Start main page content

Covid-19 Update 49: Clarity on return to campus plans


Answers to queries raised by organised labour and staff members.

Following the return to campus communique distributed yesterday, some staff members and representatives from organised labour raised specific queries, which are clarified below. 

Staff over the age of 60 years

In line with national regulations and the University’s practice note around this matter, all staff over the age of 60 years should be enabled to work from home. Employees over the age of 60 who are not at high risk of infection, who do not have co-morbidities, and who are healthy, are allowed to return to the workplace at their own risk.

Risk assessment and mitigation plans

All managers are required to complete and submit risk assessment and mitigations plans to the occupational health and safety officer assigned to the entity BEFORE staff members return to the workplace. These documents (OHSE officers can provide the templates) must include plans to ensure that workplaces, including shared facilities like open plan offices and laboratories, change rooms, tearooms, kitchens and bathrooms are not congested.  Line managers should use both the lockdown level 1 regulations and their discretion to ensure that staff are not put at risk. For example, staff working in open plan offices could be rotated to ease congestion in order to ensure that only half of the office space is occupied at any given time.

All risk assessment and mitigation plans must be approved by the assigned health and safety officer who will also conduct spot inspections to ensure that all health and safety protocols are in place. Should departments or managers not comply with these directives, they will be held to account, in line with the University’s rules, policies and procedures.

Discretion of line managers

Executives, school leadership, managers and supervisors are requested to exercise their discretion during this period and to be flexible around the starting and finishing times of staff members, particularly those who depend on public transport. For example, it may be useful to stagger the starting times of employees where possible, so that staff members avoid having to travel in congested buses, taxis and trains.


Staff and students will no longer require permits to access campuses. However, all contractors, visitors and suppliers will require permits, which can be issued by the senior manager of the department or school that they are visiting or rendering services. The University’s gates will be operational as follows:


-          Yale North (Gate 7) will operate 24 hours

-          Yale South (Gate 10) will operate 24 hours

-          Sturrock Park (Gate 8) will operate 24 hours

-          Enoch Sontonga (Gate 9) will operate from 07:00 until 19:00

-          Station Street (Gate 2) will remain closed due to construction

Parktown Education Campus

The Victoria Road Gate will operate from 07:00 until 00:00.

Parktown and Health Sciences Campuses

These gates will remain operational as per the current status.

Drop Off Zones

All drop offs (including ride hailing services) will take place at identified drop off points outside the precinct.


Three students reported testing positive for COVID-19 during the past week out of a population comprising of approximately 37 500 students. The affected students are self-isolating in line with governmental directives and University protocols.

  • Number of infections

25 Sept – 1 Oct 2020

22 June – 1 Oct 2020







For the latest Wits CCOVID-19 news, research and resources, visit