered. The number of students’ cases is 35, which includes 10 Faculty of Health Sciences students on clinical platforms. The overall number of positive UCT cases is 124, with the lives sadly lost due to this pandemic remaining at 10 (nine staff and one student).
4. COVID-19: recovered and remembered
In order to destigmatise COVID-19, a new initiative by UCT’s Communication and Marketing Department (CMD) – #RecoveryDiaries – invites staff and students to share their experiences of dealing with COVID-19 as infected or affected persons. CMD’s aim is to give space to those who tested positive and have since recovered, as well as those who had to support COVID-19 positive family members and loved ones through their recovery process.
With anxiety inducing news doing the rounds, this is a platform to share some positive news to say, “this is how I coped” and “here are the tips I can share with you”. Staff and students can write in or request to be interviewed by one of the CMD writers.
All information shared will be treated with sensitivity.
Contributions will be curated and shared on the dedicated UCT COVID-19 webpage.
Please send submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
5. Women’s Month feature page
With August being Women’s Month, the university is focusing on celebrating womxn and their achievements during this time. Vice-Chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng recently hosted a virtual Women’s Day event that included speeches and presentations by womxn who are at the top of their fields. Over the remainder of the month, UCT News will be sharing a curated variety of stories about inspirational womxn at UCT on the news website.
6. SAULM survey reminder
UCT students are encouraged to share their educational experiences by taking part in the national Students’ Access to and Use of Learning Materials (SAULM) survey before 31 August 2020. Data will be gathered from a sector-wide survey to explore students’ experiences with learning materials. This data will help to determine whether a revision of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme funding policy in terms of learning materials allowance is needed and will also be used as a foundation to guide discussions on other pressing matters, such as digital inequalities, engaging more with digital or open educational resources, and enhancing digital skills within the sector.
Students who partake in the survey stand a chance to enter a lucky draw that will offer 200 participants virtual Checkers vouchers worth R200 each (also redeemable at Shoprite or USave stores). Details on how to enter are on the link below.
7. ICTS scheduled maintenance
Please note that on Sunday, 23 August 2020, the Information and Communication Technology Services (ICTS) will perform scheduled maintenance from 09:00-17:00. Unless advised to the contrary, staff and students should note that no ICT services will be available for the duration of the maintenance slot. Please remember to consult the scheduled ICTS maintenance slots for 2020 before planning any teaching, conferences, meetings, and other activities that require ICT services.
8. Funding challenge for soft-funded researchers
One of the greatest uncertainties created by COVID-19 is, of course, research funding. The university is preparing for a significant decrease in government funding next year: steep budget cuts have been announced for the National Research Foundation and the National Department of Higher Education, Science and Innovation.
The university drafted a policy that outlines specific plans to provide some support for soft-funded research groups whose work and funding have been interrupted, to create some stability over these difficult times.
9. UCT Libraries services during the second semester
UCT Libraries will continue as a virtual library service for the rest of the academic year in support of the Emergency Remote Teaching programme and the UCT Return to Research Plan. The physical reopening of UCT Libraries will now coincide on the academic calendar with the resumption of contact teaching and learning.
10. Appointment of GSB director
Dr Catherine Duggan has been appointed as the new director of the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business (GSB) effective from 1 September 2020.
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 2020 and to 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. Please note that the information on this page is subject to change depending on current lockdown regulations.
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.