Universities are pleased with the government's decision to reopen campuses to more students from 26 April. Pieter Duisenberg, president of the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU): ‘This is a boost for our students’ morale. We intend to do everything possible to facilitate more in-person contact as soon as possible. Through lectures, seminars and tutorials, but also in our university libraries and other buildings.’ The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science is making self-tests available to students and employees.
Appeal to students and staff: use the self-tests
Self-testing in the education sector is part of a wider introduction of self-testing in Dutch society and is intended as an additional tool for gaining insight into how COVID-19 spreads and how to combat it. Self-tests are voluntary, free of charge and will not be required for admission to teaching activities. Duisenberg: ‘Although it is not compulsory, we are calling on students and staff to use the self-tests often.’ Students and employees can request free self-tests. The tests will be delivered to your home. More information on the self-tests and how to order them will be available from 21 April at www.zelftestonderwijs.nl.
Working towards a 'normal' academic year
Universities are ready to safely provide in-person teaching activities. 'Prior to 16 December, universities were already able to provide safe teaching activities without causing any outbreaks. To keep it that way, it is important that students continue to adhere to the 1½ metres social distancing rule – even if they have done a self-test,’ says Duisenberg. The expectation for the coming period is that universities will be able to use 20–30% of their available building capacity for teaching and student meetings while observing the 1½-metre rule. Duisenberg: ‘Our objective remains to make academic year 2021-2022 a normal one, in which all students can come to the campus whenever they would like to. We are calling upon the government to include this goal in its plan for reopening.’