Dear UJ Community
The past few weeks have been a difficult period for us all, as we grapple with the devastation brought by the COVID-19 pandemic that has the global community anxious. This is a rude awakening to humanity, but it is also a period that has showed our collective courage and unity; that we are capable of standing together in the midst of a crisis. Just as the hardship we have collectively experienced has connected us, so too should we be resolute in our actions to stay safe.
As South Africans conclude the second week of the three-week lockdown, we should remain committed and focussed to fulfilling our cause and passion – educating our students. Lest we forget, many South Africans are not afforded this opportunity and as such, we must ensure they are given the best support possible.
As communicated earlier this week, the UJ academic term will resume on Monday, 20 April 2020. The academic programme has been amended accordingly as follows:
Please view the amended academic calendar 2020 here.
During the current period, UJ continues to work closely with telecommunication service providers to zero rate UJ websites, including Blackboard, to assist staff and students. Our Centre for Academic Technologies (CAT)and Information and Communication Systems (ICS) departments have been negotiating with the relevant service providers and other universities to ensure that Blackboard is also zero-rated. The list of zero–rated UJ websites can be found here.
Additionally, qualifying first year NSFAS students who have not yet collected their devices will be provided with devices upon their return.
Although the academic term is to resume on 20 April 2020, some support staff will have to return to work on Friday, 17 April 2020, to ensure that the University operations resume without any challenges.
I would like to thank all the staff members, both support and academic, who despite the challenges of working remotely, continue to fulfil their daily duties to ensure that the academic activities and the University’s business continuity plan continue. As the University leading the charge in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, we will continue to strive towards providing the best teaching and learning experience. Should you require any further information regarding teaching, learning or working remotely, please visit: https://www.uj.ac.za/news/corona-virus//.
Tomorrow is Good Friday and the start of the long Easter weekend. We appeal to all to adhere to the recommended precautionary measures, such as hygiene and social distancing, all the times. We must also use this time to think about those who are ill and spare a thought for our heroes, the health professionals who work at the frontline, as well as the police, the cleaners, the grocery store workers, etc.
Should any of you experience difficulties, please use the National Hotline of 0800 029 999 or WhatsApp line 0600 123456 or go to the following link for more information: https://sacoronavirus.co.za/. Please continue to also check uLink.
The University leadership will continue to monitor the situation, and any decision may be reviewed, as required. Only information issued via the University’s official communication platforms is legitimate. This information may be verified by visiting: https://www.uj.ac.za/newandevents/Pages/Update-on-UJ-COVID-19-response.aspx
Have a blessed and pleasant Easter weekend with your loved ones.
Professor Tshilidzi Marwala
Vice-Chancellor and Principal
University of Johannesburg