Some Rhodes students return with strict protocols in place
Strict protocols including daily screening, physical distancing, hand hygiene and mask-wearing are in place at Rhodes University as the institution’s first students return — and anyone flouting the rules runs the risk of disciplinary action.
Students started returning to the Makhanda-based university on Monday.
A statement, sent out by Rhodes University spokesperson Velisile Bukula, indicated that training for relevant staff members had included the application of basic microbiological cleaning principle guided by the Global Bio Risk Advisory Council’s (GBAC) protocol.
“The university has had to balance a number of serious priorities to get to this point.
“On the one hand, is the health, well being and safety of students, staff and our surrounding community and on the other, the academic programme, the futures of our students and livelihoods.
“In our decisions, we are guided by the three-pronged theme of the department of higher education and training — save lives, save the academic year and maximise opportunities for student success.
“The Covid-19 pandemic is however still our reality,” vice-chancellor Dr Sizwe Mabizela said.
“There are a number of important voluntary individual responsibilities that each one of us will have to exercise at this difficult time to create a safe and conducive environment for teaching and learning.”
Mabizela said the student disciplinary code had been reviewed in efforts to enforce government regulations.
The statement indicated that students arriving back at the university, be they on or off-campus students, were required to self-isolate for a 14-day period.
Meals for residential students would be delivered to their rooms, the statement said.
During the self-isolation period, online teaching and learning would continue.
Thereafter, anyone entering the campus would be screened daily and, should symptoms be detected, the affected person would be referred to the health-care centre.
Once a case was confirmed, consultations with the department of health would immediately take place, the statement said.
Communications and advancement director Luzuko Jacobs said any student who placed the wellbeing of others at risk would face exclusion from the university.
“Students who, by their conduct, place the wellbeing of other students at risk may face exclusion from Rhodes University or from residences.
“Each one of us has a serious responsibility towards all those with whom we share spaces and facilities.
“Careless and reckless conduct will attract immediate reaction and stern consequences,” Jacob said.
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