COVID-19 Update 19 Jan 2021

19 January 2021

Dear UJ Community

We hope that you and your families are well and keeping safe during these surreal times. We are still in the first month of the new year, and already it has been as eventful as last year – at least from the COVID-19 perspective. As is now common knowledge, we have now run into turbulence from the second wave that is driven by the new variant. Recently (on 28 December 2020), in response to this storm, the State President, H.E Cyril Ramaphosa, announced that South Africa had been moved to the COVID-19 National Lockdown “adjusted” Level 3 from Level 1. This has implications for our Business Continuity Plan, as we ready ourselves for the start of the 2021 academic programme. Below is important information which you should familiarise yourself with:

1. 2021 Academic programme

    1. 2021 Students registration
  • All structures and systems for the academic registration are in place, and the University is ready for the intake of new and returning students. Registration for senior students commenced on Monday, 18 January 2021, and will close on 12 February 2021. Classes will start on 15 February 2021.
  • Registration for fist year students will commence on 23 February 2021, after the release of the Grade 12 results, and will close on 5 March 2021. Classes will start on 8 March 2021, and there will be orientation sessions for first year students to familiarise them with the University’s online teaching and learning platforms and related aspects.
    1. Online teaching and learning
  • It is important to note that the status quo remains with regard to the academic programme delivery: all teaching and learning will continue to remain online for the duration of the first term. Only students enrolled for modules that require in person contact provision, such as laboratory or clinical work, experiential learning, etc., will be done on campus in contact mode.  Such students will be informed by their relevant faculties in due course.
  • All other students will continue to be supported through remote teaching, learning and assessment in the first term. Any changes to these arrangements will be communicated by the relevant faculties or departments.
  • Data for students qualifying for supplementary and special exams is being provided. From 15 February 2021, data will be provided for all registered senior students. All registered first year students will be provided with data from 8 March 2021.
  • NSFAS funded students may utilise their book allowance for the purchase of electronic study devices. As was the case in 2020, non NSFAS funded students who require assistance with loan devices will be assisted.

1.3. UJ Library and Computer Labs

Our libraries and computer laboratories are now open (since 8 January 2021) between 9am and 5pm, from Mondays to Fridays. However, to ensure the safety of our students and staff, as well as efficiency of service and convenience, students are still required to prebook before visiting such facilities.

1.4. Examinations/assessments

Supplementary/special assessments of the second semester examinations 2020 will be conducted in accordance with the schedule during January 2021, in the same online format as last year. In exceptional cases, on campus assessments will be allowed, and communicated by Faculties.

1.5. Graduation

The University had planned in-person graduation celebrations for 2020 graduates for February and March this year, following the government’s decision last year to ease the lockdown restrictions to Alert Level 1. However, due to the latest announcement to place the country on Alert Level 3, it has been decided that the graduation celebrations be put on hold.

1.6. Residences

  • Students who are currently preparing for supplementary/special assessments and are in residences are reminded to adhere to and comply with the health and safety protocols. This includes the observance of the COVID-19 Level 3 curfew from 9pm to 5am.
  • The University residences will be open for returning students who are registered and admitted in residence for the 2021 academic year from 8 February 2021.
  • First year students registered and admitted in residence for 2021 will be received from 6 March 2021.
  • Students who resided in the University residences last year (2020), and who are due to write supplementary or special examinations in January 2021, would be allowed back in residences 48 hours before a day of the examination. They are required to leave residence within 24 hours of having written the examination.
  • All students in residences should adhere to all the health and safety measures to prevent the spread of the virus. Every residence student will be expected to sign an undertaking to abide by all the government regulations and institutional measures in this regard.

2. Business Continuity Plan

    1. Staff return.
  • Under the Lockdown Alert Level 3, it is advisable that staff members (across all faculties, divisions, and units) who may have difficulties working remotely, be allowed to work from their office, workstations on campuses and other University sites. This must be done in consultation with the relevant ELG and line managers (DVCs, senior managers, etc).
  • Until further notice, where appropriate and in consultation with line managers, staff will continue to work from home.
    1. Remote working support (data and devices)

Information regarding support for essential staff working remotely will be communicated soon via a circular.

3. Health and safety protocols

It is important that we adhere to all the health and safety procedures and protocols, as per the prescribed guidelines. We have done relatively well in staying vigilant against the pandemic, but this must not lead to complacency. Should any of our employees continue to be in non-compliance according to the required and legislative requirements, the University will take corrective action which could result in suspension and ultimately, the termination of employment services.

We again remind you of these procedures and protocols for the safe return to campuses.

  • All staff and students will be subjected to a safety induction process, that will include the completion of the declaration of indemnity forms.
  • All staff, students and external stakeholders to complete a compulsory screening.
  • All staff, students, and external stakeholders must wear cloth masks at all times (they will collect masks upon first entering campus).
  • All line managers in various departments/divisions are required to perform and report on a risk assessment of their respective work environments.
  • Additionally, all staff and students should provide names of contact persons (next of kin) to staff at Campus Health Service when requested, should they become symptomatic. This is in adherence to Departments of Health and Employment and Labour guidelines.Please continue to visit our COVID-19 portal on the UJ website for valuable information, including health and wellbeing. Only information issued via the University’s official communication platforms is legitimate. This information may be verified by visiting: http://localhost/wordpress/corona-virus//. We appeal to all to adhere to the recommended precautionary measures, hygiene and social distancing ( at all times.Issued by University ManagementUniversity of Johannesburg
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