“Solidarity and triumph of the human spirit in challenging times” is the theme of Freedom Day 2020 - “For to be free is not merely to caste off ones chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others” – Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela
Celebrating Freedom Day under lockdown feels like a contradiction however the rain is most welcome. We see South Africans rise to the challenge and Celebrate Freedom Day by enhancing the lives of those that are less fortunate around them. There is no better way to celebrate and honour Freedom Day than to live respectfully, with compassion and kindness to those around you.
Many people are struggling with lockdown for a variety of reasons so let us remember to be kind and gracious to each other, always.
Staff who need assistance over this time, both RUMED and BONITAS make provision for members to access counselling services. In addition, although no physical visits are possible to FAMSA, staff can contact FAMSA on 046 622 2580 during office hours. Staff can also email at firstname.lastname@example.org
LIFELINE can also be contacted on the following toll free numbers which operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week: -
National Counselling Line – 0861-322-322
Gender Violence – 0800-150-150
HIV and AIDS Helpline – 0800-012-322
These confidential sessions could be quite useful for employees during this time to help understand and reduce their anxiety over the virus and the effects of the lockdown.
In terms of returning to work from 04 May 2020, protocols are being developed and HoDs and Directors will be drafting plans for a gradual phased, structured and highly risk-controlled return to campus over a reasonable period of time. These plans will be driven in accordance to the Risk Adjustment Strategy used by Government.
From 04 May the only additional staff that will be permitted to return to campus on a limited and restricted basis will be: -
Staff and work that supports and enables the delivery of the remote/online academic programme and cannot be done remotely; and
Staff and work that provide hygiene, health and safety services for those on campus.
All staff who can work productively remotely should continue to do so. Once finalized the plans for Divisions and Departments will be circulated to staff. The supporting protocols being developed will also be circulated to staff and will be translated into Isi-Xhosa and will be on our website.
I would also like to assure staff that the May 2020 payroll will be processed as usual.
A big thank-you to all of you who are working extraordinarily to continue to ensure that Rhodes University is able to continue to deliver teaching and learning even though it is being delivered differently. Thank-you to all the staff who quietly work in the background to make sure that Rhodes continues to function and remain sustainable.
Keep well, keep safe and above all take the time to find small pleasures during these times.