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All coronavirus updates released in March 2021

Update 31 March 17:00: staying healthy at home, accessibility and diversity

Healthy University @home: working and studying from home

Working or studying from home isn’t always easy. It can be difficult to settle into a routine, set up your workplace, always be available, keep the kids busy and focus on your work or study. Healthy University@home is to help students and staff stay healthy while working and studying from home. See the tips on exercise during your working day, contact with colleagues and fellow students and managing your team. At present, the information is available in Dutch. The English translation will follow soon.

Diversity Officer’s blog
Diversity officer Aya Ezawa has written a blog about the impact of the corona crisis on the University community. ‘The uncertainties, pressures and restrictions on our daily lives also come with emotional strain. The real impact of the weeks in social isolation is yet to come. Community and connection are more important than ever.’

Accessibility of remote teaching for students
Even in these unprecedented times, you still have the right to access our education. The University will do its utmost to make sure that you can access all your educational materials and follow your classes. If you encounter any problems, see if you can find a solution on the Facilities, services and IT page, the tips or the FAQs on the website. If this doesn’t help, please try asking your fellow students. If the problem still isn’t solved, please contact your study adviser. He or she will help you find a solution.

Update 30 March: 17:30 jobs noticeboard

Leiworks: ‘noticeboard’ for jobs in the time of corona

Would you be willing to help your colleagues, so that we can get through this difficult period together? Or could you use some help from others to get your work done? Let Leiworks know that you are available or need help.

Government decision on whether to extend corona measures
Many of the government’s corona measures apply until 6 April. The government will announce tomorrow evening (31 March) whether these measures will be extended. On Wednesday 1 April, Leiden University will discuss with the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and the other Dutch universities within the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU) which consequences these decisions will have for the Dutch universities, and for us therefore. We will provide more information as soon as possible in the form of an update to this corona dossier. We expect to publish this at the end of the afternoon.

Update 27 March

No changes have been made to the University’s measures since the last update (26 March 17:00).

Update 26 March 17:00: Non-lendable books now available for education

There are various ways in which lecturers can make reference books that may not be borrowed from the library available to their students for remote teaching. Leiden University Libraries have listed these ways.

Update 25 March 17:00: NSE cancelled, corona crowdfunding, PhD defences, student helpline


NSE cancelled
The National Student Survey (NSE) has been cancelled. The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, together with the higher education organisations and student unions, has decided to cancel the National Student Survey 2020. The survey was planned for between 20 April and 15 May, but will not go ahead because of the corona crisis. Read more about this in the announcement NSE cancelled.

Support corona research at LUMC
Scientists at the LUMC are working hard on potential virus inhibitors, antiviral screening and a drug to treat novel coronavirus. SteunLeiden.nl has started a crowdfunding campaign for this research under the hashtag #wakeuptocorona. Support this important research and read more about the campaign at SteunLeiden/wakeuptocorona.

PhD ceremonies
Since the decision was made to cancel PhD ceremonies until 6 April, we have received many questions about what will happen after this time. We appreciate that this uncertainty is very frustrating for PhD candidates. Unfortunately, this is not a decision that the University can make unilaterally. We have to wait on the decisions of the Cabinet and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW) as well as on consensus within the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU). In the meantime, we are investigating the possibility of online PhD ceremonies. Follow our updates for more information. 

Student helpline
Are you feeling anxious, stressed or lonely in these difficult times? Contact the ‘Listening Phone’, which has been set up by Student Support Services. Call 071 527 1132 or send an email to studentsupport@leidenuniv.nl and we will call you back. The Listening Phone is available Monday to Friday from 9:00 to 17:00.

Update 24 March 17:00: Changes to Library services, updating work laptops from home

Library services
As of today, Leiden University Library is open from Monday to Friday, from 9:00 to 17:00, for the collection of books and other materials (from the book lockers). The Library is closed during the weekend. The collection points at the Pieter de la Court, Van Steenis and Wijnhaven buildings are open during the hours of these buildings. More information.

The Library is also providing access to free digital resources, as well as material specifically for corona research

Updating your work pc or laptop
If you are working from home on a Windows laptop from work, make sure you have the latest Windows 10 updates by installing them as soon as they are available. Read here about how to do this from home.

