A lot of uncertainty about corona rules student units

Photo: Vidius

I was all over the news this weekend that the police are hunting down young people nationwide who are gathering with more than three people, something that is not allowed according to current corona rules. At student complex Uilenstede in Amsterdam, fines of 390 euros have been given.

There appears to be a lot of uncertainty about the rules. Is a student house a household or not? At two student houses on the IBB complex residents have stuck an announcement on the windows with the text: "Our family consists of 15, we stay at home".

They put the announcement up, they say to RTV Utrecht, after they were addressed by passers-by. They got remarks from them when they were doing fitness exercises together in front of the door. In the eyes of the students, they stood in their own garden.

Eating together in the grass
The next day, students from one unit were approached by the police because they were having their meal together in the grass. In the eyes of the students, they are a household and the lawn is their garden. The police saw it differently, they said on the spot. But, the students argued, as soon as we are in the house we share the bathroom, the kitchen, the toilet and it is only natural that we eat together. So then it's strange that we can't eat together in the grass or drink a beer together.

The SSH sent an e-mail to the residents of the IBB: "We receive messages that worry us. Messages about the gathering of groups of people on the IBB lawns. This is not allowed! Even if you live together in one student house."

To RTV Utrecht, SSH director Rob Donninger acknowledges that it is a strange situation. "Almost Monty Python-like absurd. But it's the rule."

From the site of the municipality of Utrecht

Questions to the municipality
Other organisations have also picked up on the students’ call. Student & Starter took the initiative and, together with VVD, CDA, PVV, Stadsbelang Utrecht, PvdA, D66 and SP, submitted written questions last Thursday April 9. They asked for more clarity about the policy of student houses. The CDJA published an open letter on the issue on Tuesday.

Student organisation Vidius and resident association Boks have also written a letter to the Utrecht mayor Van Zanen, asking him to be more accommodating. The police have indicated that students should keep a distance from each other indoors as well, and, if necessary, just sit 'in their rooms', the letter writers report. "But in a house where you sit on the same toilet seat, shower in the same bathroom and brush your teeth in front of the same mirror, that is impossible". The government should therefore treat all forms of cohabitation in the same way, they write.

Read our story about a unit at the IBB that had sick people in a part of the house.