23 June update: good prospects for the New Academic Year

23 June 2021 by Coronavirus

The prospects for the new academic year are good. We assume that we will be able to see each other a lot more often on location for education as well as non-education-related work activities, and without restrictive measures. Of course, this has everything to do with the relaxation of measures announced during the cabinet’s press conference on Friday 19 June.

As is now known, some measures will expire after 26 June, and some will likely be abandoned after 16 August. Institutions of higher education also received a letter from Minister Van Engelshoven with information that is relevant to students and staff members of Avans. Please find an overview of the most important information below. It also includes answers to other outstanding questions regarding the final weeks before the summer holidays and the start of the new academic year.

Keep it up and Continue to Adhere to the Guidelines! 

The announced measure relaxations provide great prospects for the last weeks before the summer holidays and certainly for the new academic year. At the same time, an increasing number of people are vaccinated and the number of infections is decreasing every week. This is all good news! However, we are also seeing its impact on compliance with the current guidelines. It is becoming increasingly more difficult. Keep it up for a little while longer, follow the guidelines, and be mindful of each other. This includes the staff members on location who are monitoring adherence to the guidelines. It is scandalous that they are sometimes treated with disrespect by our own staff members while they are just doing their job. Please stress this to your staff as well! 

Face Masks after 26 June 

After Saturday 26 June, it will no longer obligatory to wear a face mask in many locations. It will also no longer be necessary to wear one at Avans. A face mask will only remain obligatory in situations where the 1.5-metre distance measure cannot be followed. This includes practical courses and when using the lift. 

Two Scenarios 

The cabinet has asked institutions of higher education to develop two scenarios for after the summer holidays. One scenario in which the 1.5-metre measure no longer applies and one in which it does. Higher education considers the basic scenario to be the one where the 1.5-metre measure no longer applies.

1.5-Metre Distance until 16 August

The 1.5-metre measure will remain in force in higher education, including Avans through the summer holiday. The number of students and staff members that are allowed in a space will remain limited until 16 August. The guidelines related to administering tests also remain unchanged.  

Definitive Decision about 1.5-Metre Distancing on 13 August  

The cabinet will determine whether removing the 1.5-metre measure is feasible on 13 August. This depends on the rate of infection at that time. We will either get the green light or the choice for a fall-back option in which the 1.5-metre measure and possibly other measures will still apply. 

1.5-Metre Measure to End after 16 August  

The new basic scenario without the 1.5-metre measure will apply after 16 August. This involves education and all staff members in support services. There will no longer be a maximum group size for educational activities either. 

Education-Related Introduction Activities (After 16 August) 

Education-related introduction activities at the educational institution can also take place without the 1.5-metre measure. There is also no maximum group size for educational activities and education-related introduction activities at the educational institution.  

Introduction Activities That Are Social in Nature (After 16 August) 

The 1.5-metre measure still applies to other introduction activities that are primarily social in nature (at or outside of the educational institution), such as parties, introduction camps, and social activities for students (sports and study associations).  

Furthermore, the usual general rules for the hospitality industry and events also apply, including the relevant measures to suppress the virus and those related to group size. It may require coordination with the safety regions and mayors or with the organisation who provides the space, and it may be subject to licensing. Please remember to use the coronavirus check app as proof of your vaccination or a negative test result.   

Self-Testing after the Summer Holiday  

We also want to draw your attention to the use of self-tests at the start of the new academic year. It is important for students and staff members to test themselves before participating in education or introduction activities. This reduces the risk of infecting others and a possible outbreak of an even more infectious variant of the virus that would cause the re-introduction of stricter measures. We must remain alert, certainly after the holidays, when many of us were abroad.  

Working from Home and on Location until 16 August 

As was announced in the previous update, it has also been possible to work on location for urgent non-education-related activities since last month, but, this was only in consultation with management and supervisors. Now that the cabinet has announced that working from home will no longer be obligatory after 26 June, there are a few more opportunities for working on location. However, the current 1.5-metre measure still means that there are restrictions to the use of rooms until 16 August. Make sure you coordinate well with management and supervisors if you want to work on location a bit more often. This is still in conjunction with working from home. 

Working from Home and Working on Location after 16 August 

In view of the removal of the 1.5-metre measure, work is being done on a number of frameworks and guidelines with regard to working from home and working on location. The basic principle is that we are looking for a hybrid form, similar to the provision of education. This will be discussed during the circle meeting next Friday and submitted for decision-making. It is expected that the Executive Board will share this with the organisation next week.

COVID College Tour Reminder 

A reminder for the broadcast of the COVID College Tour special on Wednesday evening 23 June. During the broadcast we will look back on the previous episodes, but we will mainly look forward to the start of the new academic year. There will be plenty of opportunity for students and staff members to pose questions to a panel with experts. The broadcast will start at 20:00 and can be watched here

Last updated on 24 June 2021.