Message regarding the relaxation of COVID-19 measures

4 April 2022

Dear UP students and staff

I trust that you are well and looking forward to the start of the recess on 12 April 2022.

It is essential that we resume our on-campus activities as far and as soon as possible in a safe and responsible manner. When lectures commence for the second quarter on 21 April 2022, the University will be introducing more contact classes, now that the COVID-19 restrictions have again been relaxed.

With the reduction in the physical distance required between people in indoor venues (now 1 m), the University can now take greater advantage of the permissible 50% of venue capacity to accommodate significantly more students in its lecture venues. Your faculty will communicate the timetable and other relevant details affecting your programme before the start of the second quarter on 21 April 2022.

Ideally, we would have liked to resume all contact classes. Unfortunately, this is not yet possible in light of current government regulations. However, I am confident that the vast majority, if not all of our students, will now be able to return to some in-person classes, in some cases, on a rotational basis. For this reason, and since all University facilities such as the libraries, social learning spaces and residences are now open, I would recommend that students who are still at home and who do not have easy access to the campus and the University’s facilities should return to campus as soon as possible.

When on campus, it is extremely important that you adhere to all the health regulations, including the wearing of masks, regularly sanitising your hands and social distancing. The number of people allowed in all venues will be clearly indicated, and available seating will be marked. While we have decided it is no longer necessary to complete the HealthCheck, these measures to keep you safe, will only work if we all follow them diligently. It is your shared responsibility to keep you, your friends, fellow students and staff safe.

Health experts expect that the fifth wave of the pandemic may start in May, and we need to take all the necessary precautions to ensure that we do not reach a stage where we need to restrict access to our facilities again.

While the University currently has no mandatory vaccination policy in place, I encourage you to get vaccinated before you return to campus. Vaccinations are safe and can protect you and your family and friends from serious illness, hospitalisation and death. Please remember you can make use of the University’s vaccination facilities.

I look forward to welcoming many more of our students back on campus, and I again emphasise how important it is to adhere to the COVID-19 safety measures. It is, after all, your responsibility to do so. The virus will be with us for a very long time and it is only by working together that we will live with it safely.

 

Kind regards,

Prof Tawana Kupe

Vice-Chancellor and Principal

Published by Hlengiwe Mnguni

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