Coronavirus-FAQ

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQS) for STUDENTS about COVID-19

These FAQs have been developed from the queries we have received from students. These will be updated frequently.

The FAQs included herewith continuously take cognisance of the dynamic situation in which the NWU finds itself.

RESIDENCES & ACCOMMODATION

Accommodation: will I be allowed to move into my allocated room? 

Please note that all students were instructed to vacate their residences. Please see the relevant protocols and conditions. In the interest of the health and safety of staff, students and other stakeholders of the NWU, the decision has been taken to close the residences on all campuses with effect from 20 March 2020 until further notice.

Students will have until 24 March 2020 to vacate the residences.

Students who are unable to leave the residences because they have a documented reason to remain, would be permitted subsequent to an approval process as administrated by residence officers and house parents.

International students who are unable to return to their countries due to the closure of borders may apply for permission to remain through the Global Engagement office (International office).

Management will continuously monitor the situation and will advise students accordingly.

 

I left my belongings in the residence: what will happen in the case of my residence being designated for different use during the extended recess and in April?

The university has put in place guidelines and processes to designate residences. Student Life will through the relevant house parents inform affected students whose residences have been designated.  Please see the relevant protocols and conditions.

 

Why is there a need to close the residences?

Social proximity increases transmissions risks and the university does not have the human capacity to regulate social distancing or medical capacity to manage transmission and its consequences. High concentrations of people (in residences, PC labs, libraries, classrooms, graduations) increases risk and places the institution itself as well as you at risk.


I need help: where can I access help? 

For residence support:

o Please contact the Student Life offices or the House Parent of the designated residence at the campus where you are enrolled 

ACADEMIC PROGRAMME (TEACHING-LEARNING)

How will I be able to continue my studies at NWU?

The NWU like the rest of South Africa and the world has had to respond to the threats posed by COVID-19 disease. After the President declared a state of disaster on Sunday 15 March 2020, the NWU took a decision to bring the recess forward to start on 17 March 2020. We expected to continue with delivering our academic programmes on 30 March 2020 in the online mode. Those students who could not leave our campuses have been permitted to remain in residences and will be able to access online learning on campus.
Subsequently, the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology directed that the recess for Universities and other tertiary institutions would commence on 17 March 2020 until 15 April 2020. We are not sure whether students who have left during the week of 16 March 2020 will be able to return to NWU on 15 April 2020.
From 15 April to 30 April, we expect to start to offer online learning. It is not expected that there will be contact classes during this period, unless otherwise advised.
Postgraduate students and postdoctoral fellows who have ongoing laboratory experiments that cannot be discontinued may apply for permission to remain in residence and/or on campus with a motivation from the supervisor/promoter to be submitted to the Executive Dean or Deputy Dean: Research.
The DVC: Teaching-Learning and Executive Deans are developing the capacity for online programme delivery.
Arrangements regarding teaching-learning and research will be communicated online as and when plans are approved.

 

Will I be able to have access to data when I am away from the campuses and want to access online learning?

We are negotiating with mobile phone companies such as Vodacom, MTN and Telkom to permit internet access to the NWU domains (such as eFundi and other electronic resources). We will update you on progress in this regard.


Commencement of the online teaching-learning mode: when and how will communication by staff with students occur?

The commencement of the online teaching-learning modality is due to commence on 15 April 2020. In the meantime, please continue to check for information from your lecturer on the eFundi sites for your modules. If necessary, please contact the administrator for your school for details about your programme.  Details are already available on the website. Bear in mind that some academic staff might work remotely and thus may not be in the office.


I am required to do WIL (practice teaching) after the recess (Faculty of Education): should I report to the school where I was placed when the school opens in April?

The April 2020 Work Integrated Learning (WIL) and the Professional Orientation Programme (POP) have been suspended and would take place during the second semester. You should soon receive an adapted portfolio, aimed at providing a WIL and POP experience. We are currently investigating a number of options and will communicate more details via e-Fundi as soon as possible. We will do everything in our power to ensure that you still have a worthwhile WIL experience.


I need help: where can I access help?

  • For academic support:
    • Contact students: Please contact the module lecturer at the campus you are enrolled by email or phone OR the relevant school administrator.
    • Distance students: Please contact the Call Centre – (018 285 2900 / 852900) / email distancepotch@nwu.ac.za
  • For any NSFAS, Bursary or Student Accounts enquiries please use the designated generic email addresses for assistance:
 

 

SUPPORT SERVICES & FACILITIES

I have enquiries for Student Accounts and Bursaries during the lock-down period. Who can I contact?

Mafikeng Campus : mc-studyfees@nwu.ac.za

Potchefstroom Campus : PC-studyfees@nwu.ac.za

Vaal Campus : vaalaccounts@nwu.ac.za

 

I need physical access to the library; what conditions apply during the extended recess period and thereafter?

