The Rhodes University Coronavirus Response Task Team can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org.
For a brief compilation of suggestions that might help you better manage your mood and anxiety over the lockdown period (or help prevent these from worsening), please CLICK HERE. You can also apply for online therapy, via the Psychology Clinic, by filling in an application form at https://www.ru.ac.za/psychology/psychologyclinic/#d.en.173753.
To view video live recordings of the SMASH (Student Mental, Academic, & Social Health) Zoom sessions (zero-rated viewing on RUConnected), please view here.
Kindly note that the Daily Self-Assessment Screening Questionnaire, the Initial Risk Assessment, RU Access Control Protocol and the RU Health and Safety Protocol can be found on the HR website at https://www.ru.ac.za/humanreso
Below are the latest pertinent updates. For all full updates & communiques, please scroll further down the page.
EXCERPT: VC UPDATE OF 13 JUNE 2020, REGARDING PHASED RETURN TO CAMPUS*
The COVID-19 pandemic has upended our lives in ways no one could have imagined a short five months ago. Many of us have adjusted to this as our temporary new ‘normal’ and are ensuring that our daily business processes continue with as little disruption as possible. However, for many people these conditions are hard to comprehend.
Measures are underway to implement a gradual, phased and risk-controlled return of students to campus, in line with the directives of the Department of Higher Education & Training. On 31 May 2020 we shared with you a comprehensive plan for a phased return of students to our campus. The first group has since been issued with University permits to ensure their safe return to campus. Under no circumstances should you come back to Makhanda or campus if you have not been issued a University permit.
CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE TASK TEAM
Rhodes University’s Coronavirus Response Task Team (CVRTT) was formed to address the challenges that might arise should there be a suspected or confirmed case at Rhodes University and to develop and implement an action plan to respond to the risks of the coronavirus (Covid-19).
We are taking steps to ensure every possible challenge is being addressed. We are actively and closely monitoring the situation and making appropriate arrangements to mitigate its impact on the health, welfare and safety of our students and staff.
Regular information will be shared with the community as the situation continues to change and develop. The current situation in respect of Covid-19 is extremely fluid and changes daily. Please be alert to any updates distributed by the University.
The Task Team can be contacted on email@example.com.
EVENTS ON CAMPUS, CROWDING & SOCIAL DISTANCING
CLEANLINESS & HYGIENE
From WHO Africa:
Q: What is a coronavirus?
A: Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which may cause illness in animals or humans. In humans, several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The most recently discovered coronavirus causes coronavirus disease COVID-19.
Q: What is COVID-19?
A: COVID-19 is the infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus. This new virus and disease were unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.
Q: What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
A: The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are:
Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don't feel unwell.
Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment. Around 1 out of every 6 people who gets COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness. People with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention.
Q: How does COVID-19 spread?
A: People can catch COVID-19 from others who have the virus. The disease can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth which are spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales. These droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person. Other people then catch COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. People can also catch COVID-19 if they breathe in droplets from a person with COVID-19 who coughs out or exhales droplets. This is why it is important to stay more than 1 meter (3 feet) away from a person who is sick.
Q: Can CoVID-19 be caught from a person who has no symptoms?
A: The main way the disease spreads is through respiratory droplets expelled by someone who is coughing. The risk of catching COVID-19 from someone with no symptoms at all is very low. However, many people with COVID-19 experience only mild symptoms. This is particularly true at the early stages of the disease. It is therefore possible to catch COVID-19 from someone who has, for example, just a mild cough and does not feel ill.
Q: What can I do to protect myself and prevent the spread of disease?
A: Protection measures for everyone
Stay aware of the latest information on the COVID-19 outbreak, available on the WHO website and through your national and local public health authority. Many countries around the world have seen cases of COVID-19 and several have seen outbreaks. Authorities in China and some other countries have succeeded in slowing or stopping their outbreaks. However, the situation is unpredictable so check regularly for the latest news.
