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MANDELA UNIVERSITY’S PREPAREDNESS FOR LOCKDOWN

25/03/2020

Firstly, I would like to thank our President Cyril Ramaphosa, for his courageous and decisive leadership.  Worldwide the COVID-19 pandemic is rampant and is increasing much faster than initially anticipated.  Following the President’s national disaster and nationwide lockdown announcements, we find ourselves in unchartered waters. 

At Nelson Mandela University, the health and wellbeing of our staff and students remains our top priority.  Therefore, we are poised to embrace the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic in these extraordinary times.  We have accepted the restrictions that now, temporarily, govern our lives and have taken responsible steps to change our behaviour in an effort to prevent the spread of infection.

In support of the national clarion call “to flatten the curve” and contain infections, the University has taken measures to inform and educate staff and students on how to prevent the spread of the pandemic.  In order to help you care for yourself and your families during this time, a dedicated coronavirus webpage https://www.mandela.ac.za/coronavirus is in place and it highlights the best defenses against infection.

As at 18 March 2020, all Nelson Mandela University students went on early recess and staff numbers were scaled down to those that provide critical services only. Where practical, many of our staff have been working remotely away from campuses.  On Sunday 22 March, our remaining students were assisted by the University to travel home, and they arrived safely.

While we will soon all be in lockdown, we still need to practice all precautions advised by government and various relevant health authorities.

We all have a role to play individually in defeating the pandemic.  

The declaration of a lockdown does not mean that we are safe.  We now need to reduce the risk between ourselves. There are currently 554 new cases as of 23:00 on 23 March 2020.  Reliable estimates indicate that these numbers will increase in the coming days.

We should therefore all prepare to lockdown and stay at home from midnight on Thursday, 26 March 2020 to midnight on Thursday, 16 April 2020. Critical staff who are able to, and are equipped to work from home will do so to ensure that our Academic programme, and support thereto, are ready to continue when we do resume.  While there will be no physical learning and teaching happening during the lockdown, we are preparing multiple pathways to engage online with students.  We have committed that no student will be left behind.

Different leadership teams representing various domains of the University will issue communication tomorrow on Wednesday 25 March, to give more specific  guidance, where possible.

It is important to stress again that the situation remains fluid, and we will issue briefings to the University community as the situation unfolds nationally.

For those of you who need emotional support during this time, the University offers a service with Wellness at Work, as well as through a Hotline service on 0800 205 333.  For students who are concerned about tests and exams, please rest assured that the academic calendar will be adjusted to accommodate these.  As the situation remains unpredictable, we have planned for various scenarios and will communicate them when we are able to.

May I take this occasion to thank you again sincerely for your collective efforts in contributing towards the national and global efforts aimed at eradicating the pandemic.   

Kind regards

Vice-Chancellor

Prof Sibongile Muthwa

 

 

 

 

Telephone: +27(0)41 504 3935 | Fax: +27(0)41 504 2574 / 1417 | E-mail: alumni@mandela.ac.za

PO Box 77000 | Nelson Mandela University | Port Elizabeth | 6031 | South Africa

© NMMU 2011

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