Picture Ian Landsberg/AFRICAN nEWS AGENCY (ANA)

Only 66 percent of students to return to campus in level 2

CAPE TOWN- Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande announced that a maximum of 66 percent of university students will be allowed to return to campus in lockdown level 2 in accordance with Covid-19 management plans to keep students and staff safe.

Nzimande briefed the media earlier this week and said all other students will continue to be supported through remote multimodal teaching learning and assessment until they can return to campus.

In a meeting with the Covid-19 Ministerial Task Team and Vice-Chancellors last week, it was agreed that there will be a fixed period within which all institutions must complete the current academic year and a fixed period of starting dates for the 2021 academic year.

“As it stands, we are targeting all institutions to complete the 2020 academic year by the end of February 2021, with starting dates for the new 2021 academic year ranging from 15 March to 15 April 2021. All efforts will be made to ensure that outlier institutions get up to speed to meet this requirement,” Nzimande said.

International students studying at South African universities, who are currently outside the country, will only be able to return to their campuses during level 1, once international travel resumes.

The categories of students who will be able to return under level 2 include:

  • All groups that had been prioritised to return in level 3, but couldn’t be accommodated due to the maximum campus carrying capacity having been reached;
  • Students in all years of study, who require laboratory and technical equipment to complete the academic year;
  • Students in all years of study, who require practical placements/experiential learning/workplace-based learning to complete the academic year (provided the workplaces and platforms are open and prepared), and
  • First-year students in all undergraduate programmes will also be allowed to return to their campuses.

According to the latest report, 14 universities are deemed to be low risk, six medium risk and six high risk for the spread of Coronavirus.

“Special support measures will be put in place to ensure academic activities resume at an accelerated pace at these universities,” Nzimande said.

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