COVID-19: Staying safe

03 March 2021

By the time the 2021 academic year begins, it will be over a year since South Africa confirmed its first case of COVID-19. UCT is taking the threat of infection in our university community extremely seriously. While vaccines are in development and will be rolled out in South Africa in the coming months, there is a lot that each of us can do on a daily basis to stay healthy.

We’ve all learned the basics for reducing the chance of spreading infection:

  • wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth in public
  • keep a distance of 1.5 m from other people
  • regularly wash or sanitise your hands and surfaces.

These three basic actions are easy to follow and they save lives. The COVID-19 pandemic is still a serious reality and we have to do all we can to keep ourselves and others safe.

If you are on campus, practise the three basic actions and adhere to these additional preventative measures:

  • Avoid large gatherings.
  • Avoid enclosed spaces.
  • Sanitise surfaces regularly.
  • When travelling, keep one or more windows slightly ajar to allow for good ventilation in the vehicle.
  • If you are travelling with anyone else or are using public transport, wear your mask and make sure it covers your nose and mouth at all times.
  • Use hand sanitiser before and after using a public toilet.
  • Do not use public drinking fountains or share drinks or bottles with anyone else.
  • Do not share cigarettes, vapes or ‘rollies’.
  • Do not share any eating utensils.


“Our priority is to help each other to keep safe and healthy, as far as possible, so that we all can perform to the best of our abilities.” – Dr Reno Morar, UCT’s chief operating officer

Daily screening

The UCT Daily Health Screening app should be completed each time you enter campus. The app was designed to help us protect the health and well-being of those around us, but it also serves as a reminder to remain aware of your daily interactions and to report any possible symptoms. Completing the screening every time you enter campus will help keep us all safe. You can be assured that all personal information will be treated confidentially.

If you have been using the Higher Health ap for screening purposes, please start using the new UCT Daily Health Screening app as soon as possible. The Higher Health app will not be accepted from 1 April 2021.

What to do if you have been exposed / tested positive for COVID-19

The symptoms of COVID-19 are very similar to flu symptoms, so all persons with flu-like symptoms should be considered a potential case of COVID-19 and should not enter UCT. If you develop symptoms on campus, you must immediately report it to your student coordinator.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 or suspect you have been exposed, you should self-isolate for 10 days from the onset of the symptoms. You should monitor your health and, if your condition worsens, you should contact your healthcare provider or the UCT COVID hotline (021 650 1271).

UCT’s commitment

The university will continue to do everything it can to protect our students and staff. UCT is following the government’s COVID-19 occupational health and safety regulations, and hand sanitisers, hand-washing facilities and supplies, and cloth masks will be provided to students and staff members.

Important interventions include physical distancing and arranging workspaces to allow a minimum of 1.5 metres between people; appropriate scheduling of the cleaning and sanitising of surfaces in workspaces and vehicles; and limiting capacity in rooms, shared facilities and vehicles to allow for social distancing.

Other measures include providing additional personal protective equipment, such as gloves, N95 masks and visors, as required by the National Department of Health, for university staff and students who are providing care and support in the public health sector.

Read more about UCT’s response to COVID-19 in 2021.

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