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Belgium Campus COVID-19 Communication 24 - Action Plan and Returning Students

Dear Students,

We hope that your year has started well and that you are eager for the academic year to commence. Following the recent address by the President and the announcement that South Africa will remain under adjusted lockdown level 3, we would like to assure you that we are ready to start the academic year as scheduled and that we have a sound COVID-19 action plan in place to ensure that we can do so safely and without interruption. The academic year will begin on 4 February for all first-year students and on 5 February for all returning students.

COVID-19 Action Plan

As we enter 2021, it is clear that the COVID-19 pandemic did not remain in 2020 as many of us had hoped. With this in mind, we have adopted a proactive approach and have put a plan in place for each lockdown level and all eventualities. A summary of this plan can be viewed below:

 

Lockdown LevelCampus RestrictionsSelection CriteriaResidences
Level 50% of students permitted on campus.All students must assume online learning.N/A Closed.
Level 4Only selected students permitted on campus. Remainder of students must assume online learning.
  • Deaf students.
  • Students who are identified as at risk.
Open for selected students only.
Level 333% of students permitted on campus. 67% of students must assume online learning.Same as level 4 and:
  • Students without the necessary infrastructure for online classes or with unfavourable home environments.
  • Students with practicals which cannot be completed at home.
Same as level 4 and additional identified or invited students.
Level 266% of students permitted on campus. 34% of students must assume online learning.Same as level 3 and:
  • A new group of identified students from 1st to 3rd years.
  • All students who require access to specific or specialised infrastructure which is not available at home.
Same as level 3.
Level 1100% of students permitted on campus but limited to social distancing protocols and venue capacity rules as gazetted, if any.N/A.Open for all residence students.

Campus Rules and Regulations

All students who return to campus under any lockdown level are required to do so under strict COVID-19 health and safety regulations. These include:

  • Staying at home and attending classes online if experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms (most commonly fever, dry cough, tiredness and/or loss of taste or smell).
  • Completing daily COVID-19 pre-screening using the Belgium Campus pre-screening app (available on Google Play Store) and on-campus screening at the designated screening zone. Please ensure that you answer all pre-screening questions truthfully and that you follow the instructions given on the app.
  • Carrying your student card at all times. Student cards will be used for contact tracing purposes and no student will be allowed on campus without one.
  • Wearing an appropriate mask (covering mouth and nose) at all times.
  • Adhering to physical and social distancing rules. This means keeping a distance of at least 1.5 meters, preferably 2 meters, between yourself and those around you.
  • Following basic hygiene practices. This includes properly washing or sanitising your hands regularly.
  • Adhering to venue capacity rules.
  • Informing the appointed COVID-19 compliance officer ASAP if you have, or suspect that you have, been in contact with someone who has COVID-19.

NB: With all three of our campuses located in areas which have been identified as COVID-19 hotspots (Tshwane, Ekurhuleni and Nelson Mandela Bay), it is crucial that we work together to decrease unsafe interactions and minimise the risk of infection. We are relying on all students to act as responsible citizens with high ethical standards. This means not only taking responsibility for your own actions but also holding those around you accountable for theirs.

Phased Approach to Education Under Each Lockdown Level

Return of Students Under Lockdown Level 5

Under lockdown level 5, 0% of students are permitted on campus and all students must assume online learning. Classes will continue as scheduled via the HybeFlex system.

We understand that students without the necessary infrastructure for online classes will have difficulty attending class and completing certain subject-specific tasks and assignments during this time. Consequently, synchronous and asynchronous methods of education will be implemented to accommodate these students. Alternative means of communication such as WhatsApp will be used to share content and will serve as a platform for group formation and group work. Furthermore, our assessment platform is mobile friendly which will allow students to complete quizzes and tests via their mobile phones as required.

Return of Students Under Lockdown Level 4

Under lockdown level 4, Deaf students and students who are identified as at risk will return to campus to continue their studies. All other students must assume online learning via the HybeFlex system.

As with level 5, it is likely that there will still be students who do not have the necessary infrastructure to attend online classes from home under this lockdown level. We will adopt the same approach outlined under level 5 to address this difficulty.

Return of Students Under Lockdown Level 3

Under the current lockdown level, we are permitted to have a maximum of 33% of students on campus. The remaining 67% of students will be required to assume online classes via the HybeFlex system. We endeavour to make the selection of these students as fair as possible and the students invited to return to campus will be done so based on need.

As previously mentioned, we undertake to give preference to our Deaf students, students who do not have the necessary infrastructure to attend online classes, students with home environments not conducive for studying and students with practicals which cannot be completed from home.

Return of Students Under Lockdown Level 2

Under lockdown level 2, 66% of students are permitted on campus. In addition to the students invited back under lockdown level 3, an additional group of students will be invited to return. This will include identified students from 1st to 3rd years and all students who require access to specific or specialised infrastructure which is not available at home. Students who are not invited to return to campus will be required to assume online classes via the HybeFlex system.

Return of Students Under Lockdown Level 1

Under lockdown level 1, 100% of students are permitted on campus. This is limited to social distancing protocols and venue capacity rules as gazetted, if any. Classes will continue as scheduled via the HybeFlex system with students either attending face-to-face on campus or online from home.

Student Selection Survey

Please help us make the selection process as easy as possible by reviewing the below information and completing the short survey that follows.

Online Class Requirements

Below are the minimum requirements students must meet to attend classes online:

  • A laptop/ tablet.
  • A webcam.
  • A microphone.
  • Speakers/ a headset.
  • 1Mb internet speed.

Please visit the following link to access the short survey where you can indicate whether you meet the requirements for online classes and your preferred way to study at each lockdown level:

Mandatory COVID-19 Training

Before a student will be permitted to return to campus, they must complete COVID-19 health and safety training and pass a test on the material covered. The training material and test, along with additional COVID-19 information and resources, can be found on the official Belgium Campus Teams under the COVID-19 Training Material tab: https://bit.ly/35I33p7

NB: Students who completed COVID-19 health and safety training last year are required to redo the training and retake the test in order to return to campus this year.

Additional COVID-19 Information and Resources

All students are encouraged to make use of the COVID-19 Resource Portal on our website, as well as the official South African government’s Covid-19 WhatsApp number: 060 012 3456, to stay up to date with the latest COVID-19 information. All our official COVID-19 communications can also be found on our COVID-19 Resource Portal where they are accessible to all students and parents.

Up-To-Date Contact Information

We would like to take this opportunity to remind all students to ensure that their contact information (including email address, contact number and postal address) is up to date. We use this information to send important communications throughout the year and it is your responsibility to make sure this information reaches you. Please note that your official Belgium Campus email address will be made use of for these communications.

The wellbeing of our students and staff remains our highest priority and we are committed to ensuring that the 2021 academic can continue as scheduled. We thank you for your understanding and support and look forward to welcoming you rested and ready to take on the new year.

Please do not hesitate to contact us should you require further information/clarification. You can send us an email at info@belgiumcampus.ac.za or give us a call on 010 593 5368.

Yours faithfully,
Belgium Campus iTversity Management

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