Good news for students emerged from last Friday’s press conference: they can return to the campus. The only provisos are that they have to wear a face mask everywhere and that no more than 75 students are allowed in a lecture room at any one time.
But there has not yet been a rush. The switch from online to on-campus lectures is apparently a major organisational challenge for educational institutions according to the Hoger Onderwijs Persbureau (Higher Education Press Agency, red).
At the University of Twente, for example, they did not expect after last Friday’s press conference that lecturers would give on-campus lectures again on Monday morning, a spokesperson told student magazine U-Today. Given the maximum group size, some of the teaching will in any event take place online for the time being.
At TU Delft students have exams this week. It differs per faculty and per course how education will be taken up after the exams. The faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science (EWI), for example, has announced that, due to the maximum group size, courses in the coming semester will have a hybrid form.
It emerges from a survey by student magazine Folia that at the University of Amsterdam as well many lectures will still be given online during this teaching period Maastricht University has announced that classes will remain online until the end of January. The University of Groningen is also targeting the following teaching period: “Our aim is to provide as much face-to-face teaching as possible again as from the start of the following teaching period.”
Wageningen University is leaving it up to the course coordinators to decide whether teaching will take place online or on campus in the final two weeks of the teaching period. And as in some courses 20 percent of the students are already self-isolating, the university is advising lecturers to offer an online alternative to on-campus teaching, reports student magazine Resource.
Utrecht University announced that classes would take place on campus once again as from 7 February. For ‘small-scale gatherings’ such as mentoring interviews students can already come to the campus again.
The Dutch National Students' Association regrets this and stresses that last week the educational institutions expressed support for the call to open up higher education as soon as possible. “The fact that in many places they are now dragging their feet is not entirely consistent with that. On the other hand, I realise that it involves a lot of work”, says chair Lisanne de Roos.
The Dutch Student Union is also not surprised that the changeover is taking a while. “It’s difficult for institutions to switch quickly from on-campus to online and back again. I don’t expect there will be much more on-campus teaching after the interim exam period”, says chair Ama Boahene.
HOP, Josefine van Enk en Bas Belleman/ Delta