Coronavirus: UKZN suspends academic programme, cancels April graduation
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Durban - The University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) has suspended its academic programme with immediate effect following president Cyril Ramaphosa declaring a national state of disaster to deal with the deadly coronavirus gripping the global community.
Their decision follows other South African universities such as UCT and Wits who have suspended classes.
In a statement on Monday, Professor Nana Poku, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of UKZN said the coronavirus situation was changing rapidly, and their top priority was the health and well-being of its community.
"At this point, UKZN has not experienced any Covid-19 incidents that would be a cause for a change in normal operating procedures and the university remains open and operational. However, management are cognisant of the president’s statement which has banned gatherings of more than 100 people and are seeking further guidance from the relevant ministries, through Universities South Africa (USAf). To this end, the academic programme is suspended (including tests) with immediate effect pending further engagements on a sector-wide approach regarding contact classes," Poku said.
"Given the uncertainties surrounding timelines for normalisation of our academic programme, management has resolved to work with senate to ensure that all lectures are recorded and loaded onto virtual platforms as a matter of urgency".
In addition, the university said that its 2020 April graduation ceremonies has been cancelled.
In April every year, the university traditionally hosts in excess of 20 graduation ceremonies and during this time approximately 30 000 graduands and their families from all over South Africa and beyond our borders descend upon the university.
"The university regrets the inconvenience caused, but felt it important to minimise the risks associated with such a large gathering and exposure to individuals who may have been exposed to the coronavirus. We are exploring options to ensure that graduands receive their qualifications and other related documents by the end of April 2020," Poku said.
The university is also implementing strict travel restrictions which include:
- All university-related international travel is prohibited.
- All university-related non-essential domestic air travel is prohibited.
- Personal international travel is strongly discouraged.
UKZN said it was encouraging the use of technology for non-essential meetings and events.