All coronavirus updates published in April 2021.
We are pleased that the government has decided that the universities will once again be able to provide (limited) in-person teaching from 26 April. This means we will be able to implement our plans as announced in the update from 15 April. In short:
- Students will hear from their degree programme when and for which teaching they can come to the university. We will prioritise practicals, tutorials and other small group teaching, and student supervision.
- Lecturers, study advisers and study associations will be able to book rooms for extracurricular activities.
- The rules from the Campus Protocol will continue to apply to all of our buildings: practise 1.5-metre distancing, wear a face mask when moving around and do the corona check before coming to the university.
- Free home-testing kits will be available to students, lecturers and supporting staff from the beginning of May. You will be able to order these from the following website: www.zelftestonderwijs.nl (in Dutch). The site also provides information on using the tests.
For more details on our teaching from 26 April, please see our previous update. Also keep an eye out for information from your degree programme.
Extended opening hours from 28 April
The curfew will be lifted at 04:30 on 28 April. This means that the opening hours of our buildings will be extended from 28 April. For the current opening hours of each building, see the location page. You will no longer need an employer statement for evening-time work.
On 20 April the government is expected to decide that we may resume in-person teaching at the university from 26 April. The government is talking about ‘every student going in to university one day a week.’ We are going to look per programme and annual schedule at how we can provide the best possible teaching and what the maximum options are within – and alongside – the timetable. In this update we detail our plans and the preconditions for these. The plans will, of course, only go ahead if the government gives us the green light, and the measures from the campus protocol will still apply.
Limited return to in-person teaching
All of our degree programmes will try to give each student the option to come to the campus. We will prioritise practicals, tutorials and other small gatherings, and student supervision (tutor groups, for instance). Lectures will most probably be online until the summer. Alongside scheduled teaching, extra activities will also be possible at university locations. This could mean guest lectures, Career Services events or study association activities. Study advisers will be able to meet students in person once again, and, where possible, more study spaces will be available. We will therefore give as many students as possible the option of meeting up in person once again. Lecturers will be able to book a room for extracurricular activities with students, and study associations will be able to do this via the assessor.
One-and-a-half-metre distancing and corona check still apply
The number of contact hours will remain limited in the coming period – mainly because 1.5-metre distancing will apply to all our teaching and other activities. This means that some things will still not be possible, but we are pleased with the options, if limited, of meeting face-to-face once again. The campus protocol rules will continue to be extremely important and you will still have to do the corona check before you come to the university.
Extra safety with self-tests
An extra option that the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science will offer is self-testing. Self-tests will be available from the start of May, and students and lecturers will be able to order them free via SURF. As soon as we know more, we will let you know in an update. We would urge our students and staff to make use of this option because it will increase safety at the university. Self-testing will be the responsibility of the students and staff, and will not be mandatory. Nor will the university provide self-tests.
Continue to work from home where you can
Lecturers and other staff members will once again be able to come to university locations for teaching and student support. We would urge our office staff to continue to work from home where you can. If your work or home situation make it essential to work at one of the university locations, you may do so on an exceptional basis, but do discuss this with your manager in advance.
Gradual lockdown exit
Like the whole country, we are gradually emerging from lockdown. As the number of people vaccinated increases and the number of infections decreases, we will move away from no, unless to yes, provided. If events are permitted once again, more people may be welcome to attend PhD defences, inaugural lectures and degree ceremonies. We hope that from August/September we will all be able to return to our university locations once again with few or no restrictions.
Looking ahead to the new academic year
We assume it will be safe for all our students to come to the campus and that much of our teaching will be in person once again. Studying is about collaboration, about working together on research questions and about lively debate with your lecturers and fellow students. Although we’ve seen over the past year that online teaching can work well too, we realise that meeting your lecturers and other students in person is crucial to the excellent education that we as a university stand for. Read more about the new academic year.
Keeping the best of online
We therefore want to return to ‘normal’: meeting one another without restrictions. But we would like to keep the best of our online contact and options from the past year. Read more in our interview with our rector magnificus, Hester Bijl.
The government is giving a press conference on 13 April about the measures to combat coronavirus. It will probably announce some easing of these measure from 26 April. The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science previously announced that as of 26 April universities will be able to offer more in-person teaching. See this announcement by the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU).
We are very pleased that the ministry will allow more teaching from that date. We want to make the best possible use of this easing of the restrictions, and are already planning our new working arrangements. In the teaching consultation meeting on Thursday 15 April, we will discuss our approach and its communication, and will provide information on this in a new update on this page later that day.
We expect more information on self-testing (in Dutch) to be made available to universities in or after the press conference. Self-testing is the responsibility of students and staff and will not be mandatory.
One thing is sure: we will follow the coronavirus measures in our teaching. This means that students and staff must distance by a metre and a half, and must always do the corona check before coming to the university.