In yesterday’s press conference, Prime Minister Rutte announced that universities will be permitted more room in the coming weeks to run their operations. From 16 June onwards, universities are allowed to restart a limited number of educational activities on campus again. Tight restrictions are still in place when it comes to the scale of these activities.
We are very happy that we achieved so much in so little time in terms of transforming our regular offline education into online programmes. We are convinced that education, including testing, can be continued online for the remainder of this academic year. This is in line with what has been expected and communicated so far. It is a great compliment to all of you who have been adapting our programmes to the new reality. This ensures an optimal way for all students to maintain study progress.
As a consequence of our government’s relaxation of its restrictions, we have decided to start by first allowing on-site activities that will have added value to our UT community specifically. In the coming weeks, we will decide which small-scale activities can be facilitated again as of 16 June, taking into account their added value for our community and obviously following the guidelines from the national authorities. In the first place, we aim at further opening lab facilities for students carrying out research for their thesis, creating study spots for students who cannot study comfortably at home, and facilitating small groups of students working in project teams. We are also looking into allowing certain activities that contribute to student-wellbeing and strengthening personal interaction.
The procedure for deciding which activities are being facilitated and to what extent will be in line with earlier procedures on the opening and use of lab facilities for research and education purposes. Specific arrangements such as using time slots or not using public transport during rush hours may be imposed.
Earlier this week, the outdoor sports facilities on campus were reopened. It is a meaningful milestone for our community, as sports and social activities are powerful ways to connect to each other.
Several parties within the university are currently considering ways in which we can organise our education and research activities from 1 September onwards, given the fact that some limitations will continue to exist and may narrow our operating space for an extended period. Last week, we published a news item on our website in which our vision on education in the new academic year is pointed out. We strive to offer as much education on campus as possible.
Currently, we are in the process of gathering more in-depth insights into online proctoring, a digital form of assessment to test online in a remote location. We are well aware of all sensitivities that need to be considered carefully. For that reason, no additional monitoring tools will be introduced before all aspects have been examined. More information on Remote Assessment can be found on the CELT website.
Travel limitations and rules and regulations regarding Covid-19 abroad may prevent UT students from going on exchange for course work. Also, students from abroad may be restricted to travel to the UT to take part in an exchange programme.
The UT does not facilitate international mobility up until 1 September. Still, we feel that exchange is an important aspect of our curriculum and will do our best to accommodate this as soon as possible again. For the first semester of the 2020-21 academic year, we hope to provide clarity as soon as possible (via the Student Services news overview and Employee Portal). In any case, we ask students who would like to go abroad in the first semester, to also consider alternatives. Please note that the deadline for registering for a minor is 27 May.
Participation and actively contributing to our decision making processes is an essential component of our university. Because of corona, the University Council's elections were postponed out for a few weeks until the end of June in order for people considering candidacy to register. The new deadline is 2 June. More information on the website of the University Council.
Please take note that tomorrow (Thursday) is Ascension Day, which is an official holiday. On Friday, all facilities on campus will be closed as it is a ‘collective closing day’. We wish you all some relaxing days off to enjoy spending time with family and friends. Keep safe and healthy.