Vice-Chancellor Message – 11 February 2022
11 February 2022
Dear UJ Community,
I am pleased that our registrations for new and returning students have progressed smoothly and that we are ready for the start of the 2022 Academic Year this coming Monday. I have never been as excited about this in a long time because we will be welcoming our students back on campus – after almost two years of remote learning. It has been gratifying to observe the excitement and anticipation among our students as we build up to Monday.
As President Cyril Ramaphosa reminded us, last night in his State of the Nation Address (SONA), “For the last two years, the education of our children and young people has been severely disrupted. As we return to normal educational activity, we will work harder to ensure that all learners and students get the quality education they need and deserve.”
And as communicated last year, and with the changed circumstances of the pandemic, I am grateful to your role in co-creating the UJ teaching and learning strategy. In line with our strategic objective of teaching and learning excellence, we will ensure that our students have a vibrant intellectual and social experience on our wonderful campuses. Where required, the students will also benefit from psychosocial support.
Our students will be provided with on-campus, in-person teaching and learning, using a hybrid approach (face-to-face classes and Blackboard engagement). Each faculty (including the College of Business and Economics (CBE) as well as the Johannesburg Business School (JBS)) has submitted teaching and learning plans in line with the University’s commitment to providing the best education possible to all our students. After consulting uLink, students are encouraged to consult their faculties with any further queries in this regard.
To all our new and returning students, welcome to UJ! I hope that our University’s depth of diversity and its rich tradition of teaching, research and innovation excellence will make your stay here a rewarding and memorable experience. In this regard, I have the pleasure of inviting you to join me and the University leadership team for the 2022 Academic Opening later today, from 11h00 – 12h00. Staff, students and parents/guardians are encouraged to join this joyous occasion using the following link: https://youtu.be/2MM4IRX06_0. Let’s get 2022 off to a great start!
We want you to enjoy our campuses and take full advantage of everything that UJ has to offer. In doing so, we encourage you to take appropriate personal and collective precautions when participating in academic, social, and other student activities on and around our campuses. We take your safety very seriously, and urge you and to do the same. In this regard, we wish to remind all our students that they are to be at least partially vaccinated and to have uploaded their proof of vaccination on https://ulink.uj.ac.za/ujvac by Monday, 14 February 2022.
Alternatively, students are required to apply for exemption on https://ulink.uj.ac.za/ujvac. Students awaiting the outcome of their exemption application and partially vaccinated students will be conditionally registered, with access granted to campuses or facilities. Students are to be fully vaccinated and to have uploaded their proof of vaccination by 31 March 2022.
Our approach to the mandatory vaccination policy has always been guided by and focused on supporting those in need of help and ensuring that we adapt to new realities. We once again wish to thank all our employees, postdoctoral research fellows and students who have embraced our mandatory vaccination policy and uploaded their proof of vaccination certificates. We are pleased that the Exemptions Committee has now concluded the first phase of its work to consider the applications for exemption from vaccination. Employees who have applied for this will soon receive an outcome via email. The Exemptions Committee has also commenced their review of application for exemption submitted by students.
Assistance for staff, postdoctoral research fellows, and students with difficulty in submitting their vaccination certificates, can be requested from +27 11 559 4555 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Employees without access to a computer and/or emails should seek assistance from their line managers or from the ICS Department by dialing +27 11 559 8888 for the uploading of vaccination certificates, using the link https://ulink.uj.ac.za/ujvac. Employees and students who have lost their vaccination code should report at any vaccination site to receive a new one or call 0800 029 999 for assistance. For more information on the mandatory vaccination implementation protocols and application for exemption, etc., click here. You may also visit the UJ website www.uj.ac.za.
All students are requested to allow an additional 45 minutes for their arrival on the first day for access control and screening processes. To ensure that the experience is as seamless as possible, students are requested to bring along their proof of identification, namely, barcoded driver’s licence, passport or RSA ID card/book and vaccination card. Students are also encouraged to complete the online pre-screening process before arrival to ensure that the process is as seamless as possible. The link will be sent via email to all persons from the email address (email@example.com) and with the subject University of Johannesburg – Covid19 – Daily Checklist.
The University will utilise electronic scanners at the control points at all our campuses to verify vaccination statuses and conduct COVID-19 screening. Any students who experience issues with the screening processes or University access cards are requested to report these matters to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We also wish to remind you that the Logistics Department will provide transport to the Netcare Milpark and Liberty Life COVID-19 vaccination sites on Mondays and Thursdays between 14h00 and 16h00. Requests from employees must be submitted via their line manager to the campus health clinic a day in advance so that proper arrangements can be made.
On a different note, and as we begin the academic programme on Monday, I wish to remind you that the 15th Intervarsity Rugby tournament will also get underway at university campus stadiums across the country. Between 14 February and 25 April 2022, our Orange Army will crisscross the country as they search for the first title of the tournament. This month, UJ will play two away matches against Central University of Technology and the University of Cape Town on 14 and 21 February 2022, respectively.
Our first home game will be played on 28 February 2022 against North-West University at the UJ Athletics Stadium in Westdene. Under the current COVID-19 Alert Level 1, “gatherings are restricted to a maximum of 1 000 people indoors and a maximum of 2 000 people outdoors.” Those who wish to be at the stadium will need to have been at least partially vaccinated. I wish our team the very best in this competition!
On a sombre note, and on behalf of the UJ community, I wish to express my deepest condolences to our Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Tshilidzi Marwala, on the passing away of his father. Prof. Marwala has often written fondly about his beloved father in opinion articles, in which he described him as “a great mathematics educator and also a supporter of Moroka Swallows Football Club.” In the latest article on Forbes Africa magazine, he vowed to “work hard to modernise our society and end poverty as my latest article in Forbes Africa describes.” We wish Prof Marwala and his family strength and comfort during this time of bereavement.
The University leadership will continue to monitor the national and provincial COVID-19 outlook, and an update will be provided accordingly. This information may be verified by visiting: www.uj.ac.za/coronavirus. Should any of you experience symptoms of the coronavirus, please use the National Hotline of 0800 029 999 or WhatsApp line 0600 123456 or go to the following link for more information: https://sacoronavirus.co.za/.
We appeal to all to adhere to the recommended precautionary measures, hygiene and physical distancing (https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public) at all times.
Thank you, Kea leboga, enkosi, baie dankie, ndi a livhuwa!
Professor Kinta Burger
Registrar and Acting Vice-Chancellor and Principal
University of Johannesburg
Times mentioned in this newsletter refer to the South African time-zone.