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Communiqué to CUT community: Measures implemented related to the Covid-19 coronavirus

Dear CUT Community

As you are aware, the State President declared a national state of disaster related to the COVID-19 (the coronavirus).

The CUT Incident Management Task Team (IMTT) related to COVID-19 (the coronavirus), consisting of all stakeholders and experts at the university, met this morning. Following from this meeting, Management has implemented the following measures with immediate effect:

  • The academic activities at the Bloemfontein campus will commence online for Tuesday, 17 March 2020, and all contact sessions, which include lectures, tests and laboratory-based work, are suspended.
  • As the Welkom campus is already on an early recess, to bring the recess period at the Bloemfontein campus, which was scheduled to start on 20 March 2020, forward. The recess will now commence on Wednesday, 18 March 2020. This will allow the university, in collaboration with the Minister, the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) and Universities South Africa (USAf), to embark on longer-term planning related to the remainder of the 2020 academic year. According to the CUT Calendar, the 2020 academic programme for the second term will commence on Monday, 30 March 2020. The current situation will be monitored and assessed. Should there be any changes due to further developments, such further developments will be communicated soonest.
  • These arrangements will have an impact on the operations of the university, and, where possible, staff may work from home for the period 18 to 20 March 2020, and official leave for those services that are non-essential will be granted upon application. The relevant Line Managers will guide this work arrangement. The usual leave arrangements that are applicable during normal recess periods, will apply as from 23 March 2020.
  • To place an embargo on inbound and outbound international travel by staff, students and visitors, effective from 16 March 2020 until the end of June 2020.
  • In line with the national call, all national events related to conferences, seminars, symposia, workshops and events to be hosted by the university that will result in inbound visitors, will be cancelled, effective from 16 March 2020 until the end of June 2020.
  • To postpone the autumn graduation ceremonies that were scheduled to take place from 17 to 22 April 2020 to a date later in the year, which is still to be determined. The Registrar will engage with the graduates on how to access their graduation certificates.
  • To enhance our stringent hygiene measures implemented across our campuses, including residences, lecture halls, laboratories, offices and ablution facilities.
  • Both the Bloemfontein and Welkom campuses’ Primary Healthcare Clinics are on high alert, and have implemented all actions prescribed by the National Department of Health as well as the Free State Department of Health. Affected and infected students and employees are to promptly contact the following hotline number: 0800029999.
  • To place students and staff who have travelled to high-risk countries since 14 February 2020 into self-quarantine for a 14-day period, and, if some of the symptoms are detected, such individuals are required to undergo compulsory testing. At this stage, high-risk countries include Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, Germany, the United States of America (USA), the United Kingdom (UK) and China.
  • We have already initiated immediate and ongoing communication with CUT students who are currently on exchange programmes abroad, and further measures will be implemented, where required.
  • The awareness campaign embarked upon amongst the CUT community on how to prevent the spread of the virus, and to ensure the well-being of all, will be further enhanced.

As the health and well-being of our staff and students are our highest priority at CUT, we remain confident that these measures, which include minimising physical contact with other people, will assist to contain the spread of this virus. In addition, we are working closely with the DHET, the National and Provincial Departments of Health, National and Local agencies responsible for emergency response protocols, and the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), to ensure that our university is safe.

Furthermore, it is of utmost importance that you take care of your general well-being. If you travel to an area where the virus was identified and are spreading, take all necessary precautions, as per your doctor’s advice.

The CUT community has proven in the past that we can overcome challenges as a team. Let us work together in collaboration with our government, agencies and the CUT Council to enhance the well-being and safety of the CUT community.

I trust that you will respond positively to these measures, and that we as the CUT Team, in collaboration with our fellow South Africans and international students, will overcome this crisis.

May you all be blessed! E se e ka Ramasedi a ka le hlohonolofatsa! Mag julle almal geseënd wees!

Prof. Henk de Jager
Vice-Chancellor and Principal

Download the VC communique, English 16 March 2020 (PDF)

Download the VC communique, Sesotho 18 March 2020 (PDF)

Download the VC communique, Afrikaans 18 March 2020 (PDF)

Uploaded: 16 March 2020
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