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The Dutch government's measures against the spread of the coronavirus have major consequences for TUDelft. Which ones? This blog sums it up.
(Photo: Marjolein van der Veldt)

The Dutch government's measures against the spread of the coronavirus have major consequences for TU Delft. Which ones? This blog sums it up.

Liever Nederlands

  • Update 6 April, 5:00 PM
    You are in lockdown in your student house and somebody is starting to cough. A few days later it is someone elses turn. Is it corona? You will never know, as people in the Netherlands are tested only to a limited extent. Still, it is interesting to chart the spread of the virus, if only to improve mathematical models. That was the idea of bachelor student mechanical engineering Hylke Martens and master student civil engineering Niels Maltha.
    The only problem is that such a survey only has value if a lot of people fill it in. Three other students are therefore going to help Martens and Maltha, under the umbrella of the Delft Centre for Entrepreneurship. Bachelor students applied physics Emma Lucas and Can Pekdemir and bachelor student at the Technology, Policy and Management Faculty Parya Lotfi are going to scale up the questionnaire, optimize questions and involve multiple organisations in the research.
    The hope is now that as many students and citizens as possible will want to invest ninety seconds to share how they are doing - whether or not they have any symptoms. The knowledge gained is important for combating a possible second wave of corona infections such as the one currently occurring in China, says Lotfi. The students want to make their data anonymously available to policymakers, scientific modellers and care institutions. Take the test here.
     
  • Update 6 April, 13:46 PM
    Due to the cancellation of the Minor event on 30 March, students can follow online minor information sessions via Zoom on 6 and 7 April. The schedule for the Zoom sessions is listed on the website of the Minor event. On Twitter, the local political party Piratenpartij Delft questions the use of Zoom and points out that there are safer alternatives. The Master event, originally planned on March 26th, will also get an online version. This will probably be in June.
     
  • Update 2 April, 6:00 PM
    Many university researchers and PhD students have been unable to collect data since the outbreak of the coronavirus. Field work has been postponed and laboratories are closed. But the duration of their contract is often equal to the duration of the research project. In other words, they have to deal with a fixed end date, but do not know whether they will be able to complete their research on time. The government should therefore support researchers and PhD candidates with an emergency fund, according to the General Education Association (Algemene Onderwijsbond in Dutch). “Many employers will say that they only have money for the duration of the project,” says sector director Donald Pechler. “But the Dutch Government has deep pockets, we've heard before.”
     
  • Update 2 April, 2:00 PM
    TU Delft is virtually on lockdown. Everyone has to study and work at home. How is it going with the student teams who normally work in the Dream Hall? Read their stories.
     
  • Update 2 April, 10:00 AM
    In a crisis you grab the first tools available. But Bob van Vliet watches with concern how enthusiastically everyone is embracing software from data hungry companies. Read his column.
     
  • Update 2 April, 9:10 AM
    Friday is the day. That is when the third quarter exam period starts. It’s the most complicated ever in terms of organisation and implementation. Over the next few weeks, there are almost 600 exams with 53,000 registrations in the planning. Delta asked Willem van Valkenburg, Executive Director of the Extension School, if and how they will go proceed. Read the full interview.
     
  • Update 1 April, 1:15 PM
    The corona crisis is forcing us to change our behavior. Caspar Chorus (TPM) sees that it is not morality that determines our behaviour, but the other way around. How about that? Read his article on our website. 
     
  • Update 1 April, 12:00 PM
    Delft University Fund has set up the TU Delft COVID-19 Response Fund (Dutch only). The aim of this fund is to provide rapid financial support to Delft projects in the fight against the coronavirus. The fund supports TU Delft researchers and students working on solutions that can be deployed immediately (April and May 2020). Think of projects such as OperationAir and sterilisation of mouth caps. In order to make financial support possible, Delft University Fund asks TU Delft alumni to donate via its website.
    Researchers and students who wish to apply can contact Tineke Hoogeboom for more information about the TU Delft COVID-19 Response Fund. Multiple applications per project and applications with retroactive effect are possible.
    In order to be able to assess requests as quickly as possible, Delft University Fund has set up a special committee. Theun Baller (Dean of 3mE), John Schmitz (Dean of EEMCS) and Dirk Jan Veeger (Chairman Department of Biomechanical Engineering) assess the applications and advise in the decision-making process.
     
  • Update 1 April, 9:15 AM
    The Dutch Government has extended the measures against the coronavirus until 28 April. Education will remain closed a little longer, until after the May holidays. But after that the crisis is not over, Prime Minister Rutte warned. "We're going through one of the toughest periods in our history outside wartime," said Rutte in a press conference about continuing the measures. The number of patients is still growing and hundreds of people are dying from the virus. Rutte hopes that by now it has become clear to everyone that the virus is dangerous, including the last young people who still feel invulnerable. Universities are all taking into account that they will have to keep the doors closed even after the May holidays, so employees will have to work at home for a long time to come. (HOP, Bas Belleman)
     
  • Update 31 March, 3:20 PM
    The Dutch academic data and computing centre SURF, in collaboration with the Dutch science financier NWO, offers computing power for corona-related research. SURF provides the high-performance computing facilities; NWO pays for the computing work with a fast track grant. SURF took this action in a similar style to American technological giants such as IBM, Amazon, and Google Cloud, who have offered scientists access to their computers for research into the Covid-19 virus. What kind of research should you then think of? SURF CTO Peter Michielse gives two examples: calculating the molecular dynamics of proteins that can slow down the coronavirus, and developing an artificially intelligent system that can quickly assess lung photos for characteristics of a coronavirus infection. The offer for free computing power has been in effect since Friday 27 March. According to Michielse, no applications have yet been accepted. Researchers can find all the information on the SURF website.
     
