The Nelson Mandela University has become the second institution this week to suspend contact classes after there was a spike of positive Covid-19 cases at its Gqeberha campuses.
In a communique to staff and students this week, the university said the call to temporarily halt face-to-face classes was after ten positive cases were recorded in one day and a further six overnight.
The university said all the positive cases are students.
“All these students are in quarantine, and since two are also from the same class, which had held mask-to-mask activities, their entire class has also been placed under quarantine.
“For the students’ own safety and that of others, they will isolate themselves in their rooms for ten days, monitoring themselves for symptoms. Such is the complicated nature of the virus, however, some of the students who recently tested positive for Covid-19 were, and are, asymptomatic. In other words, they have none of the usual Covid-19 symptoms,” reads the communique.
The university said following the spike it would reduce large gatherings on campus, would improve entrance screening and other measures in an effort to minimise the spread of the virus at the institution.
“Various buildings may also be temporarily closed to counter the possibility of large gatherings of people,” reads the communique.
The university further said that all planned face-to-face assessments for this week will move online or will be deferred until it is safe to return to contact classes.
On Tuesday Inside Education also reported that the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) had suspended contact classes after a student died from Covid-19 related illnesses last week.
The university’s spokesperson, Phaphama Tshisikhawe, said TUT did not know when it would resume contact classes.
“This will be determined by the cases of the coronavirus in the country. It is not only because of the Covid-19 related death that we are experiencing in the university, it is mostly because the infections that are increasing,” said Tshisikhawe at the time.
Debbie Derry, NMU Deputy Director said the university not only faces the third wave of infections but also faces the “worst water crisis in living history” and the constant threat of load shedding.