Universiteit Utrecht
Coronavirus update 22 January
Dear colleagues,
This is the Coronavirus update of 22 January 2021.

Yesterday, the House of Representatives agreed upon introducing a curfew from 9.00 pm to 4.30 am as of Saturday 23 January. The consequences for UU are:

Education in term 2
There is little (practical) education scheduled for the evenings. Educational activities that start or runs after 6 pm will be rescheduled. This is necessary to give students and staff enough time to lock up the buildings safely and to travel home before the curfew. Students who are affected will be informed by their programme about the new time. Students and teachers of the faculty of Medicine will receive additional information from UMC Utrecht next Monday.

Study places
The Central Government doesn’t allow us to make exceptions on the curfew for study places. Study places at the two University Library locations and in a few other buildings will be available until 7.30 pm as of Saturday 23 January. Please note that you must reserve a place in the library in advance from home. The other buildings close at 6 p.m. (at the latest), with the exception of the buildings where animal care must take place. Available study places and opening hours can be found on this website.

The government will make an exception for tests in higher education that are scheduled in the evenings. If you are a student and have to travel after a test after the curfew starts, you will be exempted from the curfew. However, you need to carry an 'Eigen Verklaring Avondklok' from the central government with you, which can be downloaded here. You also need to be able to show a statement from Utrecht University. This statement will be handed out to students at the test location.

Staff members who have to travel during curfew for necessary work
Staff members will be allowed to travel from and to the university between 9.00 pm and 4.30 am if this is necessary for their job. UU is allowing this, in line with cabinet measures, to a very limited number of positions within the university. Permission is granted to staff members who need to be at the university (e.g. security personnel, personnel involved in the treatment or care of animals, or invigilators or teachers at evening examinations).

These staff members need a personal statement (Eigen Verklaring Avondklok), which they can download from the website of the Government of the Netherlands and then fill in. In addition, an employer's statement made available by the central government and signed by Utrecht University is required. Staff members who regularly have to work at evening hours will receive this from the personnel and salary administration. There is no need to submit an application for this; the names will be passed on by faculties and service departments. Do you occasionally have to work in the evening? Then submit a request for an employer's statement to your manager well in advance. He or she will submit the request to the faculty or service department director who will make the request.

Researchers working on location in the evenings will only receive an employers’ statement if there is prior permission of their dean. A statement will only be issued for research activities which are absolutely necessary for safeguarding the results of long-term research (such as plant or experimental animal research) or research directly related to combatting the Covid-19 pandemic.

Please note that Utrecht University statements are only valid if signed.

Education in term 3: online
The government and experts of the Outbreak Management Team experts are greatly worried about the spread of the more contagious British variant of the corona virus which is more contagious. We have to take into account that we have to deal with measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus this whole academic year, and therefore the possibilities for teaching and testing on location in term 3 will be very limited. This means that teaching and testing in term 3 (for UCU and UCR until spring break) will be offered online, with the exception of teaching and testing that cannot take place online, such as some labs.

This will have consequences for schedules. The schedule, which you may have received by now, will be changed and updated as soon as possible. You will be notified on your final schedule in term 3 via mytimetable at the latest 1 February.
We had really hoped to be able to allow more face-to-face education in term 3– also for senior students – but unfortunately this is not possible. As soon as there are more possibilities, we will use it to offer more activities aimed at meeting people on location.

Compensation scheme for study delay
The government has set up two schemes for financial compensation for students who have incurred a study delay due to the corona measures. These schemes will be extended until August 2021. You will find more information at DUO or the student site.

Student wellbeing
We are aware of the frustration resulting from the lack of face-to-face education and interaction for both students and teachers. We understand that the situation is difficult, especially for students who have hardly or not at all been on campus for nearly a year now. If you want to talk to someone about your personal situation, you can make an appointment for a good conversation. The university believes it is important that you are heard. The talks clearly meet a need and we have expanded the capacity. Also check out the website with other advice and support possibilities.

Staff wellbeing
We realise that the additional restrictive measures will be an aggravation for everyone, especially colleagues who live alone and colleagues with (smaller) children.
For staff members with children, it is not clear at this moment how long childcare centres and primary and secondary schools will remain closed. What is clear is that it will take at least two more weeks. We cannot emphasise often enough that we consider it extremely important that staff members who provide home education or who have small children at home give (or are able to give) priority to this. At our crisis team meeting this week, a director was absent because his child needed attention that only he could give at that moment. That is the only right choice.
Feel free to make choices that help you in these times, ask for help to find solutions as a team. Make agreements with your manager and adjust your tasks and/or your working hours together. At all levels of the university, we must be aware that some tasks, projects or deadlines may be postponed as a result.

Allowances for working from home and at the office in 2021
This week you will receive the first salary slip of this year. Due to changes in travel allowances and the new internet allowance, among other things, your salary slip probably looks different from what you are used to. Read more about the new compensations for working from home and at location as of 1 January 2021 on the intranet.
In closing
The corona crisis continues, and the light at the end of the tunnel is probably further away than we would wish. We ourselves, and also in conversations with students and staff, notice how important it is to build new routines. Routines to take a break, to take time for lunch, to go for a walk or to have breakfast together as a family. We want to create as many conditions as possible to make this possible. We will come back to this once the results of the survey on the meeting-free week have been analysed and your tips have been collected. For now: talk to each other about this, share tips, remind each other of good intentions and help each other.

Kind regards,
The Executive Board,

Anton Pijpers, President
Henk Kummeling, Rector Magnificus

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