[Liveblog] On campus higher education remains possible

Again, the Dutch government has to take stricter measures to contain the coronavirus and spare the hospitals. What does this mean for TU Delft?

Students taking exams on campus. (Photo: Justyna Botor)

  • Update 26 November, 8:27 PM
    Despite the increasing number of corona infections and the great pressure in hospitals, Dutch higher education is spared new corona measures. Although the Netherlands will have an evening lockdown starting this Sunday, even evening classes can continue. This and more was announced on Friday night. 
  • Update 25 November, 5:12 PM
    During the joint meeting on Thursday 25 November, the Works Council, the Student Council and the Executive Board underlined that they consider it ‘super important’ that physical education can continue. “We will carry on with on-campus education for as long as possible within the measures taken by the government,” assured vice-president for education Rob Mudde. He said that the Executive Board had not received any signals from The Hague that higher education would have to close its doors, contrary to the advice of the experts of the Outbreak Management Team. “At the moment, nothing is known about this, not even about possible admission tests. At the previous press conference, we were also unaware of the maximum group size of 75 people. Let us hope that we are not in for another surprise. However, we won’t know for sure until 7 PM tomorrow.”
    During the meeting, the air quality in the lecture halls, among other places, was also discussed. Campus Real Estate director Jacco van Noppen explained how TU Delft monitors this, emphasizing that so far not a single measurement has given cause to take action. “I do understand, however, that not only the actual situation but also the perception of safety plays a role. Perhaps we should communicate the measurements more widely,” he said.
  • Update 25 November, 2:36 PM
    The municipality of Delft has decided to cancel Lichtjesavond (‘Light Evening’) 2021. This means that, just like in 2020, there will be no physical event. Mayor Marja van Bijsterveldt will light the lights in the Christmas tree on the Market, but then digitally. This can be seen live on 14 December on the Facebook page of the municipality.
  • Update 25 November, 1:33 PM
    Despite the rapidly increasing coronas infections, education must remain open, the experts of the Outbreak Management Team (OMT) advise the Dutch government. This should also apply to higher education. Last week, the OMT had already advised to spare primary and secondary education. “There is one part of society for which the OMT wants to avoid new restrictive measures and that is primary and secondary education, the experts wrote then.
    Now, according to the National News Agency (NOS), higher education has been added to the list. It is not known what the government will do with this advice. All kinds of measures are still possible without closing down campuses. Last time, for instance, it was decided that only 75 students would be allowed in one room. Who knows, maybe it will be even fewer, or maybe students will again have to keep a one-and-a-half metres distance in all classes. (HOP, Bas Belleman)
  • Update 24 November, 2:28 PM
    By introducing Covid passes in higher education the outgoing government is asking the impossible, say higher education institutions. The Covid pass also has a negative impact on the accessibility of teaching. Read all about it here.
  • Update 24 November, 12:14 PM
    Adults must again keep a distance of 1.5 metres. The outgoing cabinet had announced this on Tuesday. Keeping was only an urgent recommendation until now, but the cabinet has made it compulsory again “to reduce the sharp increase in the number of corona infections and to prevent further overburdening of the health care system”. The police and special investigating officers (BOAs) will enforce this and can again issue fines of 95 euros. For the time being, an exception applies to secondary and higher education.
  • Update 24 November, 12:01 PM
    If a corona pass becomes mandatory in higher education students can only access campus if they are vaccinated, recovered from corona or have a negative test. Also known as 3G. Read more here.

  • Update 24 November, 9:28 uur
    If it is up to the government, employee participation in higher education will have nothing to say about the introduction of a corona pass for access to their institutions. The Delft Works Council signed a protest letter against this, but chairman Menno Blaauw does understand why the council has no say in this. Read more here.

  • Update 22 November, 6:14 PM
    If the corona pass becomes mandatory in higher education – and it looks like it will – students will be allowed access to campus if they are vaccinated, cured from corona or tested. That means 3G. Read all about it here (in Dutch, the English translation is in progress).

