Home News Sol Plaatje University to curb Covid-risky student behaviour

Sol Plaatje University to curb Covid-risky student behaviour

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“At SPU we intend getting ahead of this problem through a plan that was approved by the senior management team earlier this week.”

Sol Plaatje University. Picture: Supplied

PUBLIC universities, including Sol Plaatje University in Kimberley, have joined hands in an attempt to curb Covid-19-risky student behaviour on campuses throughout South Africa.

The Board of Directors of Universities South Africa (USAf), of which Sol Plaatje University is a member, said in a statement on Thursday that it has noted with grave concern reports of reckless student behaviour on campuses since South Africa relaxed the national lockdown to levels 2 and 1, respectively.

“Noting that Covid-19 remains alive and active in this country, as evidenced by over 1 000 new cases being reported daily, nationally, the vice-chancellors of all 26 public universities have cautioned students at their institutions to keep this in mind in their day-to-day behaviour on campuses and in residences,” the statement says.

The Sol Plaatje University said yesterday that during alert Level 1, universities were required to arrange for and manage the return of all students to campus.

“In anticipation of this, Sol Plaatje University (SPU) has been working diligently to ensure that our campus is ready to receive our returning students. We have instituted health and safety protocols to mitigate against the spread of Covid-19 amongst the SPU community and trained our student leaders to help encourage student adherence to these practices,” SPU spokesperson Kashini Maistry said.

She added that before SPU students arrived on campus they received a digital copy of the Covid-19 Residence Protocol.

“A hard copy is provided to them upon their arrival and our residence wardens hold workshops with them to discuss the protocol, answer their questions and allay their fears.”

The university has also put in place a number of measures, including providing all students and staff members with two reusable cloth masks; only granting entry to campus after completion of a Covid-19 screening process; the setting up of sanitisation stations around campus and the installation of sanitiser dispensers at the entrance of each building and in common areas; while the washing of hands, in accordance with the health protocols, is enabled by increasing the number of soap dispensers installed in the restrooms and the frequency of cleaning high-traffic areas and frequently-touched services.

“In addition, students who present with Covid-19 symptoms are moved to our quarantine spaces where they are tested and monitored,” Maistry stated.

She added that the university shared the concern that students at public higher education institutions across South Africa were not adhering to the health and safety measures on their campuses and were posing an enormous risk of accelerating the emergence of a possible second wave of Covid-19 infections.

“At SPU we intend getting ahead of this problem through a plan that was approved by the senior management team earlier this week.”

The plan includes sending clear and regular communication to the SPU community as a reminder to adhere to the applicable regulations.

“We will roll out a new campaign, commencing on Friday (today), to remind students about wearing masks, sanitising, social distancing, health screening, and curfews.”

She said a communication would also be sent to the SPU community about the consequences of non-adherence to the health and safety policies and procedures.

“We will control the numbers of students in dining halls by setting up additional serving areas, and we will allow students to take away food from the canteens for them to eat in their rooms.”

The university will also ensure that the SRC and residence management staff will be more visible to encourage students to adhere to the protocols.