(This article is translated from Dutch)
Starting with the new academic year on August 31, there will be "more possibilities for education" in the university buildings, Leiden University states in her regular coronavirus updates. "We have been working on smart scheduling, keeping in mind the difficulties involving the mandatory 1.5 meters social distancing, people moving in elevators and hallways, extra cleaning etc."
The Dutch government has decided that students are allowed to use public transport during rush hour again. It means the "corona time slots" for higher education (11:00 to 15:00 and after 20:00 in the evening) will cease from then on. Universities were quite and quite vocally unhappy about these. "All types of education activities can be scheduled throughout the entire day again", Dutch university organisation VSNU says.
Mix of online and IRL
However, the Dutch corona rules still apply, and keeping 1.5m distance means that the amount of available space is limited. The VSNU estimates that universities can use roughly thirty percent of their 'normal' student capacity.
This limitation means that, starting next academic year, students will be offered a mix of online and on-campus education, Leiden University says. They are currently negotiating with the public transport companies about how students can travel to Leiden and The Hague safely. The goal is to "spread transport as much as possible."
International students who are under travel restrictions that make it impossible for them to come to the university, will have the possibility of starting their studies online.
First year-students will be prioritized in the division of scarce university space, as will research and the teaching of student groups that are unable to work study from home.
Work from home
This means that university staff whose work does not require them to be at the university, will keep working from home until at least September the 1st, and possibly longer.
The exact study schedule from August 31 will differ among different studies. The exact division between online and IRL teaching depends on the amount of students, the opportunities offered by the buildings, and the amount of lab work involved in the study programme. The amount of work demanded of teaching staff is also a consideration.
Right now, it is still unclear what the gradual easing of quarantaine measures means for things like graduation ceremonies, the introduction weeks El Cid, HOP and OWL, and the annual celebration when the academic year starts again. PhD promotions continue as they have for the past few months: in the Academy Building, with a live stream and a maximum of 20 guests.