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More than 11 800 students have already accepted the opportunity to return to campus to continue their studies, albeit in new ways and in very different conditions.

Safety First

With safety and wellbeing being a priority in the midst of the global coronavirus pandemic, the University has implemented a series of Return to Campus plans aimed at enabling all students to complete the 2020 academic year, while also adhering to national and sector COVID-19 compliance guidelines.  Those students who are able to study remotely are being encouraged to continue to do so.

Call for Vigilance

With an increasing number of staff and students returning to campus, the University wishes to do all that it can to prevent a second surge of infections.  The University has only reported one new case in the past few weeks and is committed to keeping it this way.  However, it can only do so with your support and vigilance in continuing to practice prevention measures and monitoring your own wellbeing.  It is in your hands!

Student Numbers

As at 08 September, 11 899 out of the 15 502 students, or 77%, notified to return to campus under level 3 and level 2, had agreed to the terms and conditions of the new ways of living and studying on campus.  More and more of these students are returning daily in a controlled and phased manner as per the sector’s maximum figure of no more than 66% of the University community being back on campus at any one time.

Identification Process

Each of these students was notified to return via a new official online process after a thorough investigation by each Faculty, using specific priority criteria.  Their selection was approved by the Returning Students Multi-Stakeholder Task Team, inclusive of the Student Representative Council.

Academic Progress

About 90% of students are using one of the flexible, blended pathways introduced to give students options – from learning completely online to the posting of study materials.  Plans are also mainly on track for the completion of the first semester, with semester two commencing on 28 September.

The same careful, approach taken in prioritising which students return to campus has been followed by each faculty in tracking down the 7% to 10% of “silent” students, as well as those Pathway 2B students who have neither connectivity or laptops.  Great effort is being made to reach each student telephonically, and to urge those notified to return to campus, to arrive as soon as possible so they can be exposed to the benefits of the University’s WiFi and computer labs.

Blended Approach

Where possible, the University has embraced an online approach to keep face-to-face interaction to a minimum.  This means that content will mainly be facilitated online, and that continuous assessment will take greater prominence over that of contact exams and tests.  Contact sessions will be restricted to experiential learning in labs and studios and clinical training in COVID-19 compliant venues.  Legally there can be no more than 50 people in a venue.

Online Interventions

In addition, ICT Services has developed several online interventions to keep staff and students safe. This includes, but is not restricted to:

Coronavirus Website

By way of a reminder, all matters relating to coronavirus, including the University’s supporting plans around level 2, can be found on the website


Returning staff and students arrive to a safe and functioning environment so that students are able to complete the academic year in a phased and ordered manner is a complex undertaking.  It has necessitated the rethinking of the way we work, study and live, and the implementation thereof. The operational aspect of the “new normal” has been led by the Coronavirus Task Team but would not have been impossible without the assistance of both Academic and PASS staff.  It has been a massive team effort.

While much work still lies ahead in achieving the end-goal of enabling all students to complete the academic year, the University recognises the work of both staff and students achieved to date. Thank you.

Coronavirus Task Team

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