You can reduce your chances of being infected or spreading COVID-19 by taking some simple precautions:
A: Protection measures for persons who are in or have recently visited (past 14 days) areas where COVID-19 is spreading
Q: How likely am I to catch COVID-19?
A: The risk depends on where you are - and more specifically, whether there is a COVID-19 outbreak unfolding there.
For most people in most locations the risk of catching COVID-19 is still low. However, there are now places around the world (cities or areas) where the disease is spreading. For people living in, or visiting, these areas the risk of catching COVID-19 is higher. Governments and health authorities are taking vigorous action every time a new case of COVID-19 is identified. Be sure to comply with any local restrictions on travel, movement or large gatherings. Cooperating with disease control efforts will reduce your risk of catching or spreading COVID-19.
COVID-19 outbreaks can be contained and transmission stopped, as has been shown in China and some other countries. Unfortunately, new outbreaks can emerge rapidly. It’s important to be aware of the situation where you are or intend to go. WHO publishes daily updates on the COVID-19 situation worldwide.
You can see these at https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/situation-reports/
Q: Should I worry about COVID-19?
A: Illness due to COVID-19 infection is generally mild, especially for children and young adults. However, it can cause serious illness: about 1 in every 5 people who catch it need hospital care. It is therefore quite normal for people to worry about how the COVID-19 outbreak will affect them and their loved ones.
We can channel our concerns into actions to protect ourselves, our loved ones and our communities. First and foremost among these actions is regular and thorough hand-washing and good respiratory hygiene. Secondly, keep informed and follow the advice of the local health authorities including any restrictions put in place on travel, movement and gatherings.
Learn more about how to protect yourself at https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public
Q: Who is at risk of developing severe illness?
A: While we are still learning about how COVID-2019 affects people, older persons and persons with pre-existing medical conditions (such as high blood pressure, heart disease, lung disease, cancer or diabetes) appear to develop serious illness more often than others.
Q: Are antibiotics effective in preventing or treating the COVID-19?
A: No. Antibiotics do not work against viruses, they only work on bacterial infections. COVID-19 is caused by a virus, so antibiotics do not work. Antibiotics should not be used as a means of prevention or treatment of COVID-19. They should only be used as directed by a physician to treat a bacterial infection.
Q: Is there a vaccine, drug or treatment for COVID-19?
A: Not yet. To date, there is no vaccine and no specific antiviral medicine to prevent or treat COVID-2019. However, those affected should receive care to relieve symptoms. People with serious illness should be hospitalised. Most patients recover thanks to supportive care.
Possible vaccines and some specific drug treatments are under investigation. They are being tested through clinical trials. WHO is coordinating efforts to develop vaccines and medicines to prevent and treat COVID-19.
The most effective ways to protect yourself and others against COVID-19 are to frequently clean your hands, cover your cough with the bend of elbow or tissue, and maintain a distance of at least 1 meter (3 feet) from people who are coughing or sneezing. (See Basic protective measures against the new coronavirus).
Q: How long is the incubation period for COVID-19?
A: The “incubation period” means the time between catching the virus and beginning to have symptoms of the disease. Most estimates of the incubation period for COVID-19 range from 1-14 days, most commonly around five days. These estimates will be updated as more data become available.
Q: How long does the virus survive on surfaces?
A: It is not certain how long the virus that causes COVID-19 survives on surfaces, but it seems to behave like other coronaviruses. Studies suggest that coronaviruses (including preliminary information on the COVID-19 virus) may persist on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days. This may vary under different conditions (e.g. type of surface, temperature or humidity of the environment).
If you think a surface may be infected, clean it with simple disinfectant to kill the virus and protect yourself and others. Clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, or nose.
Q: Is it safe to receive a package from any area where COVID-19 has been reported?
A: Yes. The likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low and the risk of catching the virus that causes COVID-19 from a package that has been moved, travelled, and exposed to different conditions and temperature is also low.