Update: UM is preparing for a new Covid wave

Update: UM is preparing for a new Covid wave

At this moment: Code Dark Green: wash your hands, stay at home if you have any symptoms

12-10-2022 · News

MAASTRICHT. Code Dark Green: wash your hands, stay at home if you have any symptoms. Code red: even more hybrid and online education. At the request of the ministry, Maastricht University has drawn up a plan that outlines what the UM will do in the case of a mild or a fierce outbreak of the virus. The point of departure is that education should be on campus as much as possible.

Although the number of Covid infections is rapidly rising at the moment, we are in phase one in the Netherlands: Dark Green. This means that the universities are open as usual, but that the basic rules are being drummed into everyone: wash your hands, stay at home when you have any symptoms, sneeze into your elbow, ensure there is proper ventilation and don’t forget your booster shot.

Green

Things become a little more tense when the government (which is the party that decides) switches to phase two (Green), even though Covid is still viewed as an ordinary flu epidemic and the measures are meant to curb further spreading of the virus. At that moment, the university expects all Maastricht students and employees with symptoms (such as coughing, snuffling, high fever, headache) to carry out a self-test before coming to the UM. Everyone can collect two free self-tests from the reception desk of their faculty or service centre every week.

Obviously, anyone who tests positive, must stay at home. That can be a problem for students who then cannot meet their compulsory attendance requirements, someone said during a University Council Education and Research committee meeting. Chances are that they will still attend the tutorial group meeting in spite of the symptoms. It is true that we cannot fully prevent this, rector Pamela Habibović admitted. She did point out that students who missed too many meetings because of Covid (not all faculties have compulsory attendance), could report to the student advisor for a solution.

Orange

With code Orange, there will be pedestrian routes within the UM buildings, wearing a facemask will be compulsory for anyone walking around, everyone will be advised to test preventively, and working from home will be advised again. In addition, online education will make a reappearance where necessary (and online participation will then count as attendance), although in-person teaching will remain the point of departure.

Faculties will decide for themselves what they will do. For example, education at the Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences will be completely online in the case of code Orange, because there are not enough spaces where the 1.5-metre distance can be observed. Exams that have been planned in the MECC will go ahead. The Faculty of Psychology and Neurosciences will choose hybrid education as much as possible, while the Faculty of Science and Engineering states that all education – practicals, tutorial group meetings, exams – will take place on campus as much as possible. Lectures will be online.

Red

In the last phase, Red, measures will be even stricter: contact moments on campus will be further reduced, but the UM will do all that is in its power, says in the memo from the Executive Board, to maintain education on campus as much as possible by making use of smart scheduling and longer opening hours as well as keeping as many study spaces available as is feasible, just like the sports facilities. This is to preserve the social role of education as much as they can, as this came under great pressure during the last outbreak, with all the negative consequences that ensued for students (loneliness, stress, fear, motivation dip).

The plan will be discussed in a plenary meeting of the University Council next week.

RIVM

The RIVM advised on Tuesday 11 October 2022 to scale up the risk level. Whether, and if so which, consequences this will have for the corona plans of higher education is not yet clear. The corona thermometer going up or down does not automatically lead to other measures, an insider says.​

Author: Riki Janssen

Photo: Shutterstock

Tags: covid,dark green,green,red,orange

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