Unless otherwise advised, the library will be closed during the shutdown period. Please note that the necessary protocols and conditions will apply.


Availability of essential services: what services are available during and shortly after the period of the extended recess and afterwards?

Social distancing and sanitisation protocols, specific to each environment, will apply to many of these services and the provision of these services is subject to observance of these protocols. These protocols are based on our best advice at the time and are subject to change.

In order to promote the health and safety of students and staff within the NWU's public facilities:

Most of the facilities on campuses will be closed until further notice. In particular, the IT laboratories, the libraries, and 24 hour facilities

For the few students who may remain on campus, essential emergency services will be available. The counselling service of Thuso (counselling departments) will be available telephonically or by email to assist students during the period of the recess.

  • Computer laboratories (Please see protocol and conditions)
  • School and Faculty administrative offices
  • Student Academic Lifecycle (SALA) Services on campuses and in Faculties
  • Student Life offices (SCD, CHC, SCC, Radio Station)
  • Protection Services
  • Residence Services
  • Catering Services
  • Food & Beverage Services (Please see protocol and conditions)
  • Library services (all campuses) (Please see protocol and conditions)
  • Thuso Health Centres (all campuses)
  • eFundi support
  • IT support
  • Student Accounts and Bursaries (all campuses)
  • Laboratories and workshops for post-graduate students only as designated by the relevant Executive Dean, within the specified self-distancing criteria of various laboratories (please consult the Executive Dean’s office)


What services and facilities would not be available at campuses of the NWU?

  • Undergraduate laboratories
  • Sport facilities
  • Lecture and teaching venues
  • Gymnasiums
  • Scheduled Student Life activities pertaining to Sport, Arts, Culture, Campus Radio Stations and Student Campus Councils
  • Entertainment facilities such as RAG Farm and Club Houses
  • Other facilities considered non-essential or non-designated


I need help: where can I access help?

  • For residence support:
    • Please contact the Student Life offices or the House Parent of the designated residence at the campus where you are enrolled (please see list)
  • For any NSFAS, Bursary or Student Accounts enquiries please use the designated generic email addresses for assistance:
  • For any other queries:
    Please use the Thoughts and Complaints line for any other non-health, non-academic, non-residence-related queries
    • Mafikeng Campus: 34151
    • Potchefstroom Campus: 31750
    • Vaal Triangle Campus: 41617
    • Open Distance Learning: 33139

 

TRAVEL & INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS 

I am an international student: should I leave or stay during the recess?

You are advised to check with the South African Department of Home Affairs or your embassy/consulate/high commission regarding the status of border access and the applicable rules. If you are unable to return to your country because the border is closed, please report by email (please see below) to the Global Engagement office at your campus and remain in your current accommodation.


I am an international student: will I be able to return to South Africa?

If you decide to travel outside South Africa, on your return you will be required to undergo compulsory self-quarantine for a period of 14 days off-campus. You can return to campus after certification by the relevant campus Occupational Health Centre. It is possible that the country which you have returned to may prevent your return. It is also possible that when you want to return, the South African government may prohibit your return. Currently travel from certain countries to South Africa is already prohibited.


I need help: where can I access help? 

For international students contact:

HEALTH

What precautions will be taken to reduce the risk of infection during the period of online learning for students who are on campus?

As a precaution, social distancing and other hygiene measures will apply to residences, libraries and other facilities.

We will let you know as soon as further clarity has been obtained and we have taken decisions in this regard.

What should I do while being on campus during recess or during April 2020 and I start having the symptoms of the virus infection?

If you suspect that you might be infected with the COVID-19 virus, please contact the NWU COVID-19 Response Team (nwu-covid19@nwu.ac.za)

I am an off-campus student and in need of hand sanitisers. Where can I get help?

Please see the relevant protocol when available.

I need help: where can I access help?

  • For emotional-related advice, please contact Thuso:
    • MC: +27 (0)18 389 2592
    • PC: +27 (0)18 299 1777
    • VTC:  +27 (0)82 815 9781
    • UODL: +27 (0)18 299 1777
  • For health-related advice, including advice on self-isolation, please contact the NWU Health Care Centres or Dr Emile Kotzé
  • You can also send us an email at nwu-covid19@nwu.ac.za

UNIVERSITY GATHERINGS

Apart from graduations, has any other university gatherings been cancelled?

As was indicated in the protocol for university gatherings, all events have been cancelled until further notice. This includes conferences, congresses, residence events, etc, unless these events can be conducted online where participants can connect remotely.

 

View the official web page for COVID-19 updates from the NWU here: http://www.nwu.ac.za/coronavirus