Dear UJ Community,
We have over the last months extensively communicated our COVID-19 health and safety measures to protect our students, staff, stakeholders and visitors from the risk of exposure to the coronavirus. In the midst of what has been a devastating pandemic, our University has been successful in transitioning from a contact face-to-face teaching and learning to remote, online delivery of the academic programme.
We, however, acknowledge that in a country like ours that is still grappling with a myriad of challenges such as the digital divide and other socio-economic problems, adapting to the ‘new normal’ has been daunting for many students. As articulated by Universities South Africa (USAf), the body that promotes the interests of students and staff at universities in the country, it is intolerable that many students who entered academic study at the beginning of 2020 have spent little, if any, time on their campuses. “They (students) have had little to no in-person engagements, either with their lecturers and professors or with fellow students. With the rollout of South Africa’s vaccine programme, the opportunity to return to some level of normality is upon us.”
As we approach the 2022 Academic Year, the University Management met last week to deliberate on possible measures to ensure that our students have optimal access to campus while maintaining a safe environment. As you would know, UJ is a contact teaching and learning institution of higher learning, and being vaccinated should be a requirement for access to campus to ensure a safe environment. This will enable an optimal delivery of the academic programme and access to research, laboratory and clinical work. It is our view that being vaccinated does not only protect the University community and the general public, but that it advances the public good.
It is in this context that the University Management has resolved to develop a proposed UJ COVID-19 vaccination plan. This plan is guided by the fact that universities are required by various pieces of legislation, and in particular the Occupational Health and Safety Act, to take steps to maximally secure the safety of staff, students and the wider community. We anticipate that this plan will require all staff and students as well as visitors and service providers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 before accessing campus and other University sites. It is anticipated that these proposed measures will also affect prospective students and employees who apply to UJ.
We are currently in consultation with staff and students to get their opinion on this matter. Additionally, the University has started conducting surveys for staff and students to assess their thoughts, opinions and feelings on the matter. Once this consultation process has been finalised, the outcome will be shared with staff, students, senior managers as well as organised labour and other stakeholders for comment.
Issued by University Management
University of Johannesburg
Times mentioned here refer to the South African time-zone.