  • Update 31 March, 12:20 PM
    Now that most employees are working from home, TU Delft is asking them to postpone their application for reimbursement of their commuting expenses, if any.  Employees can obtain a partial refund of their travel expenses via tax relief by filling in the Individual Terms and Conditions of Employment Options (abbreviated to IKA in Dutch). However, the IKA application cannot take into account that employees will be working from home for an as yet unknown part of this year. That is why the Human Resources department is asking employees not to submit their request for mobility allowance until it is clear what their travel pattern will look like for the whole of 2020. This will only be the case once work on campus is permitted once again.
     
  • Update 31 March, 9:15 AM
    An app that lets you know if you have been in contact with or near someone who has Covid-19. Suppose you were in the queue at the bakery yesterday with someone who later became ill. Or shared a train compartment with someone like that? If he or she were using the app, then you would know where they had been. You would then receive a message so that you could take precautions, for example by going into quarantine. How convenient would that be, Kennislink asked TPM researcher Kenny Meesters. He stated that now that the virus is becoming widespread all over the world, it is not the best time to apply experimental technology on a large scale. That would be necessary if such an app was to work properly. “Techies like to tackle problems with inventions, and that's commendable. But at the moment it is impossible to predict what the consequences would be if we were to roll out experimental technology on a large scale.”
     
  • Update 30 March, 7:15 PM
    Crises are all in a day’s work for Kenny Meesters. He researches and teaches crisis management at TPM. He joined the national operational corona team. Read his story.
     
  • Update 27 March, 6:00 PM
    For about two weeks now they are working from home, the employees of TU Delft. That is not always easy. Read about the experiences of four lecturers. “Teaching with Zoom is a lot more intense, I have to pay attention.”
     
  • Update 27 March, 5:25 PM
    Group training is forbidden, X is closed and the Government prefers you to skip that running lap. Fortunately, there are many ways to stay fit, also at home. Delta consulted student sports clubs and an X expert and listed the options for you. 
     
  • Update 27 March, 4:30 PM
    Since last week, TU Delft immediately pays the invoices of its suppliers and service providers. In this way TU Delft hopes to safeguard its partners from financial problems. Normally, the university uses a payment term of thirty days. Board member Nicoly Vermeulen says in the Dutch newspaper FD: “There is an entire ecosystem around the university. We want to be a reliable partner and play our societal role.”
     
  • Update 26 March, 7:10 PM
    The TU Delft Executive Board is organising Zoom discussions with students. During these sessions, Vice Rector Magnificus Rob Mudde will answer students’ questions and listen to their feedback. In an invitation to all TU Delft students, the Executive Board writes that it would like to know how they are coping and how the corona crisis is impacting them. The Executive Board is also interested in hearing their opinions ‘on how TU Delft is handling the corona crisis’. “We realise – and get feedback – that our solutions are sometimes far from perfect, and that many of your questions are still unanswered.” Students are invited to ask all their corona-related study questions and bring forward other questions or uncertainties.
    Sessions will take place via Zoom on Friday 27 March, Monday 30 March, Wednesday 1 April  and Friday 3 April, all from 17:00 PM to 17:45 PM. Groups are formed on a first-come, first-served basis. TU Delft will let applicants know in which session they can participate.
    Question and answers arising from these sessions will be added to the education information on TU Delfts’ corona web page. Students can sign up via e-mail.
     
  • Update 26 March, 4:00 PM
    About five hundred students asked for help last week at a special corona crisis hotline of the National Students’ Union (LSVb) and trade union FNV.  According to the unions, the students are having all kinds of problems with their jobs. Temporary workers were reportedly fired right away. People with a zero-hours contract are no longer on the work schedule and are no longer paid. The loss of income is said to be hundreds of euros per month ‘for most students’. After all, many of them have a part-time job. The Dutch government does not intend to support students financially. However, students are allowed to borrow more from DUO, the Education Executive Agency. They will have to bear the costs of the crisis themselves, the unions conclude. (HOP)
     
  • Update 26 March, 3:15 PM
    Clear agreements with housemates, enough exercise and not being too strict: the students we interviewed have (almost) mastered studying at home and give tips. Take advantage of their experiences.
     
  • Update 26 March, 2:40 PM
    No one should be evicted during the corona crisis. The Dutch Minister of Housing has agreed this with housing and industry associations. Many households are facing serious financial problems due to the corona crisis. Some people can not pay the monthly rent, even if they call on the government's emergency fund. It has now been agreed that they will not be evicted from their homes in the coming period. Also, no debt collection costs will be collected in case of late payment of rent. (HOP)
     
  • Update 26 March, 2:35 PM
    TU Delft and Van Straten Medical have developed and tested a process to reuse masks safely up to five times. The process can be applied directly and by all hospitals. How does it work? Watch our video.
     