Message to students from Carel Stolker
These are strange times: empty buildings and our entire university community at home. In a video message from his home, Rector Carel Stolker says to our students: ‘Take care of your health, both physical and mental’ – the same applies to our staff of course! Watch the entire video by Carel Stolker.

Update 24 March, 12:00: No events until 1 June

In line with the new government measures, no more events will be organised or held at the University until 1 June. All planned events have been cancelled. What this means for PhD defences and degree ceremonies is not yet clear; the Dutch universities are discussing this within the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU).

Update 23 March: Key workers and Microsoft Teams

Letter for key workers

If you are a key worker at the University – for instance if you are involved in providing or organising remote teaching – we can provide a letter for your child or children’s school or day nursery. Please send your request by email to the PSSC Service Point. For more information see the Working from Home dossier.

Tips for working in Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Teams has been available for the past week. The programme makes it easier for you to work from home with your colleagues, for example using online meetings, More information can be found in the updates to the dossier on working from home (an English translation will be available soon).

Update 20 March: Changes to tests, the BSA, applications, decentral selection and other issues

In discussion with the University Council, the University’s Central Crisis Team (CCT) decided on 20 March that the notice period to be observed by lecturers for notifying students about assessment tests will be at least five days, in place of three days.

This means that if you have not been informed today about any tests, you can assume that you will not have any next week. If you were informed (via Brightspace or Blackboard) by your lecturer on Thursday 19 March that there would be a test, then you can expect this test at the earliest five days later, in other words not earlier than Thursday 26 March.

If you have any questions, please contact your lecturer or study adviser.

Students will be given an extension for BSA
Coronavirus may cause students to suffer a delay in their studies. Students who are prevented from meeting the requirements of the Binding Study Advice (BSA) for their study programme will be given an extension. They will have the opportunity to achieve the BSA standard requirements in the next academic year. These changes were announced by the Minister for Education on 19 March, following discussions with the VSNU, the organisation of universities in the Netherlands.

The Executive Board has discussed the BSA with the Vice-Deans and the staff and student participation bodies, and has decided the following:

  • Students who meet the BSA requirements within the 2019-2020 academic year will, of course, receive a positive recommendation;
  • Students who have not achieved the BSA reqirement of 45 credits at the end of the 2019-2020 academic year will receive a ‘retained’ recommendation, or in other words the recommendation will be postponed.  A postponed recommendation means that the same requirement (45 credits) applies as for all other students in their programme.
  • Students who receive a postponed BSA must achieve their 45 credits in the 2020-2021 academic year, by 15 August 2021 at the latest, in order to receive a positive recommendation.
  • If they wish, these students can draw up a study plan with their study adviser (article 3.1.3 of the BSA regulation). The regular study guidance rules will apply (article 3 of the BSA regulation).

Advice: do not travel
Students and staff, like all Dutch citizens, are being advised by the Government not to travel. At the moment, there are still a number of students and staff abroad; the University is compiling an inventory of these individuals. Students are being assisted with their return to the Netherlands. The Dutch universities are working together to broaden the possible measures for repatriating students.

Enrolment deadline for bachelor’s programmes extended
The enrolment deadline of 1 May for many of the bachelor’s programmes will in principle shift to 1 June. Prospective students’ right to take a study options check will lapse after 1 May, although universities will do their best to also offer this to students who apply who apply after this date. Leiden University is examining the possibilities for offering the study options check.  

Decentral selection
Programmes that apply decentral selection (Medicine, Psychology and Biomedical Sciences) will maintain the deadline of 15 April. There may be exceptions for a small number of programmes in Medicine: more information on this will follow as soon as possible. Please continue to check the website for updates. Where possible, selection procedures will be organised remotely, in digital form.

Update 19 March, 9:00: online teaching and assessment from 23 March to end of academic year

As of Monday 23 March, all degree programmes and associated courses will move to online teaching and assessment as soon as possible. This remote teaching and assessment will apply to the end of period 3 and for the duration of period 4, so until the end of this academic year. There will be no more face-to-face teaching during this period. If, during period 4, the government changes its policy to such an extent that we need to adapt our teaching accordingly, we will inform you as soon as is possible. More information on how and when the online teaching and assessment will be delivered can be found on the student website and staff website.

