Home News Covid booster shot not a requirement for entry to city varsity

Covid booster shot not a requirement for entry to city varsity

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’At this stage the focus is currently on standard vaccinations as detailed in the directive issued by the vice-chancellor on December 9.’

Picture: Supplied

SOL PLAATJE University (SPU) has said that while entry onto its campuses will only be permitted for persons who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 in the new academic year, they will not at this stage need to provide proof that they have taken booster shots.

The Public Servants Association (PSA) last week stated that it intended to challenge the entry ban for unvaccinated persons in court next year as, the union claimed, it was prejudicial to university employees and unvaccinated staff could lose their jobs.

The PSA stated that it was not consulted and it believed that employees should have the right to choose whether to vaccinate or not.

The acting senior manager for communications and marketing at SPU, Mosima Mehlape, said on Wednesday that Covid booster shots had not yet been discussed.

“At this stage the focus is currently on standard vaccinations as detailed in the directive issued by the vice-chancellor on December 9,” said Mahlape.

“The directive is clear – where all staff, students and visitors who wish to access the SPU campuses must provide proof of being fully vaccinated against Covid-19, or have an exemption letter based on medical or religious grounds.

“The university recognises and acknowledges that students and staff may opt not to vaccinate due to medical or religious reasons. These students and staff members must supply an exemption letter to the university’s occupational health, safety and environmental unit.”

Mahlape stated that vaccination cards could be used as proof of vaccination at points of entry to the university.

“The vaccination status of people entering the university will be monitored by our campus security staff, with the assistance of the Covid-19 compliance officer, and the process will be carefully monitored by the lockdown task team that has been in operation since April 2020.”

She pointed out that the PSA was not a registered union at the university.

“The National, Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) – the dominant union – was consulted, provided their input and agreed to the vice-chancellor’s directive on Covid-19 vaccinations that was released on December 9. The university council, senior management team and the student representative council (SRC) were also consulted.”

Mehlape said the vaccination policies were put in place to safeguard everyone who entered the SPU campuses and to enable face-to-face learning and teaching to resume in 2022.

“While this was another challenging year due to the unabated Covid-19 pandemic, the university managed to complete the academic year on time. Students completed their 2021 programmes timeously and results were released on December 21.”

She noted that the Covid-19 pandemic had fast-tracked the migration to online teaching and learning.

“We have been able to socialise the Digital University by placing the emphasis on digital tools. This has become a natural part of the daily activities of every user. This process would have taken an entire change management process to achieve but the crisis has allowed it to take a firm footing in a short space of time at the university.

“In addition, SPU was one of a few universities that completed both the 2020 and 2021 academic years on time and remained fully operational during these unprecedented times.”

Mehlape stated that due to early interventions in terms of health and safety measures that were implemented, had resulted in low rates of infection.

“We intend to maintain this situation in 2022 and beyond.”

She said students who were not vaccinated would be able to register for 2022 although they would not be permitted to reside in university-operated residences, attend face-to-face classes, access the library or participate in sporting activities or practical work related to their qualifications.

“If students opt to remain unvaccinated, they will not be allowed onto campus. However, they may engage in online learning at their own expense.

“Employees who are not willing or able to be vaccinated should follow the guidelines contained in the SPU vaccination plan that will be circulated in the near future.”

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