Sobering Realities of COVID-19 Non-Compliance


With a second wave of infections in the country upon us, it is imperative that each of us does what we can to prevent the spread of the virus on our campuses and in our off-campus residences.

Failure to do so, will have dire consequences, including possible closure of the University and at worst, the further, unnecessary loss of lives.

The present sobering reality is that many matriculants were recently unable to write their trial examinations because they were either COVID-19 positive, in isolation or in quarantine.  Similarly, so could our students face the same fate, if COVID-19 behavioural practices are not strictly adhered to.

As such, the issue of non-compliance of COVID-19 health and safety regulations by both staff members or students on and off campus is presently under discussion for urgent action and review.

Pro-Active Measures
In the interim, the University has already suspended all engagements that involve key drivers in transmitting the virus such as large face-to-face meetings among student societies, parties, meetings within residence rooms and any other flagrant violation of containment measures.  It has warned students to avoid the same off campus behavioural practices for their own safety and that of others.

Additionally, it has quarantined all residences where two or more positive cases have been identified, to restrict any further spread of the virus and arranged for the Department of Health to screen all students in these residences at the weekend.

Limited Academic Activities Ongoing
However, the suspension of student activities does not extend to the present restricted on-site learning and teaching activities, supported by strict COVID-19 compliance regulations.  Limited mask-to-mask lectures, library and general computer lab usage through online bookings, controlled laboratory and studio work and all other sanctioned academic activities are ongoing.

This also includes contact tests and trial examinations which are also hosted under stringent compliance measures, including pre-screening, physical distancing, hand sanitising and the wearing of masks.

Consequence Management
Where staff and students are not following COVID-19 compliance regulations, there will be consequences.

To date, three students have already been sent home and more than 100 others fined a minimum of R500 for non-compliance offences.

Additionally, many staff members have been cautioned, mainly for failing to wear their masks.

Mitigating Measures
As the University urgently deliberates on “plugging the present gaps” in its quest of saving lives and the academic year in very trying circumstances, it continues with various education and awareness campaigns, aimed at encouraging behavioural change to align with the new normal brought on by the pandemic.  A suite of psychosocial support is also available, as it openly acknowledges the frustrations, challenges and fears triggered by the pandemic.

It is in Your Hands
The responsibility of containing the spread of the virus is ours alone.  In protecting ourselves, we protect others.  Do not be selfish, be selfless by masking up and abiding by the regulations.  It is the only way we can save lives and save the academic year.

Coronavirus Task Team