Dear School of IT Students,

We have come to the end of 21 days of lockdown and we are now going into the extended period. While I feel as frustrated as you about being indoors for another 2 weeks, I am supportive of President Ramaphosa’s decision to keep the people of our country safe.

The School of IT staff, and in fact, the university as a whole, is still hard at work to prepare all the required learning and teaching material required to ensure that the academic program for this semester is successfully recovered. It feels as if work has no end, as we are all doing this from home and end up working late into the nights. I think once you are back, you will be appreciative of our hard work.

We are getting closer to resuming academic activities. You would have seen that Prof Cheryl Foxcroft, DVC Learning and Teaching, has sent a MEMO (3 April) indicating that there will be 2 pathways for our students to follow going forward. This confirms our commitment to ensure that all students have the opportunity to complete their academic year, irrespective of whether you have access to wi-fi or not.

We cannot wait to be back in the “classroom” with you and are looking forward to the new learning and teaching opportunities that this pandemic has brought to us. Kindly note that the first contact we will have would be with those students who have access to internet, and a few weeks later we will then be back on board with the rest of the class. I want to emphasise at this stage, that irrespective of which group of students you fall in, you will be covering the same work, handing in the same assignments and doing the same type of assessments for your module. The need to have as many of the students who have access to internet to follow pathway 1, is to allow the on-campus teaching to happen in a safe environment as well, where students can still observe physical distancing when they return. By having 2 pathways, it also allows lecturers to focus on one group at a time, and even though it causes duplication of work for us, it is the best and safest way forward for our students. It also allows us the opportunity to work very closely with the split groups.

Please note that some of your lecturers may have reached out to you to find out what type of access you have. If you have not heard anything you may contact them to let them know what your connectivity status is. Moodle sites will be opened for activity from 20 April, so that you can revise and get yourself ready for digital learning. No lecturer will be expecting you do any assignments before the dates for the way forward is communicated officially through the various university platforms.

I hope that you are keeping your brains sharp with some revision and also keeping your physical activity levels up (as much as possible) to ensure that keep up a good mental and physical state.

Thank you all for obeying our lockdown rules and for your understanding in these difficult times. Myself, as well as your lecturers will be in touch as soon as more information is available.

Keep well and stay healthy.


Kind Regards

Dr Sue Petratos

Director of School of IT