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04 September 2020 | Story Prof Francis Petersen

 

Dear Student,

On 26 August 2020, the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Dr Blade Nzimande, delivered a statement on COVID-19 alert Level 2 measures in the post-school education and training sector. This was followed by a letter to students from Prof Francis Petersen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Free State (UFS), dated 27 August 2020.   

The UFS is taking a structured and phased-in approach to return its students and staff to the campuses. In his statement, Dr Nzimande indicated that a maximum of 66% of the student population would be allowed to return to campus during Level 2 of the national lockdown. However, taking into consideration the adherence to physical distancing and hygiene measures, the capacity of the university’s lecture venues allows for 52% of the student cohort to return to campus during Level 2. 

The university management is aware that students have been enquiring about their return to campus and wishes to bring the following under your attention:

1 STUDENTS RETURNING TO CAMPUS DURING LEVEL 2

1.1. Students who are required to return to campus during Level 2 will be informed by the university, providing a permit for access to the campus.

1.2. Although the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) has indicated that all first-year students in all undergraduate programmes may return during Level 2, this is only a guideline. The UFS’s approach is NOT for all first-year students to return to the campuses, but has opted for first-year students in laboratory/practical programmes to return. This means that first-year students in the Faculties of Natural and Agricultural Sciences and Health Sciences will return to the campuses during Level 2. 

1.3      NOTE: If you have NOT been contacted, you will be supported through  remote multimodal teaching, learning, and assessment until you are informed by your faculty that you can return to campus. 

2 CAMPUS ACCESS PERMITS

2.1 A campus access permit may only be issued to students who form part of the cohort of students who may return to campus during Level 2 of the national lockdown. 

2.2 Students who received a campus access permit during Level 3, may use the same permit to obtain access to campus during Level 2. 

2.3 A campus access permit may only be issued by the Senior Director: UFS Human Resources on request from the faculty dean’s office. The permit will be sent via email to the student concerned after it has been issued. 

2.4 To get access to the campus, you must be in possession of the campus access permit and your valid student card. The daily screening protocols and procedures must also be adhered to. This includes completing the COVID-19 online screening questionnaire before entering the campuses. The principle of ‘no mask, no campus entry’ remains in place. 

2.5 According to the national lockdown regulations, international students will only be allowed to return to South Africa during Level 1 of the national lockdown.
 
3 STUDENTS IN RESIDENCES

3.1 It is important for students living in residences on campus to note that the university aims, as far as possible, to maintain the principle of ‘one student per room’ for the sake of physical distancing.

3.2 Please make sure that you have received your campus access permit 

before returning to campus.

 3.3 Students who live in on-campus accommodation and who are required to return to campus must please first contact the Department of Housing and Residence Affairs (HRA) at resapplications@ufs.ac.za to make the necessary arrangements before starting their journey back to campus. These students must also ensure that they are in the possession of a campus access permit.

3.4 Students who still have academic books in their rooms, have a second opportunity in September 2020 to request that it be sent to them by the Department of Housing and Residence Affairs (HRA). This process is currently underway. The university can unfortunately still not allow students who, for instance – want to collect their belongings – to return to campus if they do not form part of the current cohort. 

4   FAST GUIDE FOR THE RETURN OF STUDENTS TO CAMPUS

A Fast Guide for the Return of Students to Campus has been compiled to assist those students who are required to return to campus during Level 2.

5 ACADEMIC SUPPORT

In an effort to ensure that the academic project continues and all students are supported and not left behind. The university’s student facing support services have been adapted to offer you support during this time. 

Look out for the #UFSLearnOn campaign and reach out to any of the following services:

• Tutorial support: 
+27 51 401 2444 

• Academic advising:
Bloemfontein Campus: advising@ufs.ac.za 
Qwaqwa Campus: advisingqq@ufs.ac.za
South Campus: advisingsc@ufs.ac.za 

6   STUDENT WELLNESS SUPPORT

Taking control of your mental wellbeing is essential and you are encouraged to adopt an active approach to fostering your mental health and building resilience. The following resources are available to assist you in promoting and supporting your wellbeing:

• Student Counselling and Development:
Bloemfontein Campus: T: +27 51 401 2853 | E: SCD@ufs.ac.za
South Campus: T: +27 51 505 1298 | E: SCDSouth@ufs.ac.za
Qwaqwa Campus: T: +27 58 718 5033 | E: SCDQQ@ufs.ac.za

• UFS Student 24 Hour Toll-Free Careline (Mental Health Support):
0800 00 6363

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