TUT dismisses letter as fake news

Pretoria -The notice doing the rounds on social media advising students at Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) that onsite teaching and learning will resume on Monday was fake news.

The university yesterday urged students to ignore the letter, dated August 16. The letter also has the signature of vice-chancellor Professor Lourens van Staden.

It states that since the country had moved to lockdown alert level 2 this week, the institution would be allowing 66% of the students on to its campuses.

It reads: “The university consulted an independent risk assessment to determine the risk of students returning to campus. Based on the findings the university is pleased to announce that the return of students shall commence with immediate effect from August 24.”

TUT spokesperson Willa de Ruyter said: “Legal services is conducting an investigation to find who was responsible for the fake message.”

De Ruyter said only senior students would commence with a phased return to their places of residence, according to the plans approved by the Department of Higher Education and Training.

These would include postgraduate, B Tech, advanced and final-year diplomas, and a professional degree, as well as Honours students.

Students living with disabilities and student leaders were also included.

From Wednesday, senior students would be allowed to return to their respective residences.

“Multimodal teaching and learning will continue, meaning students who have access to devices for digital teaching and learning will be able to use those to study.”

Alternatively, students must use their printed study material to continue with their studies.

“Although residences and lecture halls had been cleaned and prepared according to prescribed requirements, it is important to note that based on an independent risk-assessment report, the university must ensure proper ventilation in all lecture venues before contact teaching and learning can resume.

“Work is underway to address this requirement, therefore multimodal teaching and learning will continue for a while longer,” she said.

“Being at res provides the students with the benefits like wi-fi and minimal disturbance unlike at home and being around like-minded fellow students,” De Ruyter said.

She added that for the health and safety of all students, only those who received official notification letters from the university would be allowed to return.

Students must present the notification at security to be allowed access to campuses or off-campus student accommodation.

Campus task teams have also been activated to assist with the reception of residence students.

“Students who are part of this first returning cohort, residing in off-campus student accommodation will be allowed to return from Wednesday.”

De Ruyter said they had to be vigilant when collecting printed study material. This was in line with the remote teaching, learning, and assessment plan to distribute and deliver printed material to students who did not have digital access.

“It has come to our attention that opportunistic criminal elements in society have mugged some students after they collected the printed material. They seem to be under the misinformed impression that the boxes also contain laptops.”

She said they were working closely with police in specific areas during the period of collection of study materials.

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