UPDATE Friday 16 July: Happy holidays!
Our summer holiday is fast approaching and for some it has already begun. No lengthy update this week but a short one. We can look back on a year of challenges, which we will no longer reflect on in detail. We have done that often enough already. What we cannot do often enough is to give thanks for everyone’s efforts to keep Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences open and functioning.
Considering what students have communicated to us, for example via surveys, it suggests a difficult year, but - although some things did not run smoothly - most of the students did feel acknowledged. Through Teams, believe it or not.
These circumstances confirm once again that education is something you create together. From lecturers to students, from support staff to researchers, together we have done everything possible to make it a meaningful academic year. Exceed expectations! That's our slogan. The situation also created new opportunities and perspectives and we have seized them. Although we have decided that after the summer we will work and learn intensively in our buildings, we will also make better use of the achievements of online education than we did before the pandemic. Everything we have learned in this period about our teaching and our way of working is going to help us in the years to come. We have demonstrated our strength and capabilities.
The word strength brings us to a look ahead to next academic year. The theme of our annual event, starting the academic year off, is 'OUR STRENGTH, leadership belongs to all of us'. Whether you are a student, a lecturer, or another employee, we are all leaders. Among other guests, football freestyler, Soufiane Touzani will tell us all about it on Tuesday 31 August. Based on registrations we can tell that many colleagues and students want to be present - online. Join us (register here). We are looking forward to it. But first we are going to enjoy the holidays.
Have fun and see you next year!
UPDATE Wednesday 23 June: Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences with or without increased measures after the summer?
In the last press conference, outgoing Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, declared that we have almost reached our goal but not quite yet. He indicated that in the Netherlands we can further ease restrictions, but we must also remain alert to new outbreaks of Covid-19. For this reason, the government has called on higher education to view the coming academic year with optimism, but to also take unexpected restrictions into account.
In the updates of 26 May and 16 June, we outlined an educational scenario for 2021-2022. We - like our fellow universities (of applied sciences) - are assuming a positive scenario from September onwards when we can relax the 1.5m rule. To be teaching on location again is our starting point from the start of the next academic year. Some study programmes will apply the appropriate hygiene measures, but education on location will again focused on inspiration, connection, and interaction.
In case developments are unexpectedly disappointing, after all, and we are faced with stricter on location measures, we will use the educational scenario that we applied this past year. This means that we will schedule those activities on location that cannot be carried out (well) online.
The government has announced that it will decide on the 1.5m rule for higher education on 13 August next. We will let you know as soon as possible what the effects will be for the start of the academic year 2021-2022.
Self-tests and vaccinations
Although the prospects are good, it is still important to protect yourself and others from a possible infection. Therefore, we recommend that everyone who comes to our locations to take a self-test beforehand. Until 31 July, every student or staff member of the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences can order the self-tests free of charge at zelftestonderwijs.nl. You can order a supply for now and for the beginning of the academic year. We advise everyone to make maximum use of this. In case of health problems, please make an appointment at the GGD for a regular test instead of a self-test. By getting vaccinated, you can better protect yourself and contribute to a safer educational environment.
No longer required to wear a face mask as of 26 June
As of 26 June, the national obligation to wear a face mask in public places ceases to apply, except in places where a distance of 1.5 metres cannot be maintained. The same applies for RUAS unless explicitly indicated. We are looking into introducing a specific, partial use of face masks that we would wear on location from the autumn as part of the above-mentioned appropriate hygiene measures.
UPDATE Wednesday 16 June: what will RUAS be like next academic year?
The end of the academic year is in sight. A good time to look ahead to a fresh start in September. What will RUAS be like from that point on, broadly speaking?
Starting in the new academic year, we will return to our pre-pandemic basics, when most of our education took place in our buildings. Being back on location will for some of us feel like being reintroduced to the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences. To make sure you know what to expect, we are making six promises:
1 We are training you for the work of tomorrow: about internships and project education
Thanks to the relaxation of measures, we can once again organise internships and projects more easily on location, and that’s what the study programmes will focus on in the new academic year. It’s important, because due to this practical experience with businesses and organisations during your studies you will know what is going on in the world and what your field requires. This will enable you to make a difference after your studies, both on the labour market and in society.
2 Education on location will continue to be our basis
Meeting each other at a school location is a fundamental part of education. For example, the influence social contacts have on study success. We need that inspiration, connection, and interaction with each other. We are therefore pleased to welcome you again at our locations from Monday 30 August. Students and staff can count on carefully organised education, where people know each other, acknowledge the other and learn from each other.
Present in class: We understand that for some people it may be exciting to physically come to our buildings again, but we do expect that when you are scheduled to attend class, you will actually be there on school grounds. Last year, teaching largely online allowed us to take into account students who did not dare to come to school for various reasons. Due to government relaxations and increased education in location, this leniency is no longer possible. Only in very urgent cases, as was the case before the pandemic, can you discuss this with your counsellor. Our education system cannot be set up in such a way that every lecture is offered both on location and online.
Measures: as you may have read in a previous update, we will be able to discontinue the 1.5m rule after the summer holidays. We expect that for some training sectors specific hygiene measures will apply, for example, when physical contact is necessary as in the practical education of some study programmes. No agreements have yet been made on these measures (such as the use of face masks). As a university of applied sciences, we are dependent on what the government decides in this regard. We will inform you when information is made clear to us. It goes without saying that we will do everything in our power to create a safe learning and working environment.
Saturday opening hours: In September, the pilot 'Saturday opening hours' will start at the Kralingse Zoom and Academieplein locations. Keep an eye on Hint for the opening hours.
The combination of education on location and online: How many days you will attend school differs per study programme. For although education on location remains our basis, the advantages of online education will become an integral part of the study programmes (as you can read below). Practical education, project education, tutorials and project guidance are examples of education that can often take place on location. Lectures, on the other hand, are perfectly suited to online education.
3 We are improving our online education
Study programmes will look for an ideal mix between methods of education, which will help you as a student in your development. We are working towards this step by step. The content of blended education differs per study programme. Of course, you will be informed about this by your study programme. It is possible that you will be taught on location three days a week and that you will spend two days of your study week online. Again, that depends on which study programme you are enrolled in. The most important thing is that we know what works online and what does not and
how fruitful online teaching can be for students. We will retain these advantages and continue to develop and improve them so that online education can support education on location. The knowledge clips that we have worked with in the past year are good examples of this.
Supporting blended education: blended teaching brings the world closer and creates new challenges as well. For lecturers, it means an intensive and rich form of education that will be well supported by our services with training and IT facilities.
4 We will ensure that you will (once again) feel at home here
We understand that being on location can be challenging. In our buildings, we will (again) provide a familiar environment. Lecturers, counsellors, and Study Career Coaches are always ready to help you and are easily accessible.
Introduction/start academic year: This close to the start of the new academic year, introductions and year openings obviously play an important role. Thanks to the relaxation of the measures, it will be possible to organise these after the summer holidays. Within our buildings it is no longer necessary to keep a distance of 1.5 metres. However, there is a maximum of 75 people per room. As far as we can tell, there will be hardly any restrictions on outdoor activities by that time. We are, however, dependent on the Rotterdam-Rijnmond Safety Region. As soon as there is more clarity on this subject, we will of course communicate this.
Study and student associations: Due to the relaxed rules there is more room to make new friends and to get to know or discover the city of Rotterdam better. For example, by becoming a member of a student association. In this letter (in Dutch) from the Rotterdam Chamber of Student Associations you will find an overview of the possibilities and advantages.
5 We will help you study successfully
Fun and success are inextricably linked. For many of you, the enjoyment of studying will increase simply because we can open our doors fully to you again. If there is anything standing in the way of you being able to continue your studies properly, we will of course be there for you. That was, is and will remain the case.
6 We also learn from you
Offering blended education is a new challenge for us. We are constantly working on improving our education. Not only by further professionalisation of our lecturers, but also by listening to you. What are you satisfied with and what could be improved upon? Discuss it with your teacher or Study Career Coach.
Working from the end of August
In addition to students, lecturers, researchers, and other staff will, of course, also return to work at our locations from the end of August. Physical presence will be the basis, although the fruitful lessons of working from home will also be applied to the new academic year and the future. If you are expected to be physically present because you are schedules or have an important meeting, then you must be physically present. If this is not possible for personal reasons, you can consult with your manager. In fact, exactly how it was before the pandemic.
Activities and meetings: After the holidays, the locations will be open again for education-related and non-education-related activities. Because a large part of the population will have been vaccinated by then, there will be no need to keep a 1.5 metre distance. However, there is a maximum of 75 people per room. It will become clear later whether face masks will have to be worn. We will, of course, let you know as soon as possible.
Travel to our buildings
As of the next academic year, the student schedules will again be leading. In the past, we had to consider the travel movements to and from our locations, which meant that educational activities on location were spread out. From Monday 30 August onwards, this will no longer be the case. The locations are fully accessible during opening hours, so you can come to the location whenever you want.
On summer holiday
Before we start off on our next academic year, we will of course have a summer holiday. We have received questions, mainly from employees, about travelling abroad. As a school, we cannot determine whether or not you can cross the border. But we do advise you to use your common sense. Consider the term of any quarantine regulations that apply upon your return and whether these fit in with your schedule, for example. Inform yourself well and avoid risks.
In the coming weeks, it will be possible to order free self-tests via zelftestonderwijs.nl. You can use these not only when you come to our locations, but also for private purposes. By using self-tests, we can detect an infection earlier and thus prevent the Covid-19 virus from spreading further, despite the decrease in the number of infections. Students and employees can order the free self-tests until 31 July using their RUAS-login details.
UPDATE Wednesday 26 May: RUAS up to and after 30 August
The world is unlocking. At Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, as well, some measures have been removed. How does that affect us today? What impact will this have on the new academic year?
Reservation no longer needed for study place
Previously, students had to reserve a place to study in one of our buildings. This is no longer necessary. You can study on our premises wherever you wish. However, you must follow the basic rules: keep one and a half metres away from others, wear a face mask when walking around the building, and regularly wash your hands. Our supervisors will keep an eye out for any areas that have become too crowded and will, if necessary, ask you to study elsewhere.
Employee meetings on location
From 31 May onwards, staff meetings can again be organised at our locations. These are work-related meetings (attendance is mandatory) and non-work-related activities (attendance is voluntary). For work-related meetings, always consult your manager if you cannot attend in person. Non-work-related activities include year-end or informal meetings. In a meeting room, of course, you should be able to keep at a one-and-a-half metre distance, and when travelling through a building, you should always wear a face mask. The maximum group size for this type of activity is determined by the size of the room where the meeting takes place, and application of the one-and-a-half-metre rule but is never more than 75 people.
This will allow us to work towards and get used to the normal situation from 30 August onwards, when we may no longer have to keep a one-and-a-half metre distance at our locations (see below).
The new academic year
We have received a letter from the Minister of Education, Culture and Science, Ingrid van Engelshoven, outlining various scenarios for the start of the 2021-2022 academic year. As by then a large part of the population will have been vaccinated and the infection rate will probably be very low, we can assume a scenario without a number of current restrictions. We estimate that from Monday 30 August onwards, we will no longer need to keep a 1.5 metre distance from others in our buildings. However, a number of measures will remain in place, such as wearing a face mask. Furthermore, the group size for an educational activity is a maximum of 75 people.
It is possible that we will have to work with a different scenario in the run-up to the 2021-2022 academic year, as we are fully dependent on epidemiological circumstances and the corresponding measures. This may turn out to be more favourable, or not. We will report back on this before the summer holidays.
Now that there are more opportunities to engage in activities, self-testing has become even more important. Always (even if you have no symptoms) do a self-test before you leave home. That way, we can detect a Covid-19 infection early and you can prevent spreading the virus. Self-tests can be ordered free of charge at zelftestonderwijs.nl. They are very easy to use, and you will have the results at your fingertips before you know it. If you have health problems, do not take the self-test, but make an appointment with the GGD for a regular test. As such, together we can keep our education safe.
UPDATE Wednesday 19 May: Internship abroad, exchange, short study travel and official travel autumn 2021
Relaxations are increasingly possible in the Netherlands and abroad. Therefore, as of September 2021 the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences is offering students and staff more opportunities to go abroad. There are conditions involved, however.
‘Holiday destinations in these countries’ was the headline on many news websites last week, after the travel advice for Finland, Malta, Portugal and Thailand, for example, was changed from orange to yellow. Even though recently the whole world was still coloured red or orange, there are an increasing number of countries to which we are allowed to travel from the Netherlands, due to the low incidence of Covid-19 infections. It is expected that this development will continue in the coming months as the government is determining possible travel from the Netherlands per country.
Therefore, it will again be possible for students and employees to make study or work-related trips. Because the pandemic is not yet completely over, there are several conditions to consider. Moreover, the school can again impose a travel ban to foreign countries if the global Covid-19 situation warrants it.
We advise you to think carefully about the necessity of starting a study period abroad. But in the end, you have to make the decision yourself. As a student, you will sign a statement before departure in which you state that you are aware of the risks in the field of safety, health, finances, and study progress. You are therefore solely responsible for these risks. Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences will ensure that you are thoroughly prepared to take your individual responsibility. You can request more information about this from your study programme.
Trips for study-related purposes are often considered necessary and can therefore also be planned for 'orange' countries. As a student, it is necessary that you inform yourself very well at the embassy of the country concerned about the conditions that apply to entry for study purposes. In this way, you can avoid disappointment.
If you want to complete an internship or graduate abroad as of September 2021, you must be able to demonstrate to your study programme, at the latest by 8 July 2021, that you can travel to the country in question and have a visa, if required. This date was chosen to give you enough time to prepare and possibly have a plan B. On the date of departure, you must check that the conditions in the country of destination have not changed and that you can still travel. If the conclusion on 8 July is that you cannot travel to the country in question or that you have not found an internship provider, then - in consultation with the study programme - your request can be reassessed after the summer holidays. Keep in mind that this may cause a delay in your studies for which you will be responsible. The study programme will ensure that you will be prepared to make these choices.
In the case of an outgoing exchange, you must be able to demonstrate to your study programme, by 15 June 2021 at the latest, that you can travel to the country in question and have a visa, if required. On the date of departure, you must check whether the conditions in the country of destination have not changed and you can still travel to that country. The date of 15 June 2021 was chosen partly because the university abroad must know in time who is participating in the educational programmes. In addition, RUAS needs time to draw up an alternative educational programme in case you are unable to travel to the country in question.
There are no restrictions for incoming students from within or outside Europe. Of course, students must inform themselves of any restrictions in the country of origin. Furthermore, students are responsible for any costs or study delays due to (self-)tests, lockdown, quarantine, illness, et cetera.
Short study travel
Short study trips for reasons other than internship, graduation, or exchange within and outside Europe are still not permitted. Due to maximum group sizes and possible quarantine requirements, the purpose of the study trip cannot always be achieved. Upon return to the Netherlands, quarantine requirements may also have a significant impact on education. If the developments in the coming months remain favourable, study programmes may apply to the Central Crisis Management Team (CCMT) for an exception to the study trip ban from 31 October 2021. In September we will decide whether this possibility of requesting an exception will actually be offered.
At RUAS official business trips are discouraged, but they are not prohibited. Employees can, in consultation with the manager/course director or dean, decide whether travel is necessary or whether the planned meeting could take place online. Not only should health considerations be considered, but also sustainability factors.
UPDATE Wednesday 28 April: All info about free self-tests for students and staff
In the coming period, the government will give all our students and staff the opportunity to order free self-tests. In this update, we are answering the most frequently asked questions on this subject.
Why are self-tests important for education?
It is a preventive way of testing that can ensure that an infection is spotted earlier and can therefore prevent further spread of the virus. Because even if you have no complaints, you can still carry the virus and pass it on to others. Self-testing can help prevent this and, in addition to all other measures, it also promotes a safe learning and working environment.
Is the self-test mandatory?
No, the self-test is not mandatory. You do not have to provide a negative result in order to enter the RUAS buildings. However, we would like to emphasise that it is very important to make use of the self-tests that the government provides. If we all test ourselves preventively, there is less chance of a hotbed of infection at RUAS. In this way, together we can help to reduce Covid-19. The fewer infections there are in society, the greater the chance of relaxed measures, and consequently, more room for education on location. We will therefore all benefit from using self-tests.
How do I get a self-test?
On the website selftesteducation.nl you can order two self-tests every week from May. They will be sent to your home address.
When do I use a self-test?
If you have no complaints and plan to go to one of our locations, you can do a self-test. If you do have complaints like a cold, cough, or fever, you can get tested at a Municipal Health Service (GGD) test centre, because the GGD test is more accurate.
How do I use a self-test?
The self-test is easy to administer, as the swabs do not need to go deep into the nose. The instructions for administering the test are included in the user guide provided with each test. Please read these carefully.
What should I do in case the outcome is positive?
If the result of the self-test is positive, please contact the GGD to make an appointment for a regular test in a testing centre. In the meantime, stay indoors, do not come to Hogeschool Rotterdam, and try to avoid contact with others as much as possible.
Are the Covid-19 measures still in place in the school buildings despite the use of self-tests?
Yes, we can only offer education on location if we follow the RIVM guidelines. That means disinfect your hands when you come in, keep a distance of one and a half metres from others, wash your hands regularly, wear a face mask when you're not sitting down.
Until when can I use self-tests?
At least until the start of the summer holidays, so until the end of July 2021. If this changes, we will inform you.
Do these self-tests have anything to do with the Rotterdam research project on self-testing in education?No, these two initiatives are not related. The student study 'Testing for your Future' is a medical academic study which the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences is carrying out together with Albeda College, Erasmus University and Erasmus Medical Centre. This research will have to show whether the use of self-tests enables safe education on location. Because we actually know little about the use and usability of self-testing in practice. What effect does home testing, in combination with school visits, have on the behaviour and welfare of students? Registration for participation will start soon. Do you want to know more about this research project?
Please check: www.eur.nl/hometesting
Of great importance
Now that we have been allowed to offer more education on location from 26 April, it is very important that we jointly ensure that the learning and working environment is as safe as possible. The free self-tests can make an important contribution to this. So, are you scheduled for an educational activity or are you coming to a RUAS location to study? Then first do a self-test. It will benefit us all.
UPDATE Wednesday 21 April: Finally, we get to see our fellow students and lecturers again!
As you probably saw last Tuesday evening during the press conference, the government has given us the green light to offer more education from 26 April. The intention is that every student will then be able to come to Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences once a week for educational purposes.
This is good news, because many of you have not been to our locations for some time. You have been forced to miss the social contact with fellow students and lecturers. It is therefore very exciting to finally meet again from 26 April, even if it is just once weekly. It may feel strange to have more people in our buildings again, simply because we are not used to it anymore. But as an educational institution, we will responsibly make use of this opportunity that we have been given by the government.
Differences per student
Education on location may be different for each student. It may be, for example, lectures, project education or student guidance. This depends on your study phase and your personal circumstances. Education that already takes place on location, such as exams and practical skills training, will continue as before. Your study programme will inform you about the increased opening hours and the effects on your schedule. You should therefore keep a close eye on it. It is possible that you will not be able to return to your school location exactly on 26 April, but at a later date.
Naturally, staff involved in physical education will also return to the school. The extra room we will have from the end of April will initially be fully used for teaching and for location-based support. For the remaining staff, working from home will remain the norm for the time being.
We understand that for some this is not pleasant, because colleagues - just like students - have the need to see each other again. With the positive prospects in sight, we will therefore examine the possibility of organising staff meetings again later in the academic year.
Opening hours of buildings
The curfew will be lifted on 28 April. From then on, the regular opening hours of our buildings apply. Please check Hint or Rotterdamuas.com for the opening hours per location at that time.
We organise our locations in such a way that the measures we take will create a safe environment for everyone. In addition, it is good to know that our ventilation systems are certified and thus meet all the necessary requirements and are checked continuously. Our sanitary facilities are also cleaned and checked extra. From 26 April onwards, more supervisors will be present, for example, to manage the larger traffic flows according to the rules. Naturally, sufficient disinfectants will be available.
If in addition, we also stick to the measures, we will ensure a safe environment together. Keep to the one and a half metre distance, wear a face mask when walking around the building, wash your hands regularly, stay at home in case of complaints and use the self-tests provided by the government.
As an additional support measure, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science will soon make two free self-tests available each week for students and staff to take at home. We call on our students and staff to do this. The use of the self-tests is voluntary, so you do not need a self-test to enter the buildings. Nevertheless, we consider it our joint responsibility to contribute to a safe environment for study and work. In case of a positive self-test, you must stay at home and contact the GGD (health service) for a regular test, so you do not endanger the health of others. You can use the self-test when you have no complaints. When you do, make an appointment at the GGD for a regular test, as the results are more accurate than those of the self-test. Next week you will receive an update in which we will give details about how you can obtain the free self-tests via SURF from May onwards. On the government website you can read more about self-testing in education.
To start the last education period of this academic year with more confidence, the Toolkit Student Success was recently launched. With the toolkit RUAS is providing you with different tools to help you study better. It will help you get a grip on your studies and keep your study goals within reach. You can read more about the Toolkit Student Success on our website.
UPDATE Wednesday 24 March: Possibly increased opening hours for RUAS from 26 April
We had hoped to be able to open the doors of Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences for teaching on location and for assessments by the end of March. Because of the high infection rates, the government has decided to postpone this possibility for one month. The aim is to offer on location teaching to every student for a maximum of one day each week from 26 April, developments permitting.
It is understandable that the further opening of higher education depends on the infection rate. After all, the health and safety of all of us and of others in our immediate vicinity is at stake.
Behind the scenes we are working hard on the plans to ensure that indeed every student can come to our locations once a week. This depends, for example, on the study phase of the students. For one phase it will make more sense than for another phase, such as internships. How we will increase the use of our locations in a month's time will be explained in a next, more extensive update on Thursday 1 April.
At the same time as the increased opening hours, the government is making self-testing available to students and employees. These are tests that you can carry out yourself and will give you an immediate result. The purpose of this is to further promote safety on our locations. At the time of publication of this update, it is not yet known exactly how the self-tests will be used. It is also not yet clear whether self-testing will be a condition for admission to our buildings. The national consultation on this matter is ongoing. We will inform you further in the next update.
The self-testing is separate from the pilot with rapid tests that is currently taking place in cooperation with Erasmus MC, Erasmus University and Albeda and which is aimed at possibilities for after the summer.
The curfew will be extended from 21:00 to 22:00 from 31 March. This means that we can open our locations one hour longer for practical skills education, assessments, and student guidance. Currently the buildings close at 19:00 at the latest, from 31 March on this will be no later than 20:00. This will give everyone the opportunity to get home on time.
UPDATE Wednesday 10 March: More education on location in sight
Exactly one year ago, we had to close our doors due to Covid-19. At the time the government promised that sometime in the future more education on location would once again be possible. What are the prospects for the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences today?
Outgoing Prime Minister Mark Rutte and outgoing Minister Hugo de Jonge adopted a cautiously more positive tone during their press conference last Monday than they have in recent months. While there was no big announcement in terms of immediate relaxation of the Covid-19 measures, they did offer perspective towards the summer. "The turning point is near", said the outgoing prime minister.
Back to school
It was announced, for example, that in three weeks' time more would be possible for higher education, if the infection rate allows it. That is something to look forward to as there is much longing among fellow students and lecturers to see each other again in person.
We will ensure that as many students as possible can come to school one weekday. This does depend on the student’s study phase. In some phases, this is easier to organise than for other phases (for example, for the internships). The government has set 29 March as the target date, provided the situation surrounding Covid-19 allows it. We will then offer more education on location, but in some cases, for example if an exam week is planned, it makes more sense to wait until the start of the upcoming education period. It is therefore possible that some students will only be able to return to their location at a later moment. During the next three weeks you will receive a personal message and additional information on this subject from your study programme.
