UKZN ready to start phasing in return of students and staff

The University of KwaZulu-Natal has revealed plans of how it will gradually phase in the return of students, starting from June 29.                                                                    Image: SUPPLIED

The University of KwaZulu-Natal will begin the first phase of opening its doors to a select cohort of students from June 29.

UKZN spokesperson Normah Zondo said the logistics and planning for the return of students and staff “are complex and has to be undertaken both carefully and systematically”.

Zondo said the university would stagger the return of students.

This follows a decision by minister of higher education, science and innovation Blade Nzimande that tertiary institutions would gradually be reopened from June 1 but could only allow a maximum of 33% of students on campus.

According to Zondo, students who will be allowed on campus include:

  • Final year undergraduate students in laboratory-based programmes, who are on track to complete their degrees in this academic year
  • Students in programmes which are clinically based (lists determined by the College of Health Sciences)
  • Students with disabilities
  • SRC executive
  • Student residence assistants, student life officers, and residence assistant officers
  • Undergraduate students who have not been able to access Moodle (the online learning platform) and who are not already included in the first two categories. Those to be included are determined by analysis of data on access to Moodle by ICS and Institutional Intelligence
  • Postgraduate students who require access to laboratory equipment. Each college has compiled lists
  • Honours and postgraduate diploma students whose work is laboratory-based
  • Students appointed as laboratory demonstrators for the students in the programmes who will be eligible to return to campus.

Students accommodated at university-owned and leased residences will be expected to self-isolate for 14 days when they return.

“Colleges will be contacting individual students during the course of the next week to inform them of their eligibility to return to campus.

“Students who have been contacted and have been informed that they are eligible to return to the campuses will have to apply for permits. There will be stringent regulations with regard to the access to campuses and residences, and therefore students that are not in possession of a permit will be denied access,” Zondo said.

While the institution said it had undertaken careful planning to minimise the risk of transmissions in light of the rapidly increasing confirmed daily cases of Covid-19, qualifying students who are at high risk of infection due to health issues including co-morbidities have been discouraged from returning.

“There will be no contact teaching and learning, except in laboratories. We encourage all students who can study online to continue to do so and not return to campus.

“The return to campus will come with the expectation of a strong sense of personal and community responsibility, particularly with respect to compliance with regulations and adherence to all health and safety protocols. Returning to campus will have to consent and adhere to a strict code of conduct,” Zondo added.

BY ZIMASA MATIWANE

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