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international

‘Higher education reopened next week’

Sterre van der Hee,
14 januari 2022 - 16:24

The cabinet will come up with relaxations of the current coronavirus measures during Friday’s press conference, RTL Nieuws reports based on political sources. Higher education is allowed to open ‘under conditions’ and stores and people with a non-medical contact profession can receive customers by appointment.

According to RTL News, additional conditions will apply in stores and barber stores: think of a limitation on the number of visitors and a mouth mask requirement. Furthermore, adults would be allowed to exercise outside again until 8 p.m. in the evening and indoor sports would be possible under certain conditions. A reopening of the restaurants and cultural sector would not yet be in sight.

‘You can’t change everything overnight. Maybe we’ll finish block 3 online, for example, which is short, and then the teaching can take place on-campus in block 4.’

The UvA states to be waiting for the press conference, says spokesperson Annelies van Dijk. ‘We don’t know under what conditions universities are allowed to open, so it’s too early to say anything now.’ Switching quickly between online and offline education is very difficult, she stresses. ‘I suspect we will do things differently in the short term, but I also think that it takes time. You can’t change everything overnight. Maybe we’ll finish block 3 online, for example, which is short, and then the teaching can take place on-campus in block 4.’ The exact details will vary from course to course, she says. 

 

Psychological problems

Earlier this week several student unions and educational associations sent a letter to the Outbreak Management Team in which they hammered on the reopening of (higher) education. They did this because many students are struggling with psychological problems, ranging from loneliness and gloom to life fatigue. Employees of educational institutions also experience high work pressure and uncertainty about the way they have to teach (safely), according to the organizations.

 

President Gerwin van der Pol of the Central Works Council (COR) of the UvA, however, said before that the opening of higher education is ‘a very bad plan, if you look at the infection numbers’. ‘If students have to go back to university, teachers have to go back too,’ he said. ‘I understand the demand from students, but I also see the downside. We cannot sacrifice ourselves as teachers because students are more important. Besides, what if teachers or students are family caregivers, for example, or what if they are in quarantine?’


The Asva student union, which had declared a protest against online education for Friday, has let it be known that this demonstration will not take place.