UKZN begins phased-in return to campus

05 February 2021 - 14:34
UKZN said on Friday it was implementing a staggered approach to the reopening of limited on-campus academic activities and the return of students to campus and residences. File photo.
UKZN said on Friday it was implementing a staggered approach to the reopening of limited on-campus academic activities and the return of students to campus and residences. File photo.
Image: Sunday Times

First-year undergraduate students are expected to begin the academic year at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) in March.

UKZN spokesperson Normah Zondo said on Friday the institution was implementing a staggered approach to phase in the reopening of limited on-campus academic activities and related return of registered students to campus or residences.

“Under the current Covid-19 alert level 3, an estimated 13,000 registered students will be permitted to return to campus, including residences,” Zondo said.

“Students who are at high risk of infection due to health issues, including comorbidities, are encouraged not to return to campus but rather to continue with remote online learning. There will be no contact teaching and learning on campus, ie. physical lectures, except for limited laboratory practicals.

“We encourage all students who are able to study online to continue to do so and not to return to campus,” she said.

Masters and PhD students in programmes requiring access to laboratory equipment or clinical training returned on January 29 and February 5 respectively.

The following dates are set down for the return of students:

  • February 8 — Student representative council executive and campus representative councils (CRCs).
  • February 19 — Residence assistants (RAs) and residence life officers (RLOs). Students appointed as laboratory demonstrators to support eligible returning students.
  • February 26 — Final-year students in programmes requiring access to laboratory equipment.
  • March 5 — Returning students identified in 2020 as not being able to access Moodle, and returning students with disabilities.
  • March 19 — New first-year undergraduate students.

Colleges would be contacting individual registered students from these groups over the course of the next few weeks to inform them of their eligibility to return to campus, as well as their specific campus return date.

“Students who have not been contacted, must not return to campus. There will be very strict regulations regarding access to the campuses and residences, and therefore students that are not in possession of a 2021 UKZN student access permit will not be allowed access. In addition, students that are not registered for residence will not be allowed access to residences,” said Zondo.

“The colleges will be staggering the return to campus, and students must take note of the dates provided on their invitation letters for return to campus.

“Due to health and safety measures, and ensuring compliance with regulations, students may not necessarily be accommodated in the residence that they were allocated to previously. Eligible students will be informed of their assigned residences.”

Students returning to university-managed residences, both owned and leased, will be required to self-isolate for a period of 14 days on returning to the residence.

“Further details on health screening and training of students on health and safety etiquette will follow.”

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