Dear Staff and Students
On 23 May 2020, the Minister of Higher Education, Science & Innovation, Dr Blade Nzimande, laid out a set of criteria for the return of students to universities according to the declared risk-adjusted alert levels. The Ministry’s framing theme in providing guidance for the post-school in these uncertain times of the COVID-19 pandemic is #SaveLives, #SaveTheAcademicYear. It is within the important national imperative to save lives and at the same time save the academic year that we should take every precautionary measure to protect and save both. The University places a high priority on the health, safety and wellbeing of all students, staff and the greater Makhanda community. Accordingly, the University has put in place strict preventative measures to keep students and staff safe and to curb the spread of the virus. These will be communicated in due course. Adherence to these precautionary measures is mandatory. Failure to adhere to them will not just place you at risk but the entire Rhodes University community and the surrounding Makhanda community at the risk of the infection and loss of life. We all must take responsibility for our actions.
Remote/online teaching and learning delivery will continue until the health risk posed by the COVID- 19 pandemic has sufficiently receded for face-to-face teaching and learning to resume. All students who can work productively from home are encouraged to do so. Students who are allowed back onto campus for specific programs requiring physical presence should be aware that their courses will not be presented in a physical modality. Returning students will not be able to engage in social activities, and will be required to abide by all of the health and physical distancing rules pertaining to the level for the Sarah Baartman region, as well as the Higher Health and Institutional directives around COVID-19. They will be required to wear a face mask at all times in public.
Return to campus will be by University invitation only. No student will be allowed to return to campus of their own accord. All returning students for coursework purposes will be individually notified at the point at which the University is adequately prepared to receive them with a 2 week notice being given. Students whose immune system is compromised are advised to engage with the University at that point.
Faculty Deans, working together with academic departments, will identify students who qualify for return to campus in line with the appropriate Alert Level. Where students are able to work remotely, they should continue to do so.
The Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research & Innovation, Dr Peter Clayton, will develop a protocol to facilitate the return to campus of certain categories of research postgraduates taking their degree fully by research thesis. Supervisors will work with Dr Clayton to ensure that these postgraduate students who are unable to make progress remotely and require laboratories, field sites, University facilities and physical work spaces, are able to return to the University, provided that their work space is fully prepared for COVID-19 precautions, according to national and institutional frameworks.
All other students must await notification of institutional invitation before they may return to the campus, whether as an Oppidan or in University residence, which is likely to be about 2 weeks after the national declaration of a risk-adjusted level.
Students will not be allowed back on campus for any reason other than indicated in the categories below. All students returning to campus will be required to make use of the Higher Health daily health assessment online App, and abide by all health and safety protocols.
Using the Ministerial overarching directives, and the priorities indicated by Faculties at Rhodes University, the categories of students who will be able to return to campus at each nationally or regionally declared levels are as indicated below:
1. Candidates in 4th year B. Pharm
2. Clinical and Counselling Psychology Masters students – in their first or internship year.
3. D. Pharm students who are based at National Hospital facilities.
1. All candidates included in level 4.
2. Students taking final year topics which require access to laboratories and technical equipment – candidates taking 3rd and 4th year topics in Biochemistry, Biotechnology, Botany, Chemistry, Computer Science, Entomology, Environmental Science, Geography, Geology, Human Kinetics & Ergonomics, Ichthyology & Fisheries Science, Information Systems, Mathematical Statistics, Mathematics, Microbiology, Physics and Electronics, Zoology, Fine Art Practice and Instrumental Studies. This category may also include individually selected JRN 3 and 4 students whose options require access to specialist equipment (the remaining JRN 3 and 4 being in level 2).
3. Students who require clinical training in their programmes: only BPHA 2 & 3.
4. Postgraduate students who require laboratory equipment and other technical equipment to undertake their studies: Honours, Masters by thesis and PhD candidates in the Science and Pharmacy Faculties, Information Systems, Music, MFA, JRN Hons who require practical facilities, and final year MA candidates in Drama.
5. Other thesis-based doctoral and masters candidates who are unable to make progress remotely, and whose departments are ready to accommodate them according to the regulations. For the most part, thesis-based students not requiring laboratory or field work access will continue to work remotely.
6. B. Ed final year students and certain categories of PGCE students, who are required to undertake teaching practice modules within schools under the directives of the Department of Basic Education.
7. Master of Commerce Financial Markets (MCOM2) and PGDip(Accounting) students (HDAC) whose preparation for national board examinations require access to on-campus facilities. 8. Students with disabilities. 9. Students identified by the University as being in circumstances which are not conducive to quality learning.
1. All students included in levels 3 and 4.
2. Students in all years of study who require laboratory and technical equipment to complete the academic year including Biochemistry, Biotechnology, Botany, Chemistry, Computer Science, Entomology, Environmental Science, Geography, Geology, Human Kinetics & Ergonomics, Ichthyology & Fisheries Science, Information Systems, Mathematical Statistics, Mathematics, Microbiology, Physics and Electronics, Zoology, Fine Art Practice and Instrumental Studies.
3. All Honours students not included in level 3.
4. LLB 3rd and 4th year students.
5. Journalism 3 & 4 students, and candidates in Postgraduate Diploma in Journalism (DJPG), Postgraduate Diploma in Media Management (PDMM).
6. Accounting 102 and 112 who require specialist software only available on campus.
7. Certain candidates in the Postgrad Dip in Enterprise Management and the Postgrad Diploma in Business Analysis may attend as scheduled by the business school.
8. Students identified by the University as being in circumstances which are not conducive to quality learning.
All remaining students will include:
1. All students included in levels 2, 3 & 4.
2. First, Second, Third and Fourth year students in all undergraduate programs (including
foundation courses and JRN 1 and 2).
3. Masters Degrees taken by Coursework.
4. MA in Creative Writing.
6. Master of Education (Coursework/Thesis).
7. Master of Education (Higher Educ).
8. Master of Social Science (Coursework/Thesis).
9. Postgrad Diploma in International Studies.
10. Postgraduate Certificate in Education and Postgraduate Diploma in Higher Education. (other
than those required to undertake practical teaching modules in level 3). 11. Postgraduate Diploma in Heritage Management.
12. Occasional Students not taking subjects that require laboratory facilities.
All student queries should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Masters or Doctoral students undertaking a research thesis should consult their supervisor(s).
Slowing the rate of transmission of the virus is our individual and collective responsibility.
Please play your part to save lives and save the 2020 academic year.
Vice-Chancellor, Rhodes University.