Do UT students also want a Covid pass on campus?

| Stan Waning

Because of the rising corona numbers, the government wants to be able to require students to show their Covid pass before they enter university buildings. What do UT students think of this? Opinions vary from: ‘In crowded lecture halls, such a policy is not a bad idea’, to ‘2G is too much for me’.

‘Entry pass may not lead to dichotomy’

From behind her black face mask, Eliana Bergamin, who recently completed her master’s degree in Philosophy of Science, Technology & Society, explains that economic consequences must be taken into account in the choice of policy. ‘I would be in favour of a 3G policy (vaccinated, cured or tested, ed.) at the university, but under one important condition. An Covid pass must not lead to a dichotomy.’ The Italian, who sees that a strict 2G policy is implemented in her country, supports the Covid pass, but the government has to keep paying for the costs of testing. ‘Otherwise, you might exclude unvaccinated people because they cannot afford a corona test, which cannot be the aim.'

‘We know of the mental struggles of students during a lockdown’

Remi van Veen, student Advanced Technology, sees nothing in a 2G policy for the time being. ‘Because you can see that there is little to no enforcement of 3G. At many bars, they do not ask for anything. Why then, would you have an even stricter policy?', he wonders.

He understands that the government wants to intervene at the universities. He supports it, in fact. Because the last thing he wants is for schools to close again. ‘I think we all read the stories about students’ mental struggles last week. I recognize the feelings of loneliness. We should not want that again. A Covid pass, if properly enforced, could work. It does not exclude anyone. In most lecture halls, keeping a distance is done well, but during breaks and in the corridors, you see large groups of students who struggle to keep to that rule.'

‘2G is too much for me’

If it’s up to Angela Krstovska from North Macedonia, there will be no Covid pass at Dutch universities. She substantiates her statement with a recent example. ‘My roommate recently took an exam while being infected. She did not know that at the time, but we all had to go into quarantine after that. The point is: a QR code does not keep infected people out, because vaccinated people can get infected as well.'

This means that the Industrial Design Engineering student is not in favour of such a certificate, since she feels safe on campus as long as she wears a face mask and keeps her distance. ‘On the other hand, it can be very crowded in some places. I study in the library a lot and you are allowed to take off your face mask if you are seated, but then you might not be comfortable if it is crowded. If 3G results in fewer infections, then I am all for it, but 2G is a step too far for me.’

‘A difficult decision’

Noor Mansour had to think long and hard about the question of whether he is in favour or against a Covid pass. ‘Very difficult. If the number of infections keeps rising as they do, then a 3G policy might be a good solution for higher education. It will feel more comfortable in some spaces. I now sit almost exclusively in the corner of the library, then there is nothing to worry about. But in more crowded lecture halls, such a policy is not a bad idea.

The German master's student in Computer Science emphasises that a 2G policy goes too far in his opinion. ‘You are overdoing it at that point. I am vaccinated and feel safe in most places. The biggest difference between the Netherlands and Germany is that there is more enforcement in Germany. That helps in bringing the number of infections down.’

‘A 2G policy works well in Germany as well’

A little further on in the library, the German exchange student Thuy Tien Nguyen is studying from behind her laptop. She would have no problems with it if the government will introduce the Covid pass at Dutch universities. ‘They already have a 2G policy in multiple states in Germany and that works well. That does not mean that such a policy is necessary at Dutch universities, but I would not be against it. Sometimes I find myself between tens of other students in a small room. At that point there is nothing wrong with such a policy’, says the master’s student International Business Administration.

‘Friends of mine will get into trouble’

Serhii Lysin, a student of Business Information Technology, does not foresee any problems for himself if a Covid pass is necessary to enter buildings on campus. For studying friends from Ukraine, however, it is different, he says. ‘Not all of them have been vaccinated. They have made appointments, but it takes a couple of weeks before you have a QR code. They can have themselves tested in that case, but it is not ideal.’

Despite that restriction, Lysin supports the idea of only being able to enter buildings if you are vaccinated, recovered or tested. ‘But I certainly do not support 2G. Then my friends would not be able to enter anywhere for the time being. That is a step too far.’

‘Education differs from a shop or a cafe’

Lisa Cornelissen, a student of Technical Medicine, is in favour of 3G. But such a policy at universities? ‘I am not sure. I am vaccinated, but something like that is bad for the unvaccinated. I have no problem with it in bars and shops, but education is different. Here, you have to be careful with excluding people.’

What makes the difference for her is whether unvaccinated people have to be inside campus buildings daily, or once every two weeks, for example. ‘Then it is not a big problem. Then you get yourself tested and nothing is wrong, but if you have to do that daily, then I think you are creating a kind of dichotomy.’

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