Universiteit Leiden

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All coronavirus updates published in October 2020.

Face masks mandatory in University buildings from 15 October

As of 7.00 hours on 15 October, it is compulsory for everyone in our buildings to wear a face mask. The basic rule is as follows: if you are standing or walking, you must wear a face mask, but if you are sitting you may remove it. More specifically this means the following: 

  • The rule applies not only to all students and lecturers but also to all researchers and other members of staff who are in our buildings. It also applies to visitors.
  • You must wear a face mask when you enter, leave and move around our buildings. This means between classes but also if you are fetching a cup of coffee or going to the toilet.
  • Students do not have to wear face mask in class or if they are studying at a pre-booked study space.
  • Lecturers do not have to wear a face mask when they are teaching.
  • Researchers and staff members do not have to wear a face mask if they are working in one particular spot and are at least 1.5 metres from any colleagues.
  • If you are not working in one particular spot (this could mean certain work for the University Services Department), you must wear a face mask. 
  • Different rules may be drawn up for specific work situations. This must be in consultation with your manager and the Security Department.

We appreciate that wearing a face mask can be uncomfortable. But more than anything we are relieved that the stricter government measures will not affect our teaching. Higher education is exempt from the rule limiting indoor gatherings to a maximum of 30 people. This means that our in-person teaching and exams can go ahead as planned.

The rule on wearing of face masks in our University buildings has been added to our house rules, which makes wearing a face mask mandatory. This rule is in accordance with the measures announced by the government on 13 October, and anticipate the law that will soon be enacted making it mandatory to wear a face mask in public indoor settings. This new rule will be added to the Campus Protocol. 

University cafés and restaurants 

The cafés in our buildings are only open for take-away food and drinks.

Restrictions to sports at the University Sports Centre 

The national measures apply to the University Sports Centre. This means that sport may only take place on an individual basis or in a team of no more than four people and must always be at a distance of 1.5 metres from others. Competitions are not permitted, showers and changing rooms are closed as are the catering facilities at sporting venues. Members of the USC and affiliated sports clubs will receive further details from the USC. Also see the USC website  


The government will hold a press conference this evening in which it will announce its measures for the coming weeks. We will update you as soon as possible on whether this has any consequences for the University. 

We are already looking somewhat further ahead, and are preparing for the next semester, which begins on 1 February 2021. We realise that lecturers and students are desperate for some clarity about our teaching in this second semester. We would all like more in-person teaching, but at the same time we all want to be able to teach and study safely. The corona measures mean that the available teaching space is limited. At present, we do not expect the current rules for higher education to change drastically for the second semester, which means that this will probably also be a mix of online and offline teaching. 

It is important that we soon have some clarity about what will and will not be possible. We are expecting more information from the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW), in consultation with the national educational organisations, in November. We will inform you as soon as we know more.

All educational exchange programmes within and outside Europe have been cancelled for the second semester too. This applies to both Leiden students who want to study abroad (outbound students) and international exchange students who want to study here (incoming students).

The Executive Board has taken this decision as the uncertainty surrounding the health situation, travel advice and capacity constraints at universities in the Netherlands and abroad is likely to continue over the coming months. We realise that this is extremely disappointing. The University will contact all outbound exchange students to seek alternatives. It is currently exploring options to increase the number of electives or possibilities for a minor. More information on the student website


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