Of course, employees involved in practical education will also be on location, unless there are plausible reasons why this would not be possible. You can discuss this with your direct manager. The extra space we will have from the end of March will initially be used entirely for teaching and for location-based support. Working from home will remain the norm for the remaining employees for the time being. We understand that for some people this is not ideal, because colleagues - just like students - want to see each other again in person. With a positive outlook in sight, we are therefore looking at possibilities for staff meetings again later in the year. Our current estimate is that this could be in June.
The speed and extent to which our educational institution can increase teaching on location in the coming months depends in part on rapid testing. Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences is currently part of a pilot for rapid testing in higher education together with Erasmus MC, Erasmus University and Albeda. The more capacity we have in this area, the faster we can increase education on location. In that respect, it is good news that outgoing Minister of Education, Culture and Science, Ingrid van Engelshoven, has said that higher education may be open longer in the spring if rapid testing can be implemented. Spring may be a bit ambitious, but it could potentially be helpful, in dealing with the one-and-a-half-metre measure as well. We must remain realistic in this respect because if that measure remains the norm, we will never be able to use more than 40% of our building capacity. Therefore, we must prepare for education with and without the metre-and-a-half measure
The most optimistic view is that the decision that will be taken in three weeks' time to make more possible in our society will also be a turning point for us on the road to more freedom than we have had in the past year. If there are new developments in this area, we will of course keep you informed.
One year ago
On Friday 12 March 2020, it was exactly one year ago that we announced in an update at that time that our buildings would be closed due to the spreading of the Covid -19 virus. At the time, we could never have imagined that twelve months later we would still largely be 'Hogeschool Rotterdam Online' due to the limitations of the pandemic. Our students and staff have worked hard together to make the best of the situation. In any case it has also had a huge impact. On everyone. That is why we think it is important to reflect on what has happened in the past year and on what the future holds.
Tosca Sel, the Editor in Chief of Profielen magazine, and Chairman of the Executive Board, Ron Bormans, will be holding a discussion about the past year and the future via Instagram Live on Thursday evening (11 March) at 20:00. Anyone can ask questions during the chat. Tune into Instagram and the accounts of Hogeschool Rotterdam and Profielen, and you will notice automatically that Tosca and Ron will be LIVE on those accounts on Thursday evening at 20:00.
In addition, Profielen has published a special (online) edition, in which students and staff talk about their experiences throughout the pandemic so far.
We announced earlier that short study-related travel would not be permitted until July 2021. In April, we will examine to what extent travel will be possible again in the autumn. We will then also take a closer look at internships and studying abroad. As soon as we make any decisions, you will of course be informed via these updates.
At the request of the Student members in the Central Representative Board, the opening hours of the library will be extended.
The libraries at Academieplein, Museumpark and Kralingse Zoom locations will be open from Monday to Friday from 10:00 to 15:00 hrs to collect reserved books or return books.
The library at the Wijnhaven location will be open on Mondays from 10:00 to 13:00 and on Wednesdays from 11:00 to 15:00.
The library at the RDM location will remain closed for the time being.
The new opening hours apply from 22 March until the summer holidays. Before that time, further information will follow about the opening hours from September.
UPDATE Wednesday 10 February: Extra assessment opportunity, reporting infection, and the curfew
As was reported in the update of 16 October, students who can prove that they missed an assessment or resit on location due to Covid-19-related circumstances, and have therefore not passed the assessment, will be given an extra assessment opportunity at the end of the academic year.
To be eligible for this, you must meet several strict conditions. For instance, it applies to on location assessments when students could not or were not allowed to participate because of Covid-19-related circumstances, such as: health complaints similar to Covid-19, a positive test result, waiting for a test result or being quarantined. Also, the student must have taken advantage of the other regular assessment opportunities. Your institute will soon inform you about the conditions and procedures.
The outgoing cabinet has decided to extend the curfew until 2 March. This means that we will continue our policy since the curfew was introduced: our buildings will close at 19:00 at the latest, giving everyone ample time to return home before 21:00. In principle, this means that all on-location activities, such as practical training, assessments, and student guidance, will end 18:30 at the latest. Exceptions to the curfew are possible for assessments held in the evening. If your study programme has scheduled evening assessments or exams, you will be informed by your institute.
Reporting Covid-19 infection
Since last month, reporting Covid-19 infections to the school is completely anonymous and voluntary. We ask you to do this for us to form a picture of the number of infections within Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences. In this way we can monitor possible clusters which we will pass on to the GGD as with the locations and how measures can be taken.
To this end you can make use of this Hint page. This allows us to safeguard the safety and health of our students and staff in the best way possible.
This flow chart shows what steps to take when you are or could be infected with Covid-19.
UPDATE Tuesday 26 January: Buildings closed in the evening due to possible disorder
It is a time of unrest in our city, as no one can fail to notice. Therefore, we are closing our buildings at 19:00, so that everyone can - hopefully - find their way home safely.
It is not with pride that we take this decision, but it is based on prudence and in the knowledge that it will have little or no effect on students and will allow many colleagues to get home on time. Last week, we communicated that we would close our locations earlier than usual due to the introduction of the curfew. Even then we chose the time of 19:00 hours. Some assessments had proved to be difficult to reschedule so for that reason we aimed to still have them take place in the evening. Further consultation showed that these too could be rescheduled to the daytime.
Students and staff will be further informed by their institute. Of course, going home earlier does not have any employment consequences. The hours count as hours worked. And if individual students experience problems, we will solve them.
Later this week, we will assess how the situation is developing and consider how to reverse this measure. We will also have further news on the Saturday opening hours.
Take care of yourself and each other. And please share the widespread outrage that exists in Rotterdam at the destruction of our city.
UPDATE 22 January: Consequences curfew for Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences
The outgoing cabinet has announced that from Saturday 23 January a curfew will be introduced. That means that between 21:00 and 4:30 it is not permitted to be on the streets. What are the consequences of this measure for the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences (RUAS)?
Because of the introduction of a curfew, we must adjust the opening hours of our buildings. From next week Monday 25 January, all our buildings will close at 19:00, giving everyone ample time to return home before 21:00. Educational activities, practical skills training, assessments, student guidance must be completed by 18:30. Activities that as of now are planned later than that, will be rescheduled. Students and staff will be informed by the institutes and study programmes about the consequences for their schedule.
Exams in the evening
An exception in the curfew regulation has been made for examinations in the evening. We have decided not to make exceptions in the week from 25 through 29 January by rescheduling all planned activities to the daytime. Next week we will determine which assessments after 29 January must be scheduled for the evening and which will be rescheduled for the daytime. The effects on the schedules will be communicated by study programmes. Please keep an eye on notifications. It will also tell you which form you will need to travel for an exam during curfew and how to get it.
For student internships in vital sectors, such as health care, an exception to the curfew applies if the internship organisation so decides. Contact your internship organisation to discuss this and to obtain an employer's statement. Your internship advisor at school can help you with these matters, for example if the contact with your internship mentor is not running smoothly. Which sectors are vital, is stated on the government’s website.
Employer’s statement for exceptions
For our employees who have travel to work between 21:00 and 4:30, an exception will of course be made to the curfew. They must be in possession of an employer's statement and a personal statement stating that the employee must travel in the evening for work. The directors/deans of institutes, service departments and research centres will issue such a statement to the employees when necessary, and will also sign it, for reasons of legal validity. A personal statement can be downloaded from www.rijksoverheid.nl/avondklok. Directors will communicate directly with their own staff members how this procedure is organised within their institute, research centre, service department or centre of expertise.
Stick to the rules
We cannot stress often enough that we should observe all measures. Stay one and a half metres apart, wash your hands often, sneeze into your elbow and get tested if you have health problems. In the latter case, do not come to school.
Anonymously reporting a Covid-19 infection
Over the past few months, we have been monitoring the infections on location for the formation of clusters. After the Data Protection Authority (Dutch DPA) issued a statement, our organisation is no longer allowed to register personal data when a Covid-19 infection is reported. From now on, this will therefore be done completely anonymously and voluntarily. We are asking you to inform us voluntarily and anonymously. That way we can continuously monitor where possible clusters arise to pass this information on to the Municipal Health Service, as well as where and how measures can be taken. You can do so here on this Hint page. In doing so, we can protect the health and safety of all students and staff of the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences in the best possible way.
UPDATE 13 JANUARY: September perspective and on location during lockdown
In January we would usually not be looking ahead to September, but there’s good reason to do so now. Namely, that we have a goal, as does the government, to offer more education on location in our buildings at the start of the academic year than we are currently offering.
Will education be exactly as it was before the pandemic? No. Simply because we have been active and learned a great deal in the past few months about combining education online and on location. We have discovered what is valuable about our education prior to the pandemic and we have discovered what is valuable about our education during the pandemic. Therefore, we will now continue to move forward on this path and find a combination of what was right and is right for these times.
We will use the coming months and years to shape our own blended education. Educational considerations are leading in determining which learning approaches are best for our students (which methods to use at what time). A rich mix of these online and offline learning approaches form a unique blend of our education at the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences.
In this way, we will achieve an educational vision that is not only clear to our current students and staff, but also to people choosing a study programme or applying for a job. Everyone will know what it means to study and work at the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences.
In the run-up to September, we are of course dependent on the developments surrounding Covid-19. Consider if you will the worries about the British variant, which has far-reaching consequences for society across the North Sea. As Mark Rutte, our Prime Minister, indicated in the press conference last Tuesday evening, this means that we must adhere even more strictly to the Covid-19 measures. We know what they are: keep your distance, wash your hands, get tested and be in quarantine if necessary. Nobody wants wave upon wave of coronaviruses.
However, if there is one thing we have proved during this pandemic, it is that we can be flexible. We will adjust where necessary, but behind the scenes we will continue to work on our goal for September.
In the coming months, we will of course keep you informed on a regular basis about how we are progressing towards that goal of being fully open in September 2021. In the meantime, please continue to take care of each other. There are colleagues and students who are having a difficult time, so try to help each other.
On location during lockdown
In the meantime, the Executive Board and the Central Crisis Management Team are doing everything possible to use the available space at our locations as much as possible, within the limits of what is allowed and what is responsible. The space is still limited now, but once the extended lockdown is over, we expect that more will be possible, although this will probably differ per institute and study programme.
However, we have picked up on the fact that it feels strange to be at one of our locations during a lockdown, for example to organise a large-scale assessment. We can just imagine that to be true because almost the entire country is in lockdown, and we are partly teaching on location. As the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, we have to apply the government measures and limit the number of contact moments as much as possible, but at the same time aim keep a number of our vital, societal duties running as smoothly as possible.
One of these is to prevent study delay in higher education. For that reason, we have not only been given the opportunity, but also the task and responsibility to allow educational activities to take place on location where necessary: graduation sessions, assessments, practical professional training, and guidance for vulnerable students. All this, of course, is done in line with the safety measures in place in our buildings
A place to study on location for students
During the (extended) lockdown the school is open for some specific activities, as you have probably read in the update of update of 15 December. Essentially, students must carry out their independent studies from home. To prevent student study delay, we are making some space available per school location for students who have no place for study at home. If studying from home is very difficult, they can make use of these facilities on location. These are: Rochussenstraat, Academieplein, Pieter de Hoochweg, Museumpark, Kralingse Zoom, Willem de Kooning and Wijnhaven 107. They must first make a reservation via Hint. They must report to the reception desk, where they will be further assisted. They can only enter if they have made a reservation in advance.
Lansingerland and Charlois
In the municipality of Lansingerland and in Charlois, all residents will be tested for Covid-19. Some staff and students who live there have asked us whether you must go into quarantine if you have been tested but do not have any symptoms. The RIVM guidelines are clear: if you have no health complaints, you do not have to go into quarantine while waiting for the results. If you do have symptoms, you must stay at home until the result of the test is clear.
UPDATE Friday 18 December: Enjoy the holidays
The last few months you received fewer updates from the coronacrisis management team (CCMT) than some months ago. This in itself was a good sign. Last Tuesday this all changed: due to the new stricter measures we have to take a step back on location.
Nevertheless, we look back on the past few months with satisfaction. The vast majority of education and testing is able to continue as usual. And we see that students and staff generally adhere well to the guidelines at our locations. We are happy with that.
We are also noticing that a lot of people are craving a holiday. That’s logical, as this has been a complex and difficult year. For everyone. On behalf of the CCMT we would like to wish you a very pleasant holiday. Enjoy the holiday season and stay healthy. We will meet again in 2021.
Once the circumstances allow again, we will do our best to create more space for more education, research and working on location. The crisis team at the university of applied sciences is looking forward to closing down. However before that happens, we will continue to work together to organise our education and research the best way possible.
Merry Christmas, a quiet New Year's Eve and all the best in the new year!
UPDATE 15 December: Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences remains open for educational activities
Because of the rising rate of infections the government has had to decide on stricter measures to reduce the spread of the Covid-19 virus. This is leading to a partial scaling down of our education on location, but our education online will continue.
Fortunately, we still have room to continue to carry out crucial activities, such as education and research that must absolutely be carried out on location. We welcome that and will make responsible use of the opportunity to set up our buildings so that they are safe. And we emphasise observing the rules: washing hands, following instructions, and keeping your distance of 1.5 metres.
However, there are also further restrictions that will take effect in the night from Tuesday to Wednesday, so Wednesday 16 December will be the first day on which the stricter measures will be in force and this period will in any case last until Monday 18 January. Below we have described what is still possible on location from Wednesday and what is not.
Educational activities that can take place on location
- Practical skills education. All education that cannot be offered online due to its nature will continue to take place on location, as is already the case. In general, students will be informed in more detail by their study programme.
- Assessment on location. Assessment that have been scheduled can also continue to take place on location, subject to the same guidelines as before.
- Graduation sessions. Graduation sessions, as well as elements of the graduation process in which the physical component is necessary, may take place on location.
- Student guidance. Students who, because of the progress of their studies or because of their well-being, need more personal guidance and find it pleasant to have a conversation with their teacher, study career coach or counsellor, can let the person in question know. In consultation with each other, we will then see whether a meeting will take place on location or online.
- Student well-being. We expressly invite those students who are suffering from this crisis and who are experiencing loneliness or depression, for example, to make an appointment for this on location with a counsellor.
- Places to study places. At each location, a defined place will be set up where students, who cannot study well at home, will be able to reserve a quiet study place in the library or elsewhere. In the coming days we will work on a facility for studying on location with a form of registration. This facility will become available after the Christmas holidays. Please keep an eye on further notification.
- Library. The library locations are open to a limited extent, as is already the case. They are open for the pick-up of pre-ordered books and other study materials, in accordance with existing procedures.
On-site research activities
All research activities that due to the nature of the work must take place on location, may continue to take place on location. This is done in consultation with the manager. This is mainly to maintain a good view of the number of people in our buildings.
Activities in the context of our business operations
The same applies to activities that keep our organisation running: they also take place on location where necessary. Coordination with the manager must also take place here, for the same reason.
What can no longer take place on location
Of course, the stricter measures also mean that several things can no longer take place on location. All other work educational activities that are not listed above will take place online.
- Education changing to online. Teaching, including education for first-year students, that is now scheduled on location, but does not fall under any of the above categories, will take place online in the coming weeks.
- Group meetings and events. Group meetings are not permitted in the coming weeks. Scheduled meetings will be postponed.
More information for students
Over the next few days, students will receive more information from their study programme about what the measures specifically mean for their courses. If you have any further questions, please contact your study career coach, counsellor, or teacher that you have been in touch with already. Do not hesitate to contact us.
- Working from home. Working from home remains the norm. All work that does not need to take place on location, takes place online.
- Staff meetings. All meetings of employees, that are not related to the activities mentioned above, will take place online. For example, meetings, training and other professionalisation activities.
Crucial professions and child care
Employees in higher education are regarded as practitioners of a crucial profession. This means that, as in spring, childcare is available for higher education staff.
More information employees
Employees will hear from their service department, institute, or research centre what the measures will mean for them. If you have any questions about this update, you can discuss them with your manager. If you have any questions, you can also contact the Corona Information Point via email@example.com. Please note that the school will be closed from 21 December to 4 January during the Christmas holidays.
Almost time for the holidays
This is our prospect until the Christmas holidays and for the weeks to follow. The education system has been shut down according to the media. That is partly the case, but in part we remain open for education and research. Do make use of that opportunity. Based on sound consideration, our buildings have been set up particularly for limited use. Under the condition, of course, that we abide by the rules. We trust that you will, and we will see to that.
But for now, let's rest for a few weeks, and enjoy it as much as possible. So that we can all begin the new year with renewed courage. The year 2021 that may seem far away will offer us more prospects.
UPDATE Wednesday 25 November: How have we been doing at RUAS since the start of the academic year?
The start of the academic year was a few months ago, so now the time is right to assess our situation. A review of education, research, and other activities. And looking forward to prospects in the future, placing current media coverage of difficult times in higher education in the right context. This update is reflective and somewhat more extensive, and has been produced together with your institutes, research centres and services. It is therefore good to take note of it.
Student life loses some appeal
As the academic year progresses, the classrooms are looking emptier. This is partly due to the measures taken: with complaints you stay at home, either because of your own health or that of another. However, we also find that the motivation to be present is decreasing. This is not a good development. We understand that, for the most part, online education makes student life less appealing. For that reason, resilience is important at these times. We point out to students that they can talk to their Study Career Coaches, and with fellow students to keep each other motivated. We also point out the tips on this Hint page. We have noticed that the demand for support from counsellors has increased. They are doing their utmost to help as many students as possible.
Activities for students and their sense of belonging
The institutions are also attentive to this issue. In the coming education periods, activities will be set up to promote social belonging. This may differ per study programme. Examples are homework classes, tutoring classes or study groups led by a peer coach. As soon as government measures allow, we will offer room to study on location again and the Saturday opening hours will also be offered again.
Online education requires greater effort from the lecturer
In our experience, online teaching and assessment still requires a great deal of effort on the part of lecturers. We find that this means increased work pressure and our job satisfaction suffers somewhat as well. More than before, lecturers must use their creativity to design online education that is pedagogically sound, and to continually inspire students online. Especially now, as student enjoyment is subjected to increased pressure. The combination of online and on location education requires more planning and prioritisation, in part because lecturers want to perform well for the sake of the student. We greatly appreciate this commitment, enthusiasm, and dedication in our teaching. We encourage lecturers to share their experiences with each other and to learn from each other. You can, of course, continue to make use of the expertise of internal experts.
All education is taking place
The effort that lecturers are putting in is also apparent because despite the Covid-19 measures, all education has taken place (sometimes in an adapted style) since the start of the new academic year. The combination of online and on location education has become normal, but it is also challenging, because how do you motivate students remotely? And how do you provide activating, meaningful and connecting education from a distance? Most of the lectures have taken place online. Priority has been given to location-specific education (practical skills training, guidance, and assessments), lectures for first-year students and orientation activities. Project-based education has also continued, with several study programmes teaching on location and others online. In the coming weeks, the study programmes will examine the possibilities to be able to offer more educational activities on location.
Maintaining location-specific education
For some time, it was uncertain what impact the rising rate of infections would have on education. The conclusion is that we will continue to teach on location, even if government measures are intensified nationally. We may have to deal with changes in government measures for the rest of the academic year, but we will do everything we can to maintain on-site education as much as possible, so that students will not have a study delay. We will continue to work hard to achieve this at RUAS, within the boundaries of what is safe and responsible, of course.
Every exam week better and safer online assessment
Assessment has also largely taken place online. We continue to ensure that the quality of assessment in the online form remains at that same high level that we are used to. In this respect, the Exam Boards are fulfilling their role by guaranteeing the quality of assessments. Although we are becoming increasingly familiar with online assessment, there is still a great deal to learn and - to be honest - online is not always optimal. Every exam period we take steps to make sure that assessments take place in a better and safer way. More opportunity for on location assessment became available and most study programmes used this opportunity. There appears to be a growing need for locations that can be used for large groups and (online) assessment. We are looking into this option and, if necessary, we will meet this need by renting an external location.
Online proctoring is not permitted
Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences has adopted a principle with respect to online proctoring. It is not permitted here. We consider the potential risk, particularly in terms of students' privacy, to be too great. We realise that many universities and fellow universities of applied sciences think differently about this which creates pressure to adapt to others. However, we consider this method of assessment to be too vulnerable. Because we do want to try out new technologies and want to keep progressing, proctoring is only applied to a few controlled experiments.
Internship placement for most students
The prospects for finding internships were not promising in all sectors, as several sectors were hit hard by the pandemic. In general, most students have been able to find an internship, although this has been more difficult in some sectors. When it has not been possible to find internships, the educational programme was changed, or students were given a comparable replacement assignment. In several cases the research centres have made provision for this by being the client for the internship or graduation research.
Research in a slightly different way
The research projects have continued since March but are being carried out in a different way. For example, meta-analyses on existing trade literature are brought forward, and group discussions have sometimes been postponed. A notable advantage of the pandemic is that some doctoral candidates now have the peace and quiet to pursue their research in greater depth, which means that their peer-reviewed publications can be submitted to the editorial boards of (academic) journals more quickly.
Data collection, on the other hand, is organised differently in most projects. Adapting projects is not easy and involves considerable effort. Developing new projects has also turned out to be more difficult as we are working remotely. Other colleagues probably share that same experience. On balance, the research centres are satisfied with the quality and scope of the digital inaugural lessons. However, we have noticed that lecturers conducting research often have less time due to a higher workload in education.
Research centres must deal with a professional practice that on the one hand is interested in research and innovation, but on the other hand, businesses find it difficult to make commitments in these uncertain times. This makes it more complicated to plan new research projects and to realise acquisition of external resources.
A greater need for working on location
Our facilitators are not tied to locations to carry out their tasks, so almost all employees of the service departments are working from home. Staff members carrying out vital tasks such as (integrated) management and servicing, security, financial affairs, and student administration do, however, work on location. To support online education and working online, investments have been made mainly in the digital infrastructure of the school and in digital resources in recent months. Employees have been provided with equipment and other necessities.
At the start of the academic year, the need for working on location increased. An increasing number of employees were working on locations for one or two days a week. To that end, we made use of a new reservation system for office space. Due to stricter measures, working on location was once again no longer allowed. This development had quite some impact. It is well known that the situation is not optimal when colleagues cannot experience (social) interaction or must work from home, and it sometimes increases work pressure. We encourage colleagues to keep talking to each other about this and to keep the team spirit high even while working remotely. On this Hint page we have included various tips. As soon as prospects improve, working on one of our locations will be possible again.
Compliance with on location measures
We have become accustomed to the 1.5 metre standard and the corresponding measures. Bottlenecks in signage have been resolved at some locations and local routes have been customised. Most staff and students respond well to the measures. However, we have noticed that students are increasingly visiting the locations for the company, hanging out together in the restaurants, having extensive meals delivered, rooms being occupied without permission, and that quiet rooms are busier than they should be. We cannot emphasise enough that as long as the government measures remain in force, RUAS must comply with them, so we will continue to enforce the restrictions in our buildings. We have identified bottlenecks per location and will take location-specific measures. Throughout the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, food may only be consumed in the restaurants and delivery services are no longer permitted.
Impact of infections on education
The rising rate of infections is impacting our education as well. For the time being, the rate of infections is in line with the trend in our region. As far as we can observe, there have been no clusters at the school. We are monitoring the developments closely and, when necessary, we are in touch with the Municipal Health Services (GGD). However, our education is impacted when staff or students must deal with infections, colds or must be quarantined. We anticipate these changes by offering lessons online; in a limited number of cases it has led to cancellation of lessons. We are dependent on the regional testing capacity. Fortunately, we have noticed that the capacity is increasing. If bottlenecks do occur, private testing capacity could prove to be a solution. As the figures at national and regional levels are declining, we are seeing that same trend at our school: lower infection rates.
A school geared towards the future
At this school, we are thinking about the lessons that this pandemic has taught us and is still teaching us with the future in mind. Which learning points can enrich our education, research, and our way of working? And which changes and investments are therefore essential?
