City var­si­ties leav­ing noth­ing to chance

Se­fako Mak­gatho, TUT, Tuks sus­pend, make changes to aca­demic ac­tiv­i­ties for the time be­ing to pre­vent virus

Pretoria News - - FRONT PAGE - GOITSEMANG TLHABYE goitsemang.tlhabye@inl.co.za

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.

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