Returning university students warned against complacency
Cape Town - Stellenbosch University’s Institutional Committee for Business Continuity chairperson Stan du Plessis said students in residences and in private accommodation are urged to strictly adhere to health and safety guidelines and protocols.
Du Plessis said that Higher Education, Science and Innovation Minister Blade Nzimande emphasised that universities should not become complacent.
“An increase in infections is possible due to more students and staff on campuses and more movement.
“Unfortunately there have been reports of universities abroad where social gatherings off-campus resulted in high infection rates among campus communities,” he said.
UCT vice-chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng said its key intention was to assist those returning to remain safe and healthy on campus and in residences.
She said some students have been invited back on the basis of vulnerability, such as difficult home circumstances, socio-economic disadvantage or particular barriers to academic progress.
“These students will continue remote learning in residence with easier access to online resources. Final-year medical students have returned to residence,” Phakeng said.
She said students registered in performing arts courses, and students needing to undertake practical blocks, would be invited, in phases, to return to residences or academic spaces.
Postgraduate researchers who needed to use on-campus facilities to complete their research projects, and where that could be accommodated appropriately, would be invited to return in two tranches.
“With the change to Level 2 restrictions, we may now invite more students by name back to campus. All returning students must undergo a 10-day self-quarantine period when they return to their residences,” Phakeng said.
She said campus services during this time would be limited: dining halls would remain closed, Jammie Shuttle services would be limited, “all but one of the computer labs remain closed and UCT Libraries will operate as a virtual library service for the rest of the academic year”.
According to a communique by the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) management, to students and staff, a revised version of the institutional handbook, with relation to lockdown level 2 would be circulated to the campus community in due course and to provide clarity on staff and student movements as they prepare for the increase of students on campus.