UT eases measures slightly, only where possible

| Rense Kuipers

The easing of the corona measures announced on Wednesday also has consequences for activities on campus. The UT's priority is to gradually reopen the laboratories and education for which campus facilities are necessary. Executive board spokesperson Laurens van der Velde explains the UT decisions.

Photo by: RIKKERT HARINK

Can employees return to their workstations on campus?

'The central government is calling for employees to continue to work from home as much as possible in the coming period, and this also applies to UT employees. We choose to expand with the right activities. In this case, these are the activities that cannot be carried out at home: in the laboratories, or in education for which campus facilities are necessary. This does not mean that all buildings and labs can suddenly be reopened. It is very difficult to determine where space and urgency lie. This also involves other issues, such as the total number of people and the number of safety officers that need to be present. The UT is responsible for ensuring the health and safety of everyone.'

But there is going to be some easing?

'The labs are increasingly open to critical and urgent research. We will expand that further in the coming weeks. But we also have the room to switch back if the situation demands it. What we absolutely don't want is having too many people in the buildings. It would be a shame if people who don't have to be there were to hinder the activities of people who have no other choice. That's also our warning we're giving the UT community'.

So distance education stays until after the summer?

That's right, with a few rare exceptions, perhaps. For education after the summer, we take a firm stance: our educational concept requires physical education and we offer that as much as possible on campus. We're even a bit more rigid in that sense than the line the VSNU communicated on Wednesday. We have a large campus, with lots of space. And we're a technical university, so we're also more dependent on lab facilities than general universities, and the same goes for practicals and research by Bachelor's and Master's students. Exactly how we are going to set things up is still unclear. Maybe we should set up tents to give lectures. In any case, we have to be creative with the space we have.'

From 11 May, the easing of the measures will provide space for sports, culture and libraries. What are the plans of the UT?

'We're working them out at the moment. For example, it’s clear that we want to and can open the Vrijhof in the short term. But before we do that, we will have to make an extra move. If you want to regulate how many people can enter the library at the same time, you have to set up your reservation system to accommodate that new situation. We need to take similar extra steps for  sports and culture. We do everything with the health and safety of our people in mind.'