Message from the Dean of Community and Health Sciences

Dear CHS students

We hope this email finds you, your families and communities well in these challenging times. The COVID 19 pandemic has propelled us into unprecedented times that have disrupted our way of life. This has resulted in us having to succumb to a period in all our lives which require us to make drastic changes to our daily routines. Even so, know that we are here for you, no matter the magnitude of the challenge. We as the CHS Faculty, together with the university at large, have committed ourselves to attend to all our students’ academic needs.

As the University’s recess period has ended departments will be applying flexible learning, phased-in approaches to continue the academic project. Departments will engage with their students using varied communication strategies. Additionally, departments will also be reviewing their assessment practices and varied approaches will be applied as necessary. We are cognisant of the fact that there are disparities among our students and departments are making a concerted effort to contact all our students to determine your learning needs as we apply these emergency remote learning and teaching approaches. Our efforts will be as inclusive as possible, considering all our students including those with disabilities. Print media, PowerPoint presentations, flash drives, etc will also be considered in our application of the flexible learning approach. When using the online platform, lecturers will apply the principle of “keep it simple” meaning that text will be considered over, video or audio clips and low-tech applications as opposed to savvy new techniques.

Clinical education and practical classes continue to be a challenge as we are in lockdown, and hence departments are approaching the academic project with the principle of completing as much theory as possible and continuing with practical classes and clinical practice when we return to campus. Additional, face-to-face theory “catch-up” sessions will also be implemented as the need arises, specifically to address the situations where students had challenges with accessing information. To date, we have no students on the clinical platform and the behaviour of the pandemic will guide when clinical practice will resume. We engage with other Health Sciences Faculties across the country as well as the professional bodies to facilitate as far possible a sector approach during these times.

We at the CHS Faculty believe that it is vitally important that all of you keep your social distances, stay indoors and be safe.

Kindest Regards

Prof Anthea Rhoda (Dean CHS)

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