Organisational Response: South Africa Lockdown

Published On: March 26th, 20205.5 min readCategories: COVID-19

RE: OUR CONTINUED SUPPORT DURING THE MANDATORY LOCKDOWN PERIOD

President Ramaphosa, who declared a state of national disaster on Sunday 15 March 2020, has made a further announcement this week that extreme measures are required by South Africa to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The president has announced a forced shut down of the country for a period of 21 days starting midnight Thursday 26th March 2020 and ending midnight 16th April 2020. This means that the country will go into a controlled environment where all citizens are required to adhere to strict new measures.

During this forced shut down period, only essential services are allowed to operate and continue. These extreme measures are aimed at curbing the increasing spread of the COVID-19 virus and ensure our country and its people do not suffer dire consequences. If the country does not act fast and decisively our health system will not be able to cope and the consequences for the most venerable members of society will be severe.

The challenges we face are great and the consequences of not acting can be catastrophic to our nation and its people.

For the full details of the new government measures please access the link below:

https://www.gov.za/speeches/president-cyril-ramaphosa-escalation-measures-combat-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic-23-mar

The president has encouraged organisations that are capable of working remotely to do so under the lockdown scenario. Our organisation and its people will continue to support the South African government and President Ramaphosa in their efforts to curb the spread.

We have over the last 2 weeks implemented health and hygiene measures at our two sites to ensure preventative measures are in place that protects our employees and to date has been successful, with no transmission yet.

We took the decision to close our Johannesburg office as the risk of exposure and events in that region have escalated our risk level which necessitated such closure to protect our employees. Our East London offices were still at a lower risk level and our early preventative measures were keeping employees safe. In line with the forced shut down we will now be closing our East London offices on Thursday 26 March 2020 at 16:00.

As an organisation, we have worked tirelessly to ensure we are capacitated and ready to continue to support our students during the lockdown period, whilst the country and we as citizens join forces to fight the COVID-19 virus.

We have delayed our communication until such time that we are sure we can deliver on our promises during this time. Our organisation has, to the best of our means, put in place measures to allow for the availability of a near-full service to you during these times. There are unfortunately a few services like telephonic communication with some departments and postal receipt of assignments that we will not be able to offer during this time.

Please take note:

Our remote working capabilities are underpinned by the bandwidth provided by the connectivity providers during this time and we hope they can remain stable. Thus, our services may be disrupted during this period due to poor connectivity.

Reduction of our non-essential service capacity during the shutdown period may however impact service delivery.  

We ask for your understanding and patience during this time.

Below is a brief summary of core student related service which is available and how you can access them.

1.            Academic support:

We understand that the next few weeks are going to be challenging as we deal with the various personal, mental and economic consequences of the viral outbreak and that of the preventative measures implemented.

We encourage students to plan their lives and continue to use free time to progress with their learning paths. Students can continue accessing learning content, quizzes and assignments through our mobile-friendly student portal, iCan and continue learning whilst the lockdown period is underway. Students that have limited access to the internet should continue with their textbooks and study guides.

We have enabled the entire academic faculty responsible for supporting all students on all the programmes to work remotely. They will be available during normal office hours and can be contacted through the following channels:

2.           Student Services:

Our service department will continue servicing general student enquiries via our online channels. Unfortunately, we will not have direct phone lines during this time. During normal support hours, you are encouraged to utilise the following digital support channels:

3.           Student Administration

Our administration department will be available and capable of processing your assignments for marking as they come in over the period. We will unfortunately not be able to fetch and process any assignment sent through the post due to restricted movement. We encourage students to submit via our digital channels:

4.           New Student Enrolments

We have kept reduced capacity in our enrolments department to handle all new enquiries during this time. Our enrolments department will have operational phone lines. Thus, should you wish to enquire please send us your details via our website and we will call you back to discuss your educational needs.

We will be actively communicating via our social media pages and website so please follow us there and keep up to date with any new announcements or changes. The situation we are facing is very dynamic in nature and will require us to innovate and adapt. This is what we do well, and we will use this challenge to drive innovation and change for the betterment of our students and community. We urge our community and students during this time of strict government-imposed regulations to abide and respect the regulation and protect yourself from any transgression as the consequences are not worth the risk. Please see our website for the full government regulations being imposed during this period.

As we enter the lockdown period and further uncertainty, we want to wish South Africa, our entire iQ community, students, employees and their extended families well during this period. We hope you stay safe and healthy and we hope you adopt preventative measures to protect your loved ones. May we unite in our fight against this terrible pandemic and work together in the interest of building a better South Africa as we deal with the challenges which lie ahead.

Yours Faithfully

Ernst Kriek

CEO

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