UCT announces fifth Covid-19 case, plus amended plans for term two

27 March 2020 - 13:30 By Tanya Farber
UCT plans ahead as fifth case announced. File photo
UCT plans ahead as fifth case announced. File photo
Image: UCT Student @UCTStudent via Twitter

The University of Cape Town on Friday announced its fifth confirmed case of Covid-19.

The announcement came shortly after the university announced its amended plans for the second semester, which include the scrapping of exams.

Spokesperson Elijah Moholola said: “In a fifth case of Covid-19 at the University of Cape Town, a student has tested positive for the virus.

“UCT previously confirmed four other cases — four staff members and a student. Unlike the previous four cases, this case was confirmed in KwaZulu-Natal.”

The KwaZulu-Natal health department had confirmed the case, said Moholola, and was caring for the student and conducting contact tracing.

The university has rapidly revised its plans for the second term – amending dates in light of the lockdown.

Last week, the executive leadership announced that it was going to move teaching and learning online for semester two, and said that the term would start on April 6, beginning with four days of orientation for online learning.

But on Friday, new dates were announced in a campus communication from Professor Lis Lange, UCT's deputy vice-chancellor for teaching and learning.

She said the lockdown announcement had given the executive a “better view of how the academic calendar will change at the university, when the term will restart, and how teaching and learning will take place”.

Term two (weeks 6-12 of the first semester) will start on April 20. Online-learning orientation will last until April 24 and teaching will start on April 27.

Lange said to put students’ “minds at rest”, they should be aware that no formal invigilated exams would take place at the end of the first semester (end of term two) and that assessment would instead be “continuous throughout the term”.

She said students would not be expected to carry the same workload online, and would not have to “sit in front of your computer at the time of your lectures”. Instead, they would be downloadable at any time.

She added: “For those of you whose courses require practical work or field work, this part of your courses will be done on campus once we reopen and the situation has stabilised.

“Next week, when there is more clarity about other elements of our programme, I will write again. In the meantime, take care of yourselves and be assured that we are here to support you.”


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