Vice-Chancellor’s directive on COVID-19 vaccinations

The Council and Management of Sol Plaatje University makes every effort to ensure the health and safety of our students, staff and visitors. While the COVID-19 pandemic continues unabated it is imperative that we put in place measures to safeguard everyone who comes onto our campus. As mandated by Council on 24 November 2021, I am therefore issuing the following directive, effective immediately, to manage the return to face-to-face learning and teaching in 2022 which supports the overall strategic goals and other imperatives of Sol Plaatje University.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented challenges on an international scale. There is now scientific evidence that vaccines hold promise to control the pandemic and help restore normality to our social and economic lives. However, even highly effective vaccines cannot curb the pandemic without high population coverage together with other mitigation strategies.[1] 

After consultation and careful consideration of the impact of COVID-19 specifically on Sol Plaatje University as a growing University, it has been decided that all staff, students and visitors who wish to access the Sol Plaatje University campuses must provide proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or have an exemption letter based on medical or religious grounds. This requirement will be subject to the guidelines contained in Annexure C to the Consolidated Direction on Occupational Health and Safety Measures in Certain Workplaces (issued during June 2021 in terms of Regulation 4(10) of the National Disaster Regulations). 

STUDENTS

1.1 Students will be able to register for their programmes irrespective of their COVID-19 status, however, if they wish to reside in university-operated residences, attend face-to-face classes, access the Library or participate in sporting activities or in practical work related to their qualifications then they must provide proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or be in possession of an exemption letter.

1.2 If a student opts to remain unvaccinated, they will not be allowed onto campus. However, they may engage in online learning, at their own expense.

STAFF

2.1 All staff and ad hoc contractors are expected to report to work on campus, from 3 January 2022 (unless they are on annual leave beyond that date) and must be fully vaccinated.

2.2 All employees who have been vaccinated should submit proof of vaccination to the Occupational Health, Safety and Environmental Unit (samuel.alabi@spu.ac.za) with immediate effect.

2.3 All employees who have not been vaccinated, but are in the process of doing so, should communicate with Mr Samuel Alabi as indicated below:

     2.3.1 When they expect to be vaccinated (but should ensure that it is not later than 1 February 2022).

     2.3.2 Submit proof of vaccination as soon as they have been fully vaccinated.

     2.3.3 Consider appropriate working arrangements in consultation with the individual’s Line Manager, until their vaccination has been completed.

2.4 All employees who are not willing or able to be vaccinated should follow the guidelines contained in the SPU Vaccination Plan, which will be circulated shortly.

The SPU Occupational Health, Safety and Environmental Committee must monitor any verifiable exceptions, on medical or religious grounds, to this directive and the abovementioned Vaccination Plan in accordance with the measures indicated above.

Whilst recognizing the rights of all individuals, it is necessary to remind all staff, students and other stakeholders of the provisions contained in the limitation clause contained in Section 36 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa. In terms of this limitation clause, no right is absolute, and any human right may be limited to the extent that the limitation is reasonable and justifiable, considering that the importance, purpose and extent of the limitation is proportionate.

Considering the public health crisis and the overwhelming proof that vaccination is the most effective step that we can take to protect ourselves and others against COVID-19, SPU is confident that the decision to implement this Vaccination Plan is justified.

 

Kind regards

Professor Andrew M Crouch

Vice-Chancellor and Principal

Date: 9 December 2021

 

[1] https://jamanetwork.com

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