This is a momentous decision. Switching to remote teaching will require a huge effort from everyone and will take some getting used to. We therefore don't want to burden you, our students and staff, with such a major change again in the near future. We hope that this decision will give you peace of mind. If the government relaxes its corona measures, we don't rule out the possibility of reintroducing certain forms of face-to-face teaching or assessment. In principle, however, remote teaching will be the guiding principle for all our degree programmes and courses for the rest of this academic year.

Update 18 March: Mare online, student access to documents on the P-drive and more

As long as the University remains closed, the Leiden University weekly, Mare, will only be published online at www.mareonline.nl and not on paper. The paper also has an English section

The University Library has set up workstations so that students can access files on their P-drive. You will need to call the UB in advance to book a time slot. For more information and to book a slot see the UB website.

On Thursday morning, 19 March, we will inform students about the introduction of online teaching and assessment.

We can imagine that it is taking a bit of time to get used to working or studying from home – you may have children at home demanding your attention – and that you may have questions about this. See the working from home website for tips about this. We will be updating this website daily and also have a list of FAQs. A website for students will go live on Thursday 19 March with tips and tools for online study.

We urge all staff to be security conscious when working from home. Use a secure network connection and be vigilant about phishing mails. The University also has EduVPN, which provides a secure network connection wherever you are. Also see the information from the ISSC about cybersecurity.

We are doing our utmost to translate all the information in our updates and on the pages about the measures we are taking into English as soon as possible. However, we may not always manage to publish in Dutch and English simultaneously. The information on the Dutch pages may therefore sometimes be slightly ahead of the information on the English pages.

Update 17 March, 17:00: Restaurants closed at Faculty Club and Huygens building

The restaurant and Brasserie at the Faculty Club and the restaurant in the Huygens building will be closed as of Wednesday 18 March.

Update 17 March, 12:00: PhD ceremonies cancelled, phishing emails in circulation

PhD ceremonies cancelled

As of today, 17 March, all PhD ceremonies at Leiden University have been cancelled. This applies until 6 April at least. This is with the exception of four PhD ceremonies scheduled for this week; the PhD candidates and opposition committees have already been informed. These four PhD defences will be attended by no more than 25 people and there will be no reception afterwards.

Warning: phishing emails in circulation
Where we see a crisis, internet criminals see a business opportunity: now many of us are working from home, lots of phishing emails are in circulation. They are supposedly from the RIVM (the Netherlands National Institute for Public Health and the Environment) and the World Health Organization. We are calling on our staff to be extra vigilant: if you are in any doubt whatsoever, do not click on links or open attachments! More information on cybersecurity when working from home.


Update 16 March: Info on remote teaching and working from home; Gravensteen and University Shop closed

Remote teaching: information and support

A new website has been launched with tips and tools for remote teaching: www.universiteitleiden.nl/remoteteaching. The website is very much a work in progress and will be expanded and updated in the coming period. Guidelines on offering this form of teaching will follow. We have decided to launch it already to answer your initial questions about remote teaching.

If you have any technical questions about the website or accompanying Kaltura software, please contact the helpdesk at 8888 or via the helpdesk portal. Alongside the website, a support team is available to help you with remote teaching. You can contact the team at c4iremoteteaching@sea.leidenuniv.nl.

Working from home
All information about working from home is now available in English. There are various ways to work from home and various programmes that you can use. Read all about it on the staff members website. HR guidelines on working from home will follow soon.

Gravensteen and University Shop to close
Two University locations will close as from Wednesday 18 March: the Gravensteen building and the University Shop at Plexus.

Update 15 March, 21:45: Measures extended until 6 April

The government has taken new stricter measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus. These include closing all educational institutions until 6 April. This means that Leiden University will not be able to provide any face-to-face teaching, exams and other events for a longer period of time and that primary and secondary schools will be closing too. PhD ceremonies can continue, but with a limited number of guests (see the update from 13 March).

