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Belgium Campus COVID-19 Communication (14)

27/05/2020

Dear students and parents,

We are all in this together. We will leave nobody behind.

President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the nation to announce that the country will move from level 4 lockdown to level 3 on the 1st of June. The purpose of the lockdown is to slow down the spread of the virus and, following the recent insights into the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic, some new measures are now to be taken. Further and more specific explanations were issued by the Minister of Higher Education, followed by the guidelines and protocols of Higher Health SA.

We realise that we have only three weeks to comply with several very strict regulations. New protocols and guidelines have to be implemented by the 21st of June. We are constantly working to do just that - building further on the framework that we have already put in place at BC ITVersity. All the protocols of Higher Health SA, however, have not yet been finalised, so we are working pro-actively to build a solid but flexible framework in which we can progress towards what will be demanded from us and from you.


What this means for BC ITversity, the institution

Campus Readiness and Organisation to Comply with the Requirements

Level 3 measures for higher education will come into force in three weeks’ time, and, according to the regulations, BC ITVersity will then have to be in a position of accommodating a maximum of 33% of our students on campus. This is true for both commuting students and residence students.

An extra issue to consider is that all our campuses are located in the so-called “hotspots”, as identified by the government. Consequently, this will require implementing a number of extra measures as well. In addition, the prediction models are telling us that the possible peak of the pandemic in South Africa is expected to occur between mid-July and mid-August. This means that we will have to monitor closely all the numbers and trends, and update the various risk analyses we are using, before we can fully open for face-to-face teaching again. So, the remote learning systems will remain the norm for the foreseeable future.

Operational Preparation

  1. Training of academics and campus staff: information about the virus (what is it, spread and infection); prevention (hygiene and cleaning)
  2. Installation of information panels
  3. Sanitation points and other infrastructural adaptation of the premises
  4. Screening protocols and risk analysis: pre-screening forms and physical screening
  5. Safety and emergency protocols: for staff, students, classrooms, cafeterias, residence houses and other spaces on our premises, for ordinary operations and in the event that infections are detected.

These preparations are being put in place but can only be fully implemented when the staff arrives back on campus, from the 1st of June.

We will also have to wait until the final guidelines and protocols from Higher Health are published. When this happens, we will be assigned a representative from Higher Health who will be able to provide us with specific input on the implementation of the protocols. At this point in time, however, we do not know who that will be.

Academic Year Organisation

The classes of the second quarter of the academic year will be concluded on the 12th of June, and the examinations are planned for the 22nd of June.

Selection of the 33% of the students

Because of the imposed 33% rule, we will have to make a selection of students who can be allowed back on the premises. BC ITVersity will make this selection based on the guidelines given by the DHET, as well as the results of the survey we will be sending you. The selected students will be able to come on campus and make use of the infrastructure from the 18th of June onwards.

This 33% rule applies to both the students who come to use the infrastructure (to study, use PC and Internet) and residence students.


What it means for the students

Selection Process: Fill in the Survey

You will be asked to reply to survey questions so we can determine for whom it is necessary to return to campus and make use of the infrastructure, PCs and internet connections.

All classes will still be taught online. This will be the case for all students, including those who come to study and stay on campus.

Training and Screening

The 33% returning to campus will be required to take a COVID-19 induction course for specific training to curb the spread of Covid-19 (information on the virus, protocols, etc.). All of this material will be available online. Please do consult our Covid-19 portal on our website.

All students will be screened daily by using the Higher Health App once it has been made available. Note that this app will be ‘data-free’.

Stay in touch

BC iTversity will continue to communicate with you. It is important that you participate in the communication and the survey(s). We will soon inform you as to which students can return to campus. In addition, further information about the form, content and timing of the examinations will be published shortly. As per the academic calendar, the examinations are planned for the 22nd of June.


We wish you all the best. Keep healthy and stay in touch.

Kind Regards,

Belgium Campus iTversity Management