Higher Education, Science and Innovation Minister Dr Blade Nzimande on Wednesday said that his department had set a target for all public universities to complete the 2020 academic year by the end of February 2021.
Briefing the media in Pretoria on his department’s plans in response to the country’s move to level 2 lockdown, Nzimande said that the new starting dates for the 2021 academic year would range from 15 March to 15 April 2021.
The minister announced that 80 members of the public higher education community had lost their lives due to COVID-19 related illness.
He said those who lost their lives included 35 staff members and nine university students.
The minister said that 1,552 COVID-19 positive cases were reported at universities, which included 975 staff members, 2,040 people in quarantine, and 2,076 people in self-isolation.
Nzimande said that institutions were implementing their own return strategies for students in line with their teaching and campus readiness plans.
He called on institutions to establish health and safety committees to monitor the health and safety of staff members and students.
He said that under level 3 of the lockdown, up to 33% of students were returning to campuses.