In conclusion, we find that - even from a distance - everyone is putting in effort to keep our education going as best we can. That is something to be proud of. Once again, we would like to emphasise that we greatly appreciate everyone's dedication and commitment to the school. Now that more information has become available about a vaccine that might work, there is a glimmer of hope. Colleagues let's keep going! We stand behind you.
UPDATE Thursday 12 November: concerns being on location, travel abroad and restaurants, Binding Study Recommendation
As the government made clear earlier, there will be no new measures affecting our education. The RIVM rate of regional infections is developing positively. This is good news, and we hope that this downward trend will continue, so that we can maintain our education on location on a permanent basis. We do ask students to physically attend their scheduled classes. By actively attending classes, you stimulate your own motivation and promote your study success.
Discuss concerns/anxiety about being on location
Although this is good news, we do understand that some students and colleagues find it difficult to come to the location under these circumstances. This out of concern for their own health, or that of someone near them. We also understand that people can be reluctant to express their concern openly, which is however not ideal. We call on managers and study career coaches to discuss concerns within the teams and in the classroom.
Employees can discuss any concern with their manager or with the occupational social worker. Students can contact their study career coach or counsellor. As communicated earlier, we are doing everything we can to set up the locations safely, so that it is easy to adhere to the guidelines. This is important because it allows us to continue teaching on location. We must all do our best and offer our students the best possible education, because it is our societal responsibility.
Recently we have noticed that the restaurants at some of our locations are becoming busier as they are increasingly being used as meeting places. This is obviously not the objective with the current restrictions. The restaurants are only to be used as distribution points for food and drink. Of course, you can eat something there, but they are not the place to linger, have a group meal that has been delivered, to study or catch up. Do not stay in the building after an assessment. If the hustle and bustle at the locations does not lessen, we will review whether we need to tighten up the measures. More communication on this matter will follow.
Binding Study Recommendation 2020-2021
First-year students whose studies are delayed, and therefore will fail to meet the Binding Study Recommendation norm in the academic year 2020-2021, will again have the opportunity this year to meet the Binding Study Recommendation norm in the next academic year. This applies to all students who started their first year at Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences (RUAS) in September 2020. In contrast to last year’s cancellation of the Binding Study Recommendation, this year it is a postponement: In the second year, students who started at RUAS in September 2020 will therefore be required to obtain a certain number of study credits. The exact regulation that will apply is still to be determined. Lecturers and study career coaches will continue to discuss with students how they can successfully continue their studies, and we will provide guidance and advice in this regard.
In doing so, we are in line with the national course determined by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science in consultation with the Association of Universities of Applied Sciences (Vereniging Hogescholen).
Assessment and online proctoring
It is the start of another exam period, and questions have again been asked about online proctoring - the conducting of assessments with digital supervision. Online proctoring is not permitted at RUAS, apart from a few previously defined exceptions. Further details about proctoring can be found in this memo.
We previously announced that short study-related travel for staff and students would not be permitted up to and including December. Considering the many orange and red areas around the world, this decision will be extended through July 2021.
However, at the start of the pandemic, spring 2020, it became apparent that in some - well substantiated - cases it was necessary to make exceptions and subsequently allow travel abroad in those cases. We also want to offer this flexibility, and allow for exceptions, throughout the spring of 2021.
On behalf of the Executive Board, a committee has been set up to assess applications for study and internships abroad in the second semester, and to grant exceptions in some cases. These exceptions are individually tailored.
If you would like to be considered for an exception or would like more information about the exceptions and the corresponding procedure, please contact the study abroad coordinator / internship / graduation coordinator of your study programme.
Eligible students are:
1. (International) student who is staying abroad / home country and will continue to stay there for studies / internship.
2. International student who is going abroad for studies / internship and will be part of an existing network.
3. (International) student who has chosen an international study programme for which the end qualifications in respect to language, culture, and international context, imply a period abroad.
4. Individual cases not falling under categories 1, 2 or 3 (in which rejection may lead to manifest unfairness) are at the discretion of the committee.
UPDATE Wednesday 4 November: Down-scaling education is realistic scenario
Tuesday evening Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Minister Hugo de Jonge were clear about the situation in Rotterdam: if the number of infections in the city does not decrease, further local measures will be needed, which may also have consequences for education. We therefore must be realistic and take into account the possibility that additional restrictions may temporarily apply to Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences.
But as long as the decision has not yet been taken, we will continue to offer our students what they are entitled to. We are pleased that we have the opportunity to do so because, like other sectors and professions, such as health care, public transport or the food sector, education is a vital profession. This creates an obligation, however difficult it may sometimes seem to reconcile with the somewhat worrying situation of rising numbers of infections in our city and region.
Providing education and preventing study delays are essential for society. In the situation of complete distance education, education does retain its value, but its impact is less for students, due to the lack of (social) interaction in the classroom with lecturers and fellow students. Above all, some educational activities can only take place on location. In particular, we must continue to carry out those activities on location at all costs.
Safe environment for learning and working
Increasing figures may feel unsafe. Working and studying in our school buildings is not. The government has imposed a maximum capacity for our buildings to fulfil our social responsibility. An inventory of the occupancy rate at our locations shows that in the current phase we predominantly do not use more than half of that capacity. The figures from the public transport companies, with which we are in close contact, also show that we are operating well below the maximum permitted capacity. If the agreements are complied with then, the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences is a safe place to be.
Over the past few months we have worked hard to achieve this safe learning and working environment. After all, in addition to education on location, we have come to an understanding about working from home. For those who do need to be on location, a place has been created where it is possible for everyone to comply with government measures. We are monitoring the infections and have noticed an increase that is in line with regional developments. The increase seems to be related to external factors, and so far there are no indications of infection clusters.
Necessary, preferable and optimal education
In the current phase, we are providing both the education that needs to take place on location (such as practical skills education), and the education that we preferably provide on location because of social and academic engagement (such as guidance and small-scale first-year education). The study programmes have given careful consideration to an optimal mix of on location and digital education.
We hope that this will continue to be possible. But as the press conference on Tuesday evening revealed, there is a possibility that we will have to scale down our education. Let us, students and staff of this school, do everything we can to prevent this from happening in any case. Simply by obeying the rules. In doing so, we are helping each other not only within our community, but throughout the Rotterdam region.
UPDATE 16 October: assessments and resits in case of Covid-19 complaints
In case of health complaints: stay at home. That has been one of the basic rules since March. This means when you have (mild) complaints that you do not visit a school location for an assessment either. Because of the increasing number of infections in our region and the onset of the flu season, the risk of missing an assessment is higher than usual. We have noticed that students are sometimes tempted to come to Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences when they have complaints, because they are afraid of missing an assessment. The rule is: don't do it.
If you have (mild) cold symptoms during the 'exam week', please stay at home, and wait for the Covid-19 test results, or if you have been tested positive, stay in quarantine (also when a housemate has been tested positive). You will not be admitted to school for on location assessments. In our regular assessment procedure, you are entitled to a resit in addition to the original assessment. Make use of this right, because that is what the resit is for.
Solution for absence due to Covid-19 related complaints
Should you not pass the resit, it is not always the case that you no longer have the opportunity to sit the assessment in question. Our rules, as set out in the so-called Student Handbook, offer the possibility of offering an extra resit in special cases. We consider health complaints, health tests and quarantine within the framework of Covid-19 to be a special circumstance and will therefore make generous use of this possibility the rules offer us. Pursuant to the corresponding Article, the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences will provide a solution so that you will not be disadvantaged if you cannot sit an exam in the exam week due to cold symptoms, a Covid-19 test or quarantine.
More information on the exact details will follow at a later stage of the academic year. Keep a close eye on these updates! We want to send a message at this moment and react in the context of Covid-19, but we also want to take a look at how the pandemic will develop and what measures, if any, still need to be taken nationally or by us.
What is important for now:
- In case of health complaints, quarantine, waiting for a test (result) or in case of a positive test, do not visit a school location for an assessment.
- It is important that you keep your documentation such as confirmation of test appointments, test results, doctor's certificate, et cetera, because the burden of proof will be part of the conditions for eligibility for this provision.
- If you choose not to participate in assessments or resits for reasons other than those related to Covid-19, you will not be eligible for the same provision,
- More information on the exact form and procedure for an extra (resit) opportunity will follow later in the academic year.
In short, we are going to make sure that you do not have problems when you are unable to come to school for an assessment due to Covid-19 related reasons. Trust this statement and resist the temptation to come to school with mild complaints or if you have or think you have been infected.
We wish you a pleasant autumn holiday, hopefully in good health, and good luck with the upcoming assessments!
UPDATE Wednesday 14 October: We are open, and we would like to keep it that way
In our society, we once again must take a step backwards: the hospitality industry is having to close its doors again because of the rising infection rates, and amateur sports clubs are closed to adults.
On the other hand, the government is calling on education to remain open. “There are no new changes for educational institutions,” said Prime Minister Rutte at the press conference on Tuesday evening. In these exciting times, an appeal is being made on our basic values more than ever before. We are, of course, pleased about that, because it is our social responsibility to continue to offer education, particularly in these circumstances. This includes education on location, allowing us to continue to give our students sufficient prospects for the future. That is our duty.
Room for education and student engagement
Educational activities that are taking place on location at this time will therefore continue. Students and lecturers are happy to be able to meet each other again on location once a week. The practical skill education and assessments on location will also continue to take place. The same applies to one-on-one conversations with students, who need a little more guidance, support or 'simply' a sympathetic ear.
An inventory of the occupancy rate in our buildings has shown that there is less education taking place in our buildings than is permitted. We therefore have more scope for education on location, which we will try to make use of in the next educational period. We will continue to implement this approach in the safest possible way.
In this context, we would like once again to pay tribute to the people who have to be present in our buildings every day. They include receptionists, caretakers, supervisors and cleaners, who make sure that education can take place. Thank you for that!
Stick to the rules
We create that safe environment together by adhering to the rules on location. If you must be at one of our locations, you will of course follow the well-known rules: Keep a distance of 1.5 metres, cough or sneeze in your elbow and do not shake hands. In addition, in the public areas of our buildings you must wear a face mask. Finally, we would like to point out that at this time it is even more important to only come to one of the locations if you really must. Don't come to class too early, don't hang around and do your independent study at home as much as possible.
We cannot emphasise often enough that we all have to ensure that the school can remain open. It will only be possible if everyone complies with the government's guidelines. Not only at school, but also elsewhere.
UPDATE Friday 9 October: How do we deal with the face mask obligation in different situations?
It will come as no surprise to anyone that the infections are also increasing here. In terms of the number of infected students and colleagues, we are in line with Rotterdam and the surrounding region. What is good to know is that we are monitoring centrally, paying close attention to possible clusters and are in constant contact with the Municipal Health Service.
On the basis of this, we can say that so far there are no indications that there has been a 'hotbed' or 'spreader event' anywhere within our school. That is reassuring.
Compulsory Face Mask
Satisfaction. This is the best way to describe the feeling after the first few days since the introduction of the face mask requirement. Both students and staff adhere to wearing one and, in addition to this, they react positively to the new measure for the most part. The general consensus is that it increases the feeling of safety. That is why some people prefer to keep their face mask on in the classroom or in the workplace, although it is not compulsory in those areas. This is, of course, allowed.
Incidentally, the 1.5-metre measure still applies everywhere (!). Everyone should keep a distance of 1.5 metres from each other everywhere in our buildings. Only then can we safely meet at a location for lessons or work. It is nice to see that we generally deal with the measure in a mature way.
Answers to questions
Since the introduction of the face mask obligation, various questions have been raised about the use of face masks in different situations. By sharing the following questions and corresponding answers with you, we hope to create even more clarity about the face mask obligation.
- Are students/employees who refuse to wear a face mask not welcome at the school?
We want to be an open institution and we want to welcome all staff and students. However, as there is a formal obligation, staff and students who refuse a face mask are not welcome. Colleagues and students who have forgotten their face mask can turn to our reception desks.
- Wearing a face mask is not compulsory in the classroom, but what if it is not possible to keep a distance of 1.5 metres while walking through that room?
The classrooms are set up according to the 1.5 metres measure and that remains the norm. In classroom situations (such as walking in and out of the classroom along the tables of fellow students or in case of certain exceptional work methods) where the 1.5 metres cannot be observed properly, it is compulsory to wear a face mask. It is up to the teacher to assess whether this is the case and also to ensure that the 1.5 metres measure is observed in the classroom. If you wish to wear a face mask of your own accord in the classroom, you are of course free to do so.
- When do you put the face mask back on when you leave the room?
It is best to put on the face mask at the end of the lesson, before leaving the classroom. This prevents blockages at the door and in the corridors.
- Is wearing a face mask compulsory in the library?
We realise that that can be unpleasant. But the answer is 'yes'. The library is a public space, even if you are working at a computer. Just like in open learning centres with computers, where the face mask obligation also applies.
- Is wearing a face mask mandatory in offices, open-plan offices, conference rooms or closed of (student) work spaces?
Enclosed spaces are not public spaces, so wearing a face mask is not mandatory, as these spaces are arranged according to the 1.5 metre measures. In these areas, the intention is to sit at a desk or table and to limit walking around. Wearing a face mask is compulsory if the 1.5-metre measure cannot be properly observed when walking in these areas.
- If I am sitting on a bench or at a table having a meeting or working on an assignment with fellow students, do I have to wear a face mask?
The compulsory wearing of a face mask in all public areas, such as the corridors, also applies when using the benches, chairs and tables present.
- Do I have to wear a face mask when I am sitting (alone) at the table studying or working in the restaurants?
Wearing a face mask is compulsory in the restaurants. The same rules apply as in the food services sector: as soon as you sit down at a table, the face mask can be taken off.
- Can the face mask be removed while eating or drinking?
You can eat and drink in the restaurants. In the restaurants you can take off your face mask while sitting at the table. In the other public areas you are always required to wear a face mask.
- Are the RUAS face masks only for employees?
The idea is for everyone to bring their own face mask, this applies to both students and staff. The school has a limited stock available at the reception desks. For those who have forgotten one, remember that once they are gone, there will no longer be a supply.
- Can I come to the school locations with corona-like (Covid-19) complaints now that I am wearing a face mask anyway?
According to RIVM guidelines, you must remain at home when you suffer from those complaints, and you cannot come to the school locations for a lesson, assessment or work.
- How is the compulsory face mask enforced, and are there consequences in the event of refusal to wear one?
The experience of the past few days shows that students and staff also comply with the rules without any form of enforcement. In the past few days, there have been occasional cases of a friendly form of enforcement, when everyone has been addressed without a face mask or has been given a face mask. We can and must all continue to address each other. We believe that this form of enforcement will prove to be sufficient.
In the unlikely event that the rules are not complied with, such as the face mask obligation, disciplinary measures can be taken, as is the case with all House Rules (in accordance with the Higher Education and Research Act). But, once again, we do not expect it to be necessary, because we notice that everyone is dealing with it professionally and adheres to the measure.
- 12 There are 'open spaces' and 'labs' where lessons take place, but that are also part of the public space. Do I have to wear a face mask there? Yes, as long as the space is not enclosed or defined, there is an obligation to wear a face mask. This is for the sake of clarity to other people who are not taking part in the lesson, but who are in the same room. In this case we can no longer make a distinction between a lesson or not.
- Now that we are wearing face masks, can we keep less distance to another in public spaces?
No, the 1.5-metre measure remains in force despite the face mask obligation.
- What if I have a medical condition that prevents me from wearing a face mask?
If you have a medical indication, you can take the usual steps that you would otherwise take to get an exemption on medical grounds. Students can report to the counsellor, employees can report to their manager.
UPDATE 5 October: Compulsory face masks at Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences starting Wednesday 7 October
Last week, the government presented stricter Covid-19 measures due to the rapidly increasing number of infections. This is also the case in our region and in the city of Rotterdam. In order to help slow down this rise, we announced last week that a request for the introduction of compulsory face masks had been submitted to the Central Representative Board. They agreed to this measure today. This means that as of Wednesday 7 October it will be compulsory to wear a face mask in the public areas of our school. The obligation to wear a mask will apply, for example, in the corridors, the open learning centres, the lifts, stairwells, restaurants, and so on.
Our locations are safely organised which allows us to comply to the measures in the best possible way, but we have noticed that compliance is sometimes unconsciously compromised, particularly in the public areas. Making it compulsory to wear a face mask is an additional measure to keeping a distance of 1.5 metres. This measure remains unchanged. We have opted to change the urgent recommendation into a face mask requirement because, in view of the increasing reports of infections, we believe that the measures need to be clear and consistent. This should make the rules clear to everyone and therefore the rules will also be enforced from Wednesday onwards.
Face masks during education is not compulsory, but is allowed
The compulsory wearing of face masks does not apply to classrooms, where existing safety measures are generally well adhered to. Those who wish to wear a face mask of their own accord during education are, of course, free to do so. Worksites, laboratories and other areas for practical education are subject to safety measures that are appropriate to the nature of the education taking place there.
It is everyone's own responsibility to have a face mask on location.
In addition to the update of Tuesday 29 September, the school has taken a number of decisions in response to the tightened measures by the government and the Rotterdam-Rijnmond Safety Region.
Mandatory Face Masks
Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences is going to introduce a face mask requirement as soon as possible. We are currently preparing a decision to make it compulsory to wear face masks in our public areas. This is to promote clarity and enforceability. To this end, the House Rules will be updated; the Central Representative Board will be asked to consider a request to this end.
Pending this decision, the school is urgently advising students, staff and all visitors to our buildings to wear a face mask in our public areas immediately. For example in corridors, restaurants and open learning centres. This does not apply to classrooms, where the existing safety measures are generally well observed. In the public areas, in addition to the face mask requirement, the rule to keep a distance of 1.5 metres, still applies, of course.
Mayor supports our school policy
In doing so, the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences is following the approach of Ahmed Aboutaleb - not only mayor but also chairman of the Rotterdam-Rijnmond Safety Region - who is clear about the advice to wear face masks. He is pleased with the government's initiative with regard to face masks, but if it is up to him, it should not be restricted to shops and supermarkets, but should also be used in public spaces of buildings where it is effective. The Mayor therefore very much welcomes the school's decision: “In fact, wearing face masks should be the guideline for everyone in the region, for all places where many people gather”.
It goes without saying that we keep a close eye on national developments. Suppose that this decision is taken at a national level before we ourselves introduce compulsory face masks, then of course we will follow that course and introduce compulsory face masks at an earlier stage.
It is everyone's own responsibility to have a face mask.
On location education continues, downscaling number of people present
As stated in the update of Tuesday 29 September, the education on location can fortunately continue. However, we are going to decrease the presence of people in our buildings. This can be done by, for example, coming to school shortly before the lesson and going home immediately after the lesson. At the moment we do not recommend studying at one of our locations. Please do so as much as possible from home. Employees should only come to a location if there is no other option. Working from home remains the norm. In this way, we can together prevent the chance of further spread of the covid-19 virus as much as possible.
Education according to the current schedule and plans will therefore not change. However, changes do apply to the graduation ceremonies. The general rules for meetings apply: a maximum of 30 people if it takes place inside, a maximum of 40 people if it takes place outside.
Other meetings are held digitally. Meetings, inaugural readings, brainstorm sessions, trips, team building and informal gatherings (such as get-togethers or receptions) may unfortunately not take place person to person until the autumn break. From now on, the board and directors/deans will also work almost entirely from home again.
In the case of a course at an external location, for example, the organiser's measures apply, who is also responsible for compliance.
Reversal of Saturday opening times
In view of the new developments, the Saturday opening hours will be reversed for the time being. It is no longer possible to study at one of our locations on that day.
Reporting infections or quarantine
In case of a Covid-19 infection or quarantine, one obviously does not come to the school. Students report their medical condition and/or quarantine to their Study Career Coach. The Study Career Coach will then set to work to register the report using the following flow chart. (Dutch only)
As an employee, you report sick in the usual way, so that your manager is informed. Report your medical condition and/or quarantine to the RUAS employability advisor, Occupational Health Service. This flow chart (Dutch only) includes the complete process of reporting (the probability) of an infection.
UPDATE 29 September: consequences of the stricter measures for our school
What are the consequences for our school of the stricter measures announced by Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte during Monday’s press conference? An overview.
At least until the autumn break, the following rules apply at school:
The common thread is that we will significantly scale back our presence at school, but we are allowing education to continue. Staff members will only come to the university if absolutely necessary. We advise students to study at home as much as possible and only come to the university of applied sciences for classes.
Education will continue according to the current schedule and planning. There are no changes to the capacity we are allowed to use. This involves providing education and guidance to students, including graduation sessions , regardless of whether these take place at school or at an external location. However, we do advise students and staff members to only come to school for the actual class and do not arrive early or stay longer afterwards.
Graduation ceremonies are related to education, but are not considered education activities. The general rules for meetings apply to these ceremonies: a maximum of 30 people if it takes place inside, a maximum of 40 people if it takes place outside. We are extra vigilant that these ceremonies comply with RIVM guidelines.
Other work activities on location
Working from home is the norm for all activities that do not involve teaching or providing guidance to students. Direct managers are urged to strictly enforce this. Only those activities which must take place on location due to the nature of the activity (for example, supervision, maintenance, salary payments, etc.) may take place on location at the discretion of the dean. All other activities must be conducted from home. In principle, research activities should also be performed from home. If a staff member believes they have to work on location for a particular reason (for example, staff who are unable to work from home due to circumstances), the staff member can submit a request to the dean, who will make a decision.
Meetings and other gatherings
Meetings are held digitally, unless it’s impossible to hold these meetings online. It is stipulated nationally that activities that take place in the context of research do not take place on location. As far as we are concerned, the only exception applies to activities that require laboratories or workshops. This will be coordinated with the manager.
Practical considerations (for example, all meeting participants happen to be present on location anyway) are not a reason to hold a meeting in person instead of online. Brainstorming sessions, outings, team building and informal gatherings (for example, social events or receptions) may not be held in person until the autumn break.
At the moment, the precise government policy on the use of face masks is not clear yet. If there is an urgent recommendation to wear face masks indoors, we will strongly advise, or make it mandatory, to wear face masks inside the buildings of the university of applied sciences. This concerns the so-called public spaces in our buildings: corridors, restaurants, public workplaces, etc. We will communicate this as soon as there is more information available.
Now that the new academic year has started and more students and staff are present again at our locations, it sometimes happens that during a break they go from the Museumpark, Rochussenstraat or Academieplein locations to the Erasmus MC to visit the shops in the hospital’s shopping area. This is not the intention.
During corona our neighbours are doing everything they can to fully dedicate themselves to providing care. The Erasmus MC wants to create a place that is as safe as possible for patients and staff. Only people who need to be in the building for care are allowed to enter. We therefore call on its students and staff members of locations near the EMC to respect this and not enter the building via another way.
Comply with basic rules
The most important thing is that everyone – including staff members – complies with the basic rules and kindly addresses anyone who does not comply. These rules are:
- Only come to the university of applied sciences if you really need to be there, based on the criteria outlined above.
- Do not come to the university of applied sciences if you have any health concerns or if you have been advised to go into quarantine.
- Always keep a 1.5-metre distance.
UPDATE 16 September: Evaluation of buildings, infections and trips abroad
In last week’s update, we called for everyone to adhere to the measures in our buildings so that we can remain open as a school. In this respect, we are pleased to note that things have improved at our locations. Students and staff seem to be more aware of the fact that we can only create a safe learning and working environment together.
Nevertheless, things are not yet going as they should in some places. For example, in corridors, on the stairs and in lifts. When leaving the classrooms, please observe the correct walking routes and the 1.5 metre distance. We would like to remind you once again of our 1.5-metre protocol and the instructional video that you should read and watch before visiting one of our buildings.
