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Pilots to research use of rapid tests at universities: University of Groningen first to start on Monday


The University of Groningen (RUG), Hanze University of Applied Sciences Groningen and Noorderpoort will be operating a rapid testing facility as of Monday, 18 January. Here, they will study how on-site teaching activities can gradually be resumed via the use of rapid tests. Initially, the focus of the study will be on testing students before on-site examinations. Based on these experiences, further research can be conducted to identify areas in which rapid tests can be further deployed. During the pilot, the measures put in place by the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), such as maintaining a social distance of 1.5 metres, will remain in force. 

In December, the proposal from the Dutch political parties GroenLinks and D66 to establish rapid testing facilities for the senior secondary vocational education (MBO) and higher education sectors prompted offers from a number of universities to organise pilots and controlled experiments. In addition to the University of Groningen's pilot, two other pilots are currently being prepared, with the ultimate goal of exploring how rapid tests for students and lecturers can facilitate the resumption of on-site teaching activities. 

To ensure sufficient capacity, a selected group of students who are due to take an on-site examination at the Zernike Campus have been invited for a rapid test, with these test results being delivered within a few hours. In the event of a positive test, the student(s) in question will be approached by the Municipal Health Service (GGD). In the event of a negative test result, students will be permitted to take the on-site examination.

Based on this pilot, the institutions involved will study the willingness of students and staff to be tested as well as legal, technical and logistical aspects. They will also examine how rapid tests can be used for other on-site activities in which social distancing is not possible, such as practical training.

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