Postponement of contact classes and rescheduling of academic calendar
As South Africa faces the locally expanding coronavirus epidemic, the University of Pretoria’s (UP) executive management team is committed to making decisions that safeguard health and reduce the risk of infection among staff and students. The continued well-being of members of our community and our partner institutions is vital. In this trying time in which the nation unites to minimise the effects of this pandemic, we must all exercise care, empathy and humanity.
Following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s call for the cancellation of all events and gatherings of more than 100 people, and the spread of the virus locally and globally, the UP Executive has decided to suspend contact classes, graduation ceremonies, conferences, mass gatherings and events – including sporting activities – at the University with immediate effect. Consultation with the Minister of Higher Education Science and Technology is ongoing.
To date there have been no reported cases of infection among our staff and students.
All students are advised that there will be no contact classes, tests and assessments from Monday 16 March 2020 until mid-April 2020, when an assessment will be made with regard to resumption of contact activities. Study materials will be available on ClickUP. Faculty Deans will provide details. The University is committed to ensuring that all our students complete the academic year successfully.
The University will communicate plans on research continuity which are consistent with ensuring that there is minimal risk to staff and students.
The residences will be closed during this period. If a student can not leave the residences for any particular reason they are advised to speak to the head of their residence for further support and assistance.
We will be communicating further measures that will be taken to minimise risk to all staff in faculties and support divisions.
To further minimise the spread of the virus, the University is taking proactive steps to provide protection and assistance. We have drawn up a plan and have put the necessary preventative measures in place:
- Experts have been put on alert, and dedicated staff will take responsibility for the initial diagnosis of possible infections.
- We will strictly follow the evolving case definition as supplied by the NICD and the WHO, whereafter an interview with the student or staff member who presents with the symptoms must be conducted.
- Specific guidelines have been developed for the procedures to be followed within UP residences and will be managed by the Director for Residences.
We also urge all staff and students to read more about COVID-19 and stay informed on regular status updates via trusted sources, primarily:
If at any stage any member of the University community suspects that they may have been exposed to the virus and feels ill, they are advised to isolate themselves and to contact a medical doctor or the 24-hour UP Operational Management and Crisis Centre on 0800-0064-28 or 012-420-2310, or the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) on 0800-029-999 before going to medical centres.
I remind our UP community that we are stronger together, and our united efforts will help South Africa and the world turn the tide against this pandemic.
Prof Tawana Kupe
Vice-Chancellor and Principal
University of Pretoria