In the next two weeks we will evaluate more specifically how things are going in the buildings. Where is it too busy? Where is it too quiet? Where should additional measures be taken to achieve a safe(r) situation? We will of course communicate the answers to these types of questions in one of our next updates.
Infection rates are rising in Rotterdam. We also see this reflected within our school. The number of people infected with COVID-19 has increased in recent weeks. This trend is therefore in line with the regional picture, but obviously not on the same scale. This is a manageable situation and we want to keep it that way.
So how do we communicate about infections within our school? To avoid unnecessary concern, we do not communicate daily statistics. Periodically, we will provide a picture of developments at the school.
We are working closely with the Municipal Health Service (GGD) and coordinate the communication with the GGD, as the initiator. Their advice is decisive. It has been agreed that staff and students from the immediate circle will be informed in the event of a possible risk of infection. We determine who belongs to the immediate circle in consultation with the GGD. The more people who become infected at one location in the school, or the greater the risk of others becoming infected, the greater the circle of communication becomes. If necessary, we will, of course, also communicate throughout the school via an update.
You may therefore become aware that someone is infected but that the GGD has not seen any reason for further investigation or further communication. One of the determinants is whether contact has taken place in compliance with the 1.5-metre measure that applies at school in accordance with the RIVM guidelines. So we can’t stress enough how important it is to stick to that.
In view of current developments abroad and the potential of a second wave, we have decided not to allow study and business trips until the end of the 2020 calendar year.
Travel advice for both inside as well as outside Europe changes very quickly from yellow to amber or even red. As a result, the risk of not being able to return (and therefore repatriation) is too great.
In addition, the purpose of a study or business trip can be compromised by local quarantine requirements. And on return to the Netherlands, there is too great a chance that attending education or the commitment to education could become restricted because code amber or red means ten days of quarantine.
There is also a financial side to the story. Cancellations are not covered by the insurer.
All in all, we have decided that it is wise not to allow study or business trips abroad until the end of 2020. We will reassess the situation in November and the school will reconsider this decision for the period starting in January 2021.
For more information on topics related to the coronavirus and its consequences, please go to rotterdamuas.com/coronavirus. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Update 7 September: Keep the school open together
Good to have you back. I hope that you are enjoying the start of your new academic year. What would be a terrible start for you? That the school would have to close its doors again? Nobody would be happy with that scenario! On the contrary, we are so pleased that all our buildings are open again and that we will be able to provide part of our education on location. It is not without reason that on these first days of the new year, we can see many happy faces in the corridors, in the classrooms and in other places in and around the buildings. It brings us joy as well.
Unfortunately we also note that the rules, which we have introduced not to give the coronavirus free rein, are not being respected by everyone. People greet each other with a hug, block the entrances, use entrances as exits, do not walk according to the clearly marked walking routes, do not disinfect their hands and form groups - both in rooms and outdoors - where people are not leaving the
1.5 metre distance between them. This does not happen all the time and everywhere, but often enough that I am starting to worry about it.
We want to prevent a hotbed emerging at our school, which would result in us having to close a location - possibly imposed - once again. It is precisely more teaching at our locations that benefits everyone. We understand, of course, that it is nice to actually see your fellow students and lecturers on location. And we also must get used to the fact that there are corona measures in place in school. Do not think lightly about the measures taken in our buildings. We cannot repeat often enough that together we can make sure that the buildings will remain open. So stick to the rules and speak to those fellow students and staff in a friendly manner who are (possibly unconsciously) not sticking to the rules.
We have made a special video with the game rules that apply within our buildings. Watch this animation and please go through the RUAS 1.5 metre protocol, pay close attention so that you know what is expected of you and others.
Let us work together to keep the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences open. Therefore, please stick to the measures that have been taken. For yourself and for your 40,000 fellow students. But also, of course, for all the staff members.
Update 31 August: Welcome (back)!
Before the 2020-2021 academic year officially starts on 1 September, we would of course like to welcome everyone (again). We hope you have had a pleasant summer holiday.
In September all our buildings will open again and there will be more room for education and research on location. Under current government measures, we will be able to make use of around 40% of the capacity of our buildings, although this will be more feasible at one location than another.
In any case, it means that working from home and largely online education will remain the norm for the time being. Working and studying on location is possible if you are scheduled, if it is necessary for your work, or because there really is no other option. When on location, we of course adhere to the guidelines that ensure that we all create a safe learning and working environment together.
Therefore, please watch this instruction video and read the 1.5 metre protocol applicable at school before you visit one of our buildings. The basic rules are simple: follow the traffic routes and keep to the instructions of the buildings, stay at a distance of 1.5 metres from each other, sneeze and cough in your elbow, use paper handkerchiefs, regularly wash your hands and stay at home when you have health complaints. Should you have health complaints, it is important to get tested for Covid-19. Use the national number 0800-1202 or the website of the government to get an appointment for a test.
In addition, read the updates carefully and keep an eye on the Coronavirus Information Point to stay up to date on the latest developments regarding government measures and how this applies to Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences.
We have recently received questions from employees and students who are concerned about compliance with and upholding government measures at our locations. We are of the opinion that it is our joint responsibility to ensure that the measures are complied with which will keep Covid-19 out.
Let's call each other to account for behaviour that is not in line with the measures. Everyone has a responsibility to do so, because it is about your health and that of your fellow students and/or colleagues. If calling to account does not help and/or if the situation escalates, you can always call on the Services staff or the supervisors in the buildings (via the reception desk). They know how to act in such cases.
In extreme cases, the school is allowed to impose a sanction on offenders, as described in the Student Handbook. However, we assume that everyone uses their common sense and respects others.
Recently we have already communicated about the ventilation inside our buildings. As there are many questions about this, we would like to emphasise once again that the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences meets all the requirements.
The RIVM does advise to prevent recirculation of air. The air treatment systems of all our buildings have been adapted to this, where necessary, so that fresh air is used.
We comply with RIVM regulations. In addition, we have checked all areas within our buildings for sufficient ventilation. Sixteen rooms were considered questionable, after which measures were taken, such as opening windows during opening hours. Rooms that do not comply and for which additional measures are not possible, were closed and will not be used. This applies to a total of two rooms.
When the locations are opened, the air treatment systems are switched on again at the same time, so that there is sufficient ventilation everywhere and we can provide a pleasant learning and working environment.
Have you been abroad on holiday? Check the website of the government whether you must be quarantined for ten days. This applied to countries with a code orange, but also for some countries with a code yellow. Take the advice seriously. Do you have to go into quarantine? If so, report this to your study career coach or supervisor and come to agreement about how you can do your studies or work.
Start of the academic year
Tomorrow, Tuesday 1 September, is the official start of our academic year. For the first time we will do this entirely online. The registrations show that such an event can have a great effect. More than 2,000 employees and students have already signed up for 'Ready for the Start', the theme of the this year's event. We will look back on the past months, look ahead to the coming academic year, there is song, music and dance, and prizes will be awarded.
You can also watch inspirational RUAS Talks and a podcast about the higher education of today and the future. Watch hr.nl/klaarvoordestart for the programme, and for registration should you not yet have registered.
Good luck and have fun in the new academic year! Take care of yourself and each other and let's make it a beautiful year together.
UPDATE 19 August: Joint responsibility and ventilation
Before the summer break, we were hoping the number of corona cases would continue to decrease. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has picked up again the last few months. Especially in Rotterdam. What are the consequences for the start of the new academic year?
The schedule for on-site education activities that we made last July for 2020/2021 can be continued because they were based on the guidelines that are still in place. This means everyone needs to maintain a distance of 1.5 metres from each other, stay at home and get a test if you have (minor) cold-related symptoms, regularly wash your hands and sneeze or cough in your elbow. We are in close contact with the Rotterdam-Rijnmond Safety Region so that we can quickly adjust our measures when necessary.
Throughout the 2020/2021 academic year, online education and working from home will be the norm, except when you are scheduled to work on location or perform location-based activities. We will only come to the university of applied sciences when necessary. Of course, we hope to get more room for learning and working at some point in the future, like we were used to before the corona crisis. But we need to make one thing quite clear: that’s not going to be the case in the near future, certainly not in Rotterdam.
Addressing each other
The way we are going to provide education is responsibly, as long as everyone adheres to the basic agreements. Our regulatory officers will keep an extra eye on things, but those colleagues cannot do it alone. This means that we must be able to call each other to account if someone - without realising it - does not abide by the rules. In a pleasant and adult way, of course. We do it to help each other. To create a safe learning and working environment for everyone.
So please stay at home if you have a cold or other (mild) complaints and get tested for the coronavirus. You can make an appointment via the national number 0800-1202. You can also make an appointment online with your DigiD.
In the media there is a lot of discussion about the possibility that COVID-19 can spread via ventilation systems. How does that work exactly and what measures have been taken in the buildings of Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences?
A group of scientists has addressed the World Health Organization (WHO) and national institutes such as the RIVM and stresses that the role of aerosols (small droplets) in the spread of the coronavirus should be taken seriously. However, following epidemiological, virological and modelling studies, the RIVM concludes that the risk of contamination via aerosols is much lower than via large droplets (e.g. by coughing and sneezing) or physical contact.
The RIVM specifically addresses the role of ventilation systems and maintains its earlier position that there is no reason to tighten up the standard for ventilation. There is no evidence that the ventilation systems contribute to the spread of the virus. However, the RIVM does emphasise the role of ventilation; good ventilation is necessary for air renewal and contributes to a pleasant and healthy indoor climate.
The RIVM does advise against the recirculation of air. The air-handling systems in all the university’s buildings have been adjusted where necessary, so that fresh air is used.
This means we comply with the regulations of the RIVM. In addition, we have checked all areas within our buildings to see if the ventilation is sufficient. There were doubts about sixteen rooms, after which measures were taken, such as opening windows during opening hours. Rooms that are not satisfactory and where additional measures are not possible will be closed and not used. This applies to a total of two rooms.
When the locations are opened, the air handling systems are switched on in plenty of time beforehand, so that there is sufficient ventilation and a pleasant learning and working environment is provided. This will be, of course, continuously monitored.
Do you still have questions or remarks about ventilation in a certain room? Please send an email to email@example.com.
Introductory activities are a great way to introduce first year students to the university of applied sciences and the city. That’s why it’s important that these can continue, albeit in a different form than we were used to before. For example in small groups, without alcohol consumption, not between 10 pm and 6 am and of course partly online.
Where physical activities are concerned, we rely on the joint responsibility of the students, team captains, lecturers and staff members. Keep a close eye on each other. We want everyone to get to know our university of applied sciences and the city of Rotterdam in the best possible way, but we are still living in corona times. And unfortunately that means we have to comply with rules and regulations.
It is good to know that we submit all introductory activities of all study programmes, insofar as they take place outside the gates of the university, to the Safety Region for approval, which is led by Mayor Aboutaleb. In this way, we not only ensure that we are careful ourselves, but external experts also assist us.
Back from abroad
Have you been on holiday abroad? Then check the government’s site to see whether you need to stay in quarantine for ten days. This applies to countries with code orange, but also to some countries with code yellow. Please take the advice seriously. Do you have to be quarantined? Report this to your study career coach or supervisor and make agreements about how you can do your job.
UPDATE 16 July: Happy summer holidays!
Summer holidays. After this intensive period at work, we are all ready for some relaxation; we can just picture it. A lot has happened in recent months, a great deal. Changing from a vibrant school with classrooms and practical labs full of students, to RUAS Online. We have done it in an admirable way, which has made it possible for us to keep most of our education going. We are very grateful for that. We would like to thank the students for their understanding and perseverance.
It was an educational period in which we faced new challenges and had to deal with many bumps in the road. Sometimes it was a little easier than at other times. All in all, we can be proud of what we have achieved together during the corona crisis.
By sending updates, we have kept you regularly informed about decision-making, measures and new developments in the field of, for example, online education. In August we will pick up again where we left off and continue updating you as we prepare for the new academic year.
Now there's nothing left for us to do but wish you pleasant holidays.
Chairman of the Executive Board, Ron Bormans extends his wishes in a special way by means of a video message:
UPDATE 10 July: Inspiration blended education for 2020/2021
With the summer holidays just around the corner, we can say that a lot has happened in the field of online education over the past few months. In an earlier update we already reported that we at Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences are proud of what has been achieved in a short period of time. Even after the summer holidays we will continue to offer blended education: partly online, partly offline.
If you want to (further) broaden your knowledge and skills in this respect, for example in preparing for education after the summer holidays, we have a number of guidelines for you. To begin with, in this update we have listed where you, as a lecturer or course director, can find answers to questions, get help, tools and professionalisation in the field of blended learning at every entry level.
Two online magazines were created to enable the realisation of distance education in an easily accessible way:
1 Online Magazine Distance Learning
How does pedagogy and didactics work in an online environment? How to create a good online lesson? That is how the magazine starts, followed by manuals and tips focused on group size and type of lesson. The magazine also has a search function, which will be optimised in the near future.
2 Online Magazine Remote Testing
What are the methods for online testing and what resources can you use? How do you carefully consider converting a test to a different form of testing? In this magazine you will find answers to these kinds of questions with accompanying examples.
The online magazines are periodically updated with new sections.
Do you wish to receive more individual guidance when designing blended education? Via hr.topdesk.net you can contact the pedagogical/didactic helpdesk (distance learning) or the helpdesk for remote testing. These helpdesks are staffed by colleagues and educational advisors with extensive experience in designing and providing blended education. After asking your question in writing, you will be contacted and you can brainstorm about your ideas. It is also possible to get help with certain programmes. By making use of these services, we are also able to gain insight into the needs and ideas for further shaping the desired support and professionalisation. If you are an English speaking lecturer, please do use the portal, and ask your questions in English.
Online Educational Parade
This year the theme of the Online Educational Parade was about hands-on help with the development and design of blended education. Thirteen inspiring webinars were organised and they are available to view again. What do you need to focus on when welcoming first year students? You can also use (miro) for an online workshop that includes guidelines to help you redesign your course for a blended situation.
The enthusiasm for the Online Educational Parade was great. It was well attended and 400 colleagues joined the Team HR-Online Educational Parade. The larger this community, the more ideas and insights can be exchanged. We are therefore pleased to invite you to join.
How do you do that? Online
How can you teach well in this online world? In the 'TV programme' How do you do that online? Bart Lamboo guides us through the primary questions of lecturers about online education. Especially now that we are all learning, we want to ask colleagues: how do you do that? In each episode, lecturers give tips and tricks on various aspects of online education. Perhaps the stories of your colleagues will provide you with precisely that golden tip that you need to be able to move forward.
Watch the episodes here.
Over the past few months, we have seen a strong increase in interest in professionalisation in the field of education and technology. At the beginning of the 2019/2020 academic year, the first ICTO Coach was appointed at the School of Engineering and Applied Science, and due to the transition to distance education, other institutes have also shown interest in this role. If your institute is considering a vacancy for this expertise, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Members of the HUB Theory of Education and the team Education, Quality & Personnel team (OKP) have collaborated and developed a track, ‘Startbaan’, to give educational advisors more insight into the specific characteristics of blended education. The aim was also to develop a number of products with which study programmes can choose the blend of their education more easily. How online or offline should, can and may it be? And what does this actually mean with respect to teaching?
One of the products that was produced is the Course Composition Cube, which makes such choices apparent. For more information, Course Directors can turn to their OKP education advisors.
Of course you can also visit the usual channels such as Hint and Coronavirus Information Point for more information about online education and for a compilation of practical information about education and working remotely.
Keep asking questions, sharing experiences and inspiring each other. Not in the least because we will continue to be working (partly) in this manner next academic year. Throughout the past four months, we have gained a lot of knowledge and experience. If we use it well and continue to share questions and knowledge, we will be able to realise high-quality blended education together.
Do you also want to actively share knowledge and experience and thus contribute to (even) better blended education?
Please contact email@example.com.
UPDATE 6 July: Which activities will take place in which building from September?
As mentioned in last week's update, all our buildings are open again from September. Earlier we also communicated that because of the 1.5 metre measure we can use on average about 40% of our normal capacity in the buildings. So most education will still take place online. For this reason, after consultation with the deans, scheduling staff and the central participation bodies, we have decided to divide the locations and rooms into clusters for the new academic year. Institutes, service departments and research centres will make joint use of one cluster of locations. In this way, students and staff will be more often present at their familiar locations.
Grouping of clusters
Cluster locations Museumpark, Wijnhaven 99-101, Wijnhaven 103-105 and Wijnhaven 107
• School of Communication, Media and Information Technology (CMI)
• School of Teacher Training (IVL)
• School of Social Work (ISO)
• Rotterdam Academy (RAC)
Cluster locations Kralingse Zoom, Posthumalaan and Max Euwelaan
• HR Business School (HRBS)
• Rotterdam Business School (RBS)
Cluster locations Academieplein, Rochussenstraat, floors 1-6
• School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (EAS)
• School of Built Environment (IGO)
• School of Health Care (IVG)
Pieter de Hoochweg
• School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (EAS)
• School of Built Environment (IGO)
Cluster locations Blaak 10, Wijnhaven 61 and Karel Doormanhof
• Willem de Kooning Academie
Location Rochussenstraar, floors 7-15
• Service Departments
RDM Innovation Dock
• School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (EAS)
• School of Built Environment (IGO)
RDM Droog Dok
• School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (EAS)
• School of Built Environment (IGO)
• Rotterdam Mainport Instituut
Allocation activities per location
We have also assigned a number of activities to each building that can be realised within the 1.5 metre measure. It is indicated in green which activity is permitted per location. The yellow squares show the corresponding institute. Schematically it looks like this:
Use of Satellite locations
The satellite locations with which we collaborate on location, such as Bluecity, Galatestraat, Rotterdam Science Tower and Wijnstraat, will also be put back into use in accordance with existing agreements with institutes, research centres and CoEs. These only have one functionality: conversion from online to offline education. The exception to the rule is the sustainability factory in Dordrecht which can also be used for graduation and educational activities in practical workplaces, small-scale education 1st year students and 1 on 1 guidance of students. For the Sports Centre EUR the rules of the Erasmus University apply.
Staff Update: The planning and scheduling of all educational activities listed in the chart will take place based on priority and the ground rules in this memorandum for Phase 2 (from September – in Dutch). On this basis, the schedules for the academic year 2020-2021 will be drawn up for each study programme. Your own institute will inform you.
Update 26 June: what will the school be like in September?
On Wednesday evening Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, announced that the corona measures will be further relaxed in the Netherlands from 1 July. What does that mean for the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences? The Prime Minister already indicated in his press conference that new measures for education cannot be implemented until after the summer holidays. So, in this update we will focus on September.
All our buildings will be open again in the new academic year. The government will no longer set an upper limit on the number of people who can assemble in a building. However, everyone still must keep 1.5 metres away from others, even in buildings. This RIVM guideline contributes to a safe working and learning environment. This means that our locations can never be 100% occupied.
We have calculated the maximum number of people that can be present in each building based on the 1.5 metre society. A simple example: where previously about 20 students could sit together in a classroom, now there can only be a maximum of 8. On average, the capacity of our buildings will not exceed 40 percent of what we were used to, although this varies per building.
Compare it to a football stadium with spectators, who are once again welcome. There are 50,000 seats in De Kuip, but because of the 1.5 metre measure a maximum of 15,000 Feyenoord fans will probably be able to attend their club's matches. A limited occupancy also applies to our buildings. Partly for this reason, online education remains leading.
So, what will take place at our locations? We have illustrated the answer to that question in a pyramid. It contains the priorities we have set for the use of our buildings. Within the prioritisation of RUAS, the deans decide which choices will be made with regard to the scheduling of education.
Some of our staff and students will therefore be returning to the locations. We still encourage - even from September onwards - to do this on foot, by bike or scooter. Simply because we want to relieve the burden on public transport. This has also been at the basis of scheduling. For example, the lessons of course A can start at 09:30, those of course B at 10:00, those of course C a bit later, et cetera. In this way we create a step-by-step inflow and outflow of staff and students, so that not everyone uses public transport at the same time or wants to enter one of our buildings at the same time.
Within the scope of new national agreements on teaching hours, we are leaving the scheduling to the institutes. It is important that education does not start before 9:30 (so as not to overload the morning rush hour) and that no education may begin or end between 15:00 and 18:00 (so as not to overload the evening rush hour). Education in the second half of the afternoon is possible if the educational activity spans this entire period. There are no restrictions in the evening, due to the limited use of evening hours. It is preferable to schedule in solid blocks: preferably several hours in a row once or twice a week rather than single hours spread throughout the week. This way we limit the number of travel movements for our students and lecturers.
Modular upscaling and downscaling
We have chosen a modular approach to these scheduling guidelines. This means that we can scale up and down when necessary, according to the structure of the pyramid. Are we being given a little more space by the government? No problem, we can respond quickly. Will the measures become a little stricter again because of, for example, an upcoming second wave? In that case we will also be able to apply the above. This working approach allows us to take into account anything that may happen nextyear. (a second wave, or not; a regional lockdown, or not). We will not have to keep reinventing the wheel.
More room for first-year students?
In the media there a discussion is ongoing about starting activities earlier in the rush hour and/or to do more for first-year students. In the information above, we have not yet taken that possible extra room into account. We would of course welcome that, but that is by no means certain. Should the opportunity arise, should we at a regional level be able to use any possible room, we will use it to schedule more activities at our locations in addition to the above-mentioned.
Saturday opening hours
Because the capacity of the buildings is limited, study programmes can opt to use a Saturday. Saturday is not intended as a regular lesson day, but as an alternative if all education on location and assessments cannot be planned during the week. There are no restrictions for this day, such as time slots, because the expectation is that the Saturday will not be used frequently for teaching at our locations. Should this be the case after all, additional measures can still be taken.
Our supervisors will continue to enforce the RIVM guidelines within our buildings, as they are at present. But they cannot do it alone. It is our joint responsibility to comply with rules such as the 1.5 metre distance from others. Feel free to address this issue. The partial restart of practical education over the past two weeks has taught us that students and staff are sometimes unconsciously closer than desired. If somebody reminds them of the agreements, they will soon respect the agreements again. This is a pleasant way of maintaining our safe working and learning environment.
Keeping in mind that we want to give first-year students a warm welcome, we hope to get a little more space to be able to organise this well on location. We are still discussing this with the government. The students are entering a new world and we want to make them feel at home as soon as possible. In the run-up to the 2020/2021 academic year, introductory activities may be organised at external locations, of course only if everyone adheres to the RIVM guidelines.
This memo (Dutch) includes all game rules and background information about education at the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences from September. This is an advanced draft version; the memo will be completed next week, with among other things the definitive capacity of all buildings. The final version will be published at the Corona Information Point.
What is possible from 1 July?
Now that the government has made it clear that from 1 July there will be more freedom of movement to meet with groups of people, RUAS meetings can also take place outside our buildings. This will make it possible for teams or departments to meet at an external location for the conclusion of the academic year, graduation ceremonies, training courses and graduation sessions, to give a few examples.
We will offer that room to the study programmes and they will organise it themselves, if necessary. We stress to not use that room in our buildings because we need the capacity for the activities described in the pyramid.
Larger groups are allowed, but please be cautious. It goes without saying that everyone should adhere to the RIVM guidelines during such meetings.
Working on location
Working from home remains the norm as the Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, has emphasised. If it is strictly necessary to be on location from now until the summer holiday, at other times than scheduled educational activities, check the opening hours of the buildings at the Coronavirus Information Point. If you want to work on location but you are not scheduled for educational activities, consult your manager first. To ensure that the number of visitors does not exceed the permitted capacity, counting systems have been installed in the buildings of Academieplein, Rochussenstraat and Willem de Kooning Academy in recent weeks.
As soon as the number of visitors exceeds the set standard within a location, the screen will turn red. Pay attention to the screen when entering and follow the instructions of the staff when the screen shows red. In the coming weeks, the possibilities will be explored to gain insight into the occupancy rate at the open locations. This will prevent disappointment upon arrival.