  • Update 26 March, 8:35 AM
    The Dutch Government should make every effort to create more testing capacity for the coronavirus. Only with a lot of testing can we prevent the virus from reappearing after the end of the partial lockdown in the Netherlands. That is what Cees Dekker, university professor at TU Delft, and microbiologist Rosanne Hertzberger write in an opinion article in the Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad. According to the two researchers, the current lack of testing capacity is ‘not a natural phenomenon’. Scientists and companies are ready to start producing tests, but first the Government will have to take action with, for example, temporary compulsory licenses on intellectual property, exemption from procurement rules and a ‘war chest’ to make advance payments.
    Cees Dekker is a professor of molecular biophysics at the Faculty of Applied Sciences. On Twitter, he has been showing his concern about the lack of testing capacity for some time now. He is supported by TU Delft Rector Magnificus Tim van der Hagen. He tweeted: ‘If everyone had been tested: the sick would get the care they need, healthy people wouldn‘t get sick, healthy people would be able to go back to work immediately, this virus would be a thing of the past in a month’s time.’
    tweetvanderhagen.JPG
     
  • Update 25 March, 4:30 PM
    TU Delft has decided to extend the period during which only online education is provided to 1 June. It is preparing to extend this measure until the end of the academic year. 
     
  • Update 25 March, 4:15 PM
    The various updates TU Delft is providing and uncertainty about the continuation of examinations and resits, while the exam week starts in less than two weeks.... Student ‘Gabriela G.’ was fed up and started a petition on Tuesday 24 March. At the time of publication it was signed 569 times. The signatories have five questions for TU Delft: communicate clearly, provide clarity about the third quarter exams before 30 March, assess students honestly regardless of their location, avoid possible study delays and come up with an effective solution for the fourth quarter.
    Over the past few days, Delta has tried in vain to get more clarity about the upcoming examination period. We asked the Directors of Education at the Faculties the following questions: will all examinations go ahead as planned (which ones do, which ones do not); will the ‘proctoring system’, which monitors whether a student is working without additional help and tools, be used; what additional challenges does this way of examining bring with it; will other ICT resources be used?
    We received three responses. Director of Education Chris Kleijn (AS) emailed: ‘Communication about this should be done responsibly and by the responsible authorities. Premature, incomplete or incorrect information via the press only leads to confusion.’ Sander Berendrecht (AE) said: ‘At the moment we cannot make any statements about this. After all, this is still a work in progress.’  Neelke Doorn (TPM) replied: ‘It is partly custom-made and we want to communicate this to the students before we can say anything in general terms that can be made public through Delta.’
    As soon as we hear more, we will report it on this live blog.
     
  • Update 25 March, 3:45 PM
    Never let a good crisis go to waste, said Winston Churchill. The current crisis is causing a lot of misery, but new scientific insights are also emerging here and there. For the researchers at the TU Delft knowledge centre Center for People and Buildings, the current situation offers an unexpected opportunity. Over the next two months, they will investigate the effects of working from home. Which programmes work best, how do people like working from a distance, what does this form of working do with mental and physical health? The scientists are sending out numerous questions of this kind. They hope for hundreds of thousands of reactions. “We have sent the questions to three hundred organisations we work with, including government agencies, insurance companies and accountancy firms,” says TU Delft researcher Wim Pullen of the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment. Pullen expects the current crisis to have a lasting effect on the way we work and study. Institutions are now gaining a lot of experience with new forms of working and learning, and some of those forms will (partly) be continued after the corona pandemic, he thinks.

    Are you a scientist and does the current situation offer you opportunities to investigate matters that have hardly been researched so far, then we would like to hear from you. E-mail us!

  • Update 25 March, 2:25 PM
    With concerns about the spreading of Covid-19, Delft researchers Rafał Kucharski and Oded Cats of the department Transport and Planning (TPM faculty) examined if ride-sharing services exacerbate the epidemic or dampen it. On the one hand travelers are exposed to co-riders who might be infected. On the other hand, the limited connectivity of the underlying network – it lacks large hubs - may impede the spreading. The researchers deployed an epidemiological model to examine 3000 ride-sharing travelers in Amsterdam and revealed that the prevailing ride-sharing network results in limited spreading. People seek for travel alternatives that will reduce one’s exposure, the scientists conclude in an article they published on LinkedIn. In the urban context, ride-sharing services offer an alternative, they write. This choice does not nullify the exposure, but the exposure is dramatically reduced while remaining affordable. The researchers do warn that they do not know yet how broadly transferable their results are. You can read the article here.

  • Update 24 March, 5:10 PM
    The TU Delft Teaching Academy is organising its first online meeting on distance learning on Wednesday 25 March between 11:30 AM and 12:30 PM. This webinar is accessible for teachers and support staff. Questions, answers and experiences will be discussed.
    You can register here.
     
  • Update 24 March, 3:50 PM
    The intensified corona measures made Studium Generale decide to cancel all its events until 1 June. However, Studium Generale will not be sitting still. The yoga classes organized for and by students and staff are now continued via Instagram, every Monday and Friday from 12:30 PM. 
     
  • Update 24 March, 2:20 PM
    In these challenging times, international students suffer an extra blow, since some of them were unable to return home. How do they manage and what help can they get? Read our article ‘TU Delft, we’re in this together’.
     
  • Update 24 March, 9:45 AM
    The students of the Delft Formula Student Team (DUT20) are looking for a socially relevant job, preferably in the fight against the coronavirus, now that their normal work has come to a halt. For what should have been a flashy jubilee year has come to an inglorious standstill due to the corona crisis. In this twentieth year the students wanted to develop not one but two racing cars. In addition to the fastest possible car (electric of course), the students also wanted to build a ‘refit’ of the 2018 car for the competition for self-propelled cars. Due to the tightening of the corona rules of conduct (no more than three people together) further development has become impossible, operations manager Julius van Bebber writes in a press release. DUT20 will close the office until 6 April. In addition, yesterday the most important race was cancelled, with the expectation that others will follow. The question is now, writes Bebber, who has a socially relevant job for the 110 engineers. Proposals are welcome at the DUT20 team.
     
