Dutch Universities Lift All Restrictions on Face-To-Face Teaching From Today

Amsterdam, Netherlands

University students in the Netherlands will be able to return to university from today, February 18, the Universities of the Netherlands (UNL) representing 14 Dutch universities has announced.  

According to a statement by UNL, the mask-wearing requirement will end on February 25, and the recommendation to work from home will also be relaxed with immediate effect, Erudera.com reports.

“The recommendation is now to work from home if possible and to spend no more than half of your working hours at the university. Universities will discuss this with their employees,” UNL says.

The government has suggested to keep wearing face coverings even after February 25 or to maintain a distance of 1.5 meters if it is not possible to wear face masks. In addition, the higher education sector has withdrawn the proposal to show COVID-19 certificates.

Chairman of Universities of the Netherlands, Pieter Duisenberg, expressed delight that employees and students can meet their colleagues and continue studies normally again as working and studying from home has been difficult for many students and staff.

“At the same time, we realise that some people are concerned about their health and that of their loved ones. This is very understandable, and we will continue to discuss this. We ask everyone to give each other the space they need, so we can all have a safe and responsible return to university,” Duisenberg added.

Universities in the Netherlands have resumed in-person education since January 17; however, due to the maximum number of 75 students allowed to attend in-person classes, some education had to be held online.

With the gradual relaxation of measures, more students will be able to take in-person classes again, but online learning will still take place in some cases. Universities will inform students and employees about lectures that must take place online.

For those who do not feel ready to come to the university, UNL points out that a suitable solution will be sought in cooperation with the degree program or supervisors for students and employees.

Despite the relaxation of some restrictions, there are other measures that will still apply for the safe return to university, which include:

  • Masks are mandatory until February 25.
  • Institutions will continue to provide good ventilation.
  • Each individual will be required to comply with the basic rules (hygiene measures) and quarantine guidelines.
  • Preventive self-testing two times per week is urgently recommended.

The number of international students in the Netherlands has also started to increase since the country relaxed COVID-19 restrictions, marking a ten percent increase, according to the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND). However, in order to maintain the quality of education, Dutch universities want to curb the number of international students from outside the EU zone.

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