EB update coronavirus February 16

Last night, the government announced a relaxation of the corona restrictions. We are pleased about that. In society, a lot will open up again in the coming weeks. At our university, we will be allowed to come to the campus for meetings more often and as of 25 February, student organisations will have more room for different kinds of activities.

In this update, we inform you on how we will make use of the relaxation. In doing so, let's continue to take good care of each other and ourselves. We are in a phase with a lot of infections; people are in quarantine and or sick. This has a big impact on everyone: at home, at work and in your studies. Therefore it is important to continue following the basic rules.

We ask you to allow yourself and each other time in the transition that is under way. Discuss with your supervisor, in your team and with (fellow) students and teachers what this means for you. Manage expectations carefully. We are an organisation with students and staff who are used to setting the bar high. That has its advantages, but it may also turn out a pitfall. If you have concerns: speak up.

As the Executive Board, we will also be looking for a new balance between working from home and on campus. While we have reason for optimism, realism is also needed: corona is still among us. We must ensure remaining agile. We are not there yet, but we are going to the right direction, fortunately.


State of affairs

Education: maximum of 75 people in a lecture hall will be dropped

We are pleased that the maximum will be dropped. However, we will not be able to implement this immediately in all cases. We ask for your understanding in this matter. Degree programmes will decide for themselves whether, and if so which, courses with more than 75 people can take place on location rather than online or hybrid as of 21 February. At times, this may not be possible technically due to the schedule. There may also be other reasons for continuing to offer a course (partly) online. If a lecture is given on location with more than 75 students, the advice is to check carefully whether it can be streamed or recorded for students who are quaranteening. Teachers will inform their class on any adjustments. For term 4, we will not schedule a maximum number of students in the lecture halls.

Study places

For study places in the University Libraries, no maximum group size means that all study places are again available as of 18 February. The reservation system for those study places will remain active for the time being. On the student website you can see where you can study, how to reserve a place and which rules apply.

Working from home advice adjusted

The government has adjusted the advice for working from home. The advice is now to work at home if possible and at the university for half of the working hours at maximum.  Please discuss with your team and supervisor whether and when you should work on campus. As mentioned, we will need to allow each other time and space to make the return to work on campus as smooth as possible.

In the long run, we consider an average ratio of three days on campus and two days at home, in line with the agreements in the CAO-NU. This may vary from person to person. We will come back to this in near future.

Face masks and 1.5 metres

Wear a face mask in the buildings. You may only remove your face mask when you are seated and can keep a distance of 1.5 metres. We expect everyone to follow these rules. These rules will change as of 25 February; the requirement to wear a face mask and maintain a distance of 1.5 metres will no longer apply.

Employees and students with fragile health

Employees who are not yet able to come to work for health reasons, but whose work does require them, may look for a suitable solution in consultation with their supervisor. In the case of teachers, the Director of Education or the study programme director will take the decision. Students who for health reasons are unable to attend class (with compulsory attendance) on location should discuss their situation with their study advisor. Check the Q&A on education more information.

Service in university buildings

We are in a period with many infections and colleagues who are in quarantine. In addition, due to a shortage of personnel on the labour market, it may not be possible to provide the level of service as you areused to at all locations. We ask for your understanding for not being able to continue providing service as usual immediately. We will do our best to prevent any major inconvenience due to the present situation.

Academic ceremonies, meetings and events

The removal of the 1.5 metre rule and the maximum group size also has consequences for academic ceremonies, which may again take place on location without restrictive measures as of 18 February. Receptions can be organised as of 25 February.

For other meetings and events, more is possible within the opening hours of the buildings. We give priority to education, research and work-related events.

Check our events page for more information about the rules that apply.

Parnassos and Olympos

Parnassos and Olympos will have more freedom from 18 February. For more information, please visit the Parnassos and Olympos websites.

Travelling abroad

Utrecht University follows the guidelines of the Dutch government and the travel advice of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Netherlands worldwide. The corona situation in a country is no longer decisive for the colour of the travel advice of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Safety and health risks are again taken into consideration integrally. The quarantine obligation upon return to the Netherlands will cease on 25 February. For study and internships to orange areas, an exception request has still to be submitted. For more information see our page on International travel.

Quarantine rules

Quarantine rules will change as of 18 February. Have you tested positive for corona? Then you only need to spend five days in quarantine, instead of the current seven. You can leave quarantine if you have been free of symptoms for 24 hours. See the government's quarantine check for all rules.

Reduced email and meetings week

In 2022 and 2023, Utrecht University has also designated a number of weeks without meetings or emails. During these weeks, we continue working, but in general no meetings will take place and email traffic will be limited. For more information, please check the intranet (only for employees).