  • Update 19 November, 10:44 AM
    This week, Delta polled what TU Delft students and staff think about the possible implementation of a QR-code check on campus. And what does the TU Delft community think of the government’s idea to temporarily deny access to campus for unvaccinated people? Read all about the results here.
  • Update 19 November, 10:10 AM
    The maximum group size for promotions has been set at thirty people by the Executive Board, while at graduation sessions and graduation ceremonies a maximum of 75 people are welcome. Receptions and drinks are only allowed at promotions, with fixed seating and a maximum of thirty people. This applies at least until 3 December.
  • Update 19 November, 10:05 AM
    To reduce the number of contact moments on campus, Faculty pubs are closed until 3 December. That is what the Executive Board has decided. Other catering establishments for students and staff, such as closed canteens, will remain open and can be visited without a corona pass until 20:00 at the latest. For catering establishments on campus that also serve visitors from outside TU Delft, a corona pass is required and a compulsory closing time of 20.00 hours applies. This also applies to sports canteens. At specific locations on the campus, such as at X and the Science Centre, a QR code may be requested.
  • Update 18 November, 2:02 PM
    What do the new corona measures mean for the organisation of education? Delta asked the schedulers and teaching and learning services. Go to the story.
  • Update 17 November, 7:30 PM
    Based on models commissioned by Fieldlab evenementen, researchers from the safety sciences research group (Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management, TPM) have shown that a 2G policy at events leads to 25% fewer infections and 93% fewer hospital admissions than a 3G policy.
    The same effect can be expected at lectures at the university, claim the researchers when asked. Is it a good idea therefore to introduce a QR-check? The researchers deliberately withheld their opinion on this issue. Read the whole story here.

  • Update 17 November, 4:03 PM
    Even Sinterklaas cannot escape the new corona measures. The municipality announces that his arrival in Delft on Saturday 20 November has been cancelled (in Dutch) and the Science Center had to decide to discontinue Rolfs Surprise Lab (in Dutch). On 23 and 24 November children would have been welcome to work with TU Delft researcher Rolf Hut and students to make their surprise gifts even cooler. Everyone who reserved a ticket will be contacted about the cancellation, the Science Center said. Those who still want to make a technical surprise can work from home with Rolfs Surprise Lab @ Online.
    Nothing is known yet about the continuation of the Sinterklaas celebration for TU Delft employees and their (grand)children on Saturday 4 December. Staff Association Prometheus writes in its newsletter that the Executive Board will decide on this soon. 

  • Update 17 November, 1:32 PM
    Why are only 75 students allowed in a lecture hall, regardless of the size of the room? In the corona debate on Tuesday 16 November in the Dutch parliament, there was only a brief mention of higher education when outgoing Prime Minister Mark Rutte explained the decision to re-introduce a group cap in vocational education (mbo) and higher education. Rutte said that there are now a great many students who follow one of these forms of education: more than a million. You do not really want to impose any restrictions on them. But to reduce the risk there, we have said: the larger lectures are not allowed for now, at least until that maximum.
    Next week, the government will send a bill to parliament to enable the rapid introduction of a corona pass in higher education without interference from the participation councils. During the corona debate, the parliamentarians hardly anticipated this. (HOP, Bas Belleman)

  • Update 17 November, 9:22 AM
    Maintain the consultation structures with student associations, student housing corporations and TU Delft, which were set up during the corona crisis. That is the advice the Delft Court of Audit (Delftse Rekenkamer) gives to the municipality of Delft in a report on the effects of the corona crisis. The Court of Audit thinks that in this way the municipality can keep a better eye on students as a vulnerable group.
    According to the Court of Audit, the consultation structures were established after complaints about student nuisance and because of concerns about the increasing number of infections among students, but during the discussions the declining well-being of students became more and more of an issue as well.
    The Court of Auditors also notes that the municipality had wanted student associations to impose sanctions on their members in case of nuisance.
    “That didn’t happen, student associations saw themselves more as mediators,”writes the Court of Audit in the report (in Dutch).
  • Update 16 November, 11:35 AM
    The Dutch government wants to prevent participation councils in higher education from having a say in the introduction of a corona pass for students at their institutions. The government wants to urgently push an amendment to the law through the Dutch Parliament. Read more here (the English translation is in progress).
  • Update 15 November, 5:00 PM
    The Dutch government is preparing to implement a corona pass check in higher education. What do students and staff think about using a QR-code at TU Delft?
    Read more here or go to the survey directly. Completing it will take no more than 1-2 minutes of your time.