The following applies to the students and staff of Leiden University:

  • The measures that were previously announced apply up to and including 6 April.
  • The decision to close primary and secondary schools may have consequences for your work. We appreciate that this makes things harder for parents. Discuss the situation with your manager.
  • University restaurants and cafés are closed up to and including 6 April, with the exception of those at Oude UB (Rapenburg 70) and the Huygens Building (takeaway only).

For all lecturers: tools and support for remote teaching

We will, as much as possible, continue all planned teaching from 23 March, but then online.

A special remote teaching website will be launched through the staff members website on Monday 16 March to support our staff. This will provide tips and tools together with information about the different support teams that will soon be available within your faculty and at the University in general. We have purchased new software – Kaltura Live Room – that can be used for interactive workgroups. This will be made available at the same time as the website.

The website will be gradually improved once it has been launched.  

Working from home

Work from home as much as possible. An environment has been set up for this on the staff members website, where you will find all the information you need about remote working, online meetings, contact with colleagues, transferring your phone and more. The English version of this webpage will be online soon. 

Update 15 March, 15:00: Advice: return from abroad

Leiden University calls on all students on study-related trips (also in countries with green or yellow travel advice) to return to the Netherlands as soon as possible because of the travel restrictions imposed by more and more countries.

Leiden University will help students return to the Netherlands. If you choose to stay, the University will not be liable and may no longer be able to offer help at a later date. For more information see our key measures and travel advice.

Update 14 March, 15:00: most buildings shut, University elections postponed

  • All University buildings, so also the University Sports Centre, Plexus and Beehive, are closed to students. 
  • All study facilities at the University Library are closed. Read more about the limited lending services at the Library
  • Plexus Front Office is physically closed, but can be contacted by phone and email. If you are a student and have an appointment with a member of staff from the Student Support Service, this appointment will go ahead as planned.
  • Alongside all face-to-face teaching and exams, all events are cancelled until 31 March. 
  • Students are not permitted to go on any study-related trips abroad that are linked in any way to Leiden University. Credits will not be awarded for work completed abroad during trips that started after this decision was made (12 March 2020) and the University is not liable for such trips.
  • Students who were already abroad on 10 March are in contact with their contact person. They will not be repatriated unless this is immediately necessary. Anyone who wants help will receive help. 
  • The University elections are postponed until further notice. You will no longer be able to stand as a candidate on Tuesday 17 and 18 March; this has been cancelled.

Update 14 March, 12:00

We will post the latest update at around 15:00 hours.

Update 13 March 19:00: Wherever possible, work from home

On 12 March, the government announced additional measures to contain the spread of coronavirus in the Netherlands. We are now implementing these measures at our university. One of these measures is for people to work from home. We emphatically ask all staff members to comply with this measure and to work from home from now until 31 March. This will enable us to all do our bit to keep a potentially major public health problem in check. Please show solidarity and follow these and other instructions carefully. 

The rule for all staff is: until 31 March work from home wherever possible. The circumstances may differ for each work situation and staff member. If you have work that you can’t do at home, discuss this with your manager. If your work has come to a standstill because of the circumstances, also discuss this with your manager. If necessary, the faculties and expertise centres will draw up guidelines to ensure that everything runs smoothly. 

Use Webmail from home. More information about working from home, logging in to the online workspace and other practical matters will follow on Monday.

Update 13 March 13:00: No face-to-face teaching until 31 March. Work from home wherever possible.

The coronavirus outbreak is a major public health problem. We as a university are taking measures to help contain and solve this problem, and are taking the advice of the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) and central government very seriously. In line with the measures announced on 12 March, this means the following for our students and staff:


  • All face-to-face teaching and exams are cancelled until 31 March.
  • All forms of teaching, assessment and examination are cancelled in the coming week (until 20 March). We will use this week to prepare for which teaching we will be able to offer online from 23 March, and how. 
  • We are asking students not to come to the University. Study areas are closed and the restaurants have limited opening hours. The University Library is offering limited services. You can still collect and return books by using the book lockers in the University Library, Wijnhaven, Van Steenis and the Pieter de la Court Building. More information on the limited library services.
    The other buildings will remain open, but only for staff.
  • Continue your studies at home.
  • More information for lecturers about online teaching will follow next week.

