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Update 4 september: Practical guidelines in the event of a COVID-19 infection 

4 September 2020 by Coronavirus

These practical guidelines offer some solid handholds on how to act in the event that a staff member or student has become – or is suspected of having become – infected with the COVID-19 virus

Symptoms 

Starting on 1 June 2020, everyone throughout the Netherlands must stay home if they have one or more of the following symptoms associated with COVID-19: 

  • cold symptoms, such as a stuffy and runny nose, sneezing, and a sore throat
  • a cough
  • tightness in the chest 
  • a fever or a temperature that is higher than normal
  • a sudden loss in the ability to smell or taste (without nasal congestion).

Housemates with symptoms 

You are not required to stay at home if any of your housemates have only mild symptoms such as cold symptoms, a cough or a sudden loss of the ability to smell or taste. The housemate suffering from the symptoms, however, must undergo a COVID-19 test. You can attend classes or go to work at Avans as usual.

However, if your housemate has mild symptoms in combination with a fever or a tightness in the chest, you and all your other housemates must remain at home. In this case, stay at home and do not come to Avans! 

If your housemate’s test is negative, you can return to Avans. 

When to have yourself tested? 

Everyone with one of the above symptoms must have him or herself tested. See the instructions provided by the Dutch government on https://www.government.nl. Do you have any of the symptoms listed above? Stay at home and have yourself tested! 

You are only advised to telephone your general practitioner if you have serious symptoms such as a fever and/or a tightness and are aged 70 and older or are in poor health.

Make an appointment for a COVID-19 

  • Call +31 800-1202 (from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.). 
  • Or log in to the website of the Dutch government and use your DigiD details. 

Test results 

Negative:

If you were tested negative, there is no need for you to stay at home and you can resume your life as usual. This means that you can come to Avans.

If any new symptoms develop, or your existing symptoms worsen after having received negative test results, you must stay at home and make a new appointment by calling the nation-wide telephone number for COVID-19 testing (+31 800-1202) for a new test. 

Positive

In the case of a positive test result, you do not necessarily have to report sick. If you have few complaints, you can as far as possible work digitally from home , or you can make arrangements with your manager about a (different) range of tasks.

If you have complaints and are unable to work? Report sick in the usual way. In the event of a positive test result, the Municipal Health Service (GGD) conducts source and contact research. Immediately after the result of the test, the GGD will ask you who may have infected you and with whom you have had contact. The GGD gives further instructions. 

In case of a contact test, please inform the GGD that you are an Avans student/employee! The GGD will then also contact your academy/service.

Clarification for staff members and students living in Code Orange areas 

Reason 

The Management Group published the following memo on 21 August: 

‘Residents of Code Orange areas':
Some staff and students may live in an area that has currently been designated as a code orange area. This currently applies to the Antwerp region, for instance. The government strongly advises against any unnecessary travel from and to Antwerp. Avans is following this advice. If you live in a “code orange area”, you should stay at home.

It has become clear to the organisation that there is some ambiguity concerning this memo. We are sending you this message to clarify a few matters. 

Staff members 

The basic principle is that all persons travelling from an orange area in Belgium to the Netherlands are obliged to observe a period of self-quarantine. An exception applies, among others, to ‘frontier workers’ provided their journey is of crucial importance. The concept of what is and is not of crucial importance is difficult to define. The Dutch national government has explicitly indicated that ‘travelling for the purpose of education is of crucial importance and is therefore permitted’. Here too, the level of importance plays a role. It goes without saying that every situation must be assessed individually. A decision will be made for each individual staff member and each activity to see if the journey, in this specific case, can be considered of crucial importance.

Alternatives play an important part in this. If any alternatives are available, the journey will not be designated as crucially important. Teaching classes that cannot possibly be given online can hereby be defined as crucially important. 

Agreements
Employers and employees in professions and branches of industry in which travel is of crucial importance must make mutual agreements weighing the necessity against the risks. In this, they can call upon the advice of occupational health and safety services.

Students 

The basic principle is that all persons travelling from an orange area in Belgium to the Netherlands are obliged to observe a period of self-quarantine. The exception mentioned above that applies to staff members residing in an orange area does not apply to students.
 
The overarching organisations (e.g. the policy advisor of the Netherlands Association of Universities of Applied Sciences in consultation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) have stated that Belgian students are not obliged to observe a period of self-quarantine if they must travel between the city or town in which they reside and their educational institution. This was, however, rectified on 1 September:

The announcement made by the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was premature. Following consultation with the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, it became clear that the first announcement (saying that students could cross the Dutch border without any problems) was incorrect. 

In the meantime, the International Office has asked the Policy Adviser for Internationalisation at the Netherlands Association of Universities of Applied Sciences if an exception to the quarantine regulation could be made for ‘frontier students’ and, if so, under which conditions. Awaiting these answers, further research was conducted on the Dutch national government’s various websites. However, no information with regard to a possible exception for students could be found.

Other educational institutions are telling their students to take part in education at home and to refrain from travelling to their educational institution. This is also the conclusion currently drawn by most of the educational institutions that responded to the messages that have appeared nation-wide in the International Office’s network. 

Conclusion 

To staff members for whom it is of crucial importance that they are able to travel between Belgium and the Netherlands, it applies that they are exempt from the obligation to observe a period of self-quarantine. Travelling is permitted, provided this is of crucial importance. Agreements must be set down about this between employers and employees.

However, no exception with regard to self-quarantine applies to students, as far as we know. Travelling is not permitted unless the person in question observes a 10-day period of self-quarantine immediately following his or her arrival in the Netherlands. 

Advice 

Staff members: Staff members are permitted to travel, provided this is of crucial importance for their educational activities. Schools and units must be reminded of the basic principle that travel is not permitted unless it is of crucial importance. The school boards and the staff make agreements about this in advance and put these down on paper to satisfy the obligations imposed by the Dutch national government, on the one hand, and to discourage staff from frequent travel on their own initiative, on the other.

Students: Students may not travel to Avans. They must study at home or make up for the education they missed at another point in time.

Last updated on 11 September 2020.