The academic year has started: safely and responsibly
The new academic year is under way, and there were fantastic events to mark the start of the new year on 30 August (in Tilburg) and Monday, 6 September at the other 13 universities. Finally, we can meet each other again in person on the campus, in the lecture hall or in the library. For the first time in a year and a half, without having to stay 1.5 metres apart, and several times a week. It’s important that we do this safely and responsibly and that we do this together.
More freedom on the campus also means more responsibility in other areas. For example, anyone moving around within the buildings of the universities where teaching takes place must wear a face covering. Also, all hygiene measures, e.g. regular hand washing, will continue to apply. In addition, there are designated walking routes in the buildings and stewards in busy areas.
The RIVM/GGD/Government recommends doing a self-test twice a week. As in the previous period, students can request free self-tests via zelftestonderwijs.nl. Self-tests are also available on the campus.
Universities have produced a guide, protocol or other form of support to help lecturers deal with the new situation on the campus. This answers questions such as "Can I ask a student to wear a face covering when leaving the room?" and "What do I do if we suspect that there is not enough fresh air in the room?"
Effective ventilation of rooms that will now once again be used to accommodate large numbers of people plays a key role in keeping people safe. All universities have used a property scan, risk scan or other investigation to determine whether the ventilation meets the requirements. Where necessary, additional measures have been taken in specific buildings or rooms to ensure adequate ventilation. Where this was not possible, rooms have been closed off. If students or staff have doubts about the quality of ventilation in a room, they can report this to the university. It will then be checked, using the fixed CO2 meter or a mobile CO2 meter, whether the ventilation still meets the requirements.
Off to uni? Get vaccinated! The Netherlands Association of Universities of Applied Sciences (Vereniging Hogescholen), the Netherlands Association of Senior Secondary Vocational Schools (MBO Raad), the student associations ISO and LSVB and the National Chamber of Associations (LKVV) hereby urge students to get vaccinated. According to the RIVM, nationally, 52% of young people between the ages of 18 and 25 are fully vaccinated. A survey by Wageningen University & Research among almost 6,000 respondents indicates that 88.7 per cent of their students are fully vaccinated.
Vaccination bus on campus
In order to make it as easy as possible for students to get themselves vaccinated, all universities have started talks with the regional GGDs to draw up agreements. The vaccination bus will arrive in Rotterdam this week and it has already visited Wageningen on several occasions. Students at Delft University of Technology and the UvA can also get vaccinated on campus this week. VU students can go round the corner to the large-scale centre in the RAI. In Nijmegen, there has been a vaccination centre on the campus for some time now (see photo). If students can't get onto campus, arrangements have been made for special walk-in consultations for students where they can get vaccinated immediately without an appointment, in the Martinikerk in Groningen, for example. Special arrangements have also been made for international students who haven’t yet been fully vaccinated, so they can be vaccinated immediately upon arrival without a citizen service number.
Vaccination centre at Radboud University, Nijmegen.
All universities are in regular contact with the regional GGD over what action to take in the event of infections. The GGD takes the lead on this and works with the LCI guidelines, https://lci.rivm.nl/richtlijnen/covid-19.These are guidelines on how to deal with a person with (suspected) COVID-19. This is the basis that all the universities will use if an infection is detected.