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Mayor Aboutaleb "10,000 euros for the best idea to fight coronavirus amongst students"

Aboutaleb speaks to students about the worrying advance of Covid-19 in the education world
18 September 2020

Mayor Aboutaleb had a productive conversation with representatives of the Rotterdam students at the city hall on friday morning. He has expressed his concerns about the increasing number of infections in the student world.

Aboutaleb: "We only get rid the virus if we all follow the basic rules: one and a half meters away inside and out, avoid crowds and wash your hands a lot. Make sure to at stay home and get tested if you have any complaints. Even now, we need the help of all student associations to bring the importance of these rules back to the public's attention. That's why I made a call to their representatives this morning: help me, help the city. Come up with ideas! I reward the club that comes up with the best, workable idea wins 10,000 euros."

Next week we will be in contact with the representatives of the Rotterdam students.


Sam van Leeuwen, 4th year Pabo and member of the Centrale Medezeggenschapsraad (CMR), was present on behalf of the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences.

How was your experience with the mayor?

"It was really cool to talk to the mayor. He listened and showed genuine interest. It was striking that we did not blame the problem, but informed us what measures could be taken without it becoming an unlivable situation. He also wanted to know how to reach us."

How do you think students can be reached?

"He said that the municipality does not want to get any stricter and gave an example that he saw two students who met in the street greet each other with a hug. Why do they do that, he asked? In my opinion, you achieve a combination of awareness and measures. In public transport everyone wears a mask because you know that there is a fine of 400 euros on it. That is a clear measure. Awareness needs to be more personal, it has to be clear that it can happen to anyone. Us too! Now you have to think for yourself whether that drink you want to go to is really that important."

Is it doable in at University?

"Yes, there are clear walking routes at uni, that has been really well thought out. Then it's easy to talk to each other with "hey you're walking on the wrong side." The same goes for the elevator. If there are too many people in the elevator, the last one has to go. This is clear and easy to correct."

Did you get any tips from other students?

"There was a student association with a terrace where they can have a safe drink in the open air, such places can probably be created within the uni. In larger student houses, it is a tip to appoint a supervisor who corrects other residents. I myself live in a large student complex with multiple households. On the roof terrace there are drinks, So far it is going well, in the complex there have been no cases of infection with Corona yet."

Do you still like it?

"Within the uni it has been decided that it will continue to be so for at least the whole academic year. It is better to get bad news once over a long period of time than every few months bad news. I'm going to hold on now, even if it takes a while, or then the school will close completely again. Then we are even further away from home because we all want to follow our education at school? Yes, I am afraid of a second wave and that stricter measures are needed again. I call on all students not to ruin it for each other."

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