  • Update 23 March, 4:00 PM
    The youth organizations of Dutch political parties CDA, D66, ChristenUnie, GroenLinks and PvdA want more support for students facing the corona crisis. They ask that, when the crisis is over, policy makers take a good look at students’ debts. Many young people are vulnerable now, the organizations write an open letter to the Minister. They work on zero-hour contracts or as temporary workers and are losing their income. They may also be delayed in their studies. The minister allows these students to borrow extra from student financier DUO if they are short or have to study for a longer period of time. The five political youth clubs find this rather meagre support. Give students the opportunity to postpone the payment of tuition fees now, they suggest. As far as the CDJA is concerned, part of the study debts will also be waived soon, says chairman Hielke Onnink. “But I can hardly say now how much that should be. Good solutions don't always have to be financial.” (HOP)
     
  • Update 20 March, 11:00 PM
    TU Delft is asking students to register as normal for the exams that are due to start on 3 April. Whether these exams will actually take place and in what shape is unclear for the time being. TU Delft states that it is looking for alternative ways to let examinations take place and expects to be able to give more clarity next week. According to the university, students who do not register at the moment do not have to worry. For them there will be ‘a suitable solution’.
     
  • Update 20 March, 6:00 PM
    Double degree student Emiel Beinema read the letter from the Executive Board to TU Delft students. As far as he is concerned, studying does not have to come first for a while now. He wrote a letter to Delta: “Sometimes you have a greater impact on society by not standing out in your professional field, but by standing out in your humanity.”
     
  • Update 20 March, 5:00 PM
    After a week of hard studying at home, it’s now the weekend! But... everything is closed. Delta went looking for the best online parties for this weekend. Check them out here.
     
  • Update 20 March, 3:05 PM
    Rounding off the first week of online education with students gradually settling into their new study environment, they quickly realised it is not easy to keep your focus when studying from home. So Delta asked the TU Delft student community to give us some tips and tricks on how to deal with the current situation. This is what they came up with.
    In a blog, associate professor Anne Pluymakers of CiTG’s geoscience and engineering department calls on colleagues to pay close attention to their mental health in this time of crisis. Some of her tips: do not make too high demands on yourself, work out a new daily schedule, use your working hours to do things you would not otherwise be able to do. Read her whole story here.
     
  • Update 20 March, 2:30 PM
    The coronavirus is not only affecting people’s health, it’s having a huge impact on the economy. Delta spoke to two TU Delft freelancers who are now at home without work. Read the article here.
     
  • Update 20 March, 11:00 AM
    Are you a TU Delft researcher and have you published a Covid-19 related article that is not yet free available? TU Delft Library helps with distribution via open access. Researchers can reach out via oadeals-lib@tudelft.nl.
     
  • Update 19 March, 8:00 PM
    Students who, due to the corona virus, are unable to comply with the binding recommendation on the continuation of studies (bsa) of their study programme will be granted a postponement. Students can also temporarily increase their student loans. Furthermore, the application deadline for bachelors and masters is delayed from 1 May to 1 June. The Ministry of Education, the associations of universities (VSNU) and universities of applied sciences (VH) have agreed on this with the student organisations ISO and LSVb.
    More later on.
     
  • Update 19 March, 6:00 PM
    In addition to masks, hospitals are also in need of gloves, technical staff member Sander van Asperen heard on of the radio. At materials science (3mE) he saw about seventy to eighty boxes lying in a cupboard. He took this photo:
    handschoenkast-materiaalkunde.jpg
    Van Asperen asked Professor Jilt Sietsma permission to donate the latex and nitrile gloves to the Reinier de Graaf hospital in Delft. “I think that's a nice gesture, be sure to do it”, replied Sietsma. Van Asperen hopes that other universities will follow his example so that ‘the supply of gloves and mouth caps will find its way to the hospitals’.

     
  • Update 19 March, 4:25 PM
    As of next Monday, all Spar University stores, including the one on the TU Delft campus, will close. “Our turnover is falling and our teams are worried,” says Kyra van Elswijk, press officer at Spar University. “We are now opting for the safety of our employees.” The other Spar shops, such as the Spar City on the Westvest, will remain open. “There is a large demand for food, people keep on hoarding,” says Van Elswijk. “We have noticed that there is a lot less demand on campus - employees are working from home and students have left to go to family or have their groceries delivered. To avoid wasting food, we will remain open until Sunday evening and use up our supplies. After that, we are hoping to open up as quickly as possible.”
     
  • Update 19 March, 3:35 PM
    TU Delft previously stated that students can only work in laboratories if enough supervision can be arranged. Life Science and Technology students received an additional email stating that laboratories in the new Applied Sciences building (building number 58) cannot be used anymore since yesterday. The necessary distance to one another cannot be guaranteed. Experiments for bachelor- and master end projects will therefore be suspended until at least 30 March. Other laboratory courses will have to wait a week longer. Lab courses for bachelor- or master end projects at the Reactor Institute (50) and the old Applied Physics building (22) may continue, but only if the supervisor gives his or her permission. Other lab courses in these building have been suspended until at least 6 April. Faculty Dean Professor Lucas van Vliet (Applied Sciences) also emailed that ‘we cannot give further information on assessments and examinations at this moment’.
     
