The universities of the Netherlands are pleased that the government has indicated that, in principle, all education may once again take place on location. Pieter Duisenberg, president of the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU): 'It is very good news for the students and lecturers that we can return to the campus more or less normally again. We will examine how we can use the extra space safely and responsibly. We fully understand and will pay attention to vulnerable students and lecturers who do not feel safe now that the measures are being relaxed. As is already the case, the universities will continue to talk with them to find the best solution.'
The government decided today that, with effect from 25 September, the restriction of a maximum of 75 people in one room will be lifted. Previously, a decision had already been made to drop the 1.5-metre distance regulation. This means that larger lectures can be given once again. In addition, the government no longer requires the use of face masks when moving around the buildings. No coronavirus pass is needed for access to university buildings or lectures and tutorials.
Safe and responsible
A safe and responsible return to the campus, that's how we started the new academic year. To keep things safe and responsible, the hygiene measures will continue to apply in the university buildings. There are also walking routes in the buildings and stewards who will give instructions. Ventilation is also an important issue. Duisenberg: 'The universities have tested the ventilation systems, so the rooms can be used safely. If any questions arise, there is always a procedure for checking the ventilation.'
Universities will continue to ask their students and lecturers to stay at home if they develop symptoms and to carry out self-tests twice a week, and will urge them to get vaccinated.
The universities will work closely with the regional GGDs to deal with outbreaks as effectively as possible. In the event of infections, the GGDs will inform the university as soon as possible. In consultation with the educational institution, the GGD will determine whether and which measures will be taken.
If you’re going to study, get vaccinated
Several universities are currently conducting surveys on the level of vaccination among students and lecturers. The initial results are positive. For example, on 30 August, 87.6% of the students at Wageningen University and Research were found to be fully vaccinated and over 93% of those questioned in a survey by the AOb (General Education Union) among teaching staff were found to be fully vaccinated. The universities, together with the universities of applied sciences, vocational colleges, student associations and trade unions, are continuing to urge students to get vaccinated with the campaign 'If you’re going to study, get vaccinated.' All the universities have reached agreements with the GGD about mobile vaccination points or drop-in hours where students and employees can easily get vaccinated.