While other higher learning institutions remain unclear about their position on whether vaccination of students and staff is a personal choice, UCT has taken a step forward.
All staff and students from UCT could from January 1, next year be required to be vaccinated against Covid-19 in order to access campus.
The UCT Council has approved, in principle, a proposal that staff who wish to return to perform their duties and students who wish to register would need to provide proof of vaccination.
Speaking on behalf of the UCT College of Fellows, Vice-Chancellor Mamokgethi Phakeng said a responsible return to normal academic activity would only be possible if all students and staff vaccinate, as the pandemic would likely continue next year.
The university confirms that the policy adoption was an inclusive process where staff and students were also invited to participate in a survey and the majority agreed in support of mandatory vaccination policy.
The UCT senate is made up of Vice-chancellor, deputy vice-chancellors, Deans/acting deans, deputy deans, acting deputy deans, Heads and acting heads of academic departments and Professors.
This body of academics has unanimously voted in favour of the mandatory vaccination policy with 83% support.
The institution continues to encourage unvaccinated staff and students to get vaccinated to keep the Covid-19 infections minimal.
Phakeng said the UCT Council discussed this complex matter fully and took into consideration a range of diverse views.
As a member of the Council, Phakeng says they met on Saturday, 16 October and will now create a panel that would establish all the relevant details pertaining to how the mandatory vaccine policy will be implemented.
UCT, however, emphasises that no decision or position has been taken yet by the university on mandatory vaccination on campus.
Any final decision will have to be a decision of the university council. The university executive is promptly required to report back to council by 2 December 2021 about its final position.
Institutions of higher learning countrywide are dealing with the question of whether or not to adopt policies making vaccination mandatory as the country deals with the Covid-19 pandemic.