From September there will also be a limited number of workplaces available per open location due to the 1.5 metre rule. For the time being, therefore, there is no question of having one's own physical workplace and working from home, if that is possible, remains the norm. The available workplaces will be divided over the open locations at that time, whereby priority will be given to the services that need to be carried out on location (such as the Student Service Centre and salary administration). To distribute the remaining free workplaces as fairly as possible, and make them available to all employees, a reservation system will be developed. More information will follow when this system goes live.
Official school travel
As previously decided, there will be no travel abroad until the end of the current academic year. In August, the decision-making process on this issue will be reviewed again.
By now, all students have been informed by their institute of their new schedule. Because of the new circumstances in which we find ourselves due to the corona crisis, the scheduling was a complicated procedure. As a result, it can happen that changes in the schedule are more frequent than you are used to. Therefore, check your schedule every day, so that you do not run into any surprises.
Working on Saturday
We have received many questions lately about working on Saturdays. RUAS may occasionally oblige employees to work on Saturdays. Although the wishes and problems of employees with a duty of care should always be taken into account as much as possible.
In accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Universities of Applied Sciences (G-2) and the Working hours scheme, working days that were agreed upon can be changed ‘in consultation’. The Working hours scheme additionally states that the employee ‘cannot structurally be assigned working hours on Saturday without the employee’s consent’, unless the employer and employee ‘concluded an employment contract in which it was agreed upon that solely (...) Saturdays would be working days’.
For more questions and answers about working on Saturday, check the Coronavirus Information Point in the section: personnel affairs.
Taking holiday leave
There are also many questions about taking leave in these times of the corona crisis. The basic principle is that the employer grants the employee holiday leave at his or her request unless no important reasons prevent this. We are increasingly departing from the traditional school holidays and taking leave is a question of individual agreements between employee and manager in which the employee may be expected to 'take account of the organisation of education'.
For more information check the Coronavirus Information Point in the section: personnel affairs.
Can I go on holiday abroad?
As Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, we cannot determine where our students and staff go on holiday. Keep in mind, however, that the coronavirus is experiencing a peak in some parts of the world and that some countries are experiencing a second wave of the virus. The government has already announced that it will no longer bring back Dutch citizens if they are experiencing problems due to the coronavirus. It is now a matter of personal responsibility. Along those line, Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences we can only advise you to use your common sense.
Studenten Service Center
Now that the Rochussenstraat location is open, you can visit SSC, the Student Service Center (between 11:00 and 15:00). For example, with questions about registration, tuition fees and necessary documents. Please note that you can only visit the office by appointment.
Please use the SSC registration form. Via this link you can also ask question in a chat. In addition, you can reach SSC by phone via 010 794 42 00.
Student Information Office
Throughout the past months, the Student Information Office was only available online, the employees can now also be reached by phone: 010 794 44 00. They still work from home, so the central telephone number has been transferred to the staff’s mobile phones. It is not (yet) possible to visit the Student Information Office at the Rochussenstraat location.
Great things are being developed at the study programmes for distance education. Innovation of education is the key word. That is also the central theme during the Online Educational Parade 2020, which started on 15 June and runs through 2 July. During the parade, lecturers and educational pioneers can share their innovations online, exchange ideas and help each other. You can find more information about the Online Educational Parade on this Hint-page. Use the same link for workshop and webinar registration.
Update 10 June: back to school, how, and measures
The time has come for increased education on location from Monday 15 June. Whether your course has been scheduled, at which location and when, will have been communicated by your own institute/study programme.
You can imagine that it is a gigantic, complicated job to make schedules based on the new circumstances. We are doing everything, really everything, to make this run as smoothly as possible. But because of the complexity of this part of our education, there will undoubtedly be a few slip ups. We will try to fix them as soon as possible. So it may be the case that there are more changes in your schedule than you are used to. Very annoying, but given the situation we are all in, it is the current reality. That is why you should check your schedule regularly to see if anything has changed. We hope that you can be understanding and that you realise that everyone is doing their utmost to arrange the scheduling as well as possible.
Over the past few weeks, we have received many questions about how all of us can work together to ensure a healthy and safe learning and working environment in the buildings. In this update, we provide insight into the preparations and the measures.
On location rules
Before you visit a location, please watch the instructions. These instructions are based on the 1.5 metre protocol of the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences. It includes practical guidelines and rules to have educational activities take place in a ‘one metre and a half school’. Every visitor will adhere to the rules. Of course, the RIVM measures will apply at all times, such as washing your hands, sneezing in your elbow and using a paper handkerchief, and if you have a cold: stay at home.
Travel to locations
Use the bicycle or scooter as much as possible. Are you travelling by public transportation, after all? Keep to the measures that they apply. Check this in advance on the website of the transport company. We emphasize that if at all possible you travel outside the rush hours, so that we can reduce traffic in public transportation. We will schedule as optimally as possible (also in the evenings), to limit traffic. We will schedule outside the rush hours, between 11.00 - 15.00 and 20.00 and 22.00.
Which buildings are open?
Between 15 June and September five locations will be open. Academieplein, Wijnhaven/Blaak (Willem de Kooning), Rochussenstraat, RDM, RMI (according to STC guidelines), and Museumpark (for online assessment only). While considering the different buildings, we opted for these locations because, on the one hand, these locations are mainly used for practical education and, on the other hand, not all of our buildings are suitable for education and at the same time sticking to the one and a half metre rule. For example, because the corridors are too narrow or because it is logistically impossible to lead groups of people to the various floors. We will monitor the situation in the buildings and if there is reason to do so, we will determine whether we can increase activity in one of the five open locations or whether we will move to one of the closed buildings or use an external location.
Preventative measures in buildings
In preparation for the start-up, we took the following measures to create the safest and most pleasant learning environment possible.
- Cleaning. Even during your absence, we have observed the hygiene and safety regulations and have ensured that the buildings have been properly cleaned. Weekly measures have been taken to prevent legionella infection.
- Ventilation. Well before the buildings open, we will make sure that the air treatment systems are switched on again, so that there is sufficient ventilation everywhere. Questions have been asked as to whether the ventilation systems can contribute to contamination. RIVM research indicates that there are no indications for this. According to RIVM guidelines, good ventilation is important for refreshing air and contributes to a healthy indoor climate. That is why it is important, for example, to open a number of windows for fresh air in rooms with several people present. Please be aware of this yourself. All our buildings amply meet the requirements for ventilation of educational buildings.
- Routing and stickers. Upon entering the buildings and other places, stations have been placed to disinfect your hands. In order to guide the flow of people properly, we realised routes in the buildings with stickers. Follow the indicated routes, stick to the one-way traffic and pay attention to the maximum occupancy in a room. Elevators are for use by disabled persons and goods transport only. In other cases, use the stairs. You can view the routing and stickering here in this film of our Willem de Kooning Academie location and in this film you can watch the lay-out of the online assessment facility at the Museumpark location.
- Staff directions on location. Staff of Facilities and Information Technology department
will be present at the locations and can provide additional (route) directions. They will help promote logistical flow and safety on location. Please follow their instructions and help safeguard your own health and safety and that of other students and staff.
- Keep your desk tidy for work and study. Working and studying from home remains the norm for the time being if you are not scheduled for education or testing and you have adequate facilities at home. If you come to work or study at our locations, make sure you keep your work/study place clean. Please tidy up the table or desk you are working on before you leave. Do not leave any papers, leftover food or other rubbish lying around. This small effort promotes a healthy learning and working environment.
The restaurants in the opened buildings are closed, but at a few locations small-scale distribution points are available.
Use of face masks is permitted
We understand that due to health reasons some students and employees may feel the need to wear a face mask at the RUAS locations. For this reason we will - until further notice - allow its use within our buildings. Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences will not hand out face masks centrally, as these are now available in many places. For the appropriate face masks and correct use we refer you to the RIVM.
Working on location
Can you work from home? Then work from home. That rule still applies for the time being. Do you doubt whether you should work on location after all? Then contact your manager. We are currently thinking about a system with which the capacity of the workplaces at the open locations can be monitored and shared with employees, so that you know which location has available workplaces. We are still in a developmental stage, but as soon as we know more about this, we will of course communicate any new information.
We are taking the necessary measures to ensure a pleasant and safe learning and working environment. Make sure you keep enough distance from others and talk to each other about this. In the event of annoying nuisance or unsafe situations, you can report this to the reception desk or one of the surveillants. They will take measures if necessary. Now, more than ever, we count on everyone's responsibility and cooperation. We are all set; see you soon!
Update 5 June: scheduling, transfer higher education to university, being in the school buildings, graduation ceremony, meetings, and lending books
The past weeks, we have been working on the schedule for the period between 15 June and September. This turned out to be a complex task, especially now that several institutes must use the same building. But we will make it happen and can inform students on Monday 8 June about their schedules. The following is still applicable: what can be executed online, takes place online. The on-location schedule is only for
- In person digital assessment for large groups
- Practical education and skills education
- Graduation sessions
The scheduling for the first two weeks after 15 June is ready, although there may still be changes due to unforeseen circumstances. These schedules are complete, so on location and online activities are combined. Because this situation is new and exciting for everyone, we ask for your understanding in case we may have to make changes to the new schedule. We therefore ask students to check their schedule daily in the coming period. The activities will be scheduled in the time slots 11.00 - 15.00 and 20.00 - 22.00. On Monday 8 June, students and staff will be informed about their schedule by their own study programme, at HRBS the schedule may be announced later than Monday,
We communicated earlier that we will use 6 buildings for the scheduling. During scheduling it became apparent that it may not be sufficient because parts of the Academieplein location cannot be used from 15 June for a period. There is another option for a suitable building should we need it. More information will be issued on Monday.
Coordination about the schedule after these two weeks is ongoing and will be communicated in more detail. In any case, the intention is to complete the academic year 2020-2021 before 17 July.
On location work and study
Now that we will soon be working on locations again, the policy remains that whenever we can, we will work and study online as much as possible. Otherwise we run the risk of overcrowding our buildings and not adhering to national guidelines. Then we will be forced to scale down education and that is not what we want.
Over the past few weeks, we have offered students and staff who do not have adequate facilities at home the opportunity to study or work on location. We will continue to offer this opportunity. Four locations will be open from 15 June (RS, AP, WdKA and RDM), making more options available to this specific group of students and staff. In addition, location MP is only open for assessments and location RMI adheres to the policy of STC. We urgently request, once again, that we only work or study on location if there are no other possibilities. If you have the option, then stay at home! The message to employees is to only come to work if this is necessary in view of the new to be organised educational activities and to use the education time slots as much as possible, including when working on location. If necessary, consult with your manager. We will monitor the situation well, if there is too much pressure at the locations, we will take stricter measures.
Transfer higher professional education to university programmes
In the update of May 18, we communicated about the rules for a transfer from senior secondary education to higher education, and from an associate degree programme to a bachelor programme. On a national level, we also talked to universities about the transfer with a higher education propaedeutic to a university bachelor programme. As a result, universities have not made joint arrangements for admission without a diploma but apply their own rules for each institution. We refer students who want to transfer to a university to the website of the university in question for their applicable conditions. It is also important to note that universities of applied sciences in the Randstad area have agreed that students who wish to transfer to a university will receive a completion recommendation before 1 August. The completion recommendation states that the student is expected to complete his/her programme within the foreseeable future. If you want to transfer to a university, please indicate this in good time at your study programme. The completion recommendation is intended to support your application for enrolment, but the individual institution will decide on your admission.
Switchers within and in between universities of applied sciences
We have also received several questions from students who want to switch study programmes within our institution, or switch to a study programme at another university or applied sciences. In the case of 'switching' we can always speak of individual arrangements, because based on the results already obtained, the Exam Board decides whether exemption will be granted. For this reason, it is in this case not necessary to establish additional rules.
Graduation ceremony / completion of higher education
Now that there are more possibilities for education on location, there is also more room for small-scale graduation ceremonies. We find it important - also under these circumstances - to give students a meaningful conclusion to their time at our educational institution. We appeal to the creativity of the institutes/study programmes to implement this in an appropriate manner within the established measures. Further information will be communicated by the study programmes.
Graduation sessions at RDM
Because we have received many questions and requests about graduation sessions on location, it was decided to make room on location RDM for graduation sessions where the presentation of a physical or a skills component is necessary, such as a model, an action or design. Through RDM a central schedule and protocol will be established. Study programmes in which such a physical component is part of the graduation session can contact RDM via the management of their institute.
Meetings and (small) group gatherings
We keep receiving questions about organising (small-scale) meetings on location, such as meetings, team meetings, completion of a project/academic year with student groups, et cetera. While we understand the social argument, unfortunately we cannot allow such requests at this stage of the restart - until September. The room that we have in this phase will be used primarily for education and assessments aimed at catching up and preventing study delay. The expectation is that we will receive additional room in the next phase after September. This will create possibilities for educational activities aimed at student engagement and small-scale education, as well as introductory activities for among others first-year students.
Orientation and introductions
It is very important that students can get to know each other and their lecturers prior to their studies. Introduction on a personal level is important, developing a feel for a study programme, and the transfer of information as well. That is why every student is offered at least one opportunity to get to know each other on location. Conditions are that the introduction takes place in small groups (maximum 30 persons) and that the load of public transportation is considered. Institutes can decide for themselves where the introduction activities will take place. In the case of activities for which no study credit is granted, these may take place at external locations and may also take place before 1 September.
Student Service Center is open with appointment
In order to efficiently guide applicants through the registration process, the Student Service Centre Front Office at Rochussenstraat 198 will open from 15 June for things that are difficult to perform online, such as verification of exam certificates. The front office is open during the time slot set by RUAS from 11.00 to 15.00 and can only be visited by appointment and in accordance with RIVM guidelines. The front office can also be reached by telephone from 15 June from 9.30 to 16.00 hrs.
Central outlet for library books: lending books
The library's book collection is currently not directly accessible. However, until July 20th we offer the possibility to borrow or return books by appointment. Please only use this when necessary. For example, because you will soon have a test, or when you finish your studies and want to hand in your books.
For more information, take a look at the webpage of the library
Back to school: how to go about it?
Next week Wednesday, June 10, an update will be published that will include information about the restart on location from June 15. We will answer all the questions that we have received about precautions, such as routing, cleaning, prevention, facemasks, instructions in the buildings, etcetera. And, of course, also about how all of us can ensure a pleasant and safe environment together.
UPDATE 27 May: online proctoring
Challenge online knowledge-oriented testing
In addition to providing online education, we as a university of applied sciences were also faced with the challenge of devising alternatives for the testing of acquired knowledge. The biggest issue was knowledge-oriented testing, in particular, which normally takes place in large groups under the supervision of invigilators. The past few weeks, study programmes have developed alternative forms of testing for this purpose, in consultation with and after approval by the Exam Boards, whereby the quality and level are guaranteed.
Practice has shown that for certain knowledge-oriented assessments it is either impossible or difficult to develop an alternative form. One way of realising these assessments online, in the absence of an adequate online alternative, is by making use of online proctoring. Proctoring is the (to a certain degree) monitoring (invigilation) of the student's activity during testing via a camera and/or the use of other tooling on the student's computer making, among other things, restrictions possible.
Questions about use of proctoring to minimise study delay
The Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences does not allow proctoring, because many, complex negative factors (privacy-based issues) are involved. Various assessments have therefore been postponed until it is once again possible to realise these on location. It will be possible from 15 June. The reality, however, is that in September a large part of our education and testing will also take place online and there is a limited capacity to administer (online) testing on location. At the same time, the questions about the use of online proctoring seem to be increasing, because study programmes want to avoid postponement of testing and the corresponding study delays. The most important questions from study programmes are whether it is still possible to implement proctoring, and if so, how.
Core policy proctoring
The core issue of online proctoring is the balance between the justified interest to prevent fraud during testing, and the invasion of a student's privacy in doing so. Due to the students' right to privacy, they cannot be asked or required to turn on their camera, if no recordings would normally be made (in regular offline education). Based on the principle of justified interest, there are three possible exceptions:
- When the student identifies him/herself prior to testing (Please note, without saving the recordings).
- When the assessment can only be taken with camera images, for example, a presentation or oral exam.
- When, after taking a written assessment, the analysis afterwards shows striking deviations (for example, the grade obtained) compared to, for example, the normal grade in a similar assessment. In this case, the lecturer can use video calls to verbally validate the written assessment by asking additional substantive questions.
For reasons of privacy, Teams is the only means allowed in these cases.
Researching the issue from different perspectives
However, in addition to the importance of privacy, other complex aspects are also important. The Executive Board has therefore asked a multidisciplinary study group of colleagues from the departments of Facilities and Information Technology, Education and Development, Concern Staff and the HUB Online Learning Technology to explore this issue. The study group explored the issue of proctoring from different angles (pedagogical/didactical, organisational, technological and legal perspective) and included the most important considerations in this memorandum (in Englih). In the memorandum we outline what is, and what is not possible at his level and at this time, in the short term and in the future. Experiences of SURF, an educational IT organisation, and other universities of applied sciences are also included. These are the main conclusions:
- Proctoring complex, not permitted. There are many complex aspects to online proctoring that need to be investigated further and with which we as a university of applied sciences have little or no experience. It has become clear that the complexity and possible risks of using online proctoring are high. Administering tests using online proctoring will therefore not be permitted until further notice.
- Alternatives. For study programmes it is therefore necessary to investigate which possibilities and alternatives are available to testing without proctoring. This often means using a different type of assessment. The Online Magazine Testing offers a number of options.
- Controlled experiments. Under the direction of the Facilities and Information Technology department, we have started a number of small-scale experiments with online proctoring. These are assessments that are of minor importance to study progress, but carry a high risk of fraud. The experiences gained from this experiment will be used to determine whether and, if so, how we as a university of applied sciences can make responsible use of online proctoring. Given the complexity of the issue, many questions remain unanswered. The study group will include these questions in the experiments.
The results of the experiments will be developed into guidelines and advice that will be included in the online magazine Remote Testing. Check this regularly for the most up-to-date information in the field of online testing.
Read the memo (still being translated) for extensive exploration on the topic of online proctoring. The main conclusions of the memo Online Proctoring will also be published in the Online Magazine Remote Testing. For alternative testing possibilities also refer to the online magazines and earlier notes.
We are working on a webinar about online testing and online proctoring as well. It is for professionals and all aspects of the issue will be addressed. Further details will be communicated as soon as possible.
Should you have questions after reading this update and the memorandum, please go to:
https://hr.topdesk.net/ and click on: Toetsen op Afstand. This website can also help you with your other questions about online education and testing. Experts from Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences are available to answer your questions.
UPDATE 20 May: Greenlight for restart education on location
In the update of 15 May, we announced how the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences intends to restart education on location step by step. There was one condition to that step by step plan: the government decisions regarding higher education. Tuesday evening during the press conference with Mark Rutte, it became clear that we have a green light for a phased start of our education.
According to the National Protocol Restart Higher Professional Education (Dutch) it is permitted to have education on location from 15 June. Specifically education that cannot be provided remotely, such as skills training, teaching in workshops, graduation activities and online assessment, for which invigilation is indispensable; also because the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences is very reluctant when it comes to online invigilation for reasons of privacy.
The universities of applied sciences are allocated specific time slots, reducing the pressure of travel during rush hours with public transport. That means that the education activities between 11:00-15:00 and between 20:00-22:00 will take place on location. If necessary, Saturdays will also be scheduled between 8:00 and 18:00, with a possible continuation through the month of July. For this purpose, we are allowed to make use of a maximum of 20 percent of our normal capacity of students and staff throughout the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences.
The latest decisions of the government show that there is also room to program forms of education in a responsible manner between 15:00 and 20:00. During this time slot, people are not allowed to leave the buildings. Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences will be very reluctant to use this option. We will only make use of the possibility of teaching at locations between 15:00 and 20:00 in exceptional cases and in the form of customised teaching.
We are working hard on the scheduling for the above-mentioned time slots. More about this will be communicated in a next update.
The central government documents also provide opportunity for organising graduation sessions on location. In view of the scarce capacity, we have, for the time being, chosen to only allow on location graduation-related activities that cannot take place online (such as matters requiring attendance in a workshop or laboratory), and to have other graduation sessions take place online.
Questions about (night) travel with public transport
In order to avoid public transport when it is busy, we appeal to our students and staff to travel to the locations by bicycle as much as possible.
We received several questions about the late end time of the schedule and about travelling with public transport for people with health risks or informal carers. We will schedule as optimally as possible and ensure that the number of travel movements (including in the evenings) is kept to a minimum. Due to scheduling within the time slots, travel will take place at quieter hours, so during the off-peak hours of public transportation. If you do have urgent objections, please contact your Study Career Coach or counsellor. We will then, just as in normal circumstances, look at whether and how we can come up with tailor-made solutions. We are confident that the measures taken by public transportation companies will be adequate.
The start-up of education on location takes place in different phases. In our update of 15 May, you can find an overview of the three phases. For your own safety and health and that of our other students and staff, we ask you to take note of our 1.5 metre protocol before visiting the locations.
We are looking forward to the next phase. Enjoy your weekend!
Transfer mbo-hbo: inflow without mbo diploma possible
Due to the coronavirus pandemic some senior secondary vocational students (mbo) are not in a position to sit all tests or exams in order to get their diploma on time eventhough they want to transfer to higher education. We would like to give this group of students the opportunity to still start a study programme at the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences. It is a possibility even if they have not been awarded all their mbo credits. They will have the opportunity to finish their mbo, as well as start their higher education study programme at the same time.
This regulation applies to mbo students of level four who have received a positive final advice, which indicates that completion of their mbo study is expected within the near future (before 1 January 2021). They can ask for this final advice at their own mbo school. This regulation has been drafted by the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences in collaboration with the Rotterdam mbo schools and universities of applied sciences. In this way, we remove uncertainty and offer MBO students more perspective on a follow-up study programme. This means that mbo students can apply for a higher education study programme without having to wait until they have obtained their diploma. As a result, they can simply start their follow-up study programme in September and do not have to postpone studying for a year. Because that would be a pity. We hope that this arrangement will help mbo students in choosing a study programme with confidence. In addition to the national regulation, the Rotterdam MBOs and universities of applied sciences have taken the initiative to draw up a number of rules (Dutch only) to make the process as clear as possible for students, lecturers and educational institutions.
Are you an 'MBO-4' student in the examination year and are your studies delayed? Do you want to continue your studies at the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences: please read these rules to find out how. If you have more questions, you can of course visit your own school or contact the Student Information Office of Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences: hr.nl/studievoorlichting.
Transfer from Associate Degree to Bachelor
We would also like to make the transition from an Associate degree to a Bachelor study programme possible for students who want to continue their studies, but who have not yet completed their Associate degree programme. The coronavirus pandemic should not be the cause of a small study delay that prevents students from making the transition from an Associate degree programme to a Bachelor programme. We have drawn up an arrangement for these students as well. Inflow in a Bachelor study programme is possible if the completion of the Associate degree programme is expected before 1 January 2021. The Exam Board of the Associate degree study programmes will draft a final advice to this end, based upon which registration for a Bachelor study programme is possible.
Are you possibly experiencing some study delay, but do you want to transfer to a Bachelor programme? These rules (Dutch only) include how you can do so and what the conditions are. If you have any questions, ask the RAc Student Affairs team. Make sure that you register before 1 June.
Internships abroad and exchange programmes
The Executive Board has decided that in the first semester of 2020-2021 there will be no exchanges and no internships abroad. This has been decided because of the great uncertainty that currently exists about the possibilities of being able to travel safely from September onwards, and the consequences this will have for careful preparation of the trip. Only students who are currently physically abroad already, and will follow an internship there - and therefore do not have to travel for it - are allowed to fulfil this requirement of their study programme abroad, provided that they also meet all the other requirements for an internship abroad.
