Universiteit Utrecht
Coronavirus update 27 March
Dear students and colleagues,

This is the COVID-19 update of March 27th.

Education in Block 4
On Wednesday, 25 March, we announced that all university education and testing will be offered online until 1 June. Now we can provide more clarity about the rest of Block 4.
We have decided that all education and testing in block 4 will also take place online after 1 June, except when it concerns education or testing for which this is clearly not possible and which cannot be replaced by a good online alternative. Think of practical lectures in labs, internships and medical internships and ‘closed book’ tests. The coming week, we will make an inventory of all education that cannot be completed online. In the week of 6 April at the latest, instructors will inform their students as to whether the courses and the associated test(s) will take place online, or if this is not possible. In the latter case, a decision will be made at a later date regarding the manner in which the teaching and/or testing will take place. International students who have already returned to their home country or intend to do so in the near future will be given the choice whether or not to return to Utrecht for courses that cannot be completed online. For students who do not return to Utrecht, an alternative will be sought where the student can stay in their home country.

Binding Study Advice
Last Friday we announced that students who cannot meet the BSA standard due to the coronavirus, will be granted a postponement. We now have more details about this. We hope this will take away the remaining questions and concerns.
  • First-year UU students who have obtained sufficient points (45 EC or more) will, as usual, receive a positive binding study advice (BSA).
  • First-year UU students who have obtained more than 7.5 EC but less than 45 EC (and who are still enrolled after February 2020) will receive what is known as an ‘adopted recommendation’. This means that students will still receive positive study advice if they have obtained at least 60 EC at the end of the second academic year, of which at least 45 EC in first-year courses.
  • First-year UU students who have obtained 7.5 EC or less will receive a negative advice. The study delay of this group cannot (alone) be caused by the COVID-19 virus.
Deadline for admission to Non-EU students
The enrollment date for non-EU residents wishing to enroll in a bachelor or master programme remains 1 April. We have made this decision because, in contrast to Dutch and EU students, these students also follow a trajectory to obtain a residence permit. In case these students cannot submit all documents by 1 April, they can submit missing documents at a later date. We want to be lenient in this respect.

Transition Bachelor-Master
Decisions on the conditions for transitioning from bachelor to master requires coordination with OCW. This will be dealt with by VSNU. We expect to be able to share this decision in the course of next week.

Computer accessories for working from home
We understand that there are many questions among employees about home working facilities. Especially now that we will work from home for a longer period of time, the need for computer accessories is increasing. In order to meet this need in this exceptional situation, we will soon create an opportunity to pick up necessary items from your UU workplace. Preparing this procedure will take some time, the process will take place in a coordinated and safe manner and start as of next week. It is also possible to buy computer accessories to use at home yourself and claim the expense. Items that you pick up from your office or buy are UU’s property and must be returned to the UU in due course. Discuss with your manager what you will pick up and confirm your agreement by e-mail. Additional information from the faculties and from the Facilities Department (FSC) will follow next week.
Student organisations that have offices in UU buildings will also be given the opportunity to pick up necessary items for working from home.

Read more about what you can pick up, the rules about what you can buy and about the application procedure here.

Work and performance pressure
We acknowledge the risk that even more is required of our people now, during this hectic period. We don’t know how long this crisis is going to last and a lot of people have worked extra hard in the past two weeks. At that pace no one will be able 'to run a marathon'. Also, we understand that the home work situation may not enable people to deliver what they would under normal conditions.
Supervisors have been advised: adjust the ambitions. Make clear performance agreements. Be explicit as to what can and what can’t be done. This also applies to research results. As has been indicated, we will come back to the situation which researchers are in if their temporary contracts don’t allow for a postponement of their deadlines. To digital teaching in block four applies to what also applies to the wrapping up of block three: be pragmatic, and do not feel pressured to suddenly provide state-of-the-art online teaching. We are trying to limit the damage (and our learning curve is incredibly steep). What is important is that you manage to take some time off for physical activity and relaxation. Should you have some time for reflection, why don’t you read André Kuipers’ lessons from space travel (article in Dutch).

Of course, there are also people who can do something extra under the current circumstances. We would love to utilize that capacity. Don’t you manage to do what needs to be done because of the corona crisis, or, on the contrary, do you have too little work under the current circumstances? Temporary work jobs may be posted on Project2Match, where it is visible for all UU employees. Registering a work job, and responding to a call is very easy via this site. You may also choose to sign up for the weekly newsletter providing an overview of all the jobs which have been posted on Project2Match.

Temporarily pause NS subscriptions
In view of the current situation, we would like to draw your attention to the possibility of temporarily terminating or converting NS subscriptions.

Unfortunately, the coronavirus outbreak does not seem to be coming to an end for the time being. We therefore find ourselves in an uncertain situation, there is a lot we do not yet know. How is the virus spreading? Will the ICUs in the Dutch hospitals be able to maintain sufficient capacity? Will the government stick to the current measures and until when will they be in force? These are questions and uncertainties we all have to deal with. Should there be any changes in government policy to combat the coronavirus, we will always consider whether we will adjust the policy pursued by the UU accordingly.

We are starting to see here and there that fatigue is beginning to strike, frustration increases and that there are concerns about loved ones who are ill or about what is happening around us. We try as much as we can to alleviate those concerns when it comes to your work and at the same time we want to support you in this situation. This we also have to do from a distance. Please know that we greatly appreciate the amount of work that is now being done and your flexibility in this uncertain situation.

Kind regards,

The Executive Board of Utrecht University
Anton Pijpers - President
Annetje Ottow - Vice President
Henk Kummeling - Rector Magnificus

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