By California Dube
Higher Education, Science and Innovation Minister Blade Nzimande has announced that all tertiary institutions would be now permitted to receive hundred percent of their students back to campuses.
This came after President Cyril Ramaphosa’s declaration that the country would shift to level 1 of the COVID-19 lockdown. Recall that all institutions of higher learning were ordered to suspend all academic activities around March to curb the spread of the virus which led to the disruption of academic activities.
Consequently, institutions proposed the online learning method to save the academic year while the country is still battling with the global pandemic. Therefore, Nzimande briefed the media on how the department would be affected by the eased lockdown, disclosing that universities were in the position to welcome both local and international students on campuses to resume with contact classes.
However, the minister reported that the return would be subject to any limitations related to their own risk assessments at a local level.
“I am pleased to say that we are now in a position to welcome back 100% of our university students, including all those international students who are currently outside the borders of South Africa,” he said.
Nzimande also added that “All universities are implementing their plans to return all students and staff from 1 October subject to any restrictions linked to their own risk assessment due to their local context and conditions.” He also noted that the international students who left the country would have to adhere with travel regulations under the eased lockdown. “With respect to international students returning who remain outside our country, they will need to meet the requirement of the Cogta regulations, which includes having a test not older than 72 hours showing that they are negative for the virus on arrival in South Africa. If not, they will need to go into quarantine at their own expenses for at least 10 days before proceeding to their respective institutions,” he added.