Countries around the world are adopting measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus, and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs has changed its travel advice: it now advises against all non-essential travel abroad. This may affect the travel plans of students and staff from Leiden University.
As of 17 March, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs advises all residents of the Netherlands not to travel abroad unless strictly necessary. This means that in its colour-coded travel advice, the Ministry has designated all countries as ‘orange’ at least. Furthermore, all European countries (Schengen countries, European countries and the United Kingdom) have closed their borders for all non-essential travel by people from countries outside the bloc. More and more countries are introducing travel restrictions and airlines are reducing the number of flights departing.
International students in Leiden
If you are an international student and are currently residing in Leiden, we advise you to decide whether you wish to remain here or return to your home country (if that is still possible). Make sure to inform your international exchange coordinator of your plans. You can also phone your exchange coordinator if you need advice or wish to discuss what you should do. Whether you are able to follow the remote teaching from your home country will depend on your individual situation. Follow your lecturers’ instructions through Blackboard or Brightspace and discuss the matter with your exchange coordinator if necessary.
We understand that this is a very hard decision to make and that it may also involve extra costs and have unforeseen consequences. We do not yet have answers to all your questions, but hope we can count on your understanding in this exceptional situation. If you have further questions, please contact our central helpline 071 – 527 1132, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or contact your exchange coordinator.
International staff in Leiden
If you are an international member of staff, you may also have questions about returning to your home country and whether this or remaining here will have implications for your residence permit, health insurance, employment contract, accommodation and so on. The Service Centre for International Staff can help you here.
Return from abroad
Leiden University is calling on all its students and staff who are still abroad for study, internships or work to return to the Netherlands as soon as possible. Try to book a ticket and make the travel arrangements yourself. Follow the advice of local authorities and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and always inform your contact person at Leiden University of your plans. For staff, this is your manager and for students, this is your international exchange coordinator or study adviser. Also inform your contact person at the University if you are unable to return and are safe abroad.
Also register with the Special Assistance Abroad website, which has been launched by the government and the travel industry. (Click on ‘English’ at the bottom of the page). This means that both the embassy in the country where you are and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are aware that you are there.
All students and staff who are abroad and need help will receive this from the University. Which form this will take will depend on your individual situation. The prime concern is everyone’s safety. If you urgently need help, call the University’s emergency number: +31 71 527 6666 (available 24/7).
If you have returned from an area with many corona cases, stay home if you are experiencing even the mildest of symptoms. If your symptoms worsen, please phone your doctor or the Municipal Public Health Service (GGD). If you live in Leiden, this is GGD Hollands Midden at 088 308 30 00. If you live in The Hague, this is GGD Haaglanden at 088 355 01 00.
Planned business trips
If you are a staff member and have already planned a business trip (and this has been approved), please reconsider the trip. Is it really necessary to go on this trip at this moment in time? Please note that the situation is changing rapidly; even countries that are accessible now may announce stricter measures or even a lockdown.
For all business trips, you will need the approval of the competent authority. For countries that have been designated as an orange zone in the advice of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the competent authority is your faculty board or director. If your trip is deemed essential, the competent authority will put consult the Chief Security Officer. Please also be aware that the business travel insurance does not offer coverage if you travel after 23 March to a country that has been designated as an orange zone.
Planned study trips and exchanges
Students may not travel abroad on study-related trips until further notice. This applies to study trips, trips for a course or workgroup or study association trips, inasmuch as the University is contributing to or responsible for these trips. We will do our utmost to ensure this has does not have any negative effects on your studies, but it may take some time before we know the exact implications of the travel restrictions. We understand that this uncertainty is frustrating, but please rest assured that we are working hard to find solutions, even if your study adviser is not yet able to say what form these will take.
For more information on cancelling trips, returning from abroad and grants, please see the ‘Travel advice and events’ and ‘Grants and exchanges’ sections of the FAQs.