Universities and student unions have responded with joy to Tuesday evening’s press conference. Finally it is coming to pass: from Monday 26 April, universities may again give physical lessons. This includes TU Delft too, even if the campus doors are only open ajar instead of wide.
“It is great that students may return to campus, though what they do on campus is limited,” says Vice Rector Magnificus Rob Mudde on Wednesday at a monthly meeting with TU Delft’s Central Student Council. Large lectures will probably remain completely digital in the foreseeable future. Most teachers have already prepared online lessons for this quarter (Q4). Mudde says “We do not think it is a good idea to revert all our teaching to on campus given the workload that our teachers have to deal with. It will affect the quality of the education.”
Another factor, according to the Executive Board, is that part of the student body has not taken a return to physical lessons into account. They are either not in Delft or would rather not come to campus because they “have a vulnerable situation”.
Freedom of choice
Teachers do have the space to choose physical lessons, says Mudde, but even in this case, not every student can come to campus. “It is not forbidden if teachers say ‘it is perfectly possible and I have a back-up for online’. Then it is perfectly possible to give physical lessons as long as they meet the RIVM (Netherlands National Institute for Public Health and the Environment) regulations. These regulations do restrict the number of people you can receive in a lecture hall, though.”
So what is permitted on 26 April? More work groups and more frequent access to self-study places and project spaces. The Executive Board is leaving the further working out of the physical regulations over to the faculties and degree programmes. Some third year Mechanical Engineering students have already heard that they may come to campus for work groups from the 26th. The exact changes at several other faculties are as yet unknown. TU Delft recommends students to keep a close eye on Brightspace.
Both the Cabinet and TU Delft call on students and staff to have themselves preventively tested for Covid-19 before coming to campus. Free self-tests will be available from the beginning of May.