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SPU adopts ‘no visitor’ policy

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“We also urge students and university staff to maintain a healthy social distance and where possible to refrain from meeting in groups.”

THE SOL Plaatje University (SPU) in Kimberley has adopted a “no visitor” rule and cancelled all meetings with external partners after President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a national state of disaster following the outbreak of the coronavirus in South Africa.

The senior manager of communications and marketing at SPU, Kashini Maistry, said yesterday that the university’s management had taken several measures to prevent the spread of the virus, although no cases have been reported in the Northern Cape.

“The university notes that there are no confirmed cases of the Covid-19 viral infection in the Northern Cape. Notwithstanding this, a number of interventions are being implemented by the senior management team, effective from March 17, 2020 (today).

“As occupational health and safety precautions, the management has taken a decision that hand sanitisers will be placed at every entrance of the university building. This will be administered by security staff.

“No visitors will be allowed into the residences or academic buildings and all meetings with external partners are cancelled until further notice.

“We also urge students and university staff to maintain a healthy social distance and where possible to refrain from meeting in groups.”

Maistry added that members of the SPU community had the responsibility to report their exposure to an infected person, a suspected infected person or if they are themselves infected.

“Students are urged to present themselves at the Campus Clinic for an initial assessment if they are symptomatic.”

The university has also urged all staff and students to ensure that they wash their hands with soap and water regularly.

“Official and planned national or international travel is prohibited. No gatherings of 90 or more people are allowed and all planned events are postponed until further notice. All sport and social club activities are also suspended until further notice. Planning is under way to stagger meals in dining halls. Schools have been advised to put in place practical measures where there are more than 90 students in a class. The senior management team is meeting regularly to monitor the local and national situation. Further communication will be sent out today about a longer-term plan,” said Maistry.

Meanwhile, the Northern Cape Department of Social Development has announced that early childhood development (ECD) centres will be closed from tomorrow.

Department spokesperson Gamiem Abrahams said that ECD centres as well as partial-care facilities would be closed from tomorrow until after the Easter holidays.

“Caregivers and practitioners are to ensure that all hygiene protocols are strictly observed and that parents are provided with the information on hygiene to be observed at home. The department urges school children to refrain from frequenting social events and to remain within the determined announcement,” said Abrahams.

“We call on young people to be responsible and to refrain from harmful practices like substance abuse and irresponsible alcohol use. The sharing of cigarettes and other illicit substances holds great danger and all people are discouraged from such.”