  • Update 19 March, 2:20 PM
    Leiden University and Maastricht University will cancel all on-campus education for the rest of this academic year. The two universities are anticipating new measures to curb the coronavirus. As of now, universities will no longer provide education in their buildings until 6 April, but this period could be extended.
    However, Leiden and Maastricht are keeping options open: if it is possible after 1 May for students and lecturers to come together again, then, for example, practical and skills education can continue. Perhaps students will be able to take tests again in a room with surveillants.
    Other educational institutions have not yet announced such an extension. But they're not naive. It is "realistic to assume" that it will take longer, writes Wageningen University. Groningen has already extended the period itself by a few days until 10 April. We will keep you informed via our liveblog as to what TU Delft decides.
     
  • Update 19 March, 2:00 PM
    TU Delft is trying to centralise online teaching tools in this time of crisis, but columnist Monique van der Veen is not intending to obey.  “For interactive lectures, I, and many colleagues, will be using Zoom.”  You can read the column here.
     
  • Update 19 March, 1:20 PM
    Because it is very quiet on campus due to the announced measures, in a number of buildings only the main entrance remains open, side doors are closed. TU Delft announces in a new update that therefore security has been expanded and extra surveillances are being carried out. Sufficient presence of in-house emergency response services (bhv) is being ensured.
    TU Delft also asks all students and employees to stay alert to suspicious e-mails.
     
  • Update 18 March, 04:40 PM
    Never let a good crisis go to waste, said Winston Churchill. At Delta, of course, we are currently writing a lot about corona-related issues. The ongoing crisis is causing a lot of misery, but there are also new scientific insights here and there. For example in how our economic activities relate to pollution, more efficient logistic processes, new forms of remote working, the usefulness of conferences and so on. Delta is looking for stories like these. Are you a scientist and does the current situation offer you opportunities to investigate matters that have hardly been researched so far, then we would like to hear from you. E-mail us!
     
  • Update 18 March, 04:35 PM
    At the Prof. Schermerhornstraat complex, students gathered on their balconies to sing and groove along to some of their favourite tunes, inspired by singing Italians on social media. Read more.
     
  • Update 18 March, 2:40 PM
    Many students are losing their jobs due to the corona crisis: they work in the hospitality industry or have a zero-hours contract. Some have already been fired. The National Student Union (LSVb) asks universities and room renters for leniency with tuition fees and rents. Read more.
     
  • Update 18 March, 10:35 PM
    Currently, many phishing mails with fake news about the coronavirus are circulating, warns the Dutch ICT organisation SURF. Homeworkers need to pay close attention. TU Delft mainly warns against what is known as CEO fraud. It is as if you are receiving an e-mail from your supervisor asking you to make a payment, and preferably as quickly as possible. The e-mail or subsequent e-mails will then include a bank account number to which you can make a deposit. You will also often be asked to buy a gift card and pass on the card number. These mails are by definition fake, says TU Delft. In case of payments or requests, always use the internal processes, the university advises. In connection with the corona crisis, the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has put a list of precautions (in Dutch) for homeworkers online.
     
  • Update 18 March, 8:45 AM
    TU Delft strongly advises Dutch students abroad to return home. "Due to the growing uncertainty about the situation abroad and the fact that countries are closing their borders at a rapid pace", writes the university in an update.
    International students who are on exchange at TU Delft are advised to contact their home university and decide whether returning home is desirable.
    TU students who incur extra travel expenses as a result (on top of the costs covered by their travel insurance) are requested to inform TU Delft by emailing their study advisor.
    The university also advises international degree students who are currently visiting their families in their home country not to travel back to Delft and to continue their studies remotely (online).
    International degree students who are currently in Delft are advised to stay here and continue their studies remotely.
     
  • Update 17 March, 08:34 PM
    The Association of Dutch Universities VSNU has decided (link in Dutch) that university buildings will be closed to students. Although it had previously been decided that all education would go online, the campuses were still partly open to everyone. In Delft, the TU Delft Library, Pulse and education building 35 on the Drebbelweg closed, but some students still visited their Faculties in the past few days to study.
    What the VSNU decision means for TU Delft is currently not entirely clear. Earlier this evening, TU Delft sent out an seemingly less far-reaching message. “Our aim as a university is to facilitate students and education as much as possible - even if remote education is not possible,” it wrote. “Where necessary and possible, practical and graduation projects will continue as far as possible.”
    The TU also reports that study ‘only a very limited number’ of study places will be available and that students no longer have access to laboratories where there is too little supervision.
    We will keep you updated on new developments.
     
  • Update 17 March, 06:25 PM
    Bread, beer and three course dinners. Bars and restaurants in Delft are not giving up and are instead delivering their goods to the door. Read all about it here.
     
  • Update 17 March, 05:05 PM
    TU Delft has just announced additional measures regarding doctoral defences. As we reported earlier, these can go ahead, but without (much) public. Moreover, members of the doctoral committee will often call in from a distance. In addition, there is now a requirement for at least one supervisor and a chairperson to be physically present at the ceremony in addition to the doctoral candidate in question.
     
  • Update 17 March, 04:50 PM
    Earlier we described what a phone doctoral defence is like, now there are images. This picture of a happily doctored Hamidreza Heydarian was shared by the Graduate School with Delta earlier today. On the left, Vice Rector and head of the Graduate School Peter Wieringa. Heydarian obtained his PhD on the localisation of molecules with a microscope.
    promotie_corona_GS_web_0.jpg
  • Update 17 March 04:00 PM
    House parties are not a good idea now. Neither is squashing up with five people on the sofa to watch a film. But what do you do if you live with 21 people in a student house? Read all about it here.
     
