Stellenbosch University
Welcome to Stellenbosch University
Plans for the second semester
Author: Korporatiewe Kommunikasie / Corporate Communication
Published: 29/07/2021

​​​De​ar colleagues and students

I would like to give you feedback on the discussions and decisions of the Institutional Committee for Business Continuity (ICBC) of Stellenbosch University (SU) at its scheduled meeting on Wednesday 28 July 2021.

Alert level 3

We noted the decision announced by President Cyri​l Ramaphosa on Sunday (25 July) to move South Africa back to adjusted risk alert level 3 in response to signs that the third wave of COVID-19 infections is declining. For the University, this means the directions issued by the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) on 29 March this year remain in force. These provide higher education institutions with considerable leeway to manage their own activities, subject to COVID-19 protocols.

Mode of learning and teaching

After careful consideration, we have decided to proceed with augmented remote teaching, learning and assessment (ARTLA) when the second semester starts on 10 August 2021. This means that students will be returning to campus for a mix of face-to-face and online sessions, as they did in the first semester. Faculties will again publish the module-specific details on their respective websites. The faculty pages can be accessed via dedicated buttons on SU’s COVID-19 page.

Residence students will also be returning to campus.

In keeping with the ICBC’s commitment to data-informed decision making, we are monitoring the coronavirus disease pandemic very closely to ensure that we can safely proceed in this way. Should there be any developments that require a change to this plan, we will inform you as soon as possible.


The pandemic continues to pose a significant threat. In her presentation to the ICBC, Prof Juliet Pulliam, director of SACEMA (the DSI-NRF Centre of Excellence in Epidemiological Modelling and Analysis), pointed out that while the third wave had peaked nationally, not all provinces were there yet.

Infections in the Western Cape continue to climb, albeit at a lower level. We are approaching the peak of our third wave more slowly than previously anticipated. However, the number of new infections is expected to start declining in the next week or two.

It remains vital that we do our utmost to curb the spread of the pandemic. This can be done in two ways:

  • We should not let our guard down, but stick to COVID-19 protocols – wear a mask, sanitise, maintain a safe distance from others, and avoid crowded and poorly ventilated spaces. These protocols are not only applicable to those still awaiting their vaccinations, but also to those who have already been vaccinated.
  • We should all get vaccinated as soon as possible, as this offers the best protection against serious COVID-19 symptoms and mortality. Vaccination is something we can all do to help end the pandemic sooner so that our vibrant campus and town life can be restored.


There have been encouraging developments on the vaccination front recently.

Firstly, everyone 35 years and older can now get vaccinated, and the higher education sector is receiving priority attention. Earlier this week, we informed all our staff (including full-time, part-time and contract staff, as well as postgraduate students and fellows who teach at the University) of two Higher Health vaccination initiatives starting this week (clic​​k here).

I want to reiterate that dedicated slots at specific times have been allocated for SU staff members to get their jabs at the Momentum mass vaccination facility at Parc Du Cap, 5 Mispel Road, Bellville, between Friday 30 July and Monday 16 August 2021. To make use of this opportunity, please register on SU’s database by entering your details here.

Secondly, from 1 September, vaccinations in South Africa will be open to everyone over 18 years of age, which will then also cover our younger staff members and students. We are working hard to be part of that roll-out and will communicate more details soon.

The first step to get vaccinated is to register on the national EVDS (Electronic Vaccination Data System). If you have not registered yet, please visit The registration process is quick and easy.

Getting vaccinated is the responsible thing to do – not only for your own sake and that of your family, but to protect the broader University community and society at large.

For further information regarding COVID-19 vaccination, please consult our frequently asked questions (FAQs).

Student matters

A3 assessments:

Students are reminded to check their assessment timetable, and specifically take note of the assessment starting times on Saturday 31 July and Saturday 7 August respectively, as some assessments have been moved to 19:00.

Please note that decisions about access to an A3 or A4 assessment will be available three days (including weekend days) before the assessment opportunity. This three-day period excludes the date of the announcement/notice and the date of the A3 or A4 assessment itself.

A4 assessments:

Originally, when a smaller number of students qualified for A4s due to their COVID status, the timeline for A4 assessments was set for 13 August to 4 September, with the release of marks being scheduled for 10 September.

However, this arrangement (to grant access to A4s based on COVID status and previous test results) has since been rescinded. As indicated in my e-mail of 21 July, A4s are now available for all first-semester modules (with a few exceptions, as communicated by specific faculties).

In anticipation of the larger number of A4 assessments, and to keep to the agreed timeline with minimal clashes, some of the online assessments will be scheduled for evenings, and Saturdays will also be utilised.

The respective faculties have notified students of their specific criteria for access to the A4 assessments.

We confirm the previous arrangement that students will be allowed to register for second-semester modules pending their A4 results – on the understanding that should students fail to meet the prerequisites for a specific second-semester module, they will be deregistered for that module.

Residence placements and student funding for 2022:

Residence placements of current students will only be done after the A4 results have been made available – in other words after 10 September.

Inevitably, this will have a knock-on effect on the placement of new first-year students, so the placement timeline will be adjusted accordingly.

The same applies to bursary allocations for 2022. Where first-semester results determine students’ eligibility for a bursary, funding decisions will be delayed until the A4 results become available.

Staff matters


The ICBC has extended the 2020 annual leave expiry date by a month – from 31 December 2021 to 31 January 2022. This means staff will be able to utilise remaining leave from the 2020 cycle in the course of January 2022, particularly in the week of 3 to 7 January, when meetings and other University functions will be limited as far as practicable.

However, this extension does not apply to staff whose employment terminates on 31 December 2021 – naturally, their leave cannot be carried over to January 2022.

Extended Learning Spaces (ELS):

The Extended Learning Spaces (ELS) project is making good progress. This initiative is aimed at equipping a large number of lecture venues on our Stellenbosch campus with the necessary technology so that in-person sessions can be streamed from venues to allow some students to participate face-to-face and others online. We are aiming to have 67 such venues completed by the end of September.


We are experiencing an extremely demanding time. Our thoughts are with all our students, staff and other stakeholders who have suffered coronavirus-related illness or death in their families, circle of friends or workplaces.

Thank you to everyone for your hard work and sacrifice to keep the academic project at SU on track. Ultimately, this is what will help us go forward despite the many challenges we face.

Please visit our COVID-19 ​​webpage for regular updates, and contact us on 021 808 9111 or for any enquiries. We assure you of our commitment to relay any concerns reported to our Client Services Centre to the relevant decision-making structures at our institution for their consideration.

Please stay safe and take good care of yourself and your loved ones.

Prof Stan du Plessis
ICBC chair