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All coronavirus updates published in June 2020.

Update 25 June: more on-campus teaching and events, protocol on human-related research

The government announced a further easing of the corona measures on 24 June. 

More on-campus teaching
We are pleased to see that in the new academic year – from 31 August 2020 – our options (currently only in Dutch) for on-campus teaching will increase. Our time slot for on-campus teaching will be longer than is now the case. We are already busy working out how best to timetable for the next academic year. We have to take several things into account here, such as one-and-a-half-metre distancing, footfall in corridors and lifts, extra cleaning work and so on. This is to guarantee a safe environment for our students and staff. We are also working with transport companies (in Dutch) in the region to ensure safe public transport to and from the University in Leiden and The Hague. The aim is to spread journeys as much as possible. 

Which teaching will be possible on campus?
This latest easing of the corona measures gives us more options to teach our students on campus, something we are extremely pleased about. The increased public transport options will be of particular help here.

A direct consequence of the one-and-a-half-metre rule is that we will be unable to make full use of our teaching facilities. The limited capacity will mean that all students will be offered a mixture of on-campus and online teaching at the start of the new academic year. International students who are unable to come to the university because of potential travel restrictions will be able to start their degree programme online.

The exact shape that student timetables will take from 31 August – which teaching will be on campus and which teaching will be online – will differ per degree programme. Student numbers, what is possible in the buildings, lecturers’ workloads and whether there is lab teaching will all govern the timetabling. We will inform current and new students about the first semester of their degree programme before the start of the new academic year.

The easing of the measures also means new possibilities for events. These can be found on the Dutch government website.

What this means for events that have already been scheduled, such as graduation ceremonies, the introduction weeks for first-year students and the Opening of the Academic Year, is currently being considered. The agreements on PhD ceremonies will remain in place, which means they will be held in the Small Auditorium with a maximum of 20 people and an online video stream.

General rules
The general rules on containing coronavirus in the Netherlands remain as follows:
•    If you are experiencing symptoms, stay at home and get yourself tested as soon as possible
•    Keep 1.5 metres apart from others
•    Wash your hands frequently
•    Work from home where possible
•    Avoid busy places and, where possible, travel outside of peak hours.
In allocating the available space, which is scarce because of the one-and-a-half metre rule, we will prioritise teaching (and within this first-year students), research and vulnerable groups who are unable to work or study at home. Teaching, research or support staff who do not have to be physically present in our buildings will therefore continue to work from home at least until 1 September and possibly longer.

Protocol on human-related research
The general protocol on human-related research no longer applies. Human-related research is permitted under certain conditions. The faculties will draw up their own protocols for this. These will explain which general and specific hygiene and protective measures are mandatory when resuming or commencing research. A model protocol is now available from the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences. Protocols from other faculties will follow and will be shared in the Research in times of corona dossier.

Update 23 June: PhD defences, crisis team

PhDs in small groups and online, also after 1 September
To ensure that as many activities – PhD defences, inaugural lectures, graduation ceremonies and so on – can go ahead as possible, the best possible match will be found for activity and available space in the Academy Building. This means that even after 1 September PhD defences will continue to be held in the Small Auditorium, with a maximum of 10 persons and an online video stream.

New crisis structure
The Central Crisis Team (CCT), which was responsible for decisions in the first months of the corona crisis, has been disbanded. From now on, the Executive Board will once again make decisions on corona policy and measures, having conferred with the various consultative councils. A rapid response to external developments may still prove necessary. A number of projects initiated by the CCT are still ongoing, but are now under the leadership of the relevant member of the Executive Board. These are:

  • Events (introduction weeks, opening of the academic year)
  • Online recruitment
  • Protocol on reopening buildings with 1.5-metre distancing  
  • HRM policy on working from home

A temporary advisory group ‘University in Transition’ has been set up to advise on the agenda for the coming academic year and submit a proposal on prioritisation. The group will consider questions such as: what are we unable to do (for the time being)? What requires urgent attention? Where is it business as usual? And how are we going to implement and monitor the agenda?

Press conference and possible easing of measures
Another press conference is scheduled for Wednesday 24 June, and the government may announce a further easing of the measures. The University will consider the consequences over the coming week: we will continue to follow the guidelines from the Netherlands National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), we will discuss any government measures in our discussions with the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW) and the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU), and we will translate any agreements into policy or measures for Leiden University, most probably having conferred with the consultative councils on Thursday 2 July. We will provide an update on this as soon as possible. If we are able to allow increased access to our buildings, we will prioritise teaching, research and vulnerable groups who are unable to study or work at home. Office staff will continue to work at home where possible until 1 September, and perhaps longer.

Update 17 June: registration open for introduction weeks

Registration has opened for the introduction weeks for new students. From 5 August, new students will be able to take part in EL CID, HOP-week or OWL and get to know the city, the degree programme and one another better. As this will be in obesrvance of the guidelines of the Netherlands National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), this year’s programme will be very different from other years. Parts of the programme will be online, but where possible students will meet up in town and on campus. For more information see this overview.

Update 12 June: protocol on reopening of Academy Building and Faculty Club

A new protocol has been drawn up for the reopening of the Academy Building and the Faculty Club, which takes effect from 15 June. We will again be able to hold events there, such as degree ceremonies, inaugural lectures and PhD defences - albeit on a very limited scale. Obviously, all the relevant coronavirus measures will have to be observed. A detailed protocol (in Dutch) is in place setting out these measures. If a programme department is going to hold a degree ceremony - which will be on an exceptional basis - the students concerned will be notified by the department.

Update 11 June: campus visits and safety precautions

Visiting the campus? Re-read the precautions
With the corona measures being eased, you may in some instances be able to come to the campus. Working from home continues to be the norm, but a limited number of study and work spaces are open, and some of the teaching and exams will be on campus from 15 June. This is only possible if all students and staff present follow certain safety guidelines. So keep at least 1.5 metres from others, wash your hands, stay home if you have cold symptoms, etc. Please familiarise yourself with our safety precautions once again.

Update 9 June: EL CID programme, online proctoring

EL CID partly online, partly in person
The general programme for the EL CID introduction week for new students has been announced. From 5 to 19 August, first-year students will have the opportunity to get to know the University, the city and one another. This will obviously be in observance the safety regulations of the Netherlands National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), which explains why this year’s programme is different from usual. For more information about the programme see the EL CID website.

HOPweek (the introduction week in The Hague) and OWL (the orientation week for international students) will also offer an adapted programme. More information will follow soon.

Online proctoring
On-campus exams for large numbers of students are not possible at present because of the corona measures. To ensure students do not fall behind with their studies, the University is looking at alternatives. If other options are not available, students may have to take exams online. With online exams, online proctoring is essential to verify students’ identity and prevent fraud. With the agreement of the University Council, the University has decided to use Proctorio for this. Proctorio makes it possible to invigilate via a webcam and uses software that analyses student behaviour. In consultation with the faculties, ProctorExam will gradually be phased out. Read more about proctoring during online exams.

Update 5 June: Study places for students available by reservation

From Monday 8 June onward, limited access to study places at the University Library, including the Asian Library, and at the Law Library, Social and Behavioural Sciences Library, and Wijnhaven Library in The Hague, will be provided for Leiden University students. Study places must be reserved one day in advance through a reservation system. All locations will adhere to strict corona-measures. Read here how to reserve a spot

Update 2 June: Resuming interlibrary book loan services

As of today, 2 June, is is possible again to loan books from the collections of other Dutch university libraries, through WorldCat. Read how on the website of the University Library

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