Update: Level 1 Work Arrangements


More and more Mandela University staff members have returned to campus to work as the 2021 Academic Year slowly gets underway under the less restrictive level 1 working conditions.

All critical and essential teams returned in full force to the University’s seven campuses in Port Elizabeth and George in the past few weeks to prepare the campuses and support the basic needs of a growing number of students.

The number of academics on campus is also expected to increase in support of those students whose programmes will require mask-to-mask lectures, lab or practical sessions as the start to the 2021 Academic Year is phased in.

Prevention Measures
However, as in the past, those staff members who are able to continue to work productively remotely should continue to do so as part of the University’s ongoing prevention measures to mitigate against the spread of COVID-19.

Those working, studying or living on campus should continue to practice all COVID-19 prevention measures by wearing their masks, practicing good health hygiene and maintaining social distance. 

In further support of COVID-19 prevention measures, the University has also made the necessary infrastructure and equipment improvements to support these health and safety regulations.

Support Services
Until March, the University’s support teams, including cleaning, catering, security, technical and horticulture, had largely been operating on a staggered or rotational team basis. With the drop in COVID-19 transmissions and the need to prepare for the new academic year and support basic student needs however, these essential and critical workers have all returned. Only a small percentage are presently still at home as they have been classified as “vulnerable”.

Vulnerable Staff Members
Under the new Level 1 restrictions which allow for larger numbers of people in both indoor and outdoor venues (see our downloadable posters), all vulnerable staff members – those over 60 years and those with underlying illnesses (comorbidities), should be reassessed by their doctors.

The doctor will advise, under the new restrictions and the individual’s particular work environment, whether they can return or not by providing the necessary certification. If the individual is unable to work productively remotely because of the nature or his or her work, then the University will, in consultation with organised labour and affected individuals, begin conversations towards seeking alternative employment options within the University.

Ongoing Surveillance
While COVID-19 case numbers have dropped nationally and the University has had no staff or student cases for more than three weeks, the need for vigilance remains.

The University will continue to monitor on-campus numbers and its internal compliance measures to ensure that the new working arrangements are effective and safe.

If matters change, the University will, as before, adapt it plans as the safety of our staff and students remains the overriding priority in the midst of these challenging times.

Protest action
As happened earlier this week with the protest action by students across the higher education sector, staff should always contact their line managers for guidance in terms of possible alternative working arrangements. 

Should staff have any HR-related inquiries, please liaise directly with your line managers and/or your HR partners at hr@mandela.ac.za as we endeavor to improve our efforts to support you.

Ntoza Bam
Executive Director: Human Resources