COVID-19 Causing University Closures

Measures are being put into place to keep people as safe as possible. On the education front, schools are being closed but what is happening at our universities?

On Sunday, 15 March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic was officially declared as a disaster. In order to keep the virus from spreading and to keep citizens safe, measures were put into place. Events with 100 or more people have been postponed or cancelled and international travel has been restricted. Education is also being impacted as schools are being shut down.

After President Cyril Ramaphosa’s declaration, higher education is also taking a step back as universities are shutting down classes. The South African Union of Students (SAUS) have called on universities and colleges for a cancellation of all classes, tests and exams until further notice. With this, not only are classes suspended, but graduation ceremonies around the country are either being postponed or cancelled. Schools will remain closed until after the Easter weekend, and some universities will follow suit.

According to President Ramaphosa, “Never before in the history of our democracy has our country been confronted with such a severe situation.”

With cases being found at both UCT and WITS, universities in close proximity are shutting their doors. It is still uncertain as to how residencies will be handled – as it is determined by each individual campus. Some campuses are still open for students to use the facilities if need be, but are few and far between.

Spokesperson for SAUS, Thabo Shingange made the following comment: “As a union, we are concerned about the rapid increase and the spread of the Coronavirus across the country and across the globe. So, as the union, our position is simple; close down the universities and they must utilise other means of engagement, be it online submissions of assignments and so on, but the academic programme must go on, but it cannot continue when it puts students’ health at risk. So, they must take the matter seriously. Universities are closed until there is a serious plan to deal with the Coronavirus on our campuses.”

List Of Gauteng Universities And Colleges Affected:

  • University of Johannesburg (UJ)
  • University of the Witwatersrand (WITS)
  • University of Pretoria (UP)
  • University of South Africa (UNISA)
  • Vaal University of Technology (VUT)
  • Vega School (IIE)
  • Varsity College (IIE)
  • Rosebank College (IIE)
  • IIE MSA

For more information on the COVID-19 virus, click here.

If you have further information with regards to affected campuses, please comment below.