  • Update 17 March 01:20 PM
    The Delta editors too will work from home as often as they can to avoid the further spread of the coronavirus. Will you be our eyes and ears?
     
  • Update 17 March, 12:00 uur
    In order to lift spirits among those at home, Bollywood dance group Sabroseo is hosting an online ‘distant dancing’ class on their Facebookpage. The class starts Tuesday at 6:15 PM sharp. From the comfort of your home, instructors will teach you the choreography to the Bollywood song ‘Hauli Hauli’. If you have any questions beforehand, do not hesitate to contact the organisation.  
     
  • Update 17 March, 10:30 AMmekelweg-lente-web.jpgSilent Spring -  The Mekelweg on Tuesday morning. Trees are in bloom, but the cycle path remains empty. It’s a weird feeling when a pandemic coincides with the beginning of spring. It made Delta's science editor think of Silent Spring – the book by Rachel Carson that warned against the risks of pesticides and formed the start of the environmental movement. 
     
  • Update 16 March, 8:45 PM
    Now that many employees work and students study from home, the question is whether TU Delft’s ICT systems can cope. For the time being the answer is ‘yes’, says Ron van Laar, manager of the shared service centre. “We are monitoring the situation and switching to where the loads are,” he says. “That’s going pretty well. I hear few complaints about things that do not work.
    What will happen if more and more education will start taking place online? After all, a lot is still in preparation at this moment. And ICT also has to do with absence due to illness and with staff having to work from home with children present. Van Laar says that TU Delft’s ICT system has ‘a lot of capacity'’ However, it will be a challenge if the system will have to deal with very different loads than normal. “Once the education is filmed and distributed, how will it go? At the moment things are still very quiet. The system can handle a lot, but seeing is believing.”
    Van Laar wants to remind employees not to use the Citrix homeworking environment. TU Delft only has a limited number of licenses and wants to reserve them for employees who can not do without, as we wrote earlier in this blog.
  • Update 16 March, 2:55 PM
    It has been a busy weekend for TU Delft’s Teaching & Learning Support staff. They have worked to answer lecturers’ on how to put their courses online with Brightspace, says Vera Scheepens, coordinator Teaching & Learning Support.
    Although most lecturers make use of the online education platform already, the use has been intensified under the coronavirus measures. Last week, calls were published to move education online as quickly and completely as possible.
    “People want to put pdf’s online, Youtube links, home-made video registrations, or Powerpoint presentations”, says Michel Beerens, head of the TU Delft New Media Centre. He had anticipated new lecture registrations, on top of the standard amount of about 2.500 per year. But instead of recording lectures, teachers seem to prefer putting course materials online.
    Can backlogs in education be prevented? Scheepens doesn’t know, but she does see that students, teachers and supporting staff work ‘positively and benevolently’ to keep education going.
     
  • Update 16 March, 1:05 PM
    What about exams? Or my graduation presentation? Are all classes really cancelled? Delta asked Vice Rector Magnificus Rob Mudde. Read all about it in our latest article.
     
  • Update 16 March, 11:45 AM
    The Library and the Library at the faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment will be open from Monday to Friday between 10:00 – 12:00 for lending and returning books and issuing readers. Mind that the Library's digital collection is also available and services will continue online as much as possible. If you have any questions regarding pending requests you can contact the Library at library@tudelft.nl or (015) 278 5678.
     
  • Update 16 March, 10:15 AM
    The Dutch science funder for research grants NWO will not conduct any interviews with applicants for research grants for now. As a result of the corona crisis, applicants may be in suspense for a few more months longer. “NWO has decided to suspend interview rounds for the current grant rounds, such as the Vidi, with immediate effect”, can be found on the website. “Anyone who has received an invitation to be interviewed will be notified personally in the next few days.”. In principle, meetings of assessment committees do proceed, but at a distance: the members will not meet. Perhaps new application rounds will be postponed. That should become clear in the next few days.
    “NWO is well aware that postponing and suspending grants and delaying the start of new rounds may have consequences for applicants”, writes the organisation, “but does not see any other possibility given the current circumstances.” Of course NWO has also cancelled its major events.
     
  • Update 15 March, 9:10 PM
    Staff and students who plan to come to TU Delft campus on Monday must bring their own food. The university reports that, as a result of the new measures to combat the coronavirus, all catering establishments are now closed.
     
  • Update 15 March, 08:50 PM
    TU Delft has to look for ‘creative solutions’ now that the schools are closing. The university writes this in a response to the new measures against corona announced by the Dutch government today. TU Delft says it realises that these ‘might be particularly difficult for parents with children’. It will ‘always try to be as accommodating as possible for parents’ while (online) education, research and support continue. Employees are expected to look for ‘a good and effective balance between working from home and caring for the children’. Adjusting working hours can be an option, in consultation with the supervisor. Those who are unable to find solutions in the short term are entitled to emergency and/or special leave. This, too, must be done in consultation with the supervisor.

  • Update 15 March, 2:40 PM
    Rector Magnificus Carel Stolker of Leiden University makes an urgent appeal on Twitter to all students to avoid pubs and to refrain from organising house parties. According to Stolker, this way they can help fight the corona crisis. TU Delft rector magnificus Tim van der Hagen supports Stolker's call, his retweet shows. Earlier, Delft vice-chancellor Rob Mudde said the same thing in an interview with Delta (Dutch only). 
    tweet_corona_stolker.JPG

  • Update 14 March, 08:55 PM
    TU Delft has sharpened its travel policy. Students are not allowed to make or book study-related trips until further notice. Employees are not allowed to travel to countries that are coloured red or orange by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, or to areas that the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) has declared to be high-risk areas. Travel to yellow or green areas requires the manager's approval.

