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100% Of University Students Can Return To Campuses

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All of the students at South African Universities are allowed to return to campuses now that the country is on Lockdown Level 1. Minister Nzimande has given updates on higher education now that we are on level 1.

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Universities are now allowed to welcome back 100% of their students. All universities are implementing plans to welcome back students and have their own strategies in line with their capacities and resources, said Minister of Higher Education, Blade Nzimande.

This includes all those international students who were outside South African borders, said the Minister. These students will need to have a negative Covid test result that's not older than 72 hours upon their arrival in the country. If they don't have it, they will then need to quarantine for at least 10 days before heading to their institution.

Blade Nzimande spoke on the changes in the higher education sector as we have now moved to Lockdown level 1. Deputy Minister, Buti Manamela, was present as well. 

As per the restrictions outlined by Government, a 50% capacity is allowed in rooms with a maximum of 150 persons allowed in rooms. The Department is also welcoming the hosting of outside gatherings of up to 500 people in attendance at a time. Nzimande said that safety and hygiene protocols still apply.

The Department of Higher Education has maintained contact with all Universities in South Africa as well as Universities South Africa (USAf) and has been receiving reports from them. Nzimande said that he's grateful for those who have submitted reports.

As of 17 September, Universities had a total of 1979 of positive cases. Of this total, 1215 were staff members and 764 were students. 

The Minister said that 245 662 students were issued with permits to return to campuses. This makes up 40% of the contact student population and that they'll be returning, which Nzimande says is positive for the sector and welcomed.

Some Universities are still in the process of completing the phased return of 66% of the student population as it was previously allowed, explained the Minister.

The Minister also said that 54 561 students were living in university owned residences by 22 September which represents approximately 48% of the residence capacity with 121 000 beds across the system.

49360 students are living in university leased and managed accommodation with just over 21 000 students living in university accredited private accommodation. Nzimande further revealed that about 34 500 stud living in other forms of priv accommodation.

Some institutions have said that not all students who were invited to come back to campuses are doing so and prefer to work remotely. The whole of the student population is not at campuses everyday. Students only come on to campuses when necessary and follow the necessary protocols when they do.

On a daily basis, over 17 000 students were screened entering Universities in September.

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