More students are expected to be invited back to campus in the next few weeks. Universities are allowed a maximum of 66% of students under Level 2 Alert.
Out of four Eastern Cape institutions, Rhodes and Nelson Mandela Universities are regarded as low risk and will be resuming more classes.
After an extended break, an additional 33% of students are heading back to campus. They will be subjected to a 10-day quarantine period before coming into contact with students who returned earlier.
NMB, Rhodes Universities invite students back to campus:
The new batch will return over a three-week period and will be issued with permits.
“So where the student has shown a permit when they come in, now it’s going to be electronic. For example, when they swipe their student card, it will show the student has returned on campus. So those are the little things we are doing in addition to all the normal things; because that is electronic, we can trace. The student is invited to a particular venue, a particular time, books or space in a lab. Therefore we can trace where the students go to,” says NMU Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Cheryl Foxcroft.
Alcohol and social gatherings remain banned on campus. Accommodation changes have also been made.
“We are still trying to allocate a student to a single room. Fortunately during the first student cohort not every student that was invited came to campus so that worked to our advantage because that means there are more rooms available and we can allocate our students,” says the University of Fort Here spokesperson, Thandi Mapukata.
Rhodes University Vice-Chancellor Dr Sizwe Mabizela says the students’ return will be managed carefully.
“We are placing a very high priority on the safety and well being of our students and our staff and our surrounding community. We do not want to see an upsurge in viral infection.”
Online teaching will continue under level 2. The academic year for universities will end in December and the new academic year will start in March. -Reporting by Mcebisi Ngqina
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