  • Update 14 November, 10:45 AM
    Highlight Delft has been cancelled. At the festival, twenty artists would show works with ‘an innovative and creative view on our technological future’ at sixteen locations in New Delft and the TU Delft campus. Visitors would be able to walk a route along the works of art on 18, 19 and 20 November. This would take place in the dark – many installations use light – but since Saturday 13 November events are no longer permitted after 6 PM.

  • Update 12 November, 9:48 PM
    Because of the increasing corona infections, TU Delft has decided to cancel the Open Campus Days on Thursday 18 and Friday 20 November. “We feel it would be irresponsible to welcome large numbers of people on the TU Delft Campus”, reads a statement on the website. The physical open days will be replaced by an online alternative on Saturday 20 November. Earlier, the organisation had decided only to allow prospective students in their final year of examination on campus, but now that is no longer possible.
  • Update 12 November, 9:31 PM
    TU Delft has posted an update on its website with corona news. There it repeats the measures announced by the government. What is notable is that TU Delft also advises students and staff to keep a 1.5-metre distance where possible outside lecture halls and laboratories. It is not yet clear what the additional restrictions mean for campus catering and events.
  • Update 12 November, 9:15 PM
    The Dutch student union Interstedelijk Studenten Overleg understands the intervention in higher education, says chairperson Lisanne de Roos. “Every measure is disappointing by definition, but fortunately physical education remains possible. It can be overseen. This is proportionate.” De Roos calls it ‘extra suspenseful’ what the government wants to do with the corona pass. “I do have concerns about that, because it’s all happening very quickly now. I hope that doesn’t come at the expense of due diligence.”
  • Update 12 November, 9:13 PM
    The National Union of Students (LSVb) finds the maximum group size annoying, reacts president Ama Boahene, because part of education will have to go online again. “At the same time, the measure is not so bad, and it is understandable. I hope it is really only for three weeks.” She has more reservations about the corona pass. “That is very serious, because a corona pass is an enormous restriction. Access to education is then denied for some of the students. It is important that education can remain open without a corona pass. It has not been proven at all that higher education is a corona hotspot. And among students the vaccination rate is very high anyway.”
  • Update 12 November, 8:30 PM
    The rules for self-quarantine are being made stricter. If a housemate tests positive, then that person goes into isolation. All other household members (vaccinated and unvaccinated) must self-quarantine.
  • Update 12 November, 7:50 PM
    Pieter Duisenberg, president of the association of Dutch universities VSNU, thinks it is logical that the government is taking measures now that the number of infections is rising. Although large lectures will have to be given online again, it is good that education can largely continue. Physical education is extremely important for the wellbeing of our students who, due to the previous period of restrictions, suffered a lot from stress, loneliness and anxiety, he says in a press release.
  • Update 12 November, 7:40 PM 
    The government will enable the use of a corona access card in higher education, said outgoing Health Minister Hugo de Jonge during the press conference. “But only if there really is no other way, that is, only if the situation were to deteriorate so much that online education would be the only alternative.” In how many infections or with what hospital occupancy this would be the case, De Jonge did not say.
    During the consultation between the Student Council and the TU Delft Executive Board last Wednesday 10 November, vice rector Rob Mudde already indicated that he has little interest in fully online education. So if a corona pass would become obligatory, he said, he would preferably apply the German model: a QR code only for vaccinated people and people who are cured of corona (2g), with random checks. According to Mudde, it is virtually impossible to cordon off an entire campus. He thinks it would only make sense to place checkpoints at all entrances if the vaccination rate were very low, ‘but we think that among students in the Netherlands the vaccination rate is around 90 percent’.
  • Update 12 November, 7:39 PM
    In secondary and higher education, the maximum group size is being capped at 75 persons per room. This measure does not apply when examinations and exams are held.
  • Update 12 November, 7:34 PM
    Events can take place – with a maximum of 1250 visitors per venue – until 6 PM with a corona pass. What this means for the Delft Highlight festival on 18 November, which mainly takes place outdoors, is unknown.
  • Update 12 november, 7.31 PM
    The recently relaxed advice for working from home is being made more stringent again. Work at home, unless there is no other option will become the norm, said outgoing Prime Minister Mark Rutte on Friday evening during the corona press conference.

Read our previous liveblog here.

Editor Redactie

Do you have a question or comment about this article?

Comments are closed.