As of this Sunday, an evening lockdown will apply in the Netherlands, outgoing Prime Minister Rutte has just announced. At 5 PM, pubs, cinemas, museums, gyms, clubs, and so on must close their doors. Only essential shops like supermarkets and drugstores can stay open until 8 PM.
But so can education. “Accredited education can also take place in the evening”, the rules state (in Dutch). Last time, it was stipulated that everyone had to wear mouth masks in the corridors again and that a maximum of 75 students can sit in a lecture hall. But there are no additional measures.
That is quite special, given that almost all other sectors of society are faced with new measures. “Students can breathe a sigh of relief: we will be spared a schedule full of zoom lectures,” responds Lisanne de Roos of the Interstedelijk Studenten Overleg (Dutch National Students’ Association). “There finally seems to be consensus that education cannot be closed down again. That is a load off my mind.”
Outging Education Minister Van Engelshoven already said at the beginning of the academic year that higher education would not close its doors again, not even in a new corona wave. That still appears to be the line.
However, the government does still want the possibility of making the corona pass compulsory in higher education - and in all kinds of other places. It continues to prepare the necessary legislation, despite resistance from universities and universities of applied sciences.
HOP, Bas Belleman
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