Important processes for gradual return-to-campus


Nelson Mandela University has devised a process to ensure a safe and controlled opening of its facilities in managing the gradual return to campus of identified staff and students in line with national regulations.

This includes daily screening, training and the issuing of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) as part of the intervention measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Even though the institution may have up to 33% of its staff and 33% of its student body on campus with the new level 3 lockdown regulations, the University will continue to promote working and studying remotely where this is possible.   Staff are to continue working from home, until invited to return to campus.

It will be a gradual re-opening, starting with a limited number of essential and critical staff to prepare for a gradual return of some academic staff. Only towards the latter half of June will identified students start to return.

No staff members or students may simply just arrive on campus. 

In adapting to the new ways of working, studying and living while remaining safe, the new process to be followed is:

Before returning

  1. Line managers must inform HR which essential and critical staff members will be returning and on what date.
  2. Line managers must book virtual training of COVID-19 preventive measures for staff - contact
  3. Line managers must make arrangements to order and collect the relevant PPEs needed for his or her staff members – contact      

Upon returning

There will be a staggered start for each working day to reduce the possibility of queues at the screening centres. This information will be shared by line managers, but generally “response staff” (those on the front-line) will be first to arrive at 7am, followed by different categories of staff every 30 minutes. When students return, this will be later in the morning.

The University has invested in “field homes” – 4m x 6m containers – at each of the five COVID-19 screening centres to enable the systematic screening process. Pre-bookings are necessary.

North Campus
Tennis Club House (close to Heinz Betz) – this is the  closest station for all staff and students on North, South and Ocean Sciences campuses

Bird Street
Field home next to the Felsted building

Second Avenue
Field home close to the Fifth Avenue entrance (which become the new entrance for staff and students to this campus)

Field home close to entrance of campus

George Campus
Close to the academic buildings

PPE compulsory

Staff and students must wear their masks at all times and practice all COVID-19 preventive measures. The Occupational Health and Student Health teams will not screen anyone who is not wearing their PPE. 

Screening process 

Staff and students will have their temperature taken and complete a simple COVID-19 form. If the outcome is negative, they will be given a sticker indicating that they have completed the daily test and can proceed to work or to their studies.

Those who have a raised temperature (38C or above) or other COVID-19 symptoms and whose responses may have put them at risk to the virus, will be immediately isolated for their own safety and the safety of others.


The Occupational Health and Student Health teams will manage this process, ensuring that all such “persons under investigation” (PUIs) immediately go into isolation and are tested. PUIs should remain in isolation as they await their test results. The University has a number of isolation venues available should they be needed.

If the test result is negative, the individual may return to the University. If positive, the individual will be advised by his or her private doctor or a public health care practitioner on the way forward dependent on the severity of the symptoms.

The University’s own team will also monitor the individual’s progress telephonically. It will also immediately work with the staff member’s line manager or the student’s lecturers and residence managers to compile a contact list so that these individuals can also immediately isolate themselves and be tested.

Traffic flow

Entry points to each campus will be also limited to better manage numbers and work flow. The proposed entrances and exits may be adapted dependent on the effectiveness of the interventions. Presently, however, North Campus will serve as the entry point for all North and South staff and students, and South Campus, the exit point. All Ocean Sciences staff should report to North Campus for screening.

At Second Avenue, entry will be from Fifth Avenue and departure from in front of the Business School.

A new way of life

Finding our way through a pandemic is new to all of us. We do not have all the answers, particularly considering the present uncertainties and fears. But we do know, to quote our namesake Nelson Mandela, that “it is now in our hands”.

It is up to each one of us to take responsibility for our own safety and that of others by practicing physical distancing and good health hygiene and by wearing our masks at all times.

Let us collectively work together to keep our university safe and enable our students to complete their academic year in spite of the many challenges.

HR, Occupational Health, Student Health and Infrastructure Workstreams
Coronavirus Task Team