MAASTRICHT. Education in period five remains online for all faculties, even if measures are relaxed in the meantime, said Rector Rianne Letschert to the University Council last Wednesday.
As universities are not allowed to open further on 31 March – the number of infections is increasing too rapidly, outgoing prime minister Rutte said this week – education in period five, starting in April, will take place online. Even if the measures are relaxed in the meantime. “Switching from online to hybrid during a period is impossible,” the rector explained. This also applies to education at the three faculties - Psychology and Neuroscience, Science and Engineering, the School of Business and Economics – which previously stated that they would transfer to hybrid as soon as this was possible.
Although there is no relation, the university wants to expand the number of study spaces, said Vice President of the Executive Board, Nick Bos. “We are hoping for another 150 extra places in the next few days.” That will be on top of the 520 that have already been and will be created in the University Libraries (city centre and Randwijck) and the building on the Paul Henri Spaaklaan. In addition, classrooms will be freed up at various locations in the coming weeks for students to study or – if they have a poor Wi-Fi connection at home – participate in the tutorial group meetings digitally. “It takes time, everything must be done according to RIVM regulations, we need stewards, students have to be able to make a reservation,” Bos explained to the council.
Should more space to manoeuvre come about in the next weeks, all faculties will open their buildings for such things as extracurricular activities by study associations, for small project groups, mentor interviews, or to study.
As for rapid and self-testing, with which a number of higher education institutes are experimenting at the moment in the hope that this could lead to a quicker reopening at the end of April: there will be consultations on this matter between the association of universities, VSNU, and the minister next Friday. “The 1.5 metre rule will remain in place,” said Executive President Martin Paul.