  • Update 14 March, 11:50 AM
    To help facilitate online education, extra support for TU Delft lecturers is available this weekend. A helpdesk, learning developers, and functional administrators are actively supporting teaching staff to switch from on-campus education to online education. This includes email requests for online learning tools, technical queries, as well as didactical advice. All questions can be directed to brightspace@tudelft.nl. TU Delft has also published a quick guide ‘Remote Teaching & Learning’ with tips and tricks.

  • Update 14 March, 11:40 AM
    Researchers from the Erasmus Medical Centre and Utrecht University claim to have found an antibody against the illness caused by the coronavirus. This can be read on the platform of our colleagues from Erasmus Magazine.
    The active antibody is a world first and can help to detect and prevent the coronavirus (COVID-19) that causes the current pandemic. According to the scientists, testing the antibody on humans, however, will take up another few months. The scientific publication of the group of is now ready for peer review and will eventually be published in the scientific journal Nature.

  • Update 14 March, 9:15 AM
    TU Delft calls on employees to make as little use as possible of the Citrix working environment when working from home. The university only has a limited number of licenses and wants to reserve them for people who really need Citrix. Most employees can do without, says the university, which has published a homeworking instruction (in English). In it, TU Delft recommends webmail for e-mail and Webdrive for opening files on TU Delft servers. Calls and meetings can be made using Skype for Business, which is installed on all TU Delft laptops.

  • Update 13 March, 6:05 PM
    We will stop this live blog for now, but will of course report back when there is news. Stay healthy!

  • Update 13 March, 5:55 PM
    One of the biggest parties of the Delft Student Corps, the Kriminele, has been cancelled because of corona. The three-day event was to take place next week. How do student associations deal with the corona crisis? You can read it here.

  • Update 13 March, 5:45 PM
    The TU Delft Library is closed to students, but open to staff. The opening hours of the building, which also houses Delta, have been shortened. It will be open between 8:00 AM and 6:00 PM in the coming period.

  • Update 13 March, 5:15 PM
    Has the TU Delft campus turned into a ghost town? Find out.

  • Update 13 March, 1:50 PM
    The Master Event, which was scheduled for 26 March in the Aula, has been cancelled. The event is meant for students to get acquainted with TU Delft‘s master’s programmes. TU Delft is investigating the possibility of organizing the Master Event online on the same day and asks interested students to keep an eye on the website.

  • Update 13 March, 12:45 PM
    The Cirfood location in the Aula currently has a strict door policy. A maximum of one hundred people at the same time is allowed in the restaurant. At both entrances and exits TU Delft employees are monitoring people going in and out. The product range has been reduced.
    cirfood_corona_aula.jpg

  • Update 13 March, 11:50 AM
    The Introduction Program for international students (IP Delft) is hosting an Instagram get together this afternoon. They want to encourage students to stay at home while maintaining a positive attitude. One of the student assistants will be cooking food and talking to students live via Instagram. How cool is that? Follow IP Delft on Instagram and tune in at 5 PM.

  • Update 13 March, 11:05 AM
    Students should not be affected by the corona crisis, say student organisations LSVb and ISO. The LSVb calls on universities and universities of applied sciences to abolish the obligation to be present and to offer extra resits.“The biggest concern for now is study delay. We are discussing this with the ministry. Many students can’t afford a year's delay,” says LSVb chairman Alex Tess Rutten. ISO is similarly worried. “A few weeks of working from home is possible,” says chairman Kees Gillesse. “But if this situation takes longer, students will face problems with exams, binding study advice or a graduation project.” (HOP)

    Also read: Study delay because of the coronavirus: what now?

  • Update 13 March, 10:45 AM
    Library_corona_MvdV.jpg
    Wondering what the campus looks like now? Our reporter is on the road for an extensive photo reportage, which we will publish later today. 
     
  • Update 13 March, 10:30 AM
    Studium Generale has just announced that it will cancel all its activities until 1 April. Lectures, performances and symposia will not take place until that date.
     
  • Update 13 March, 10:20 AM
    Lessons at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (HvA) are continuing today, despite the government’s explicit request to discontinue them until 1 April. Only large lectures have been cancelled. On Thursday 12 March, universities and universities of applied sciences were asked to stop all on-campus education immediately at least until 1 April. As far as is known, all institutions are in agreement, except the HvA. It wants to use today to ‘neatly prepare’ for the discontinuation of all education. After today, it will discontinue all teaching after all. (HOP)
     
  • Update 13 March, 10:05 AM
    The universities, including TU Delft , will provide as much online education as possible in the coming weeks. That will be a tough job, as this blog by Willem van Valkenburg, Executive Director of the TU Delft Extension School, shows. Currently, the Extension School has about 150 online courses and develops about thirty new ones a year, writes Van Valkenburg. If all education has to be completely digital in such a comprehensive way, then it becomes complicated, as his story shows.
    He points out that it is important that teachers now use the same tools, otherwise students will quickly become frustrated, he expects. TU Delft has those tools, Van Valkenburg writes. He thinks that lecturers who are used to giving large lectures should not switch to online video. “Powerpoint with voice, a discussion board for questions and online office hours might be a much better option in this situation.” He advises them to use the knowledge and expertise of Teaching and Learning support staff.
     
