The statement made by the Free State MEC of Health, Motseng Tsiu, last week, that the University of the Free State (UFS) is willing to avail its accommodation for the treatment of Covid-19 patients, has brought about mixed responses from both students and staff.
Bloemfontein Courant has spoken to the SRC president, Katleho Lechoo, who explained that he is at ease now as the rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Francis Peterson, has clarified that the UFS will not be accommodating Covid-19 patients. Lechoo said that, from the beginning the problem was that taking patients to the university would only cause further stress and anxiety to already vulnerable students and as primary stakeholders students should remain a priority as they are the ones using these residences.
“The Vice-Chancellor said that it will not happen but should it happen without our knowledge or thorough consultation, we will regroup and act,” Lechoo explained.
He added that they have called for student representation in the university’s UFS Coronavirus (Covid-19/ SARS-COV-2) Task Team for the sake of communication and transparency.
Meanwhile, the UFS has said in a statement during meetings with the relevant department and the Premier of the Free State, Sisi Ntombela, the university will assist the Free State wherever it can in terms of managing Covid-19. They further explained that the university has not yet made a commitment to provide the necessary accommodation to quarantined members of the community on campuses but state that, should there be a large outbreak of the virus – to such an extent that it becomes a pandemic and a crisis in the Free State province – they will, as an important member of the Free State community, evaluate the situation and act responsibly with regard to availing some of its facilities for quarantine
However, such a decision will be taken with the input of all relevant university stakeholders.