Rector Carel Stolker from Leiden University tweeted an urgent appeal to all students: don’t organise any parties and avoid the pub. His message didn’t quite go viral, but it did hit home. It was retweeted 275 times.
His appeal touched on the fear that youths are indifferent about the virus: they appear to run less risk. The problem is that they can pass on the virus to others. Moreover, it now appears that young people are not as invulnerable as was thought.
Health Institute RIVM has not issued any special corona advise for student houses, but students should think about their behaviour. No meetings in your house for a while, no birthday party celebrations, et cetera.
“They shouldn’t gather with too many people in communal areas,” says RIVM spokesperson Coen Berends. “Also, no physical contact, as far as that is actually possible. Everyone must pay attention to his or her own personal hygiene.”
Maybe take an extra turn cleaning the kitchen? “In general, this can do no harm in student houses,” Berends feels, “but it is more important that you wash your hands and do not drink from the same cup as someone else.”
So, continue to be vigilant. The RIVM previously advised against gatherings with more than a hundred people. “But fifty people in a small pub, standing closely together, is of course not clever.”
The pubs have by now been shut, but the country is not completely locked down. The shops are staying open. “We are not saying that every individual needs to be quarantined,” says Berends.
But everyone knows why students may no longer come to the campus for the time being. So, you can reason it out for yourself what is and isn’t wise.
Moving back in with your parents during this period of personal isolation? Whether that is possible, depends on their health and age, as well as the situation in your student house. Visiting your boyfriend or girlfriend? Preferably not, or otherwise you would have to stay there for a couple of weeks.
HOP, Bas Belleman