Further relaxation measures; an end to the 1.5 metre rule?

22 Jun 2021 10:42 | Communication

Last Friday, the government announced further Covid-19 relaxation measures. In principle, nearly everything will be permitted again from 26 June onwards, provided that the 1.5 metre rule is observed. We have since received a letter from Minister Van Engelshoven. In it, she asked higher education institutions to be ready to organise and provide education without the 1.5 metre rule starting from 16 August.

Below, we present a list of the most important relaxation measures and what they mean for the students and staff at AUAS:

Face masks no longer obligatory in many locations as of 26 June

The government announced that starting from 26 June the obligation to wear face masks will only apply in situations where it is not possible to maintain a distance of 1.5 metres. This includes public transport, airports and train stations, for example. At AUAS, wearing face masks will therefore no longer be required as of 26 June, except in situations where a 1.5 metre distance cannot be observed, e.g. during practical education. Naturally, students and staff are free to wear face masks if they prefer.

Lifting of the 1.5 metre rule in higher education

The most important piece of good news is the stated intention to lift the 1.5 metre rule in higher education as of 16 August. The government will make its final decision on the matter on 13 August based on the situation at that time (number of coronavirus cases, hospital admissions etc.). This development further increases the likelihood of a “normal” start to the new academic year, free of coronavirus measures.

However, this also means that the 1.5 metre rule will remain in effect in higher education institutions, including AUAS, until the summer holidays. We will therefore maintain the current timetables, whereby students and staff are able to attend the campus a number of hours per week for education and other activities.

Introduction activities

Introduction activities of an educational nature may take place without the 1.5 metre rule. This concerns introduction activities organised by AUAS, generally by the various degree programmes themselves. Introduction activities of a social nature organised by student associations will be subject to the coronavirus regulations in effect at any given moment for hotels, restaurants, catering establishments and the events sector.

Minister Van Engelshoven has asked for particular attention to be given to the soon-to-be second year students, who missed out on their introduction in their first year. We will be asking the degree programmes to organise an appropriate programme for these students as well as offering them the opportunity to become acquainted with AUAS’s campus in person.

The central introduction at Wibauthof will not take place this year. Degree programmes may introduce elements into the kick off for their own programme or campus introductions. A digital introduction will also be available for all students.

Working from home

The government’s recommendation to work 50% from home will take effect on 26 June. This offers more leeway to start working on site again. In any event, the 1.5 metre rule will remain in effect until at least 16 August, meaning that the number of available workspaces and the maximum number of people in a room are still limited. The situation, options and needs differ per building and per team, so please discuss what is possible with your fellow team members.

Tests and vaccinations

It is important for students and staff to keep using self-tests. This applies not just for the current academic year but also at the start of the upcoming year, or when you return from a holiday abroad, for example. Students and staff can request self-tests

via SURF www.zelftestonderwijs.nl until the end of June. Self-testing remains non-compulsory.

The announced relaxation measures are made possible by the rapidly growing number of people who have been vaccinated and the corresponding decrease in coronavirus infections. We are pleased that everyone above the age of 18 can now be vaccinated. In view of that, we hope that many AUAS students and staff will choose to be vaccinated but we also wish to emphasise, once more, that vaccination is a voluntary choice which every person is free to make for themselves.