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As the year draws to a close, Nelson Mandela University has implemented a number of measures to support staff and students after the institution’s closure, including plans to assist any students recently infected by the coronavirus.

With residences closing on 20 December and the University shutting down for summer recess on 22 December 2020, any student who tests positive for COVID-19 or is in the process of completing their 10-day isolation period, will be placed in the care of the Department of Health.

Impacted staff will, likewise, be supported by the Department of Health, as has been arranged by the University’s healthcare teams.

This temporary measure is to enable all University staff and students to enjoy a well-deserved break over the annual shutdown period after a long and difficult year and ensure that no staff member or student is left to fend for themselves.

In addition, contingency measures, as expanded upon below, have been put in place to assist the University’s international students, while travel advisories, safety reminders and return-to-campus processes for 2021 have been shared on the dedicated coronavirus website.

Closure of Residences

The University closed all on-campuses residences on 20 December 2020 and advised landlords of all accredited off-campus residences in Port Elizabeth and George to do likewise.

With the majority of virtual classes concluding on Friday, 18 December 2020, students remaining on campus have made their way home. Some international students who were part of the remaining cohort have not been able to return to their home countries since lockdown began in March.

Students were advised to take all their possessions with them, especially their books in the case of anticipated rewrites in January, as the residences will be inaccessible during recess,.

Travel Advisory

The international students were guided as to the necessary COVID-19 testing requirements, while staff and students generally were advised as to the requisite care when travelling, especially in public transport.

Wearing a mask, using hand sanitiser and ensuring good ventilation by keeping windows open in vehicles are all advised.

Feeling Unwell?

With both the University’ Student Health and Occupational Health Care Services teams closing from 23 December 2020, staff and students are advised to contact a medical practitioner or the Department of Health for assistance should they display any of the COVID-19 symptoms.

If necessary, students will be immediately referred, as per the University’s present processes, by the Department of Health to the field hospital for the necessary care. 

COVID-19 Hotline

Staff and students are to note the COVID-19 public hotline of 0800 029 999.

To use the Department of Health’s official WhatsApp Help Service, send HI to 0600 123 456 on WhatsApp or share this link:

Staff who test positive during the year-end shut-down should also email for University statistical purposes, while students should email with supporting details, regardless of whether they are still in the Metro or elsewhere in the country.

Return to Campus Protocols for 2021

The University will be using the same processes and protocols for returning to campus in 2021. As has been the case, those who are able to work, or study, remotely should continue to do so to keep on-campus numbers to a minimum.

Only students with an official permit will be able to return once residences open on 10 January 2021 as the University seeks to complete the 2020 academic year (see full details on the Memos section of the coronavirus website). Each of the returning students will need to quarantine for 10 days in their respective residence on their return to campus as per the University’s protocols. 

Remaining vigilant

As staff and students prepare to enjoy the festive season, it is hoped that everyone will continue to take heed of the education and awareness campaigns around COVID-19 safety protocols, especially since the Eastern and Western Cape provinces remain hotspot areas.

The University wishes everyone a happy and safe holiday, so that we can all return to wrap up what remains of the 2020 academic year early in 2021.

Contact information
Mrs Debbie Derry
Deputy Director: Communication
Tel: 041 504 3057