The rector of Stellenbosch University has begged students to be responsible and focus on their looming exams instead of partying.

In an impassioned letter to students, Wim de Villiers urged students not to jeopardise their studies “so close to the finishing line”.

“Together we have endured despite much uncertainty and major changes in our academic and personal lives, and we have been determined and resilient,” he said.

De Villiers said while he understood that many students would have cabin fever after months of social restrictions, he was concerned by reports of students having house parties and socialising in pubs and clubs while flouting regulations on face masks and social distancing.

“There are but a few weeks left before the summer holidays,” he said. “It would be such a disappointment to miss exam papers, or not be able to study effectively due to illness which could have been avoided.”

Stellenbosch has robust safety protocols with students required to wear masks in all public spaces on campus.

Students living in residences and other shared private accommodation are also asked to wear masks when leaving their rooms.

His warning comes after just under 40 matric pupils tested positive for Covid-19, after attending the popular Tin Roof club in Cape Town’s southern suburbs.

The event, which took place two weeks ago, has been deemed a “superspreader” event by health authorities.

Tin Roof owner James Truter has rejected the superspreader claim, saying that the students had been to other parties before congregating at the bar.

“There’s been zero negligence on our part. The Saturday of October 3 was a normal trading day with no special performances or special event of any sort,” he told SowetanLIVE sister publication TimesLIVE earlier.

“We haven’t breached any Covid-19 regulations. Instead we’ve gone the extra mile by doing temperature checks of patrons and taking down names and contact details of patrons, something we are not required to do by law.”