Resumption of the 2020 Academic Year in 2021

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Dear Staff and Students
 
We are in our second week of the academic calendar, our multimodal teaching has resumed, and we are well on our way to completing the 2020 academic year. I hope that all of you have rested well over the December break and are enjoying being back at work or study. 
 
Yet, as we are resuming our work, Covid-19 remains a real and dangerous presence in our lives. Taking the necessary precautions and following all protocols are immensely important to protect our communities and ourselves. 
 
I want to thank staff, both academic and support services, for their patience and hard work for the sake of the institution during what has been and remains a very difficult time. We appreciate that academic staff have been flexible when changes to assessment were requested last week.
 
Meal allowances 
 
The Finance Division confirms that NSFAS meal allowances will be paid by Thursday or Friday this week at the latest.
 
Student data
 
Data for January has been uploaded for all students, including MTN clients. 
 
Sanitisers and PPEs 
 
Our Properties and Services staff have prepared our campus for the resumption of the academic year. The Division has been asked to address with immediate effect the matter of sanitisers and other PPEs where required and the Director: Properties and Services will communicate with the University community in this regard. 
 
Psycho social support in a period of loss 
 
This is an incredibly stressful time. In addition to the strain of studying remotely and the social isolation of many of our students, Covid-19 has not left our lives untouched. Many of our staff and students are grieving the loss of family members and friends. We have been devastated about the recent deaths of two of our staff members and we extend our condolences to their families, friends and colleagues. 
 
This is a time to look after your mental health and seek help immediately if you experience difficulties.
 
For psycho-social support, students should follow the Student Counselling Unit’s Facebook page (Student Counselling Unit – Fort Hare University). It is managed by a psychologist on a daily basis. The platform allows for psychologists to participate in live chats and offer one-on-one assistance via private online sessions.
 
Those in need of psycho-social assistance for stress, anxiety, depression, etc., may also seek help through the HIGHER HEALTH 24 hour toll free crisis line which is available in all 11 official languages as detailed below: 
 
• Toll-free call 0800 36 36 36 • SMS 43-33-6 Staff can access staff support services through our Wellness Unit in Human Resources. Please contact Ms Mandisa Tyanti (mtyanti@ufh.ac.za).
 
Covid-19 regulations 
 
To stay safe and healthy, we are all expected to heed the national Covid-19 regulations as well as any additional regulations put in place by the University.
In this respect, I want to remind you that all gatherings are strictly prohibited. Students who have returned to campus should limit their social contact. 
 
We appeal to the University community at large, and students in our residences in particular, to continue to be vigilant, washing or sanitising your hands regularly, ensuring that you always wear a cloth mask in public spaces and maintaining social distance at all times. Please stay abreast of the Covid-19 internal notices and ensure you do your daily screening. 
 
I thank you for your commitment to keeping yourselves and those around you safe. 
 
Sincerely 
Professor Sakhela Buhlungu 
Vice-Chancellor and Principal