OMT wants educational institutions to stay open

| HOP, Bas Belleman

Despite the rapid rise in the number of coronavirus infections, the entire education system needs to remain open, OMT experts have told the government. This should also apply to higher education institutions.

On Friday, the government will present new measures to combat the coronavirus pandemic. That is a week earlier than planned. The Outbreak Management Team (OMT) has been asked to provide its advice earlier too.  

The recommendations and measures invariably leak out, and this time is no exception. According to the NOS news organisation, the team of experts wants educational institutions to stay open, whatever happens.  

Last week, the OMT experts wrote: 'There is [...] one area of society that the OMT wants to save from new restrictions, and that is primary and secondary education'. And now, according to the NOS, higher education can be added to that list. 

Measures 

It is not yet known what the government will do with the OMT’s advice. There are a variety of measures that can be taken without having to close campuses. 

For example, on the previous occasion it was decided that a maximum of 75 students could gather in a single area. Maybe that number will be decreased or students might have to observe social distancing during classes and lectures. 

Moreover, higher education institutions have their own responsibility and can make their own decisions about the safety of students and staff. Maastricht University, for instance, is considering just that.  

The rector of Maastricht University, Rianne Letschert, says in the university newspaper Observant that the university is keen to provide teaching on campus. At the same time she is concerned 'about the stress that this may cause among staff and students'. In any event, she is not willing to go back to online teaching only. 

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