SAWC RESPONSE TO COVID-19 PANDEMIC – UPDATED ACTIONS AS SOUTH AFRICA ENTERS LEVEL 4 LOCKDOWN FROM 1 MAY 2020
The Southern African Wildlife College takes its responsibility to manage the health and safety of its employees and people on campus seriously. The SAWC will always undertake any and all measures to do so, whilst also adhering to required legislation.
In South Africa, Level 5 of the Covid-19 lockdown has been downgraded to Level 4 which came into effect on 1 May 2020. The impact on the College is two-fold.
- Education – Individual Ministers will advise when students are permitted a phased return. At this stage as a private Higher Education and Training institution we have been advised by the Department of Higher Education and Training that contact sessions will only be allowed to resume in October 2020. This is further impacted by restrictions on travel in country and across borders. As such the College is doing everything in its power to mitigate the impact of this on staff, contracts and training whilst also investigating new opportunities such as online courses for the theoretical components of its training courses. The training departments are also addressing and revising their business plans and training schedules for the remainder of the year. These changes will be communicated to the relevant stakeholders including our valued donors, in due course.
- Staff may be able to return to work in a phased approach as per the new protocols, which permit a return of 30% of the College’s workforce as part of essential services required and as outlined below.
The revised Level 4 protocols state that:
Persons are still confined to their places of residence and may only leave:
- To perform essential or permitted work
- To buy food, permitted items, and medical supplies.
- To walk, run, or cycle within a 5km radius of their residence. This may only be done in family groups or alone
- Everyone is confined to their homes between 20h00 and 05h00, unless they have been issued with an essential services permit, or are attending to a medical or security emergency. Subsequently further directives have been provided in terms of transport during these hours. This pertain to buses and taxis.
Movement between provinces, metropolitan areas, and district is prohibited, except for:
- Essential service employees issued permits who have to commute to work and back.
- The attendance of a funeral or the transportation of mortal remains, as per regulations.
- Learners who need to commute to and from schools or places of higher learning, and only when students are permitted to return to classes. At this stage no contact sessions are permitted. As such the SAWC is working on online delivery of the theoretical components of its course offerings.
- A once-off one-way provision was made for people to travel, even across provincial borders, until 7 May to get back to workplaces and primary residences.
- Public transport will be allowed to operate, subject to regulations and strict hygiene protocols.
- All borders of the country remain closed except for ports permitted to transport fuel, cargo and goods.
All “gatherings” are banned except for:
- Funerals as per regulations,
- When at a workplace,
- or when buying permitted goods.
Whilst some businesses and industries may re-open with strict provisions:
- Public areas like parks, cinemas, sports grounds, etc, remain closed.
- The sale, dispensing and transport of liquor remains banned – unless alcohol is required to make sanitiser, for industrial use, or for household cleaning products.
- The sale of tobacco, tobacco products, e-cigarettes, and related products remains banned.
- All persons who may work from home should be permitted to do so.
- Persons within the industries permitted to re-open may travel to work and back and are permitted to leave homes to go to work, with provisions which include wearing a cloth mask or home-made item that covers the nose and mouth when in public areas, including workplaces, maintaining social distancing, and transport rules.
The College has several roles that fall within the scope of those permitted to return to work. These include
- IT services,
- Essential finance services, which includes: payments and payroll,
- Professional services which cannot operate from home,
- Maintenance essential to the prevention of destruction or impairment of infrastructure and working areas,
- Emergency maintenance,
- Sanitation, pest control, sewerage, waste and refuse removals,
- Wildlife Management and anti-poaching services and
- Cleaning in support of essential and permitted level four workers.
Return to work must be phased, and the workplace must be Covid-ready for the employees to return to work in a manner that avoids and minimises the risk of infection.
As part of the prevention protocols, the college will keep its employees fully informed of the disease, its risks, transmission rates, symptoms, statistics relating to recovery and death, how to prevent becoming infected, what to do if they do become infected, and who to report to.
General precautions have been put in place to ensure that as people return to work, the current legislation, regulations and declared levels and the implications thereof are adhered to and managed.
The college will take note of any employees with known disclosed health issues, or comorbidities, or any condition that may put them at risk for complications if they contract Covid-19. As per usual protocol a record of all employees entering and leaving the premises/campus will be taken by the Gate Guard on duty as well as by the supervisors or managers on site.
Restrictions on face to face meetings, will continue and where these must be held, social distancing will be strictly enforced. Where possible all meetings will be held via tele-/videoconferencing.
Any changes in the threats of the COVID-19 virus and the resultant changes to SAWC protocols will be communicated.
Chief Executive Officer
Should you wish to reference any information on Covid-19, please use the following ratified websites and social media links:
Please feel free to also join the official SA National Department of Health WhatsApp group via this link or by adding them as a Whatsapp contact at +27 60 012 3456