Foto Onno Tijsma

University board urges UUers to follow RIVM rules

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The Executive Board urges employees and students to adhere to the rules set by the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM). Direct cause for the warning is the behaviour of a group of students who weren’t social distancing in the Educatorium, and didn’t want to do so even after being addressed about their behaviour.

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This is mentioned in the corona update the university board sent to all Utrecht University employees and students on Thursday. In the update, the Executive Board repeats the words of ‘corona bigwig’ and professor of theoretical epidemiology Hans Heesterbeek who, in an article published by DUB, warns that risk behaviour keeps the virus alive.

“Let’s truly take that to heart,” the board writes, pointing out the fact that students, too, can get sick from a Covid-19 infection. Risk behaviour can have bigger consequences when, in September, more people are allowed to come to the university for work or attending class, the board members write, who are also seeing that the majority of people do follow the rules.

The university board also writes that its three members know how great the need is amongst students and employees to see each other in real life again. This also became clear from the survey the university magazines held, in which 186 students and 163 employees participated.

The board writes: “We’re continuing on this path we’re on, and we’re using the space we have for in-person meetings optimally. We’re creating study spots, pay attention to facilities for working remotely, and heavily consider workloads in all the choices we make. We mainly need to keep an eye out for each other.”

Because education and research are given preference in using the spaces, the board writes that no live conferences, seminars, and other events will be held in the university’s buildings. “Only in very exceptional cases will a ‘live’ event be possible. We’re asking you to be creative, and to look for solutions in which a conference can be held online, even if just partially.”

This call for creativity is in line with what Minister of Education Van Engelshoven said in response to proposals by Coality-Y, the young people who discuss the corona measures at the Catshuis, the official residence of the prime minister. The youths proposed, for instance, to teach classes in theatres and conference halls as they’re not being used, and they offer more room than a large lecture hall. Van Engelshoven will encourage institutions to be “creative with educational locations”. 

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