Inaugural lectures, PhD ceremonies and events for prospective students

  • All inaugural lectures are cancelled until 31 March.
  • PhD ceremonies can continue as long as no more than 25 people are present. A Livestream connection is possible for others who may wish to watch the ceremony.
  • All events for prospective students such as Experience Days and Student for a Day are cancelled until 31 March. Visitors will be informed about possible alternatives at a later date.

Work from home wherever possible

  • We are asking our staff to work from home wherever possible. 
  • More information about the practicalities of working from home will follow later today.

In addition to these specific measures that the University is taking, the general measures announced by the government apply to everyone in the Netherlands:

  • Stay at home if you are suffering from a cold, cough, sore throat or fever, and avoid contact with others. If your symptoms worsen, contact your doctor or the local branch of the Municipal Public Health Service (GGD).
  • Gatherings of over 100 people have been banned. This also applies to events organised by the University or sections of the University. The organisers of events will inform you of the situation; please direct any questions to them.

We appreciate that these are far-reaching decisions that may affect your studies, research or other aspects of your work or studies. We are trying to anticipate any problems that may arise, but may not yet have been able to answer all of your questions. We would like to thank you in advance for your understanding and hope we can count on your cooperation in tackling this public health problem. Follow this webpage for the latest news and updates.

Update 12 March, 19:00: No teaching and exams on Friday (and other measures)

t will take some time to determine how to implement the new government decisions at the University. This is what has been decided so far:

Measures that apply ON Friday 13 March

  • All teaching activities on Friday 13 March have been cancelled.
  • All exams on Friday 13 March have been cancelled.
  • The Master’s Open Day has been cancelled.
  • No PhD ceremonies were planned for Friday 13 March anyway.
  • University buildings and the University Library are open as usual on Friday 13 March and at the weekend.

Measures that apply FROM Friday 13 March

  • Students may not travel abroad for study-related trips until further notice.
  • All LUMC teaching activities have been cancelled at least until 27 March.
  • The Hortus botanicus is closed.

Follow the website for further information, also about how the teaching and exams will be organised next week. Other decisions, such as about working from home and online classes, still need to be made. They will be communicated on this page later.

Update 12 March, 17:00: Exams will go ahead on 13 March

All exams scheduled for Friday 13 March will go ahead as planned.

The government announced new measures today. We will inform you on this page as soon as possible of which effects these will have on the University.

Update 12 March, 15:30: Master's Open Day cancelled, other implications of government measures will follow

In a press conference, Prime Minister Mark Rutte has just announced a number of measures for schools and universities, which therefore also affect Leiden University. We are currently considering what these mean for Leiden University and how we can implement them. We appreciate your patience during this time. Please follow this page for the latest news.

Master’s Open Day cancelled
The Master’s Open Day on 13 March has been cancelled. All the visitors have been informed, as have the students and staff who were going to work on the day. We are now looking at how we can provide the prospective students with the information they need to choose the master’s programme that is right for them.

Update 12 March, 12:00: measures unchanged

No changes have been made to the University’s coronavirus measures since the last update (11 March).

Update 11 March: some classes at LUMC suspended. Master’s Open Day will take place as planned

As of Thursday 12 March, all classes that involve contact with patients in the Bachelor’s programmes in Medicine, Biomedical Sciences and Clinical Technology have been suspended until further notice. This is a precautionary measure to ensure the continuity of patient care at the LUMC. The LUMC has informed the students. All other teaching activities at the University will continue as usual.

The Master’s Open Day will go ahead on Friday 13 March. Visitors and the students and staff who will be addending have been informed about our precautionary measures. We ask anyone attending to follow the infection prevention measures: wash your hands regularly, sneeze or cough into your elbow or a tissue and do not shake hands.

