THE NETHERLANDS. The government has prohibited all gatherings until 1 June because of the corona crisis. But the ministers were non-committal with regard to education.
The police may take action if people do not maintain the 1.5 metre distance from each other. Fines will be issued to those who do not adhere to the rules. Gatherings have been prohibited and shop staff must not allow too many people into the shop at the same time.
But what about education? In principle, the measures applied until 6 April: is that also going to be 1 June? The government was unable to answer that yesterday. The Dutch National Institute for Public Health and Environmental Protection (RIVM) will advise on the matter before 6 April.
So the members of management boards of universities and universities of applied sciences are scratching their heads: what does this mean? Would students and lecturers be allowed to gather after 6 April, while it is prohibited elsewhere outside the education system? The websites haven’t been updated yet. The old date is still mentioned practically everywhere, even on the education ministry’s website.
There are exceptions. Radboud University Nijmegen immediately updated the information. Other institutes, such as Maastricht University and Leiden University, had previously decided that education should remain at a distance for the rest of the academic year.
The new measures affect all kinds of gatherings, such as PhD ceremonies. They must all take place online or be cancelled. All universities will have to come up with solutions themselves, says the association of universities VSNU.
The same applies to meetings that universities of applied sciences already had planned. Anything from farewell drinks to lector’s speeches, it is now all uncertain. Universities of applied sciences will discuss what the new date means for them this week, says their umbrella organisation.
HOP, Bas Belleman