Coronavirus update 26 November ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ 
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Dear students and colleagues,

This is the coronavirus update of 26 November 2021.

We are in a full corona crisis situation again: it's all hands on deck. The care for vulnerable people is in danger and care workers, including our direct colleagues of the UMC Utrecht, are making an urgent appeal to us. We did not see this coming one and a half month ago.

Earlier this evening, the government held a press conference in which it announced extra measures to turn the tide. Our government has decided to keep education open, because of the impact a lockdown would have on the development and welfare of children, young people and students. This is of particular importance. But this choice also creates obligations for us towards all sectors that are affected by the corona measures. And towards colleagues and (fellow) students who are afraid of becoming infected with Covid because of their own health or the health of the people surrounding them.

This email explains how we are dealing with the measures and appeals from the government that affect the university’s operations. The starting point is that we want to continue education on location whenever possible. In doing so, we want to take student wellbeing into account as much as possible by giving students the opportunity to come and study on location and meet their fellow students. Graduation and PhD ceremonies can also take place on a small scale. To this end, we are jointly prepared to stop doing a number of other non-essential educational activities on location, such as inaugural lectures. And also to work from home as much as possible.

We realise that we are once again making a huge appeal to the flexibility of many of you at a time when many of you might be struggling. This certainly also applies to some lecturers. They are currently receiving many requests from students who would like tailor-made help because they are in quarantine, for example. At the same time, lecturers sometimes have children in primary school, currently a source of many infections. It is very hard to adjust schedules time and again, to have to go and get tested, or to observe quarantine. Discuss this with your manager and with your team. We are discussing how we can provide even better support with supervisors and the teachers’ community. It’s needless to say that you won’t have to take leave if you are affected by these kinds of force majeure.

Are you unable to take part in classes on location due to quarantine or illness? It is up to the programme to determine whether online lectures are a possibility in addition to education on location. If you want to know more, ask your lecturer/course coordinator or contact the study advisor. And if you are likely to miss a test because you have to go into quarantine or are ill, follow the regular procedures from you faculty for reporting sick.

We are asking you to be kind to yourself and to each other. If a deadline cannot be met, or an exam is marked a bit later: be accommodating and trust that everyone will make a maximum effort. We want to give lecturers the opportunity to extend the time for marking exams. This may not be possible in your faculty or department. If that is the case, you will be informed about this by your faculty or department.

We are also asking you to be very strict when it comes to respecting the rules. Everyone knows them by now – but now it’s important to translate this into consistent and disciplined behaviour, and to hold each other accountable in a respectful manner. This also means that if a teacher, colleague or fellow student asks you to wear a mouth mask or to keep a 1.5-metre distance, you do so. Show understanding and help each other as much as you can. Only together we can face corona and keep education open.

Kind regards,
The Executive Board

Anton Pijpers, President
Margot van der Starre, Vice President
Henk Kummeling, Rector Magnificus
Current state of affairs
Until at least 18 December the following applies:
  • Lectures - will proceed on location without 1.5 metres distance and with a maximum group size of 75 people.
  • Tests - will take place on location, at a 1.5 metre distance, with no maximum group size.
  • Study places - will continue to be accessible at University Libraries and other buildings, with a maximum group size of 75 people. At the University Libraries only upon reservation.
  • Student counselling - remains possible on location. The services that are available, including opening hours, are determined by your faculty. Please check the student website of your programme for more information.
  • Graduation ceremonies - take place on location at a 1.5 metre distance with a maximum group size of 75 people (depending on the maximum group size in the room). Receptions are not permitted.
  • PhD defence ceremonies - take place on location at a 1.5 metre distance, with a maximum of 15 guests, no receptions.
  • Inaugural lectures - are online.
  • Lab work for researchers - possible on location at a 1.5 metre distance. If a distance of 1.5 metres is not possible, face masks can be considered, taking into account the safety regulations in the lab.
  • Office work - working from home remains the norm (unless circumstances or the nature of your work dictate otherwise). Only meet at the office if there is no other option and at a 1.5 metre distance.
  • Events and meetings - both work-related and social activities will not take place, including events and meetings at external locations and in the open air.
  • Meetings for student organisations - are allowed if there is an educational activity and/or small-scale meeting aimed at student welbeing, at 1.5 metres and with a maximum group size of 75 people, within the current opening hours of the buildings.
  • Staying abroad - exchange, fieldwork, research are not allowed in areas with code orange/red.
  • Parnassos and Botanical Gardens - remain open under current measures (including a corona check upon arrival).
  • Vulnerable health - employees who are not yet able to come to work for health reasons but whose work does require them to do so, can seek a suitable solution in consultation with their manager. Teachers can turn to their education or study programme director. Students who have to miss classes with compulsory attendance due to health reasons, should discuss their situation with their study advisor.
The ground rules at the university at a glance:
  • As soon as you enter the building, keep a 1.5-metre distance from each other outside the teaching rooms and wear a face mask.
  • In classrooms, you may remove your mask and sit next to each other, but you must keep a distance of 1.5 metres from the lecturer at all times. And if the teacher, fellow student or colleague asks you to, you keep your mask on.
  • Do not come to the university if you are ill or have complaints that could point to a Covid infection. Do you have any complaints? Make an appointment at the Health Service GGD to get tested, even if you have been fully vaccinated. You can get vaccinated for or tested on Covid-19 without an appointment in a temporary location of the GGD at the UU Administration Building (Heidelberglaan 8).
  • Wash your hands and sneeze into your elbow.
  • To ensure that Covid measures are followed, corona coordinators have been appointed in the buildings, recognisable by their blue vests. Listen to their instructions and treat them with respect.
  • Do a self-test regularly. You can request them free of charge or collect them from the receptions of our buildings.
  • Open a window if possible.

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