Update 10 maart: Colleges gaan door zoals gepland

Alle colleges en andere bijeenkomsten in Leiden en Den Haag zullen plaatsvinden zoals gepland. We kunnen ons natuurlijk voorstellen dat u zich zorgen maakt, maar zolang een ieder zich aan de RIVM-richtlijnen houdt (handhygiëne, geen handen schudden, thuisblijven wanneer ziek), kan er veilig worden gewerkt en samengekomen. Als u als docent of als student toch van mening bent dat er redenen zijn om daarvan af te wijken, dan is dit iets om vooraf te bespreken met uw leidinggevende, studieadviseur of andere contactpersoon. Het College van Bestuur, het crisisteam, de VSNU en allen betrokken bij deze afwegingen, bekijken voortdurend hoe de lijn van de Universiteit Leiden moet zijn. Daarbij wordt niet lichtvaardig besloten. Als u zelf, zonder overleg een andere afweging maakt, draagt dat niet bij aan de rust op de universiteit.

Update 10 March: Lectures and other activities continue as usual

All lectures and other activities in Leiden and The Hague will continue as usual. We appreciate that you may be concerned, but as long as we all follow the RIVM guidelines (hand hygiene, don’t shake hands, stay at home if you are ill), we can continue to work and meet safely. If you are a lecturer or student and believe there are reasons why this should not apply to you, please discuss the matter beforehand with your manager, study adviser or another contact person. The Executive Board of the University, the crisis team, the Association of Universities the Netherlands (VSNU) and all those involved in these considerations are constantly evaluating which line Leiden University should take. They do not take decisions lightly. If you make a different decision without having consulted your University contact person beforehand, this will not help us maintain a sense of calm at the University.

Update 9 March: Don’t shake hands

On the advice of the RIVM, Leiden University is urging people not to shake hands.

Update 8 March: Restrictions on travel to and from the Netherlands

Please be aware that travellers from the Netherlands may encounter restrictions because some countries are denying entry to travellers from ‘corona countries.’

In addition, some countries, such as Italy, are not allowing people to leave the country. Please note that people may be unable to travel to the Netherlands.

Update 8 March: Advice for residents of North Brabant

The RIVM advises residents of the province of North Brabant to limit their contact with others if they are suffering from a cold, cough or fever. This means: stay at home. This also applies to students and staff from Leiden University who live in North  Brabant.

Update 6 March: Staff member of Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences tests positive for coronavirus

A staff member of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences has tested positive for coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2, which causes the disease COVID-19). They are at home in quarantine, and have been there since well before the first symptoms arose, without entering the Faculty building. Given the circumstances, they are doing well. On the advice of the Municipal Public Health Service (GGD), the co-tenants of the staff member are also in quarantine.

Update 5 March: Travel advice for students: rules tightened

The University has tightened its rules for students from the University who are planning a trip abroad. This could mean study trips or trips for a course, workgroup or study association, inasmuch as the University is contributing to or responsible for such trips. The information below does not apply to personal trips that students have planned.

  1. Students are not allowed to travel to orange or red zones in the travel advice issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (this is standard procedure). Since 10 March, the whole of Italy has been either a red or an orange zone.
  2. What has now changed is that trips to zones that are YELLOW because of coronavirus must be approved by the University’s International Incident Team (IIT). This rule currently applies to trips that are scheduled to start between 4 March and 1 June 2020. Requests for approval should be submitted to the ITT through your Faculty contact person.
    The IIT decided on 4 March that trips are not permitted to yellow zones in the following countries: South Korea, Japan, Singapore and Hongkong. This also applies to trips that are scheduled to start between 4 March and 1 June 2020. These rules will be reevaluated on 1 April (or sooner if possible). 
  3. Students who are already abroad may find that the travel advice for that country has changed. If this affects you, please contact your study adviser, the international office or your international exchange coordinator. If the travel advice changes to orange or red, you will be repatriated to the Netherlands. On your return, the RIVM guidelines apply: if you experience even the mildest of symptoms, phone your doctor or the local branch of 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. If the travel advice changes to yellow, a decision will be taken on whether it is advisable for you to return to the Netherlands.
    It is important that you do not have any symptoms at the point at which you return to the Netherlands. If you are experiencing symptoms, a doctor or the GGD will be consulted for advice. The study adviser, international office or international exchange coordinator can also ask the IIT for advice. This advice then prevails.

Update 4 March: LUC student not infected

A student from Leiden University College The Hague spent a number of days in isolation in the University building on Anna van Buerenplein in The Hague. The results of a first and second test showed that this student had not contracted coronavirus. The student is no longer in isolation.

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