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25 March 2020
Message to the campus community: Update on evacuation of residences

(Published - 25 March 2020)

Dear Campus Community 

The last couple of weeks have been challenging, and different stakeholders have come together to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many UWC staff members are working at different sites off-campus, due to the closure of the campus. Still, the focus has been primarily on residence students who are affected because many services are no longer provided regularly. This situation is certain to get worse with the national directive of lockdown.

The University has taken some urgent decisions which are deemed in the best interests of the safety and hygiene of our students. We took into consideration that the configuration of our residences is not conducive to national lockdown protocols.

The Residential Services Department has worked tirelessly to maintain regular contact with residence students. The following steps have been taken:

  1. All UWC residences will be closed by the scheduled lockdown tomorrow, 26 March 2020;
  2. The University has made transport arrangements for all residence students who asked for help to get home;
  3. The transport company has been requested to provide its drivers and students with masks, and sanitisers for the duration of the trip. Students travelling the furthest are prioritised so that they can reach their destinations before the lockdown. They are accommodating at the most 45 students in 60-seater buses to ensure that social distancing is observed;
  4. Residence staff are working with the transport provider to ensure that the process of helping students runs smoothly.  By 17:00 this afternoon the 10th bus had left. All provinces are covered and the drop-off points are at central commuting sites;
  5. Students have been evacuating residences every week since the beginning of the recess period, and after the announcement by the President. Of the 1 746 students who were still at residences on Monday,  over a thousand have left or are leaving. Other students have made their own arrangements. Some opted to make use of private lift clubs, while others moved in with family and friends nearby;
  6. The following email details were provided to students in case they require any assistance: and We urge students to keep responding and to provide details so that appropriate arrangements are made as we race against time; and,
  7. Plans have been finalised for the best possible support to international students given the applicable national restrictions and lockdown in other countries. The scheduling of their transportation to vacated 2-3 person apartment accommodation off-campus will be communicated. Vulnerable students as vetted via the residence admission policy, and who have indicated the need for assistance, will also fall under this category.

We wish to take this opportunity to wish all students a safe journey back home.  As we receive updates from Government, we will keep you informed about arrangements to return to campus.