Dutch universities hope for school year without restrictions
The announcement by the government on Friday to reopen the country sooner than expected leaves Dutch universities hopeful that the 1.5 meter-distance rule will be lifted in the course of the summer. “We are looking forward to a new academic year without restrictions”, Pieter Duisenberg from the Association of Universities said.
“The coronavirus crisis has shown that the academic community is present everywhere but above all that social contact is essential for academic education”, Duisenberg stated.
Due to the 1.5-meter distance rule, only a very limited number of students were allowed to physically attend university during the pandemic. According to the National Student Union (LSVb), social contact is vital for students to follow education, build a social network and combat loneliness.
The Cabinet will decide on August 13, if the 1.5-meter distance rule will be swept.
The LSVb said they are pleased with the prospect of returning to school without restrictions. “Physical education is indispensable for students”, chairperson Ama Boahene said. “It is good news that this seems to be possible again in the next academic year. It is now essential that colleges and universities prepare for the best-case scenario.”
According to Dusienberg, the coronavirus crisis has underlined the importance of university research. “The fact that we are now almost past the coronavirus measures is largely due to the research of, among others, Dutch scientists from all disciplines.”