GEORGE NEWS - The principal of the Nelson Mandela University George Campus, Dr Kaluke Mawila, says the university is ready to welcome new and existing students virtually. She says the George campus is committed to ensuring a smooth transition into the new academic year.
"Plans are underway to virtually welcome over 450 first-year students and over 1 500 returning students on all our online platforms."
At present, she explains, the campus is using a hybrid model (blended learning in which students are given different options for studying) in line with the institutional approach to learning and teaching, where classes will continue online - with the exception of "mask-to-mask" for those whose field of study necessitates physical interaction.
Online registration for prospective students who meet admission requirements and have received a firm offer, opened on 11 January and will run until 1 April, to ensure the process is completed safely from home or remotely. Online registration for applicants awaiting their final examination results will commence soon after the release of final NSC/IEB/Sacai results on 23 February.
She asks prospective student applicants not to come to campus unless they are given the official written go-ahead by the university.
"The year 2021 is different for so many reasons as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. We are aware that our first-year entrants are justifiably anxious, as are parents. We wish to assure parents, guardians and the community that we are doing our very best to make the Nelson Mandela George Campus safe. We have rigorous measures in place to ensure safety, health and compliance with the disaster management protocols."
Mawila says they are committed to saving lives. As such, they have stringent protocol for accessing the campus.
"We have been fortunate to enjoy support from the George community in helping to manage the pandemic by minimising recreational activities on campus during this period. We value our partnership with students, parents, the community and all critical stakeholders in educating our young. We appreciate the continued support of our stakeholders as we ensure campus safety. Our safety is in our hands," says Mawila.
To limit the number of people on campus, the university has introduced new ways of working, learning, teaching and living. This includes making many traditional face-to-face events virtual.
The official welcoming ceremony for first-year students and their parents/guardians on Saturday 6 March will be held virtually; so too the orientation programme running from 8 to 12 March.
Lectures are set to begin on Monday 15 March using a blend of virtual and mask-to-mask learning and teaching, to cater for students with different needs and resources.
At present, students and staff who can study and work remotely are continuing to do so. Only those students with an official e-permit will be able to return to any of the university's campuses or residences. Residences opened on 10 January for senior students. Residence students are required to quarantine for 10 days in their on- or off-campus residence, in accordance with Mandela University's Covid-19 protocols.
All new and returning students, staff and visitors will be expected to comply with the compulsory Covid-19 processes and safety measures, including wearing a face mask, physical and social distancing and hand sanitising. In addition, everyone will need to use the university's own health screening tool.
The screening tool allows the university to manage the well-being of staff and students holistically and monitor campus numbers in line with Covid-19 health regulations.
For applicants who wrote NSC, IEB and Sacai examinations in 2020, the university will obtain their final examination results from the Department of Basic Education and will process applications for final admission.
These applicants therefore do not need to submit their final examination results, either via e-mail or in person, but should rather stay safe, stay home and wait to hear from the university. The university will notify applicants of the outcome of their application after 23 February, when the results have been released.
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