Teaching during the pandemic
UCR is currently offering our students, in-person and on-campus teaching.
Community is the heart and soul of UCR. Our small, tight-knit student community lives on campus, socializes, and learns here. Our faculty and staff enjoy the frequent in-person interactions they have with students and with each other. We want our community to have in-person touchpoints. However, the safety and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff is of course our top priority.
For these reasons, and because new nationals measures allow for it, we are able to offer all teaching in-person and on campus. We are also fully equipped and ready to switch to fully online or a hybrid teaching model if the pandemic takes a turn for the worse.
Such a flexible (back-up) model provides for both online and limited (especially where necessary) face-to-face classes. In practice, this means that on-campus students may attend classes both online, as well as in-person where and whenever possible. Students who have not been able to come to campus would still be able to attend classes remotely using Zoom (there are exceptions, such as lab courses).
This flexibility is particularly useful when the effects of the pandemic are forcing us to make decisions about how many students can fit into a classroom on campus. The model also enables it to function for students who may not be able to come to campus at the moment, which might be the case for some of our international students.
The relaxation of the rules at university is of course great news for our small community that relies on the close and personal interactions we can enjoy on our campus. We also understand that there will be students and colleagues who will feel uneasy with the lifting of some restrictions. At UCR, we take our responsibility seriously, which is why we have introduced a number of additional conditions and processes to ensure on-site learning can take place in a safe and responsible way. This includes:
Special routing and adjusted class times
One-directional routing with dedicated entry and exit points has been installed in all academic buildings. This will allow students and employees to use the buildings safely. Class times remain adjusted to 1 hour and 45 minutes. This will allow for cleaning regimes to take place between classes (see below). A class starting at 08:45 for instance will thus finish at 10:30. A bell will indicate when there are 5 minutes of class left, followed by a second bell to indicate when the class should conclude and the room vacated. We respectfully ask that you follow the routing directions when on campus, that you stick to class times, and that you do not congregate in communal areas before, between, or after classes.
Face masks in communal areas
As per the national guidelines, face masks must be worn by all students and colleagues when using hallways and communal areas of any of the academic buildings. Facemasks may be removed once seated in class or study space, and in the case of employees, at your desk. Students or instructors who prefer to keep their masks on are of course free to do so.
Frequent and thorough hygiene protocols
Classrooms, offices, and communal areas are being cleaned more regularly. Adjusted class times will also allow instructors to clean all desks with disinfectant before and after every class.
Maximum room capacities
Maximum room capacities will apply to each classroom. These will be clearly indicated in each classroom. Please ensure that the maximum number of people allowed in a classroom is never exceeded.
Adequate ventilation in teaching spaces
We have ensured that all rostered teaching spaces are adequately ventilated. Whilst the weather permits and if the whole class can attend, outdoor teaching is also strongly encouraged.
All students and employees can order free COVID-19 self-tests. Using your Solis ID, you can quickly and easily order self-tests on www.zelftestonderwijs.nl. Tests will be posted to you within a couple of working days. We strongly encourage you to get tested at least two times a week. And if your self-test is positive, go into self-quarantine and make an appointment to get tested.
New, more relaxed measures announced by the Dutch Government on 13 August are a cautious step to opening up society further. It is not entirely without restrictions, but it does allow us to do more than we have been able to since March 2020.
All teaching will take place in person. This means that all students and instructors come to their scheduled classes on campus. Only in exceptional cases where serious health reasons or insurmountable travel restrictions make it impossible for a student or instructor to come to class, a hybrid alternative may be considered. The standard rule is thus that all teaching takes place on campus and in person. When in class and seated, face masks are not required, nor is adhering to keeping social distance. In all other spaces, the 1.5-meter distance rule applies wherever possible, for example in the corridors and outside. Face masks are required in all communal areas of academic buildings.
Social events and gatherings
Under certain conditions, more social activities will be possible. Student societies and boards plan these activities in consultation with the UCR Crisis Team to ensure that Coronameasures are observed at all times.
Villex remains responsible for student housing. The rules set by Villex in student housing should be adhered to at all times. If you have questions about those rules or how they affect you, you may contact Villex directly via email@example.com, or you may contact a member of the HAC.
Having symptoms or getting ill
- If you are experiencing any symptoms associated with the Coronavirus, you should self-quarantine and make an appointment to get tested.
- Then, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, your tutor, and your instructor to notify them that you will not be in class. You should also follow this step if you are self-quarantining because you have been in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. Employees who are self-quarantining should inform their HoD.
- The Crisis Team and your instructor will tell you what to do next. In particular, the instructor will inform you whether and how you can join the class online.
If you are unwell, but your symptoms are not related to COVID-19, the situation is like any other as stated in the student handbook when you would be considered absent.
If you are experiencing any symptoms associated with the Coronavirus, you should self-quarantine and make an appointment to get tested. Then, send an email to email@example.com, your tutor, and your instructor to notify them that you will not be in class. You should also follow this step if you are self-quarantining because you have been in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. The Crisis Team and your instructor will tell you what to do next. In particular, the instructor will inform you whether and how you can join the class online. Employees who are self-quarantining should inform their HoD. If you are unwell, but your symptoms are not related to COVID-19, the situation is like any other as stated in the student handbook when you would be considered absent.
Face masks must be worn in all communal areas of all academic buildings. This means that your mask remains on at all times when in the academic buildings. Only once seating in class or at your study space may your facemask be removed. Those who would like to wear a face mask at all times are welcome to do so.
Outside of UCR, face masks must be worn in public transport, on aircraft, as well as train stations, and airports. Make sure the mask covers your nose, mouth, and chin.
Wearing a face mask is never a substitute for not observing other measures to limit the spread of the virus. You must also always stay 1.5 meters away from others and avoid busy places.
UCR is a residential college. We owe it to our students and our colleagues, many of whom long to return to campus, to facilitate as much in-person and on-campus education as possible. We also want to create a safe space for our students (current and incoming) and employees to socially integrate which is of great importance to our small university college and close-knit community. With all this in mind, as of Monday, 30 August 2021, UCR will reopen with all teaching taking place on campus.
This means that all of our students, our faculty, and our staff are expected back on campus. At the same time, we continue to take our responsibility for public health very seriously, to minimize the risks of outbreaks of the virus. So there are only two cases in which an exception for continued online studies could be considered by the UCR Board:
- Travel restrictions – for students or colleagues whose national governments prohibit them from traveling to the Netherlands. In this case, a student may request to follow classes online until the moment that traveling will be possible again. Students should bear in mind that studies are considered as necessary and essential travel by the Dutch government. This means that traveling may be permitted, even if the country is marked as code orange.
- Serious Health Concerns – for students whose physical or mental health will be endangered by either traveling to the UCR campus or staying on campus. In these cases, a student may request to take classes online. This requires a written statement from your doctor or specialist which clearly states that the current COVID-19 situation is endangering your health. This must be a recent statement.
If any of these apply to you, you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is too early to say.
However, The Netherlands is winning substantial ground in rolling out its vaccination program. The 22 millionth dose of vaccine has recently been administered. This means that the Netherlands now has high vaccination coverage and the figure is continuing to rise on a daily basis. Additionally, the tide turned quickly on the fourth wave of infections, and the number of hospital and ICU admissions is not expected to increase further. This shows just how important vaccination is – and that it is working.
In light of this, coupled with the importance of face-to-face education, we anticipate that teaching will take place under normal conditions (that is in-person and on-campus) in Spring 2022.
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