The University Clinic is continuing to give the orientation to the first year students about how to adjust to the new normal as they returned from an extended break because of the Covid-19 restrictions. On 15 September 2020, Sister Bongiwe Sithole and Nonkanyiso Xaba from the Clinic gave a presentation to the first year Biomedical Sciences students. The main focus of the presentation was the importance of self-protection, and that the students needed to co-operate with the University authorities so that everyone would be safe.
Sister Sithole emphasized the importance of adhering to the Covid-19 guidelines, particularly as there is no cure for the virus. Explaining the nature of the coronavirus, Sister Sithole said that it was important for the students to observe social distances to protect themselves from contracting the virus. “It has since been discovered that the virus is airborne; it can stay in air for two hours. You need to wear your mask all the time,” she said. She advised the students not to touch their masks; they needed to unhook it properly when taking if off. The large part of the mask may be contaminated with the virus. Nonkanyiso told the students to see to it that they wore masks that are three layered, and have been approved by the authorities. Nonkanyiso said that such masks could be washed; they needed to be soaked into warm water for at least 20 minutes, then be washed, and ironed before they could be used again.
Sister Sithole’s presentation made it clear that the so called new ‘normal’ was actually a new culture that everyone had to get used to. For instance, now it has become imperative for people not to touch their faces; their hands may be dirty. This way they may be spreading the virus into their systems through the mucus membrane in their eyes.
Sithole also informed the students that the University now has a flu clinic specifically for people that have Covid-19 symptoms. Sister Sithole said only students whose health is coded amber, or red, in terms of the Higher Health regulations, should go to this clinic. “You will be assisted, and be asked to isolate yourself for the required period if you have the Coronavirus. You need to provide us with proof that you are now clear before you are allowed back to the University,” said Sister Sithole. This clinic is at the main campus. It started working on 2 September this year. Sister Carol Ngubelanga who is in charge of the clinic, said she has referred six students, and one staff member to the D Clinic in Umlazi Township. Sister Ngubelanga examines the students and staff, and treats them for flu. If they show signs of Covid-19, or if their recent history shows they have been in contact with people who might have the virus, she refers them to the D Clinic.
Sister Sithole impressed upon the students the necessity for exercising, and living a healthy life. “Please avoid alcohol. You need to exercise. Exercising helps with the distribution of oxygen to the all parts of the body. This helps in eliminating the cells that cause cancer, concluded Sister Sithole. In appreciation of Sister Sithole’s presentation, Siphokazi Dube said she learned a lot about virus, and generally found the lecture “very informative”.
The Clinic will give similar orientation to more students this week. It has been offering the orientation to students via Zoom.