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Following a tumultuous academic year in 2020, many institutions of higher learning continue to prepare for the beginning of the academic year. On Monday 1 March, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the COVID-19 restrictions have now been eased to Lockdown Alert Level 1 (from the adjusted Alert Level 3).
We are aware that with the many changes, this might cause some confusion and anxiety, particularly if you’re a first-year student that is new to the protocols of institutions of higher learning and who to look to for guidance.
In a media briefing on the 18th of January, Minister of Higher Education, Blade Nzimande announced that all universities will be opening and that they face no restrictions. The only difference is that the opening dates might differ and the returning of students to campus might be staggered. Additionally, not all institutions will be doing contact learning.
Below are some key dates and information to note depending on your institution:
University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg
- The 2021 academic calendar commenced on 8 March 2021.
- Students will be allowed to register online from 5 January to 5 March, according to their relevant year of study, faculty and programme.
- Orientation took place from 1-5 March and no orientation programmes took place online.
- The majority of the academic programme continues to be online. You are advised not to come to campus unless you have an official invitation from your Faculty or residence.
- Visit their website at https://www.wits.ac.za
University of Johannesburg (UJ)
- Although 100% of students and staff can return to campuses and their workstations, all teaching and learning will continue to remain online for the duration of the first semester.
- Only students enrolled for modules that require in-person contact provision, such as laboratory or clinical work, experiential learning, etc., will be done on campus in contact mode, and in some instances, assessments will be conducted on campus.
- Registrations were extended for returning and senior students – first until 28 February 2021 and then again to Sunday, 7 March 2021.
- Visit their website at https://www.uj.ac.za/
University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN)
- There will be no physical contact sessions until the second semester.
- First-semester classes will be conducted online.
- First-year students will be able to register from 23 February, until further notice.
- Visit their website at https://ukzn.ac.za/
Tshwane University of Technology (TUT)
- Will continue with remote-blended teaching and learning from 6 January 2021.
- University will be in touch with students for whom it is mandatory to complete their practical sessions, to make arrangements so please watch out for communications.
- Examination arrangements will be included in the 6 January 2021 communiqué.
- Registrations will commence after the 2020 March/April academic calendar.
- Visit their website at https://www.tut.ac.za/
University of Cape Town (UCT)
- Will commence with physically distanced learning in the first semester, from 15 March.
- Students will be returning to residences in groups from early January 2021.
- Please note that only students who have been invited to return to residences will be accepted.
- Undergraduate teaching and learning, as well as some postgraduate teaching, will be online.
- Visit their website at https://www.uct.ac.za/
University of Pretoria (UP)
- Online registration commenced on Monday, 4 January.
- Students will be returning in the second week of March. Classes will commence online from Monday, 15 March. However, any changes will be communicated to you via email, so please ensure your contact information is correct.
- The Academic Orientation Week programme for first-year students will be fully online.
- Visit their website at https://www.up.ac.za/
* Some of the updates are taken from The Citizen