Dear Colleagues and Students
Over the past few weeks, we have experienced the increasing impact of the coronavirus pandemic on many aspects of our lives. At the same time I have witnessed the extraordinary resilience, empathy and care demonstrated by so many of you. I have heard of people who are checking in with each other to make sure their colleagues and friends are fine. I also know that many of you are making various sacrifices to ensure the well-being of others, and to promote the greater good of the faculty and society.
Thank you for the diligence and commitment with which you are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. I truly appreciate the effort you are making to protect yourself and others from infection. As we now respond to President Ramaphosa's call for a nationwide lockdown for the next 21 days, it will be even more important for us to continue, and even intensify, these efforts.
I especially want to thank our colleagues who are working on the front line of the battle against COVID-19. We are heartened by the courage, commitment and self-sacrifice you show as you go about your daily work of testing, tracing and treating people with suspected or confirmed infection.
I would also like to thank all staff and students who have offered their services as volunteers in the different efforts to address the present threat to the health of our people. Thank you for finding so many creative and innovative ways to overcome the prevailing challenges we face.
Many of us are working very hard under very difficult circumstances. Yet, none of us can be sure of how the pandemic will unfold, how long it will last, or to what extent it will ultimately impact on us, our loved ones or our country. These uncertainties have understandably caused anxiety. It is therefore critical that we give each other the necessary space and time to pause, reflect and respond to our mental health needs.
Let us all take good care of ourselves and our families during the coming days. But let us also be mindful of our many privileges and reach out to those less fortunate than ourselves, with grace and compassion.
It is clear that we are living in extraordinary and uncertain times. My management team and I will continue to monitor the situation and communicate with you further should we need to adapt to changing circumstances. Please also continue to keep checking the Stellenbosch University and Faculty COVID-19 pages on the web for news and announcements.
Once again, please accept my sincere thanks for the good work you're doing. If we continue to pull together we will not only overcome the current threat, but also emerge from this difficult period, stronger than ever.
My very best wishes to you all,
Prof Jimmy Volmink