Dear UP Community
As promised last year, the University of Pretoria is planning to open its campuses again as more COVID-19 restrictions are eased, more contact learning and teaching opportunities are possible and as levels of vaccination increase. This will obviously be done under COVID-19 protocols and in line with all the relevant regulations. Our aim is to again be able to offer all our students and staff a complete UP experience in a safe environment.
As you all know, under current regulations, gatherings and the use of venue capacity remain restricted. Within this context, and in the interest of the safety and well-being of our staff and students, we have devised a plan to enable students to attend classes physically on campus where practically possible to ensure optimal learning.
With the start of the new semester on 21 February 2022, all the University of Pretoria facilities, including social learning spaces, libraries, residences and sporting facilities will be open to students, and on-campus classes for certain programmes will resume with strict adherence to COVID-19 regulations and protocols. First-year students who reside in university-managed residences will arrive on 5 February 2022 for orientation that will end on Sunday 13 February 2022.
All faculty modes-of-instruction plans and other related arrangements will be communicated to students (by faculties) by no later than 9 February 2022. It is important that you stay in close contact with your lecturers, departments and faculty.
When deciding on the modes of instruction for various modules, faculties will prioritise tutorials and practical classes (including laboratory and clinical classes, studio work, postgraduate classes and supervision and first and/or final-year classes).
These plans could be adjusted depending on the alert levels and accompanying regulations as announced by the government from time to time. I know this is not ideal, but it is in the interest of everyone’s safety and well-being and it is important that we do everything we can to resume with some sense of normalcy.
At this stage, we are not planning to make vaccinations compulsory (unless it becomes national law and we have to comply), although the risk assessment process has identified areas of operation such as in Health Sciences where vaccination is required. Risk assessment is an ongoing process, and we will be required to adjust our position on the above at short notice to address identified risks or adapt to national or sectoral imperatives. We also expect the Department of Higher Education through HigherHealth to issue further guidelines in the coming weeks.
I want to again encourage everyone to get vaccinated. We want everyone to vaccinate. Vaccines protect everyone’s health and significantly reduce severe illness, hospitalisation and death. Vaccines are safe. Those who have doubts or are hesitant should seek more information from medical experts, including staff from our Faculty of Health Sciences. I appeal to all of you to become UP persuasive vaccination ambassadors.
You must continue to wear a mask at all times when in public, wash your hands thoroughly and adhere to the physical distancing measures. Please remember to complete the HigherHealth HealthCheck, which is totally free, digital screening platform daily for COVID-19 symptoms which is available in various languages on the web, via SMS or on WhatsApp. You can access the HealthCheck app by using one of the following three options:
1. Go to http://healthcheck.higherhealth.ac.za
2. Dial *134*832*2#
3. Add to your WhatsApp Contacts: 0600 11 00 00)
4. You can also access the health check through the UP App, which is available for download.
Together we can make this work, and I kindly request that you stay alert at all times and not just look after your own safety but also the safety of those around you.
We will continue to monitor the situation and adjust our plans where and if necessary.
Prof Tawana Kupe
Vice-Chancellor and Principal