UKZN suspends re-opening of campuses

The University of KwaZulu-Natal has suspended its re-opening on January 4.

In a statement issued at the weekend, a spokesperson on behalf of UKZN said, in view of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s declaration of the national State of Disaster, the re-opening of campuses will be postponed.

“With both the district municipalities within which our campuses are located having been declared Covid-19 hotspots, it is critical that all our campuses remain closed for all on-campus activities, excluding essential services, until January 18 when it is hoped that further directives would be advised from the President of the Republic and the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation,” Normah Zondo said.

She said staff and students are advised that all 2021 registration processes commence on January 18 and must be completed online and from remote locations, as there will be no registration services and/or registration assistance available on campus.

“The President’s address set out in stark terms the reality of a second wave of the Covid-19 virus in South Africa. More than a million of our fellow citizens have now been infected—including more than 50 000 new cases in just four days. Just over 27,000 South Africans have died. Still worse, it appears that young people are particularly susceptible to the new strain of the virus which has now taken hold in our country with the KwaZulu-Natal Province being amongst the worst impacted,” she said.

Zondo said since the national lockdown, first implemented in March last year, UKZN has been forced to explore different methodologies for ensuring that staff and students are able to access campuses as safely as possible and for incorporating the mitigation of health and safety risks into the daily life and work of the University.

“All academic activities will remain online, and data will continue to be provided as before. The College of Health Sciences students will be advised by their Deputy Vice-Chancellors (DVCs) and Deans of their prioritized return. All College DVCs and Deans will advise their students about catch-up programmes and make appropriate arrangements for support. All non-essential services staff will continue to work remotely,” she said.

According to the latest data from the Department of Health, SA’s Covid-19 cumulative tally is 1 088 889 with 29 175 deaths.

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