According to current affairs show Nieuwsuur, Dutch universities plan to commence in the coming academic year without social distancing and, ideally, without compulsory testing. Despite the rise in Delta variant infections, particularly among young people, institutions do not plan to impose limitations starting in the fall, according to Pieter Duisenberg, president of the Dutch Universities Association VSNU. ‘That has to be at the top of the priority list,’ he said. ‘And we want to figure out how we’re going to do it.’
Ministers had urged institutions to create two separate calendars for September, one with and one without social distancing. Universities acknowledged a month ago that only one situation – being totally open – is relevant, and the increase in Delta variant cases hasn’t changed that, according to Nieuwsuur. While Eindhoven University of Technology has calculated the expected impact of various scenarios, other universities have not done so due to staffing constraints. ‘What the government wants is impossible,’ said a Tilburg University official. Compulsory testing, which the government may mandate starting in September, would be a huge logistical burden, according to Duisenberg.
We’re not a festival with a single entrance,’ he explained. ‘Dutch campuses are made up of a variety of structures, which are sometimes dispersed throughout the country.