Online education and assessment
Now that, for the time being, distance learning has become the norm within our organisation, lecturers enjoy sharing their experiences with each other to inspire each other. For up-to-date information and newest applications for online education and assessment, please visit the online magazine Distance Learning (translation is ongoing) and the online magazine Toetsen op Afstand. These online magazines are continually being updated.
UPDATE 15 May: Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences open step by step for education on location
We have been given a little more freedom of movement in the Netherlands. Primary education has started on location again and next month, if all goes well, we can visit a sidewalk café. In the meantime, our online education and assessments will continue of course. The government will soon decide whether higher education will be able to make more use of the locations in the coming months. If the decision is positive, it means that Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences will also have more room to take up education on location again in the coming months. This restart of education on location will be initiated as soon as possible in order to prevent or limit study delays. It will be a gradual process, in other words: online education whenever possible, and distance learning and working from home will remain the norm.
Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences will open its doors to limited education on location in various phases. We are pleased to inform you about our approach.
Phase 0: now until 15 June – activities related to graduation
According to the current agreements with the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (and within the guidelines of RIVM), it is already permitted to have graduation-related activities take place on location. That is our current phase. The aim is to offer graduates the opportunity to complete their studies on time. Graduation guidance and sessions will remain online, as is currently the case. We understand that for some students this is not the ideal conclusion to their studies, but unfortunately that is the current situation. Activities on location involve practical education in workshops or practical labs that are directly related to graduation. This applies in particular to courses at the Willem de Kooning Academy and Institutes offering technical oriented education such as the Schools of Engineering and Applied Science, Built environment, and Rotterdam Mainport Institute.
These are small-scale activities in practical labs and work places at the following RUAS locations:
- Wijnhaven/Blaak Willem de Kooning Academy (from 25 May)
- Academieplein (from 2 June)
Students and staff to whom this applies will be further informed by their own institute or study programme.
Opening small-scale, graduation-related activities in the practical labs and workshops gives us the opportunity to gain experience with measures and protocols for the next phase. It goes without saying that in carrying out these activities we will follow the RIVM guidelines to ensure the health and safety of employees and students. In our buildings, extra visible measures will be taken regarding signage (directions) and hygiene measures. Everyone will keep 1.5 metres distance from others, in case of common cold complaints, you will stay at home, etcetera. Follow the instructions and directions at the locations exactly.
The small group of students and staff who do not have the facilities for online education and assessments from home, or who can work or study better in our buildings, can in this phase, just as in the past weeks, visit the Kralingse Zoom and Rochussenstraat locations. We will monitor this situation continuously to make sure that the pressure on the locations and public transport does not increase as a result of this measure.
Phase 1 and 2 depends on government decision Protocol Restart Higher Professional Education
Before we move on to phases 1 and 2, we would like to point out that the government will soon decide on a limited restart of on location education according to the National Protocol Restart Higher Professional Education. A final decision-making is still to take place, and will most likely be communicated 20 May. At that time, it will become clear whether the above-mentioned protocol which institutions of higher education are already discussing with the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science will become the framework for the period following 15 June. Changes may therefore still take place.
It is important, however, that we already start now with preparations and measures for the various phases, so that we can react as soon as possible. We also want to provide insight into efforts being made behind the scenes. In addition, we are aware that both employees and students could use additional perspective for the coming weeks and months. In order to meet this need, we have opted - subject to approval - to inform you at an earlier stage.
Phase 1: 15 June until 1 September – limited educational activities on location
According to the National Protocol Restart Higher Professional Education, which will probably be adopted by the government in the course of next week, there will be even more room to start education on location from 15 June. This concerns education that cannot be provided remotely, such as education in skills, education in workshops, graduation activities and online assessments for which invigilation is indispensable; also because RUAS is very cautious with regard to online invigilation, in the interest of privacy. The universities of applied sciences will be allocated specific time slots for this purpose, which will reduce the pressure of public transport travel during rush-hour. This means that the educational activities will take place at on our locations between 11:00-15:00 and between 20:00-22:00 in the evening. Where necessary, Saturdays will also be scheduled, with a possible extension in the month of July. For this purpose, we are allowed to make use of a maximum of 20 percent of our normal capacity of students and staff present at the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences.
How will we proceed:
- 5 locations open
We have considered which buildings are suitable for education and the 1.5 metre distance requirement without substantial adjustments. From 15 June to September limited education on location will be offered at the following locations:
- Wijnhaven/Blaak Willem de Kooning Academy
Location Museumpark will be set up specifically and exclusively as a digital assessment location, for assessments that cannot be administered remotely. We will realise an assessment capacity, within RIVM guidelines, for a maximum of 300 seats. The Kralingse Zoom location, which is currently open, will be closed from 15 June. The reason for this is that the demolition of building section C can then take place faster and the campus can be reopened on 1 September, with very limited inconvenience.
This means that you may be scheduled at a different location than you are accustomed to normally. Staff and students involved will be informed of further details by their own study programme or institute. We aim to be able to provide clarity about schedules at the beginning of June.
Other locations will remain closed for the time being. The small group of employees and students who have used the Kralingse Zoom location in recent weeks to work or study, because they have no facilities at home, will be able to visit four locations from 15 June: Academieplein, RDM, Rochussenstraat or Wijnhaven/Blaak (Willem de Kooning Academy). If these four locations become too busy, other measures will have to be taken. Museumpark will exclusively be used as a location for assessments on the basis of centrally coordinated scheduling.
- Scheduling. The scheduling will be centrally controlled, to monitor the frameworks of the protocols. We will work together with institutes that make joint use of a location in order to create the best possible schedule. Further information will follow from your own study programme or institute. We emphasise once again that we are bound by the aforementioned time slots and that the use of Saturdays and continuation through the month of July is also a possibility, preventing study delay as much as possible. We do ask for your understanding and cooperation.
- Online assessment at Museumpark. Digital assessments, for which invigilation is indispensable, will take place exclusively at the Museumpark location from 15 June to 1 September. The first three floors will be used for digital assessments. As we mentioned, there is a capacity for 300 individual spaces. The lay-out will be adjusted according to the 1.5 metre rule. The starting times of the schedule will reflect nationally allocated time slots. Starting times for activities in rooms that are located close to each other will be spread out. We will use the Saturdays to organise assessments for inflow requirements (national assessments Pabo) and admission requirements (21+). Additional information will be communicated as soon as possible.
- Measures and details within the buildings. We attach great importance to the health of our employees and students and do everything in our power to create a pleasant and safe environment within the RIVM guidelines. For example, we ask that every student and staff member register upon entry and to de-register upon departure. Dispensers with disinfectant hand gel have been placed on stands in a number of places within the buildings. In addition, we will have stickers with instructions and directions for the maximum number of people per room and to indicate mandatory walking routes. Only together can we ensure a safe learning and working environment for everyone. That is why we urge our students and staff to strictly follow these instructions.
- Catering facility. If possible, catering will be made available in the form of pick-up points; restaurants will unfortunately remain closed. Coffee and candy vending machines will be available with disinfecting wipes to clean the touch-screen panels and your hands.
- Protocols. In line with the national protocol, Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences has drawn up its own protocol for education and the 1m50 society. We hereby urge everyone to read this protocol carefully before visiting a location. This protocol must be observed at all times. For educational situations that must take place within one and a half metres, such as practical education involving physical contact (such as nursing or physical therapy) or the use of confined welding booths, further guidelines apply, based on the guidelines for contact professions of the RIVM.
- Working from home remains the norm. Phase 1 only covers part of our education and research. Which means that we will still be working from home for other educational activities, research activity, and facilitation or support, as is the case at this time. The same applies to meetings and consultations.
- Summer holiday. Many questions have been asked about the summer holidays. Of course it is important that after this turbulent time, we can enjoy a well-deserved rest. We want to emphasize two things: on the one hand we will not unnecessarily shorten the summer holidays, but at the same time we will not pass up the opportunity to prevent as much study delay as possible, if necessary. Even if this means that we have to work/learn a little longer, so that students (or study programmes) will have caught up as much as possible in September. This will ensure that we can start the next academic year with a clean slate. As soon as we can realise the schedules for the period after 15 June, we will further inform you.
Phase 2: from 1 September until further notice
If the coronavirus pandemic develops as expected and we assume a positive scenario, there is a chance that government measures will be further relaxed as of September, creating increased room to offer our education on location. Although we will not then return to the normal situation, it is possible that the time slots will be extended and/or capacity will be increased. We are preparing for the organisation of further education and research activities on location, where we can accommodate smaller groups of students.
- Reception of new students. We would like to welcome our new students and meet them preferably in small groups at our school locations for further meet and greets with their fellow students and teachers.
- Making face-to-face interviews possible. As is well-known, we are worried about losing the connection to the student. In order to restore it, it is absolutely necessary to renew that contact by means of face-to-face interviews and come to agreements about study progress. In addition, we will be attentive to students who may drop out, for whatever reason. We would prefer to hold face-to-face interviews with these students.
In the coming weeks it will become clear how we can realise and structure this phase and under what conditions. As soon as more is known, we will inform you via an update.
Travel to our locations
A limited restart at locations, also means travelling to the locations. We can imagine that this is a pleasant, but also an exciting prospect, after a longer period of working or studying from home. In order to reduce the burden on public transport as much as possible, we advise to use a bicycle as much as possible. If you travel by public transport, please observe the applicable measures. The limited parking facilities will not be made available to staff or students in advance. In exceptional cases, for example for medical reasons, we will consider whether space can be made available. If you have any questions and/or concerns about this, please contact your counsellor, your manager or e-mail the corona information point firstname.lastname@example.org.
We would like to draw your attention once again to the fact that due to government measures there may still be changes in the development of the phases. We would also like to emphasise once again that distance education and working from home will remain the norm for the time being, until government measures are made more flexible. We look forward to the next phases with great interest and will inform you as soon as possible if there are any new developments. In any case, let's start the weekend in a positive way, with a little more perspective.
UPDATE 22 April Online invigilation, small-scale education on location, and online education tricky for some students
Mark Rutte’s message yesterday was crystal clear: keep it up! The government does not want to risk anything, and a second coronavirus wave must be prevented. For the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences it means that we will continue on the same path as before: distance learning, online assessments and working from home. Much earlier we had set the date of 1 June, which we will stick to.
The prime minister was also clear about events: there will not be any until September. The same applies to RUAS. We will not make plans for introductions on location, camps, events for the start of the academic year, et cetera. We do ask that institutes and study programmes think about possible (online) alternatives, for example, for new students, to make them feel welcome.
Small-scale graduation sessions in workplaces and labs
In the meantime, we will assess current possibilities for education on location, based on earlier agreements with the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. For example, small-scale graduation sessions and other graduation activities requiring the actual presence of the student. For example, we are checking options for making use of our workplaces and labs for administering exams on a small-scale, of course, according to guidelines of the National Institute for Public Health and Environmental Protection (RIVM).
At some study programmes, students and lecturers depend on these spaces to graduate. In order to prevent delay or catch up, we are evaluating the use of ‘RIVM-proof’ workplaces and labs. To this end we will draft protocols. As soon as there is more clarity about this, we will communicate it as soon as possible.
Parallel to this, we are looking at how we could possibly organise controlled assessments in a room with an invigilator present, starting 1 June, for assessments that really cannot be administered online. This too, of course, will take place entirely in accordance with RIVM rules. For all assessments applies; if conversion to an online form is possible, the rule is that we will opt for the online form. Exceptionally, for assessments that cannot be administered online, we will evaluate an alternative that’s on location starting 1 June.
Online invigilating (supervision) and proctoring
We are aware of questions about online assessments and the use of online invigilation. Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences has decided not to use the possibilities of online proctoring (online supervision) for online assessments. The reason being that it is a complex matter with different complications, including the issue of student privacy. Also, just as physical supervision, it does not provide 100 percent coverage of the risk of fraud, which makes it less effective. This means that the risks with regard to fraud are carefully weighed by the study programmes for each assessment and overcome as much as possible.
For example, by using other forms of assessments, such as assignments in which the knowledge is also tested. Or by conducting assessments from the first year and sometimes the second year, in which no final qualifications are tested and no knowledge essential to professional practice is tested and which is not tested elsewhere throughout the four years, using online testing programmes with fraud prevention according to the GDPR framework. study programmes make these considerations in consultation with the Exam Board.
On an experimental basis, study programmes have gained and are gaining experience with online assessments in which proctoring is used. Within the framework of the GDPR, limited controlled risk is taken experimentally, in consultation with the designated experts; and it is documented well. In a number of cases, we have found that we are confronted by the limits of privacy legislation, and it is then decided to no longer apply online assessments and proctoring. These experiences are taken into account in subsequent steps, as we continue to think about how we can experiment with online proctoring, while remaining within the framework of the GDPR.
Open on Saturday
Prior to the corona crisis, it was communicated that our buildings would also be open on Saturdays, so that students could find a place to study on the Saturday. After a current inventory, it appears that it is not necessary to open locations on the Saturday. We therefore postpone this plan until 1 June. Should the government relax the measures before then, RUAS will once again evaluate the opening of the buildings on Saturday. This will of course be communicated immediately.
Online education tricky for some students
Many students are already fully accustomed to distance education, but for some it is more difficult to connect to online education. Not at all strange, because it is a totally different way of education than we were used to. Still, it is important for students to experience the new way of education as much as possible. Especially to avoid unnecessary study delay. Are you experiencing problems with online education? Then contact your Study Career Coach or report to the counsellor. On this Hint-page you will find tips to study from home as well as possible.
The previous update already mentioned the (limited) use of Zoom. We would like to emphasise that the use of this application can only take place with the RUAS approved version. Even if you receive an external invitation for a video call via Zoom, you need to use the version that you can download via our Hint-page.
Deadline Leniency Scheme
A few weeks ago the update included information about the leniency scheme. Students can make use of this if their trip abroad was cancelled or cut short due to the corona crisis and they cannot get their money back from the travel organisation or insurance. Because all trips for the current academic year have already been cancelled and the students who wanted to return to the Netherlands have returned, it was decided to attach an end date to the leniency scheme. The deadline for submitting a complete application to your institute's dean is 15 July 2020.
Due to the corona crisis and government measures, there may be concerns about tensions within vulnerable and unsafe families. To a large extent there is a loss of ‘social control’, leaving vulnerable families even more isolated, with the risk of violence.
Several concrete tips that can be relevant to RUAS professional personnel:
- Make sure that you, as a RUAS professional, are accessible and that it is clear how you can be reached.
- Video calling or chatting can be a good alternative for face to face contact.
- In case you do not trust a certain situation of a student and his/her home situation, discuss this with collegial experts (and/or dedicated personnel), according to the reporting code.
- Providing information and coming to a concrete understanding with your student can help maintain contact with the student.
For additional information, check our special Hint-page (Dutch).
UPDATE 9 April:Binding Study Recommendation, Magazine Online Assessment, Electives, Help with studying online, and looking ahead
No postponement of the Binding Study Recommendation (BSR), but cancellation
The Binding Study Recommendation is being discussed nationally. The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW) is allowing universities of applied sciences and universities some scope, in line with legal regulation of powers, to adopt their own approach, but is communicating in terms of postponement of the BSR. A number of universities of applied sciences and universities have opted for this approach. Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences maintains the approach that first-year and second-year students will receive a Binding Study Recommendation, but that there will be no consequences attached to it. The Rotterdam University has therefore explicitly opted for a cancellation of the BSR. Nobody will have to quit their study programme.
This does not mean that Rotterdam University does not attach any value to the BSA. On the contrary, the students’ own responsibility will be pointed out to them, and they must take that advice very seriously. After all, the credits that have not yet been obtained will have to be obtained at a later date. Formal requirements for obtaining the first-year certificate, the Associate Degree exam, and Bachelor exam are still valid.
Transfer from Bachelor to Master
A national agreement has been made with the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science to prevent students being delayed in the transition from Bachelor to Master for the next academic year because they have not been able to complete one or more courses. Universities of applied sciences and universities are given the opportunity to deviate from the inflow requirements that a Bachelor programme must be fully completed prior to participation in a Master programme.
The universities of applied sciences will conditionally admit Bachelor students to their Master programmes until 1 January 2021. If the student fails to complete the entry requirements before 1 January 2021, he/she must quit the study programme.
No later than 15 May 2020, universities will communicate the conditions for inflow to Master study programmes in the academic year 2020-2021. Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences will specifically discuss this with those universities to which many of our students are transferring, such as Erasmus University and Delft University of Technology. As soon as more information is available, it will be communicated.
Magazine Online assessment
Distance education also includes assessments at a distance. That comes with limitations but also offers opportunity. The Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences has published an online magazine, that offers ways to get a handle on digital assessments. It includes an overview page about changes in the type of assessment and manner of administering assessments, guidelines and tips for different assessment forms.
The magazine has been created in a very short period of time. We are continuously working on completing the magazine. You can contact a special helpdesk for questions about distance assessments.
Help with studying online
Studying at home with a laptop is, after all, different from studying the way we were used to. All tips and tricks for studying from home have been bundled on a single Hint page by the Student Welfare Team. (Education and Development Department) The page help with studying online includes information for students about what they can do to create better daily rhythm and structure, and feel more at ease.
It is also clearly indicates who students can turn to for help, such as the Counsellors Office and Students in Action Team. This page can also help lecturers and coaches to better guide and support their students even though they are not on location.
It had recently become apparent that the range of electives, in particular, was rapidly shrinking. However, an inventory showed that the majority of electives will continue to be available. The Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences is pleased with the fact that the diversity of the available electives is great and that students, even in these times, can enrich themselves by taking electives. If there are any changes in the schedule or if an elective course cannot take place, the study programme offering the elective will inform the students.
Limited use of Zoom
The Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences has previously communicated that the Zoom programme should not be used. Over the past weeks, many questions have been asked about the use of Zoom in our online education. The risks for privacy and security when using this product have been discussed many times in the national and international media. However, Zoom has obvious advantages and supports specific forms and activities of education better than, for example, Microsoft Teams. The specific forms are: (1) live lectures to large groups in which it is important to see more than four students simultaneously and (2) so-called break-out sessions in which the lecturer switches from group to group.
This is why over the past few weeks we have been working with Zoom on a configuration that fits within the frameworks for privacy and security of our educational institution. As a result, we can now use Zoom on a small scale, which means that we can update our earlier ban of Zoom to the following basic assumption: "Microsoft Teams unless". Please use Zoom only for educational situations when absolutely necessary. Do not use Zoom for normal consultations, team meetings and external contact for which Microsoft Teams can be used, and not at all for privacy-sensitive conversations! When using Zoom, the configuration of Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences Rotterdam is mandatory. It is also strongly recommended to review the documentation available on HINT before use. The developments with respect to Zoom and any consequences for privacy and security will be closely monitored by our privacy officers and security officers in the coming period.
Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences is preparing for the different start-up scenarios
As a university of applied sciences, we are of course already thinking about starting up our education as soon as that is possible. We are thinking through various scenarios, including the appeal from our Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, that schools should think ahead in case the RIVM measures will be extended. For example, what would it mean for physical and online education at Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences if the 1.5-metre measure were to be extended? Everyone understands that we cannot start 'as usual' in the new year if such restrictive measures still apply. A working group consisting of colleagues from different disciplines is thinking through the different scenarios and any possibilities. We will inform you further about this in due course.
Open on Saturday
Starting this weekend, students would have been able to visit the open work stations of the still open locations Kralingse Zoom and Rochussenstraat on Saturdays. However, due to the Easter weekend this will not take place. The buildings are closed up to and including Monday. The consequences of the Coronacrisis for upcoming Saturdays are still being discussed.
UPDATE 3 April: online education and assessments, working from home, places for study and personal issues
Online education en assessments
An inventory carried out at various institutes shows that the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences has managed to convert almost the majority of its education from on location to online. Education that cannot take place without developing or demonstrating practical skills, and for which no alternatives can be developed for that reason, will not take place. This education will take place at a later date. Assessments, as well, are or have been largely converted to an online form; here too, in particular the assessments involving skill cannot be taken online and will be postponed to a later date.
Value of diploma first and foremost
Some forms of assessments are more susceptible to fraud in an online environment than others. Preventing fraud also remains essential in online assessments. Study programmes will mainly make use of a number of approved options, which have already proven their quality in the field of online assessments. Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences will continue to put the quality of education and diplomas first. Especially now that we are temporarily RUAS Online, it is important to conduct assessments in a responsible manner.
The fact that it has taken a while before it has become clear which of these assessments can take place (according to the regular schedule, or later) is because the Exam Boards, who have the legal task to guarantee the level of our education, check these assessments one by one for validity and reliability.
All study programmes are in contact with students and have informed them about which education and assessments are taking place, and which are not and possible alternatives. In a few instances the study programmes are still consulting with an Exam Board for the sake of care and precision, and students will be informed no later than the beginning of next week. As a result, every student will know what to expect.
The study programmes have done an immense job, on which many people have worked very hard. We are proud that, in these times, employees and students have rolled up their sleeves to get things done. At the same time, there is the realisation that the situation is not ideal, because not all education can be offered digitally.
The Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences is appealing to students to be understanding, but also to be engaged in the education and assessments that can be offered online.
Extra places for study
Now that online assessments are being realised, students are in need of quiet study spaces in the available locations of Kralingse Zoom and Rochussenstraat. Students from all institutes can come here if they have no or insufficient facilities at home to be able to study well, or in case of other reasons they cannot fully concentrate on their studies and work at home. At the two locations, in addition to the open learning centres, a number of classrooms will be opened where students can work in peace and quiet. Students can clearly indicate on entry that they need such a place to study, so that they can be allocated a space.
Everyone should strictly adhere to the applicable government instructions regarding the distance to keep from another and to stay at home in case of the slightest health complaint. Also follow the instructions of the RUAS employees when they are allocating spaces to work and learn, as well as the instructions they give in the performance of their supervisory duties.
Where the facilities at home are adequate, it is advisable to make use of them. Incidentally, it may be the case that the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences decides to limit access in case of too much traffic.
Working from home
In order to be able to work from home as optimally as possible, information pages including tips and advice have been made available for employees on Hint. For example, about setting up a workplace, working from home with children and staying healthy, both physically and mentally.
UPDATE 30 March: quality of diplomas, work-related travel, vital professions and online study programme choices
Safeguarding the quality of online education and online assessments
In these times as well, it is important to the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences to safeguard online education, online assessments, the quality and the level of our diploma. We will monitor that the consequences of the Corona measures do not negatively affect our education. Now that we will temporarily continue as RUAS Online, it is important to make sound decisions about any changes in our approach to assessments.
During the past few days we have worked hard to produce a document that includes a proper description of the guidelines and advice from RUAS with regard to online assessments (in Dutch for now; as soon as the English version is available, we will share it). The Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences is eager to publish and share this document. It is based partly on the knowledge of other universities of applied sciences, and at the same time allows other educational institutions to make use of the our knowledge on the subject.
Meanwhile we are working on the chapter ‘Assessments’ of the digital magazine ‘Education at a Distance’, with which employees can get started to be able to offer assessments in a digital format as optimally and carefully as possible. We expect to have the first sections of the chapter ready at the end of the week.
Appeal for the ‘Helpdesk Assessments’
Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences has the in-house expertise available with regard to online assessments. But we could use some extra support. Everyone who has experience with the execution of online assessments and who is willing to help colleagues online with the available tools, can report to the helpdesk. We appreciate being able to make use of your expertise. E-mail to: email@example.com and use the subject heading: ‘I would like to help’.
Recently, there has been a lack of clarity as to which professions fall under the heading of 'vital professions', at RUAS as well. This document (only available in Dutch) of the central government includes the description: ‘lecturers and staff that are needed at school’ for distance education. Upon enquiry at the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science we now know this also applies to higher education. All employees of the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences have vital professions and can rely upon emergency child care. The central government’s principle is that both parents must have a vital profession, but “it is not a firm requirement. If you are unable to find substitute child care, you can bring them to emergency child care after all”, as is stated on the website.
