City varsities leaving nothing to chance
Sefako Makgatho, TUT, Tuks suspend, make changes to academic activities for the time being to prevent virus
UNIVERSITIES in the city are leaving nothing to chance to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
Sefako Makgatho said it took the decision to join numerous other universities which opted to suspend their academic activities following a meeting of the management committee and the executive committee of the senate on Monday.
Acting principal Professor O AyoYusuf said the university was at a low risk given no reported exposures or infections.
Ayo-Yusuf said that with the university being low risk, this provided them with a window of opportunity to act now.
“To this end, all contact lectures, practicals, clinical sessions and assessments at the university have been suspended with immediate effect.
“The recess period earmarked for April 3 has been moved up to commence immediately up until April 13.”
Students conducting clinical platforms at Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital have also been told to immediately return to campus.
All students were required to vacate residences within 72 hours. “Students who are not able to vacate the residences for one reason or another are advised to contact the executive director for student affairs and residences.
“The request will be considered within 24 hours and the decision communicated to the concerned students.”
The university has also taken steps to ensure that student allowances from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme are not affected by the closures.
“Eligible students will as such receive their allowances on March 18 as part of efforts to alleviate the potential financial burden of having to travel home earlier than planned.
“In order to remove the risk of students not being able to access information from the university blackboard remotely because of data costs, the university is negotiating free data access with the blackboard company.”
With regards to the staff, Ayo-Yusuf said operations would continue until today. Staff will work from home unless operations require that they operate from the campus.
A set of operational guidelines will be issued to regulate the off-campus arrangement as of today.
Tshwane University of Technology spokesperson Willa de Ruyter said the institution would be suspending contact academic activities.
Large events such as sport, conferences and seminars have also been suspended. De Ruyter said students had been requested to vacate residences by Friday. “The university is still operational, with essential services like finances, health and wellness, logistical services are continuing their work. However, where possible, staff have the flexibility to work from home, in agreement with their line managers. Contact lectures for the term ended on Monday.”
De Ruyter said students would be expected to return on April 13, pending the outcome of a risk assessment of the situation at that time.
The University of Pretoria has announced it had temporarily disabled its biometric access systems to minimise any spread of the virus.