Universiteit Utrecht
Coronavirus update 19 March
Dear students and colleagues,

It was only a year ago yesterday that our city was hit by the terrible attack at 24 Oktoberplein. We have carefully considered our actions, and concluded that the commemoration had to be cancelled. As before so as now, it was quiet again in the streets; this time because of the corona crisis. The campus at the Science Park, the city centre, and the Kromhout Barracks were all just as quiet. By far, the majority of university buildings have been closed.

It is nevertheless extraordinary that a lot of research, education, and other work is proceeding from home. That is in a large part thanks to your efforts. We are learning a lot together and we realize that you are facing all kinds of problems and issues. Unfortunately, we are not able to answer all the questions that have arisen. In this update, we orienting you to where we are now. As you know, the information on uu.nl is constantly being updated.

Students and Staff Abroad
First of all, an announcement for students and staff currently abroad. We are in contact with many of you and are trying to offer you support. We may have lost a few of you. Are you abroad? Do you need help and are you not in contact yet? If so, please reach out by mailing coronavirus@uu.nl.

The following applies to foreign students in the Netherlands: The counsel we gave earlier is in full force and effect. In addition, a Facebook page has been launched for mutual contact.

There is a need for clarity regarding block 4: can face-to-face lectures begin again or not? We have already indicated in the update on the 17th of March that in view of the developments, we should start to consider that no in-person lectures or seminars will take place (on campus) in block 4. We are already asking professors to think creatively about how education and testing in block 4 can be designed remotely. Before we make our final decision, however, we would like to await the decisions from national consultations on this matter. We expect to be able to give a definitive answer on the design of block 4 in the week of April 6 at the latest, hopefully sooner.

We would like to emphasize that professors will not be asked to set up completely new (digital) courses. Furthermore, work that could be postponed might actually be. The aim is to prevent study delays for students as much as possible; please make pragmatic use of the digital possibilities that already exist. We intend to facilitate the development of further platforms for social support and exchange. For all the information that is already available click here. Teacher community TAUU provides a daily interactive Q&A session, in which teachers can participate.

At the moment the UU buildings are closed until at least April 6, except for crucial functions and lab work that cannot be suspended because too many results would be lost. Doctoral promotion ceremonies will not take place unless the PhD candidate indicates that there are urgent reasons to do so online. The first online PhD thesis is already in the pipeline. As with education, we must take into account that the measures will remain in force for some time after April 6. More information will follow.

The Binding Study Advice (BSA) and enrolment dates for Bachelor's and Master's programmes are currently under discussion between universities and OCW. If the decisions are made tonight, you will be informed about this tomorrow, and it will also be posted on the website.

Working from Home
We realize that the abrupt transition to working (completely) from home has put a lot demand on employees and students alike. We would like to draw your attention to the advice and tips we have collected on the website.

Timetable Public Transport adjusted
For people in vital functions, at the UMCU and for students living at the USP, it is relevant that the public transport timetable will be adjusted. Amongst others, the tram will no longer run from Friday 20 March. For more information: https://www.u-ov.info/.

Follow the Guidelines of the RIVM
The way students have behaved in these difficult circumstances is heartwarming. From students who have offered help to the elderly, to medical students who can't assist as medical interns but have applied for volunteer work in care. There is also the impression that students respond well to the call not to go out and observe social distance. We understand that this is difficult, especially if it takes a little longer. But still, we bring the importance to the attention once again.

In closing, Marij Swinkels, our professor of the year in 2019, is has started the hashtag UUgotthis. It represents how we tackling this crisis. We understand the need as a knowledge institution to contribute as much as possible in this time of crisis. We undertake this responsibility by proceeding with research that is relevant to combating the virus, by postponing the ceremonial conferral of doctoral degrees (with a pain in our hearts), by sharing knowledge with institutes all over the world, and by providing the best possible distance education. Of course, it is natural that not everything will go according to plan, and it may become difficult to see the forest through the trees, but in any case, let's care for each other as best we can. #UUgotthis!

Thank you very much, and warm greetings to all of you!

Kind regards,

The Executive Board of Utrecht University

Anton Pijpers - President
Annetje Ottow - Vice President
Henk Kummeling - Rector Magnificus

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