'Rapid testing can eliminate problem around exams'

| Stan Waning

The problems with physical exams on the campus are not yet a thing of the past. Students and teachers regularly feel unsafe, as was expressed during the University Council meeting on Wednesday.

Photo by: Gijs van Ouwerkerk

On behalf of student party UReka, ATLAS student Margo Dietrich summarised the problems in three points. First of all, she noted that there is a lack of clarity about when exams are taken online or offline. 'Also, exams suddenly change form as a result of changing guidelines.' Finally - and according to Dietrich the point of most concern - students and staff do not feel safe taking physical exams.

'It is an ongoing problem. The majority of students and staff share the concerns, but not everyone thinks the same about physical exams. I know that many students actually like to come to campus for an exam. For example, to escape the home situation, or because they perform better on campus,' Dietrich explained.


During the council meeting this morning, it appeared that the biggest shortcoming is the lack of clarity surrounding the exams. The Executive Board was therefore presented with three recommendations. The first request was to create clarity throughout the UT about the guidelines for when an exam is online or offline. Secondly, the University Council would like to see more stability, so that students' exam schedules do not change right before their exams. Finally, more safety measures must be taken. Such as rapid tests, the number of students per exam room and increasing the distance between students and staff. And, in cases where this is not possible, having the exam online. As a nuance, Dirk Koelewijn (DAS) added that the problems occur mainly with smaller exams, which are not held in the sports centre or the Therm, but in lecture halls.


Part of the frustration surrounding the exams lies in the way each faculty deals with the problem. 'And something needs to be done about that. One faculty has a totally different way of dealing with it than the other,' said Dick Meijer (PvdUT). Student Alina Ritter agreed with him. 'I recently heard that people with symptoms just come to their exams. That creates extra pressure for students. Moreover, the one and a half metres can often only barely be maintained.'

Rector Tom Veldkamp acknowledged that there are still problems with the exams and would like to solve them. 'We are therefore looking at three other universities where they are experimenting with rapid tests. That could possibly eliminate the problem around exams. Vaccination is a long-term solution, rapid testing could be a short term one.'

Veldkamp also said that he finds the examples 'worrying' and promised to keep a close eye on the developments surrounding rapid testing.

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