The previous update stated that all study trips were cancelled until the end of the current academic year. This also applies to work-related travel. Trips cannot be booked for the period up to August until further notice. The Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences will reconsider this decision when the travel advice of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been adjusted, when the colour codes of countries change from orange/red to green/yellow.
Choosing a study programme
It is also a difficult period for perspective students who have to choose a study programme. How can they make a well-considered choice without being able to visit open days? The Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences Rotterdam has recorded a video with Chairman of the Board, Ron Bormans, answering that question. Online, everyday is an Open Day. On the website of the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences (rotterdamuas.com) you can find information about the study programmes that interest you, and you can have conversations with, for example, lecturers and students who are sharing the experiences that they have had at their study programmes. In this way, students can still make a well-founded choice of study programme in these challenging times.
UPDATE 27 March: May break, Study-related travel, Interview Cycle, Assessment and Minors
May break and holidays
At the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences we are working hard. Very hard. Colleagues are doing everything they can to make sure that education at a distance is possible. That takes time and energy. Therefore this organisation needs 100% input from everyone to make RUAS Online a success. It is heartwarming to see how colleagues and students are becoming familiar with the ‘new normal’ despite the challenges that we are faced with. It is therefore a good thing that when it’s time for May break that we actually take a break. The same applies to Easter and Ascension Day. It will be a different celebration than we are used to, taking into consideration the current societal developments. But it is very important to take that time and find moments of relaxation. All work and no play does not do anyone any good. Colleagues who want to continue to work throughout that period are of course free to do so. But please look after yourselves. Students will not be offered online education during the May break and on holidays, but there is always time for independent study. In this situation as well, the advice is to take care of yourself during these odd times. We may possibly need a part of the summer holiday to catch up on educational components and assessments. As soon as this becomes clear, we will notify you.
All study-related travel that was planned up to and including the end of the current academic year will be cancelled. Initially, this concerned travel until the end of April, but given the measures taken by the government in response to the Coronavirus, the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences considers it wise to extend the period up to the end of this academic year. We will assess study-related travel for the academic year 2020/2021 at a later time.
At RUAS Online, the evaluation interview of the interview cycle for employees will continue as planned, only in a digital form. There is uncertainty about dealing with temporary contract of employees, for example. If an immediate decision must be made about converting a temporary contract into a permanent contract, then we will "simply" cut that knot, and make that decision. If the temporary contract can yet be extended, then that is an option as well.
RUAS Online will try to have as many assessments as possible take place. It will be evaluated for each assessment whether it can take place or not. Assessments requiring physical actions or skills from the student will most likely not take place. We are looking for digital solutions for assessments that are normally taken in a room where several students and an invigilator (supervisor) are present. In the course of next week, each study programme will make clear which of their assessments can take place and which cannot.
The deadline for Minor registration at the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences has been changed from March 31 to May 14, the date that already applied to the ‘Kies op Maat’ (KOM) Minors. Students are urged to register on time. A different deadline has always applied to students from abroad, which is 1 May, and that date will be maintained.
The Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences wishes students and employees a good weekend!
Update Wednesday March 25: Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences Online, Open Days as well
On Monday 23 March, the government introduced new measures that have a far-reaching effect on our interactions and therefore make education on location impossible. For the sake of clarity for students and staff, we have decided to extend the measures, previously announced for higher education, from 6 April to 1 June.
The Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences has noted that this week measures have continually become stricter. It’s understandable. We have now reached the point where we think of the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences as an 'online university': RUAS Online. That is the new normal. Which will remain until further notice. The latter means at least until 1 June, but possibly longer. If national instructions allow, we will offer education at our locations again. But for now, we will operate as RUAS Online.
Online education and assessments
This measure means that - where possible - all education and assessments are offered online. Our Exam Boards have been called upon to ensure as a matter of priority that the online method of assessments meets the standards of the law and our own regulations. Education and assessments that are not suited for the online format, for example, because the physical factor is essential, will be offered when education will resume as ususal. Accurate documentation is therefore important of what has and has not been offered, so that it is clear for each student what he/she must still do and in what form.
More and more education is being offered online and the supply will increase in the coming period. The Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences calls on students to keep up. Ask your study programme how the education is offered online and make sure you don't miss lessons unnecessarily!
Students who are at a loss, are requested to report to their study programme, lecturer or Study Career Coach.
The university of applied sciences is working on support for remote online assessments. Every effort is also being made to make applications available for this purpose. Our online magazine OnderwijsopAfstand.hr.nl will shortly be supplemented with information about online assessments. We are working on setting up a one-stop shop for questions and support. For IT support questions, please contact the FIT service point (firstname.lastname@example.org). More information will follow as soon as possible.
Everyone is welcome
The current societal situation has a major impact on everyone, including prospective students. In times of uncertainty, they have to make important decisions. Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences emphasizes that everyone is welcome. The current developments in society are already confusing enough, so the message is: you're welcome, then we'll create something beautiful. Together.
The university of applied sciences is preparing for a situation in which applicants cannot get their application file in order in the same way as is usually necessary, for example, because exams in senior secondary education have to be postponed. We are going to devise regulations for this so that prospective students can be correctly placed. Further information will follow. Keep a close eye on our website and the updates for that reason as well.
Online Open Days and registration of prospective students
Secondary school students and senior secondary vocational students who are in the exam phase can virtually visit our Open Days. They can ask students and teachers questions using various channels and learn everything about their education. Actually, exactly the same as during an Open Day on location, but with a computer or tablet. More information about the online Open Days will follow as soon as possible. In this way, prospective students can carefully choose their study programme.
When prospective students apply to their study programme of choice this coming academic year,
the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences will be able to keep them-up-to-date on the latest developments here at RUAS and at their study programme.
Opening of buildings
The Kralingse Zoom and Rochussenstraat locations are open to employees and students who do not have facilities to teach or follow education online. We ask that you only come to these locations in case it is strictly necessary, and you have no other option available to you. In which case, you are most welcome. However, we point out that when visiting the locations you must follow the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment guidelines
Services at a distance
In addition to education, services are available at a distance as much as possible: online, by the telephone or via e-mail. Lecturers can find information about online education on the website: OnderwijsopAfstand.hr.nl and soon a magazine about online assessments will be available on the website as well. The files of the library can be consulted via www.hr.nl/mediatheek.
In this time of distance learning and working from home, the university of applied sciences is asking special attention for digital security. We are currently aware of phishing emails related to the Coronavirus that have been sent. This is not yet the case at Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, but it cannot be ruled out that it will happen in the near future. The University of Applied Sciences therefore asks you to remain vigilant during this period as well. Have you received an e-mail that you are suspicious of? Please check Hint, to find out what to do.
Transferring files for access at a distance
Employees or students who want to transfer shared files, so that they can access them from home, are urged not to do so themselves. At the moment almost all colleagues and students are working online, so dragging your personal folders to OneDrive or your shared folders to Teams will cause a delay. Please do not do so, but let FIT help you. On Hint you can find a step-by-step instruction. This and other information about working from home, is available on hint as well.
Situation after 1 June
The university of applied sciences understands that there are many questions about the period between now until the summer, simply because it is not clear what the situation in the Netherlands will be like until then. The university of applied sciences will continue to work online for as long as necessary. What will happen at summertime, or after that, cannot be predicted, and national agreements will have to be made about that as well. We do not rule out the possibility that our annual schedule will have to be rearranged and that it will have consequences for the holidays. As soon as this is clear, you will be informed.
‘Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences Online’
For now, 'Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences Online' is our current status and together we will make it work. We are taking big steps and we ask for your understanding when things are not perfect. If we continue to communicate, we will solve this together. By way of this communiqué, the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences also expresses its appreciation for the colleagues who keep our locations running, colleagues who provide support in any way they can, and for those colleagues who do everything they can to ensure that our education continues online.
Update Friday March 20: deadlines for new registrations, Binding Study Recommendation, NSE, annual calendar and safe online working from home
New registration deadlines
The Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences (RUAS) previously communicated that the deadline for students to register for a new study will be postponed from May 1 to June 1 (EU applicants only). The government has now also decided to keep this date. RUAS made the decision earlier to suspend the Study Programme Check until April 6. RUAS is investigating whether, and in what form it is possible to offer the Study Programme Check after April 6. Therefore, keep a close eye on these updates. Regarding the selection procedure, RUAS will stick to the deadline of April 15, because the selection procedure is progressing steadily despite the circumstances.
Binding Study Recommendation
As previously communicated, current first-year and second-year students will receive a binding study recommendation, but no formal consequences will be attached to this. So no one has to leave their study programme. That does not mean that the university does not attach value to the study recommendation, on the contrary. Students should take that recomendation very seriously and discuss how to approach the continuation of their studies with their study career coach.
The students' own responsibility is, therefore, expressly appealed to. Certainly in view of the fact that the credits that have not yet been obtained must still be achieved at a later time. RUAS expects students to actually follow the programme that is offered long online. At the moment there are no holidays, where possible education continues as usual.
NSE is cancelled
Given the impact of government measures on the coronavirus for education, the National Student Survey (NSE) will not take place this year. Tuition fees Many questions come in from students whether to pay tuition fees. RUAS understands the impact of the current situation. In the previous update, RUAS already reported that tuition fees should simply be paid, because although education does not take place in our physical locations, it does take place in other ways. In addition, RUAS cannot independently decide to waive tuition fees; this authority lies with the government. That is why RUAS refers to the website of the Education Executive Agency (DUO), which lists the possibilities offered by the government for student finance and tuition fees.
Enrollment from MBO and HAVO and transfer to university
Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences receives a lot of questions about enrolling for a study programme after completion of MBO or HAVO. There is a chance that, as a result of the corona crisis, not all prospective students will get all formalities ready in time to register. The university recognizes this problem, just as the government does, and is investigating what appropriate measures can be taken. The basic principle is that prospective students should not be the victim if they do not get formalities in order, through no fault of their own. Foreign students without a visa requirement are also included. This issue is receiving national attention and is also relevant for our students who want to transfer to the university. RUAS will endeavor to ensure that this group of students is not rejected on formalities.
Scenarios after April 6
RUAS understands that there are many questions about the situation after April 6. Some universities have communicated that they will suspend all their face-to-face education until the summer holidays. Currently, RUAS does not opt for this, but is awaiting instructions from the national government. Several scenarios are being developed for the period after April 6. It is important now that it is well established which education will take place, which education will take place in an adapted form and which education cannot take place at this moment.
Consequences for holidays
RUAS does not rule out the possibility that the annual calendar is set up differently, simply because it is not clear what the situation will be like in the Netherlands after April 6. Scenarios in which face-to-face education is not possible for a long time are being considered. This can have consequences for, for example, the summer holidays. As soon as more is known about this issue, RUAS will communicate this as soon as possible. This depends on government instructions, as was the case with the decision not to offer face-to-face education at the locations until April 6. When education is restarted in the "normal" form, it will have to be examined individually for each student what needs to be caught up and in what form. This, for example, also applies to internship assignments. Students who encounter problems with regard to study backlog, internships, etc. are called upon to turn to their study programme, for example to their study programme coach. In order to be able to provide customization, RUAS must have insight into the issues at stake for every student.
There are indications that other platforms besides Teams are also being used for video conferencing, such as Zoom.us. RUAS understands that employees are looking for opportunities, but there are risks involved if everyone deploys systems on their own initiative. Teams was purchased by RUAS as part of Office365, is managed and secured by the IT department and is specially configured for the university. This does not apply to other providers. Without further agreements, organization and management, RUAS runs privacy and security risks. In addition to video conferencing, this also applies to other applications that are not hosted by RUAS. If Teams really falls short in functionality, or if there is a need for systems that are not currently offered by RUAS, please contact the information manager of your institute, knowledge center or service department. Information managers can advise on the use of software and, if necessary, initiate a process to offer additional software in a secure university environment. If you have any questions about the use of personal data due to changed processes, please contact email@example.com. The NCSC website also provides some points of attention in connection with working from home and current cyber threats: https://www.ncsc.nl/actueel/nieuws/2020/maart/15/aandachtspunten-thuiswerken (not available in English).
Closing locations MP and Willem de Kooning
In the past few days, an inventory has been made of the number of students and staff present in the buildings that were still open. On the basis of these statistics, it has been decided to also close Museumpark and Willem de Kooning Academy locations from Tuesday 24 March. This means that from that date, only the locations Kralingse Zoom and Rochussenstraat will be accessible (from 08:00 to 17:00).
Tips for working from home
Employees are forced to work from home as much as possible. How do you make the best possible home workplace? The Q&A of the Coronavirus Information Point (Informatiepunt Coronavirus ) contains a number of useful tips to help employees set up a pleasant workplace.
What day is it?
These are strange times to say the least. Times that have an impact on everyone, not only in the dynamics of RUAS, but it also affects us in the family atmosphere. Everything is different. Not only in society, but also in the field of study and work to such an extent that you may even have asked yourself the question what day it is? To be clear, it is Friday. Almost weekend, so try to enjoy it in the"old fashioned" way, even if the possibilities may be more limited than before. So: have a nice weekend!
Update 18 March: Binding Study Recommendation, tuition, distance education and working from home
Binding Study Recommendation measure
Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences has decided not to attach any consequences this year to the study advice given at the end of the first year of enrolment (also referred to as Binding Study Recommendations). This means:
Students who are now in their first year of enrolment (bachelor study programme or associate degree programme) will receive advice on their study progress, but the advice will have no consequences.
Students who are currently in their second year of enrolment (bachelor study programme or associate degree programme) and whose study advice has been deferred, based on personal circumstances, will also receive advice on the progress of their studies. No consequences are attached to this advice either.
The expectation is that the university of applied sciences will communicate about the further details of this measure at the end of this week. It is emphasized, however, that the study credits from the first year that have not yet been obtained, still must be obtained at a later date.
The next collection of tuition fees will take place on 25 March. Several students have asked whether they have to continue to pay tuition fees now that no education is offered at the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences locations.
The answer is yes. The education will continue, even if it is not provided at our locations. Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences is working hard to implement distance learning. Moreover, a university of applied sciences may not on its own decide to waive tuition fees. This means that a regular collection of tuition fees will take place on 25 March.
Manuals for distance education available
The magazine is online! Produced for and by our RUAS colleagues. It contains manuals for the following: providing online and LIVE lectures, organisation of peer feedback, and includes didactic perspectives and many practical tips.
Of course, we will add new sections to the magazine in the near future, but the most important information to get started is included.
Lecturers, we hope this information will serve you well with distance education! A Helpdesk has also been realised for 'digital & didactic questions'. Staffing will be set up during the next few days.
Our basis is applications that we can support well, such as Microsoft Teams and FeedbackFruits.
We have developed this magazine in a few days. A product of true co-creation. An intensive collaboration between lecturers, project guidance (from the HUB technique of education approach), IT specialists, libraries, communication, crisis teams and facilitators. But also external contacts with other universities of applied sciences, universities and suppliers contributed to collecting knowledge and tips. It’s quite special to be part of such strong unity and team effort throughout these challenging 'Coronavirus times'.
Please take note of the magazine OnderwijsopAfstand.hr.nl https://onderwijsopafstand.hr.nl/onlinemagazine/home/. Let us also realise that massively working online, will raise concerns with respect to privacy. If you have any questions about this subject, please report to the Corona information team.
Opening hours libraries
The various book distribution points at the library will be closed from Wednesday 18 March through Monday 6 April. Material from the library is available online. Information specialists will actively help students and lecturers to find online teaching and study materials. They will provide support by e-mail or telephone in the event of a guidance question and, if necessary, an appointment will be made at the Museumpark location. More information is available at www.hr.nl/mediatheek. This measure is in line with the provisions regarding the Counsellor's Office and IT support, where questions can be asked via e-mail and, if necessary, a person to person appointment can be made.
Working from home with children
The many urgent measures that have to be taken, both by the government and by the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, require improvisation from all of us. For example, how do we deal with the fact that childcare and schools are closed and that home education is needed? We realise that the current situation presents many employees with a challenge. We are currently working hard on additional policy measures.
Until greater clarity, we will apply the following, at least until 6 April: Employees do not have to take leave in the coming period if they are occasionally unable to work due to the government’s measures. As soon as we have adopted additional policy, we may renege on the course that we have set. For the time being, we hope that we all will be able to remain calm and let the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences continue to operate under these difficult circumstances.
In situations where it is structurally impossible to work most of the working hours at home, because the care task demands all the attention, we understand that it can give an employee more peace of mind to look for possible solutions in consultation with your manager. In that case, it may help to take leave or to use your Long-term Employability hours. But a suggestion could also be that in that case some of the hours are compensated later, when the first crisis is over and everyone's commitment is needed, to once again educate on location.
Accessibility occupational welfare services
During these turbulent times, insecurity, questions and or feelings arise, regarding the Coronavirus. Despite closed locations, staff members can, when necessary, meet with the staff welfare officer: Liselot de Jonge. If you find it difficult dealing with the current situation, experience feelings of insecurity or find that all these changes are difficult to cope with, please contact her.
In addition, you can contact her about other issues such as personal and or work-related problems, the balance or disruption between work en personal life, imminent stress, burn-out and absence/sickness, dealing with organisational changes and personal development issues.
For more information, check intranet: (https://hint.hr.nl/nl/HR/Werken-bij/faciliteiten/hr-academie/activiteiten/bedrijfsmaatschappelijk-werk/).
You can reach her on all work days between: 09:00-17:00. At other times, you can e-mail her
and you will be contacted as soon as possible.
Stop registration home quarantine or infection, regular situation of calling in sick
In view of the current state of affairs with regard to the discontinuation of teaching at locations and the fact that the majority of employees work from home, we will no longer register and communicate home quarantines and Coronavirus infections. Managers will no longer have to report this. However, the following is important: in the event of illness, we naturally request that this be done via the regular sickness notification procedure.
Leniency Scheme (as it applies to annulment of internship, or studies abroad)
The leniency scheme, previously established for cancelled trips to China, has been extended and now covers all travel to and from foreign countries. The scheme concerns necessary costs incurred that cannot be reimbursed in any other way, such as via insurance or via the airline. Students who have been affected can contact their own institute.
In case of (imminent) calamities abroad, a student, or staff member must always call this number: 0031 - 10 794 99 99.
At this number you can reach someone to offer primary support 365 days of the year, 24 hours per day and 7 days per week. The number must not be used for other questions such as internships, deadlines, or other business that is not urgent. Students and staff can call this emergency number direct, or request to be transferred via a local telephone office by means of a collect call or reverse charge call.
Students abroad who have questions about less urgent matters such as grants, can contact CoIA Exchange: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information for international students in Rotterdam
In case of (imminent) calamities international student can always call this number: 0031 - 10 794 99 99. At this number you can reach primary support 365 days of the year, 24 hours per day and 7 days per week
Questions about housing can be sent to email@example.com.
Questions about practical things such as deregistration in case of premature departure from Rotterdam, can be sent to CoIA-Student Support: firstname.lastname@example.org.
International students who need a doctor (GP) in Rotterdam, can find one through https://gpforinternationals.erasmusmc.nl.
Questions about the Coronavirus situation
Do you have questions about the consequences of the Coronavirus at your work or study programme? Visit the website of the Information Point Coronavirus or e-mail: email@example.com
Update 16 March: consequences up to and including 6 April
Binding Study Recommendation suspended
Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences is suspending the Binding Study Recommendation this academic year (2019/2020). Consequently, everyone can continue studying. De Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences does not rule out that at some time a student may get a BSR, but no negative consequences will be attached to this advice.
Adjusted opening hours
All measures that were taken earlier by the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences were initially effective until 31 March. As a consequence of a decision by the central government, those measures are now effective through 6 April. Meaning that no education will be offered at our locations up to and including 6 April. The buildings will still be open, but as of this moment the so-called summer schedule will be applied. So locations will be open from 08:00 to 17:00.
Which locations will remain open?
From Wednesday 18 March the following locations will be open: Kralingse Zoom, Rochussenstraat, Museumpark and Willem de Kooning Academy. Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences will evaluate per day which buildings must remain open. Keep reading the updates. Employees who need materials in order to do their work must take action on Tuesday of those materials are at one of the locations that will be closed as of Wednesday.
When visiting the buildings, observe the precautionary measures that were drawn up by the government.Keep a distance of 1.5 meters to another. The following is really important:
do you have health complaints? Stay at home. Can you work from home? Work at home. Are you expected to work from one of the open locations? Observe the precautionary measures.
Students can study independently in the open learning centres if they do not have the means for education online at home. Next, only the libraries are available at locations that are open. In first instance, the libraries are not open for the purpose of studying, but to provide guidance to students who find it difficult to find study material online. Take into account the following: if you are in a space that is too cramped to keep enough (1.5 m) distance from each other, look for another space, in accordance with the above-mentioned precautions.
For that same reason independent study in small groups is discouraged. Try to communicate with each other via e-mail or WhatsApp as much as possible instead of meeting in person. All forms of education that involve physical contact, such as group assignments for which you need to get together, such as street interviews and surveys, cannot take place.
Teaching in physical form will be at a standstill until at least 6 April. We are working together to offer online education as much as possible. Instructions for this will be available to lecturers on Tuesday 17 March. Please keep an eye on these updates.
What can lecturers and lecturer teams do already? Discuss within your team and with your course director which educational components have priority in setting up and offering distance education. In the meantime, we will encourage students to spend time on independent study.
Working from home
Employees are advised to make good use of the possibilities offered by Microsoft Teams. You can find an easy instruction here. The Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences is advising educational teams to use the following Team Structure: 1 Team per year of a study programme (cohort). Including one channel per course (code). The Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences expressly requests that employees do not create new Teams in Microsoft Teams in an unstructured way. We request that employees choose a team structure that is restrained and is tailered to our work.
Service point and IT support
If you need IT support, the Service Points are available by phone and e-mail. Please consult the FAQ, frequently asked questions, first. If you still have questions after reading those, you can use TOP desk
self-service portal (please refer to https://hint.hr.nl/werkenopafstand) Or ask support via the
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. The colleagues at the Service Points can if necessary call you back to quickly answer your questions.
Request for assistance
Everyone with experience with executing distance education can support colleagues online by using Tools (such as Microsoft Teams and FeedbackFruits). Please e-mail to email@example.com with subject heading: ‘I can help’.
Last week-end the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences started recalling all students from abroad who depend on air travel to return. These students have been contacted to this end. If they want to stay abroad after our repeated requests, the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences will respect that decision. However, this means that the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences can no longer be held to the duty of care for these students, should their situation abroad worsen unexpectedly. Of course, we will offer help where possible.
When students have followed education abroad that meets our quality requirements, then the credits earned abroad will be valid.
The leniency scheme previously only applied to students whose internship or study activities in China were cancelled, now it applies to all countries. If a student has incurred costs in this respect (travel costs, visa costs, accommodation costs) that cannot be refunded in any other way, the leniency scheme becomes effective. Students who have incurred costs in this respect will be further informed by their own institute. Given the different circumstances in different countries, the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences needs a few days to find out if the leniency scheme needs further tightening.
Travel after 6 April?
Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences has previously communicated to stop all travel until the end of April. In the middle of April we will consider whether this period should be extended. At this moment it is not possible to estimate about the situation after 1 May, and for that reason we advise everyone to be cautious when organising trips between 1 May and the summer holidays; especially when it comes to air travel.
The Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences points out the personal responsibility of outgoing students and staff and notes that in case problems arise in the period after the end of April, the leniency scheme does not apply.
The preparations for study-related trips abroad and internships abroad are progressing according to the applicable procedures.
Internships in Health Care and education
Now that the schools are closed, students on internships in education are often asked whether they can help with taking care of children of parents with vital professions or with digitising of education. Students on internships in Care may be asked to assist in the provision of care.
