Walter Sisulu and Fort Hare classes continue amid safety precautions

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Covid-19 cases are on the increase in Eastern Cape universities but lectures are going ahead safely.

Walter Sisulu University had 33 cases and the University of Fort Hare 23, although some people have already recovered.

Rhodes University had not responded to queries at the time of writing.

UFH spokesperson Tandi Mapukata said 16 of the 23 infections recorded by Tuesday were still active.

Support staff made up 12 of the active cases.

“Fifteen are isolating at home. Only one employee is still in hospital.

“Of the active cases, one is a student and two are lecturers.

Eight have recovered fully,” Mapukata said.

She did not specify how many academic, non-academic staff or students had tested positive.

WSU is driving coronavirus awareness campaigns through online platforms.

“We are expecting one third of students to return to campus on August 1.

“All the necessary protocols will be observed and there will be increased monitoring to ensure that no squatting [at residences] happens,” Tukwayo said.

WSU SRC president Sihle Msomi said: “The academic calendar need to be saved.

“I am hopeful that with the government having put further restrictions, they’ll make a difference.

“We're taking note of the surge and the regulations are there to [be obeyed].”

Msomi said the university had provided students with personal protective equipment (PPE).

WSU has distributed laptops to students based in KwaZulu-Natal as well as the Komani, Mthatha, Butterworth and Buffalo City Metro campuses to help with virtual learning.

Mapukata said everyone had a role to play in stopping the spread of the virus.

Our planning is such that we should be able to to provide PPEs and maintain physical distances in our venues.

“However, whether people comply with that or not is up to each individual,” Mapukata said.

At the time of writing, there were 53,959 confirmed cases nationally, 34,706 recoveries and 726 deaths.

She said 33% of staff had only returned to campus on July 8 “so none of the infections were transmitted in the workplace”.

She said there were no-contact lectures taking place and the 16 active cases were not affecting remote teaching and learning.

UFH students returned to campus from Monday.

WSU has recorded 33 infections across all its campuses, with 12 recoveries.

WSU spokesperson Yonela Tukwayo said management, unions and students were part of a coronavirus emergency response task team.

We work on one third rotation of staff at work plus observing all the protocols.

“We are continuing with teaching and learning using various platforms.

“Collaborating and raising issues from different perspectives has been successful,” Tukwayo said.

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