By Asenathi Ntamo
This article is exclusive to the Online Edition 2 of VARSITY News.
The coronavirus, better known as Covid-19, has taken the world by storm. What started as a virus in Wuhan, China has, within several weeks, brought the world to a complete standstill. President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a 21-day lockdown from the 27th of March until the 16th of April 2020, and while a lot of citizens agreed with this decision, others were not too pleased with it.
Many of the university students I spoke to, particularly from UCT, argued that “working from home does not bring about the same level of productivity as being on campus would”. They added that it is not because of distractions or a lack of discipline, but because they are not in an environment where they can productively work, as they would in a library or a lecture hall.
Another major issue conveyed by students that I spoke to from other universities is the effect on their mental health. Anxiety and stress about their future plans are strongly affecting students, especially those in their final year of study. Other students are simply not comfortable being at home as their relationships with family members are taking strain. For some, the lockdown is exactly the break that they needed to calm down and catch their breath. A lot of matrics and university first years feel that school hours took away their study hours and are using this time to study and catch up on work they might have missed out on or misunderstood in the first term.
Many South African citizens are not responding well to the lockdown laws, with more than 17 000 arrests and 3 confirmed deaths (allegedly, by law enforcers) because of law breakers. The question for government and many South Africans now is whether 21 days will be enough to keep this pandemic under control, or if further measures might have to be taken in South Africa.