Message to students: Updates on start of academic year

5 February 2021


Dear UP Student,

I trust that you are safe and well and that you are enjoying your well-deserved break.

As we prepare for the start of the academic year on 15 March 2021, we have a few updates on the precautions we are introducing to ensure the safety of our new and returning students as well as our staff.

As you are aware, the country is currently on level 3 of the risk-adjusted strategy to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. If the current lockdown level remains, classes for everyone will resume online. Some faculties are considering introducing small classes on a rotational basis in keeping with the necessary health precautions, but this will be communicated to those involved closer to the time. This information will be communicated to you via email, so please ensure your contact information is correct.

We will adjust our plans on an ongoing basis according to the prevailing risk-adjusted level.

Current students

Under level 3 regulations, Faculty Deans will identify the students who will be invited to return to campuses according to the University’s phased master plan approach, and only students who have been contacted will be allowed to return to the University’s campuses and to the residences. This will be done in strict compliance with the regulations and in accordance with the master plan.

Some researchers, postgraduate students and final-year students who need to work in research facilities will be able to do so.

Online registration for returning students has been open since 5 January 2021 and I encourage you to register as soon as possible to avoid any delays. Students can log in to the UP student portal and continue with their registration. They can also contact the online registration help desk at 012-420-5347 or send an email to [email protected]. Please be patient when requesting assistance. Our call centre will respond as soon as possible within 72 hours.

First-year students

Online registration for first-year students will commence after final school-leaving results are received. Please check your admission status on the student portal regularly from 1 March 2021. You can register online through your student portal between 1 and 9 March 2021. Please register as soon as possible and contact the online registration help desk at 012-420-5347 or send an email to [email protected] if you have any queries. I also remind you to be patient when submitting a query. Our staff will respond within 72 hours.

Only first-year students who have received confirmation from the Department of Residence Affairs and Accommodation that they have been allocated a room in a UP residence will be allowed in residences, from 27 February 2021. Residence Orientation for new first-year students staying in residence will take place from 1 to 7 March 2021, while Academic Orientation Week will take place between 9 and 13 March 2021, according to your Faculty schedule. Participation in the orientation programme is compulsory for all first-year students, as this helps you prepare for the year ahead and is important for your success at UP.

The Academic Orientation Week programme for first-year students will be fully online, but students who have no access to appropriate technology may access their campus, where tutors in the computer laboratories will assist you in completing the online orientation.

Because of the reduced number of students on our campuses, we will still be able to ensure social distancing during orientation.

UP has also developed an online Pre-Orientation Module for all provisionally admitted first-year students. The module will include a course that will train you in computer literacy and introduce you to the learning management system used at UP, known as ClickUP.

First-year students with no prior exposure to technology and technological tools will, upon registration, be provided with the option to physically access UP computer laboratories, where they will receive hands-on guidance in completing the ClickUP Pre-Orientation Module from well-trained tutors, before the institution-wide Academic Orientation Week kicks off.

First-year students who are not familiar with transitioning to a hybrid (online and face-to-face) teaching and learning environment will be able to use their phones to engage in the pre-orientation programme. They will be guided on how to access and use the tools they will encounter in ClickUP. The technology section of the programme is developmental in nature, with beginner, intermediate and advanced levels. For more information on orientation, please visit for updates.

Fees and funding

The University is acutely aware of the financial challenges facing students and parents. While the first payment for tuition and accommodation is due before registration, to assist you the deadlines for the balance of the payment of student accounts (fees can be paid in instalments) have been moved to later in the year. The revised payment dates mean the second payment is due by 30 June 2021, and the final payment by 30 September.

For students who owe the University money in respect of prior years, the amount required to be paid before registration has been reduced from 50% to 40% of the outstanding balance. Such students are required to enter into a financial arrangement for the remainder of the outstanding balance. This will only apply to the 2021 year.

Students who have been negatively affected financially by the COVID-19 pandemic and feel constrained by the financial burden should contact the University by sending an email to [email protected] to make financial arrangements. You are advised to apply for financial assistance on the UP Portal. We will do everything we can to support you.

UP has a range of financial support options, including bursaries and loans, and you will find more information at

Please visit regularly to view the latest news, follow UP on social media, and download the UP Mobile App for the latest news and updates. Information is available at

I look forward to welcoming you soon.

Best regards 


Prof Tawana Kupe

Vice-Chancellor and Principal

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