1 March 2021
Dear UP colleagues and students
We are, in 2021, still living under the cloud and with the uncertainty brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Development of vaccines and plans for their rollout offer some hope. I mourn the loss of students and staff, and my condolences go to every person who has lost a family member or friend. I wish all those who are ill or hospitalised a speedy recovery. I am grateful to our UP and national healthcare professionals for their dedication and for saving lives. Please continue to wash your hands thoroughly, sanitise, avoid going to crowded spaces and places, observe cough etiquette, and wear masks in public spaces.
With the move to level 1 of the COVID-19 risk-adjusted strategy, gatherings are permitted under certain conditions. As announced by the President on Sunday, 28 February 2021, indoor gatherings may not exceed 50% of a venue’s capacity, up to a maximum of 100 people. Outdoor gatherings may not exceed 50% of the venue’s capacity up to a maximum of 250 people. It is important to emphasise that health protocols must still be observed at gatherings, including maintaining a distance of at least 1.5 metres between people. Thus, it may be that given the need for social distancing, the total number of people who may attend a gathering may be fewer than 50% of the venue capacity once social distancing has been allowed for, even though 50% of venue capacity is less than the 100-/ 250-person limitation.
Owing to the number of students the University has to accommodate in classes, and the limitations placed on it because of social distancing, classes will resume online on 15 March 2021. 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 students involved directly via email, so please ensure your contact information is correct and that you check your emails regularly.
UP employees should continue to work from home where possible, and after consultation with their line managers.
We will adjust our plans on an ongoing basis according to the prevailing risk-adjusted level.
Please note that only students who have been contacted will be allowed to return to the University’s campuses and residences. This will be done in strict compliance with the regulations and in accordance with the master plan.
The following is important information and key dates for first-year students:
- Register online before 9 March 2021 so that you can attend the compulsory orientation which will assist you with your studies
- 6 March 2021 – Attend Virtual Welcome Day on Virtual Campus
- 9 to 12 March 2021 – Attend Virtual Academic Orientation
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 into the UP Student Portal and continue with your registration. You 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.
All the best, and good luck!
Prof Tawana Kupe
Vice-Chancellor and Principal