The following is important here: the starting point is that the students do an internship. If you have an employment contract, you must follow the policy of the school/organisation (your employer). If you work at a school on the basis of an internship contract (intern) and your internship address asks you not to come in, you will stay at home and we will look for a way to prevent study delay as much as possible. If the internship address asks you to be present, we assume that you will be.
For now, we assume that you are available for school (online) on your school days and will not go to your internship address on those days. If you are hesitant, for example because you or someone close to you has health problems, please contact your study programme lecturer or Study Career Coach.
Graduating guidance is taking place, although in an adjusted format. It is organised online or by phone. If this cannot be organised, the consequence is that the guidance cannot take place. There is only one exception to the rule that we do not offer education in physical form: Graduation sessions can take place, of course, taking all safety and hygiene measures into account.
The Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences is making every effort to provide education in such a way that there is as little study delay as possible. The Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences calls on students to do the same. Nevertheless, it is realistic to assume that study delays will occur. Once we enter the phase of regular education again, it will be assessed per study programme whether and which additional measures should be taken.
Do you have any questions about the consequences of the Coronavirus at your work or study programme? Visit the website of the Information Point Coronavirus. Do you have a general questions about the Coronavirus? Check the websites of RIVM or GGD Rijnmond, or call the RIVM information line: 0800-1351
Update Friday 13 March: the educational activities at our locations have been cancelled. What now?
As a result of the stricter measures, students and employees understandably have many questions. This update provides answer to the most frequently asked questions. We would also like to emphasise that the discontinuation of educational activities at the locations does not mean that education is at a complete standstill. At this time, provisions are being realised to start to provide distance education as much as possible. The study programmes will be communicating about this to staff and students next week.
Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences buildings are open
The public spaces at the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences are open. The open learning centres and library are accessible. We would like to point out that all library services are also available online. The buildings will be open according to the regular opening hours. Due to the limited number of students and staff at the locations, the cafeteria services will be limited.
We are working hard to enable a partial start of distance education. In the mean time we encourage students to pick up independent learning. At the start of next week, we will publish an online environment to provide manuals and tools for distance education including the most essential forms of education. Start to communicate with your team and course director which educational components should get priority for the set-up and provision of distance education. Assessment at a distance is not possible throughout the cancellation of educational activity.
Mandatory lectures, assessments, Binding Study Recommendation
We understand the many questions about lectures, assessments, Binding Study Recommendation,
etcetera. The Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences is discussing such sector-wide subjects with other universities of applied sciences and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. As soon as a national guideline has been formulated, or a guideline specifically for the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences is available, we will communicate any new guideline.
Graduating will take place, according to planning
Graduation sessions up to and including 31 March will take place, for the time being. This means that graduation guidance will also take place. Students and lecturers must come to agreements about this, for example, if guidance can be offered at a distance. Graduation sessions from 31 March will be included in later communication updates.
Submitting study assignments
Submitting study assignments can, in theory, take place. Students must discuss with their study programmes in what manner this can be realised.
Interviews for Study Programme checks have been cancelled
All planned Study Programme Checks have been cancelled up to and including 31 March. Planned interviews from 31 March will be included in later communication updates.
Planned consultations and meetings
We are cutting back on our meeting culture. Meetings and sessions about corporate-critical processes will take place. It is up to the director or chairperson of a meeting to determine if the above-mentioned is the case.
Working from home
The central government states the following in their guideline:
- Are you ill, or do you have common cold complaints, stay at home.
- Everyone can be asked to work from home as much as possible.
- Come to agreements with your direct manager, also include which services are necessary.
- If working from home is not possible, discuss with your direct manager what to do.
- We are working on an instruction for staff to work from home.
Instruction for working from home
When you want to work from home you can use the Microsoft Office365 environment. To do so go to https://portal.office.com and log in with your username: firstname.lastname@example.org. This environment offers Outlook for our e-mail, OneDrive for your personal files and folders, and Teams for collaborative (project) documents. Are you looking for files placed in the shared folders that you cannot find here? Go to https://myfiles.hr.nl. On HINT you can find available manuals for using Microsoft Office365 (search term: “slimmer samenwerken”).
At this time, the home-work environment is much used. Because of this, it will be slower than normal. Whenever possible try to make use of the Microsoft Office365 solution for working at home.
If you want to transfer your fixed work line (number) to your mobile phone, and you are not at one of our locations, e-mail to: email@example.com. State your username, fixed work number and the mobile phone number to which you want calls to be transferred.
Update 12 March: educational activities are cancelled up to and including 31 March
As was indicated earlier, the Coronavirus developments are progressing at a fast pace. Today the measures for Higher Education were updated within hours. Earlier today the advice was to continue to organise educational activities for a maximum of 100 persons. In the meantime, the government has advised the higher education sector (universities and universities of applied sciences) to no longer offer education at our locations until at least 31 March. This applies to both educational activities as well as assessments.
This means that starting 13 March, all educational activities at Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences locations are cancelled. We appeal to students and lecturers to not be present at the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences.
The buildings will remain open for other activities. Internship activities will continue to take place, in theory. It is up to the intern and internship business to decide. The measures stated above are in addition to the measures communicated earlier on Thursday, such as the travel policy and cancelling certain events, such as the upcoming Open Day.
We are monitoring developments and will keep you up-to-date on the latest status reports.
Students and staff can direct their questions to the Informatiepunt Coronavirus firstname.lastname@example.org
Tomorrow the Crisis Team will meet again to discuss the impact of this measure, after which we will update our communication.
Update 12 March: Tightened Measures Coronavirus
Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences has taken further measures, because the developments with regard to the Coronavirus are rapidly unfolding. The government has tightened its measures in several fields, as has become clear during the press conference this Thursday afternoon. Students and employees have many questions.
Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences is aware of 18 home quarantines at this time. In addition, one student has been diagnosed with the Corona infection. The student who has been diagnosed with the infection is a student at the study programme Health Technology at the Pieter de Hoochweg location. The Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences is in contact with the GGD, who will determine if contact investigation is necessary in the student's environment. In which case, the GGD will contact those involved. The location remains open and educational activities still take place.
The Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences has decided to immediately suspend all travel abroad for the time being. About sixty study-related trips were planned for the next few weeks. They will not take place, regardless of travel advice to the country of destination. Previously this applied to destination areas with a code orange or red only, but now it applies to all countries. Recent developments have taught us that the situation can change quickly. For example, with countries like Denmark, Austria and the United States.
Students and employees who travel against this measure will by definition do so as part of a private trip. The Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences accepts no responsibility or liability. Any study-related or internship activities during these trips will not be rewarded with study credits.
Students or staff who are abroad will be contacted in order to come to an appropriate solution or to provide the necessary assistance.
Study trips to Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences cannot take place either.
Events of Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences that are not related to education are immediately suspended. Events that are directly related to education and lead to a gathering of more than one hundred people will also be suspended, in accordance with government measures. For example, large-scale lectures, trial study and diploma ceremonies. Should students need their diploma for perhaps a job application or transfer study programme, then they can contact their study programme (institute).
The Open Day of 28 March will not take place. Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences will possibly organise an Open Day at a later date. Taking into consideration the process of choosing a study programme for aspiring students, the application deadline for study programmes will be changed from 1 May and postponed to 1 June.
To be clear: education-related and work-related activities for less than 100 persons, such as lessons, meetings, graduating and the Study Programme Check can take place .
The Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences has several open spaces where large numbers of staff and students gather, such as open learning centres, cafeterias, and libraries. The Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences will reflect on how to handle the use of these spaces, and more instruction will possibly follow later.
Stricter advice on health complaints
The advice previously given for North Brabant now applies to the whole country. That means that everyone who has a cold should stay at home. The regular procedures for reporting sick apply. People who have no health problems and for whom it is possible to work from home are advised to do so, after consulting their direct manager.
Education in combination with physical contact
All forms of education and working methods that include physical contact will be stopped immediately. For example, lessons in physical therapy, movement education, but also professional emergency response courses, and management training sessions where working methods are used requiring physical contact.
Internship and employment
In reality it appears that students who are interns and/or work in a dual education programme, are occasionally asked to no longer go to school, because their employer wants to limit risk of infection. In such cases where people combine education at the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences with corresponding work, the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences respects this position. In cases of an internship the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences is of the opinion that education is a priority, but the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences will do as much as possible in consultation with the parties involved to reach a suitable solution for all parties.
Update 11 March: stricter travel advice to Italy, sickness reporting North Brabant, and events
Travel to Italy is no longer permitted
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has further tightened the travel advice for Italy, for parts of the north the code is now red, and for the rest of the country the code orange applies. The latter change means that travel for work, study, or internships is no longer permitted, in accordance with our
"Calamity Plan for Travel Abroad". A travel ban is mandatory in nature. This means that students who travel contrary to the exit measure, do so by definition in the context of a private trip. Rotterdam
University of Applied Sciences does not accept any responsibility, liability or duty of care towards these students. Any study-related or internship activities during this trip will not be rewarded with study credit.
Of course, the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences understands what effect the travel ban can have. One consequence of this travel ban is that for a number of students, study or internship activities have been or will be cancelled, even though they may already have incurred costs. In view of the exceptional nature of this measure, Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences will apply a leniency arrangement for students with regard to the necessary costs already incurred, which cannot be refunded in any other way. The students concerned will be further informed by their own institute.
Travel to areas with a code green or yellow
Study-related travel to areas with code green or yellow can take place. Do realise that if the color code changes to orange or red, return to the Netherlands is mandatory. The university of applied sciences will contact the staff member or student and will make every effort to make repatriation possible. Students or employees can of course make their own decision not to leave for a destination with code green or yellow. In that case, any costs already incurred will not be reimbursed by the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences. Make sure you are well-informed and well prepared for your trip, also with regard to travel insurance and cancellation insurance.
Students and employees from North Brabant
As we have communicated before, the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences adheres to the current policy of RIVM and GGD. In line with RIVM advice, the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences advises employees and students who live in North Brabant and who have common cold complaints, such as a head cold, couching, or fever, to stay at home.
Students from North Brabant
Students who live in North Brabant, and who have complaints, can call in sick at their study programme in the same way as they have in the past.
Employees from North Brabant
Some employees who have mild complaints, can decide to work from home. They do not need to call in sick. Coordinating the situation with the direct manager is necessary, as would normally be the case as well. Employees who have complaints and who cannot work from home, must call in sick.
Colleagues or students with family members or roommates who themselves have mild complaints must consider their actions for themselves based on common sense. If they have no complaints themselves, no additional guidelines apply.
As we have communicated before, events such as congresses and graduation ceremonies can be held as long as we comply with guidelines of RIVM and GGD. On site, we will pay considerable attention to sanitary provisions, and communicate about guidelines such as the instruction not to shake hands.
Update 8 March: advice students and employees from North Brabant with common cold complaints
Throughout the past few weeks, the first Coronavirus infections were reported in the Netherlands. As we have communicated earlier, the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences acts according to the current policies of the National Institute for Public Health and Environmental Protection (RIVM) and the GGD.
In line with the advice from RIVM of 6 March 2020, the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences advises students and employees who live in North Brabant and who have common cold complaints, such as a head cold, couching, or fever, to stay at home.
Employees and students have been asked to consider whether this measure applies to them. Please be sensible. We point out the separate e-mails that have been sent today to both staff and students. In case you are staying at home with complaints of a cold, call in sick in the usual manner. Please communicate that you are absent in relation to the RIVM’s measure for North Brabant.
We follow the RIVM’s reporting continuously, and when reports show a change in advice, we will communicate that with you. For Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences updates, keep checking the Information Point Coronavirus via www.hr.nl/informatiepunt-coronavirus. When you have questions related to the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, please e-mail: email@example.com.
When you have questions related to the advice for North Brabant, and general questions about the Coronavirus, please check the website of RIVM.
UPDATE 6 March: working method for reports and registration of home quarantine
Information Point Coronavirus is live
As of today the Information Point Coronavirus of the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences is available. Employees and students who have questions about the Coronavirus can send these to: firstname.lastname@example.org. On our external website we have also published an online Information Point Coronavirus with questions and corresponding answers. It will be regularly updated based on current developments. The latest RUAS updates will also be published. Please point out this Information Point to fellow students and colleagues and read the Dutch or English version.
At this time the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences is aware of three reports of our students who have been placed under home quarantine by order of the doctor (GP) or GGD, as a precaution. They have not been tested for the Coronavirus, but have been in contact with someone who may possibly have been infected by the virus. The Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences is in contact with these students and is monitoring the situation. If you have any questions, please e-mail: email@example.com.
Reporting and registration of home quarantine for managers and Study Career Coaches
A process has been set up for Study Career Coach and managers in order to register notifications of students and employees who report that by order of the doctor (GP) or GGD they have been placed under home quarantine. The process is illustrated in this flow chart. Students report to their Study Career Coaches, and employees to their manager. It is important that the correct questions are asked upon a report and that this information is directly e-mailed to the Dean/Director, with a Cc to the Course Director, or manager who is responsible for the student/employee. Reports are registered in order for us to properly monitor the sickness reports.
Travel Advice Italy
On Tuesday evening 3 March, the travel advice for the largest parts of northern Italy was changed from code yellow to code orange. According to the Calamity Plan Travel Abroad of the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, travel to this area is not permitted for study or work. At this time, one of our students is present in this area; we are in close contact with this student.
Doctors for international students
We have received word that international students who do not have a doctor in the Netherlands, have difficulty reaching the GGD because of how busy the health service is. The Erasmus MC has published an overview of general medical practice (GP practices) in Rotterdam who are accepting international students. We would like to ask lecturers to point out this information to international students if they are in need of medical help or advice, for example, in case of health complaints that could possibly be linked to the Coronavirus.
Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences acts according to the advice of the National Institute for Public Health and Environmental Protection (RIVM). As the Coronavirus situation changes, RIVM also adapts their policy, if necessary. Previous updates may therefore contain information, for example on when to contact a GP or GGD, that is no longer in line with RIVM's current policy. In case of any uncertainty or lack of clarity, please contact the Information Point Coronavirus via firstname.lastname@example.org.
UPDATE March 3: Information Point Coronavirus and Osiris registration
Information Point and FAQ
In the near future, an information point will be set up at our university of applied sciences where students and staff can ask questions about the Coronavirus via e-mail. Based on these questions we will publish frequently asked questions. In this way we hope to be able to answer as many questions as possible and make the information available as widely as possible. More information will be published soon.
What to do in case of health complaints?
Our university of applied sciences acts according to RIVM guidelines. If you, as employee or student, have a fever in combination with respiratory complaints and have been in a risk area in the last two weeks, or you have been in contact with someone infected with the Coronavirus, report to your doctor (GP) or the GGD. The doctor or GGD will determine whether it is necessary to stay at home. In the event that it is necessary to stay at home due to risk of Coronavirus infection, report this to your manager (for staff) or Study Career Coach (for students). They will register your situation so that we can continue to monitor the number of possible cases of illness.
Based on advice from RIVM (National Institute for Public Health and the Environment), it seems that extra cleaning activities, in addition to the already thorough cleaning, serve no purpose to prevent or spread the Coronavirus. Washing your hands a few extra times is useful though. For that reason, our cleaning company will ensure that soap dispensers are filled and that towels are sufficiently renewed. As soon as necessary, based on RIVM advice, additional measures will be taken. This is not yet the case.
Events and congresses
Congresses or other large-scale events can (still) take place. The RIVM guidelines apply to speakers and participants: if they have been in a risk area and have, or are developing health complaints, they must stay at home. If the quality of the event comes under pressure due to too many cancellations, make a practical decision to still hold the event or not, as you would in other cases.
Register in Osiris when you travel abroad for your study programme and internship
Our students travel all over the world for their study programme/internship, which we stimulate as part of internationalisation. For the sake of your own safety, it is important that students take care of timely and full registration in Osiris before they travel abroad. In case of unexpected calamities in a specific country, it is then directly apparent who is in that area. This makes communication easier and a possible repatriation as well.
Study-related travel to areas with a code green or yellow
Within this university of applied sciences we adhere to the Calamity Plan for study-related travel abroad. Study-related travel to areas with a code orange or red, based on advice from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, cannot take place, as we have communicated earlier. Study-related travel to areas with code green or yellow can take place. Do realise that should the colour code be changed to orange or red, you must return to the Netherlands. In that case, RUAS will contact the traveller and facilitate repatriation if necessary. Students or employees can, of course, decide for themselves to not travel to destinations in an area with a code green or yellow. However, any costs already incurred will not be reimbursed by the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences.
The Crisis Management Team is monitoring the situation carefully and anticipates various possible scenarios. As soon as there are new developments, we will inform you.
UPDATE 1 March
The first coronavirus infections in the Netherlands were diagnosed last week. With the spring break just behind us, we understand that this raises questions within the organization. As communicated in previous updates, we follow the current policy of the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (Dutch: RIVM) and the local Municipal Health Service (Dutch: GGD). In addition, the central government has recently published a guideline that specifically applies to education.
- In case of minor respiratory complaints, RIVM recommends staying at home. If the symptoms worsen, contact your General Practitioner or GGD by telephone.
- Contact your GP or the GGD immediately by telephone in case of a fever with respiratory symptoms (e.g. coughing or shortness of breath) and agree with the doctor whether you can go to work / to school. If this is not the case, report this immediately to your Study Career Coach (SCC), your Course Director or direct supervisor.
- Employees or students who do not have a fever or (mild) respiratory complaints, can go to work / go to school according to the guidelines of the authorities.
- If you return from an uncontaminated area, no special measures apply. In case of doubt or concern, the authorities advise you to contact your GP or local GGD by telephone.
- Wash your hands more often than usual, for 20 seconds.
- Use paper handkerchiefs and throw them away after use. Then wash your hands.
- Cough or sneeze in your elbow.
- Although not in line with our code of conduct, for the time being we will not shake hands, but will nod gently.
- If you have a fever or respiratory complaints that you are concerned about, consult your GP or GGD by telephone.
- Report it directly to your Study Career Coach (SCC), Course Director or direct supervisor if you suspect you are infected with the corona virus.
- Make sure you are well informed about the facts and fables surrounding the corona virus. You can find more information on the RIVM and GGD websites. In addition, the government has also opened a general information number: 0800-1351 which you can call in case of questions.
UPDATE 26 February 08.30
Stricter travel advice for Italy and South Korea
On Monday 24 February, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs tightened the travel advice for Italy. Due to a travel ban (both entry and leaving) for several municipalities in northern Italy, the code red has been issued for these municipalities (no travel). For the surrounding areas of these municipalities the code orange applies (strictly necessary travel only); code yellow applies to the largest part of northern Italy, and Rome and the surrounding area (please note, safety risk).
On Tuesday evening 25 February, the travel advice for South Korea was tightened as well. The code orange applies to the city of Daegu and the Cheongdo area due to precautions taken by the local government to prevent further spreading of the Coronavirus. Code green applies to the rest of the country.
Travel to Italy and South Korea
In accordance with the Calamity plan for travel abroad, the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences does not grant permission for travel to areas with a code orange or red. At this time, we are listing our students and employees who are in Italy en South Korea for study or work, or who intend to travel to these countries. In this context the Crisis Management Team again emphasises the importance of meticulous registration of outgoing mobility by our institutes.
Returning from Italy
Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences complies with the policies of the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, and GGD, with respect to travellers returning from Italy. The policy states that people returning from northern Italy (including the area with code red) do not need to be placed under quarantine, and only need to be tested for the Coronavirus in case they develop a fever and respiratory complaints. This means that no special measures will be taken for students and staff returning from northern Italy. They must report to their GP or GGD only when
they develop a fever and respiratory complaints after their return.
Situation in China
The situation in China remains unchanged since the previous update.
UPDATE 17 February 17.00
The Crisis Management Team has become aware of concern and questions arising about planned study-related travel to other countries in Asia with respect to the Coronavirus.
We would like to point out that the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences follows the travel advice of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as is stated in our calamity plan for travel abroad. This means that when the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued a code green or yellow for a certain country, the decision to travel abroad for a study-related activity is up to the individual student or employee. The study programme or institute may decide as well to cancel a study trip
because the measures taken in a particular country are causing difficulties with regard to following the (educational) activities.
Of course we understand that news about the Coronavirus causes concern. We urgently advise that every traveller is well-informed and prepared before travelling abroad, also with regard to travel insurance and cancellation insurance.
UPDATE 10 February 17.00
On Thursday 5 February, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs further tightened the travel advice for China. The code red (no travel) for the Wuhan region and code orange (strictly necessary travel only) for the rest of the country remains unchanged. The accentuation of the advice now also applies to people who are in China to consider whether it is necessary for them to remain there. If not, they can make use of the available opportunities to leave China. The reason being, the further possible precautions taken by the Chines authority to combat the spread of the Coronavirus.
Travel ban Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences
The travel ban to China that was established on Thursday 30 January remains in full force for employees and students of the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences.
The travel ban is mandatory in nature. This means that when, despite this ban, students travel to China, the travel is by definition considered to be of a private nature. The consequence is that towards these students the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences accepts no responsibility, liability or duty of care whatsoever, and that no study credit will be awarded for any possible study programme activities during the trip.
Consequences travel ban and leniency regulation
The Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, of course, understands the possible effects of the travel ban. A consequence of the travel ban is that study programme activities in China of a number of students have been annulled. It is possible that these students have already incurred expenses for these study programme activities. In view of the highly exceptional nature of this travel ban measure, the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences has come to a leniency arrangement for students to cover the necessary costs that they have incurred, provided that these cannot otherwise be compensated. Students who have been affected, will be informed further by their own study programmes.
The Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences understands that the annulation of an internship or other study programme activity in China is disappointing, but due to these recent developments there are no other options.
UPDATE 31 January 16.45
At this time the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences has seven students in China. We are in contact with them and are doing everything in our power so that they can return to the Netherlands. This many students is more than we were initially aware of, which underlines the importance of proper registration of outbound travel at the institutes.
In February, we are expecting eight incoming Chinese students for an exchange programme, or for a complete study programme. These students are and will remain welcome here. In this we are following the advice of the Municipal Health Service (GGD) which states that travellers from China are welcome.
However, should they have complaints (more than 38 degrees of fever, lung problems or shortness of breath, within fourteen days of arrival from China), they must report to the general practitioner (GP) or the GGD. CoIA and the institutes involved will inform the students about what to do in case of health complaints, but also about possible sensitivities they might encounter in the Netherlands. In addition, the housemates will be informed of the arrival of the Chinese students.
Intention to travel
At this time, we are aware that about 85 students, or employees of the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences were planning to travel to China between now and the summer. This number is based on the inventory of all institutes, departments, and research centres.
In case of an annulled trip to China, the responsibility lies with the institute to provide for adequate alternatives for the studies to be attended in China, in consultation with the student and the Exam Board. We expect to be able to further inform you on this subject on Monday.
It is possible that tensions will arise towards colleagues or students with an Asian appearance as the spread of the Coronavirus continues. The crisis management team reminds everyone to be vigilant that colleagues and students with an Asian appearance are not treated discourteously. The RUAS Behaviour and Integrity Code.
Thursday evening a travel ban to China (including Hong Kong) was declared for students and staff of the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences. This has been communicated both internally and
externally. The decision is in line with the policies of other Dutch universities (of applied sciences).
Travel ban to China - 30 January
Thursday afternoon the Ministry of Foreign Affairs adjusted the travel advice to China to code red (no travel) for the Wuhan region and code orange (only strictly necessary travel) for the rest of the country.This advice was issued because of the considerable increase in the number of Coronavirus infections. As the safety of students and employees is paramount, the Executive Board has decided that travel to China for internships, studies or working visits is no longer permitted for staff and students of this university of applied sciences.
This restrictive measure is in line with our emergency plan for travelling abroad and is valid for an indefinite period of time.
Students or staff who would have travelled to China in the near future for study, internship or work will be further informed by their institute, research centre or department.