All constraints to face-to-face teaching removed, work-from-home recommendation relaxed
Dutch universities are ecstatic that students will be able to return to university buildings as of 18 February. The maximum group size will also lapse at that time, and the need to wear face masks will lapse on 25 February. The recommendation to work from home has already been relaxed. The recommendation is now to work from home if possible and to spend no more than half of your working hours at the university. Universities will discuss this with their employees. Additionally, to the universities’ relief, the proposal to introduce COVID certificates in higher education has been withdrawn. Pieter Duisenberg, president of Universities of the Netherlands: ‘For many students and employees, working and studying from home has been difficult. It is also great that employees can increasingly meet their colleagues and students face to face again and that students can start studying normally again. At the same time, we realise that some people are concerned about their health and that of their loved ones. This is very understandable, and we will continue to discuss this. We ask everyone to give each other the space they need, so we can all have a safe and responsible return to university.’
Since 17 January, face-to-face education has become possible again. However, due to the maximum group size of 75 persons, some education still had to take place online. Now that measures have become less strict again, larger lectures can be taught in a physical space again as well. For the time being, online education will still be used in certain cases. The universities will inform their students and employees about this. Suitable solutions will be sought in consultation with the degree programme or supervisor for students and employees who do not yet feel comfortable coming to the university.
As of 18 February, the following measures will apply for a safe return to university:
- Wearing a face mask will remain mandatory until 25 February. The government recommends wearing a face mask after that date as well whenever it is not possible to maintain a distance of 1.5 metres.
- Universities will continue to provide good ventilation.
- Everyone will be asked to adhere to the basic rules (hygiene measures) and quarantine guidelines.
- Preventive self-testing twice a week is urgently recommended.