  • Update 13 March, 8:40 AM
    Today is the first day that students cannot attend lectures and exams on the TU Delft campus. Buildings such as the TU Delft Library are closed to students. Employees can go there. Cleaners and the facilities department remain at their posts. Communication Director Joost Ravoo asks staff and students for understanding for each other and for deviant situations. Everyone still has to get used to the new situation that is sometimes not yet clear. He advises students to keep an eye on Brightspace.
     
  • Update 12 March, 11:45 PM
    The TU Delft Library and education building Pulse, as well as the Science Centre and sports centre X, will immediately close their doors to all visitors. What these measures mean for TU Delft staff is currently unclear.
     
  • Update 12 March, 11:40 PM
    The TU Delft Executive Board asks all staff and students to be flexible. In an e-mail sent late Thursday evening, the board states that it is aware that the previously announced measures are ‘undoubtedly far-reaching’. One of the board's aims is to focus as much as possible on online education, now that all education on the campus is being discontinued. “All colleagues, students and visitors to TU Delft will be required to make considerable and unexpected extra efforts”, writes the board. It will be ‘a challenge to arrange all this at short notice’. “We hope we can count on your understanding and that we will all work together to achieve this.”
     
  • Update 12 March, 10:50 PM
    Contrary to previous reports, there will be no physical education at TU Delft from 13 March until at least 31 March. This applies to lectures and exams. In the coming weeks, the university aims to provide as much online education as possible. TU Delft has announced that further instructions will follow. Students must keep an eye on Brightspace for this.
     
  • Update 12 March, 9:50 PM
    Earlier this evening it was announced that the Dutch universities of applied sciences and the universities support the government advice and will not provide any physical education until 1 April. The policy previously announced by TU Delft is more lenient: smaller lectures could continue as usual. It is not yet known whether TU Delft will now adopt a stricter policy.
     
  • Update 12 March, 8:30 PM
    Is my lecture continuing or not? Check out Brightpace, or so recommends TU Delft. Students should contact their faculty secretary or lecturer if they have any further questions.
     
  • Update 12 March, 8:15 PM
    Despite the fact that educational activities with more than a hundred people are not allowed, the obligation for students to be present remains in effect. TU Delft does, however, deals with this flexibly. “All students are still advised to stay at home in case of complaints of rhinitis, cough, sore throat or fever. Anyone who is seriously worried about his or her health and therefore cannot come to campus can count on our understanding”, says Communications director Joost Ravoo.
    Events planned until the end of March are now being reviewed by the crisis team. Ravoo: “Events for which we expect a hundred or more visitors will be cancelled or will continue in a different form. Think of the Master Event on 26 March. This can possibly take place online.”
     
  • Update 12 March, 7:45 PM
    TU Delft will close X and the Science Centre immediately. In other places, no more than a hundred people may be present. These are the measures Delft TU takes.
     
  • Update 12 March, 6:50 PM
    Studium Generale is calling off several events. On 24 March, for example, a lunch lecture on the conflict between Iran and the United States will not take place due to travel restrictions. On the same day, Psychosium, which was co-organised by Studium Generale, would take place in the Science Centre. During this symposium professors, psychiatrists and experts by experience were going to talk about subjects such as burnout and substance abuse.  T
    he organisation hopes that the meeting can be rescheduled.

     
  • Update 12 March, 6:30 PM
    Via Instagram, faculty cafe De Bouwpub (Architecture & the Built Environment) has announced that it is following the guidelines of the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) and will close its doors for the time being.
    At the faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences, The PSOR café will remain open for now. “Because attendance at drinks parties is less than 100 people we will continue our services”, writes the staff on their Facebookpage. However, anyone who suffers from health complaints is requested to stay at home. This rule also applies to bar staff and other employees.

     
  • Update 12 March, 5:40 PM
    For the time being, all of tonights activities at Sports Centre X will continue as planned. The Veritas Forum Big Stuff: is there meaning in the universe? that was planned at the TU Delft Aula was forced to cancel their event due to the stricter regulations.
     
  • Update 12 March, 4:30 PM
    TU Delft‘s central crisis team will announce the consequences of the new national measures in the 'very short term’.
     
  • Update 12 March, 3:30 PM
    The Cabinet now also says: give online lectures as much as possible, avoid groups of more than a hundred people, work at home as much as possible. But universities can remain open. These measures apply to the whole of the Netherlands.
     
  • Update 12 March, 2:30 PM
    Due to the coronavirus, Erasmus MC will discontinue all educational activities, including tests, as of Friday. This is reported by Erasmus Magazine. The measure also applies to the Rotterdam educational activities of the joint degree programmes with Delft University of Technology and Leiden University.
     
  • Update 12 March, 1:50 PM
    TU Delft is investigating whether it can fully switch to online education, it reports on its website. “The developments surrounding the coronavirus are going very fast, in the Netherlands as well as in the rest of the world”, TU Delft writes. “Like many of you, we are seriously concerned about this.”
    By switching to fully online education, TU Delft wants to guarantee the ‘continuity of education and research for students and staff’ without having to close its doors completely. It is not clear when TU Delft will make a final decision. It does, however, state that it will take it in consultation with other universities.

Call the general TU Delft number 015 278 9111 if you have questions that are not answered in the TU Delft FAQ. If you have a specific question in relation to your work or study and the coronavirus, you can also contact your supervisor or the faculty secretary of your faculty or your director.

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