student campus

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Five tips to step back into your studies and stay safe on campus

With universities declared open again for on-campus learning, getting back into routine will take some getting used to. Here’s how.

student campus

Image: Adobe Stock

With South Africa having shifted to Lockdown Level One, the Department of Higher Education on Wednesday 30 September announced the reopening of universities.

This was announced by Higher Education, Science and Innovation Minister Dr Blade Nzimande, who said the institutions had also been reopened for international students who are currently outside the borders of the country.

“All universities are implementing their plans to return all students and staff from 1 October, subject to any restrictions linked to their own risk assessment due to their local context and conditions,” said Nzimande.

Campus 101: Health and safety protocols

Addressing regulations relating to the COVID-19 Level One restrictions, Nzimande said the department will be able to move to a 50% occupancy of rooms, up to a maximum of 250 persons indoors at a time, with the ventilation of rooms remaining critical.

The department said while the hosting of side gatherings of up to 500 people at a time would be allowed, the prescripts of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) regulations will apply. 

These include health and safety protocols, in terms of physical distancing, wearing masks, washing hands, sanitising and environmental cleaning.


As universities are gearing themselves up to accommodate the return of students and staff under the new normal, transitioning back to contact learning after remote learning may be difficult for some students to adapt to. Here are some health and lifestyle tips to help you transition back into the swing of studies and campus life.

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Eat well

Numerous research studies have proved that junk food is not good for your brain. Processed foods can cause health problems, such as dementia or chronic headaches due to high blood pressure. And because of the high levels of sodium and sugar in junk food you can feel sluggish and tired after a meal.

Eating healthy foods high in Omega 3 ,such as sardines along with nuts and avocado, will help with the function of the brain. Foods with a high content of Vitamin B complex, such as eggs, cheese and meat, also assist mental capacity.

This will help you to be alert in lectures, help prevent you from falling asleep in class and improve your memory.

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Stretch it out

Transitioning from working in the comfort of your home to the confinement of a desk can be taxing on your body. Being in a seated position for hours in front of a computer can cause back and joint pain, it also reduces blood flow to your legs and feet resulting in muscle cramps.

Take a five- to 10-minute break after every hour of being seated. Walk around campus and stretch your body. If you are working from your own laptop, alternate between working while sitting and standing. This will leave you feeling refreshed and ready to continue working on your assignment or research.

The Early Bird

Research indicates that It takes 22 days to learn a new habit. Getting back into routine will take some getting used to. You don’t want to find yourself arriving late for lectures.

Try to arrive 30 minutes early for a lecture for the next month until you get used to attending again. You can cut down to 15 minutes after two weeks of arriving early. Eventually, you will have your morning routine set out and established. 

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Take notes 

Keep a diary or create a schedule on your smartphone to remind you of important dates and deadlines.

Unlike working from home, the joys of working at your own pace according to your time schedule will cease to exist. To make sure you don’t miss a deadline, make a reminder or download an app to help you keep track of your schedule. 

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A stitch in time saves nine! 

Even though the universities will be accommodating the return of all students and staff, the institutions  still need to comply with the applicable COVID-19 regulations. This includes adhering to social distancing.

Access to libraries and computer equipment may be limited and timed to ensure fair use and access for all students. Start working on your assignments as soon as you receive them to avoid not being able to access the campus facilities you will need to complete your assignments.