The emergence of the Omnicron variant and the fourth wave of Covid-19 infections could be problematic for the 2022 academic year.
“We saw a major cluster, the fourth wave in Tshwane, that led to the discovery even of the new variant which clearly defines and understands how quickly it can spread among young people,” said Higher Health SA CEO, Professor Ramneek Ahluwalia.
Higher Health has estimated about one-third of students are either fully vaccinated or partially vaccinated at this stage. Core Investigator at the Sisonke Covid-19 Vaccine Trial, Professor Linda Gail-Becker, said:
Our first goal is to protect lives. So, the first role of a vaccine is to reduce severe disease and death and then we look for that added bonus which is to reduce infection and lead to community protection.
Ahluwalia says that there ought to be a shift to 70% contact and 30% online learning for the next academic year.
Institutions were built on contact learning, especially community colleges and TVET colleges.
UCT Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Associate Professor Lis Lange said all forms of face-to-face on-campus teaching and learning activities need to have an online alternative, to allow staff to switch formats seamlessly when necessary.
The University also mentioned that the management of UCT venues and the timetable under pandemic conditions is not an easy task in a statement.
Click here to read the full statement by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor.