The new academic year
We are gradually approaching the end of the 2020-2021 academic year, and what an unusual year it’s been! As previously communicated, we have been developing scenarios for the 2021-2022 academic year for some time now. In these scenarios, we assume that more will be possible in terms of face-to-face education following the summer holidays.
Basic scenario: no more social distancing
The Ministry of Education has developed four scenarios for face-to-face encounters in higher professional education. In light of the most recent insights, the ministry is aiming for a ‘basic scenario’ at the start of the new academic year: this means that the 1.5 metre social distancing guideline will be dropped, but that wearing a face mask will remain mandatory when moving from place to place outside lecture halls and classrooms. This will apply until the Outbreak Management Team revises its recommendation. Furthermore, a maximum number of 75 people may attend educational activities in person. Mandatory testing and/or vaccination certificates are not part of this scenario.
Along with the other higher education institutions in the Netherlands, Avans University of Applied Sciences is basing preparations for the coming academic year on this scenario. We previously communicated that schedules had to take account of the 1.5 metre rule with an option for scaling up. Upscaling is now on the agenda in view of the government’s intention to allow face-to-face education without social distancing after the summer holidays.
Fallback scenarios are also in place that come into effect immediately in the event of a new, local outbreak of the coronavirus or increasing infection rates. We are therefore prepared to return to online education in part or in full should circumstances dictate.
In the event of a new outbreak, practicals and lab work will be given priority to continue offering face-to-face education with an eye to preventing study progress delays. We assume that it will be possible for us to create COVID-free bubbles thanks to the experience we gained in the self-test pilots. Detailed information on the scenarios can be found on the national government website (in Dutch).
Public transport and scheduling
No further requirements are in place for the use of public transport. However, public transport companies have asked educational institutions to do what they can to limit travel during rush hours. In practice, this means that some educational activities will start in the second hour, and we also expect that some activities will continue to be held online.
Schools can get started now with supplying scheduling information, and capacity limitations due to the 1.5 metre requirement can be dropped. Scheduling information must be sent to the educational logistics assistant before 1 June!
It goes without saying that we want to give our new students a warm welcome at Avans during the Introduction Days. Scenarios are also available for such activities through the same link. Guided tours and other activities in and around the campus buildings are possible in week -1 and week 0 of the upcoming academic year from 14.00. Tests will be administered during morning hours.
The Security Region or the relevant municipality will provide the rules, such as group size, for organising off-campus activities.
It is currently unclear what kind of scope there will be for activities that are not education-related in the new academic year. Discussions are ongoing, and we will update you as more information becomes available.
Take the self-test!
As summer approaches, it is key that we continue to engage in face-to-face education as safely as possible. Voluntary self-testing before coming to an Avans location is a step in the right direction, and it will certainly increase the chances that we can resume even more on-campus activities in the new academic year. Employees and students can order self-tests for free at zelftestonderwijs.nl Please note: supplies are limited.