VC's Update: Measures to contain the spread of Covid-19 on our campuses

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Dear Staff and Students 
 
On Monday and Tuesday, an inspection of our facilities and our residences in Alice and East London was undertaken by the World Health Organisation, the Eastern Cape Department of Health and representatives from the Buffalo City Municipality and Amathole district. 
 
We are responding swiftly to the areas where shortcomings have been identified and we are pleased with the areas where the University was found to be compliant. Higher Health and the Eastern Cape Department of Health will be training our frontline staff (security and cleaning staff) on protocols for the first mitigation of containment linked to screening and cleaning. Line managers will be in touch, but we would like to see as many of our frontline staff as possible participating.
 
We want to thank staff and students who have been responsive to the call to scrupulously adhere to the Covid-19 prevention measures, including
 • wearing a mask,
 • regularly washing hands or sanitising,
 • maintaining social distance, • limiting movement and 
 • refraining from social gatherings. 
 
Our number of active Covid-19 cases has come down, but we are still at a very delicate and critical stage of our efforts to stem the spread of Covid-19 on our campuses. In this phase, screening, testing, isolation, quarantine, and contact tracing are key for us to overcome the pandemic. What we need now to succeed is for all staff and students to ensure that they complete the UFH screening tool daily. 
 
It is critical that you are frank and honest when completing the screening tool so that we can identify at-risk staff and students swiftly. The screening tool is available at http://survey.ufh.ac.za/ Where students test positive in a residence, a soft lockdown will be implemented in the residence. With the assistance of the National Health Laboratory Services (NHLS) truck, all students in that residence will be tested. We need to protect ourselves and each other. This requires firm pro-social resolve and commitment.
 
 Where staff and students are referred to quarantine or required to go into isolation, compliance is critical to saving lives. All previously venue-based exams will now be online, as indicated by the Registrar in a circular to the University community yesterday. We want to reiterate that currently no events may take place on campus. Please also continue to limit your movements and refrain from gatherings to assist in containing the spread of the virus. 
 
For psycho-social support, students should follow the Student Counselling Unit’s Facebook page (Student Counselling Unit – Fort Hare University). It is managed by a psychologist on a daily basis. The platform allows for psychologists to participate in live chats and offer oneon-one assistance via private online sessions. Staff can access staff support services through our Wellness Unit in Human Resources. Please contact Ms Mandisa Tyanti (mtyanti@ufh.ac.za). I thank you for your commitment to keeping the University of Fort Hare and its surrounding communities safe.
 
Sincerely
 
Professor Sakhela Buhlungu
Vice-Chancellor and Principal