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Higher education to limit physical classes to 30% occupancy

Higher education institutions in the Netherlands will limit physical classes to a maximum of 30 percent occupancy in the coming year, BNR reported after surveying the universities an colleges in the country. The maximum occupancy is based on maintaining social distancing, Pieter Duisenberg, chairman of the association for Dutch universities VSNU, said to the broadcaster.

According to Duisenberg, this combination of physical- and online education is a major step forward from the online-only education during the height of the coronavirus crisis. “The education provided is good. People can pass their exams with that, we have strict quality requirements and that quality is achieved,” he said.

But he acknowledged that it doesn’t hold a candle to the pre-coronavirus education. “Everything is aimed at minimizing study delays, but everyone has come to realize how important that physical education is. You will not hear me say that the quality is just as good as physical education, no, absolutely not.”

Dahran Coban, chairman of student association ISO, stressed that studying is more than just sitting in the classroom. “Studying is a broad social development. By organizing your own affairs, by joining an association, by being enterprising, by entering into participation. That is a lot more difficult from a distance.”

Freshmen initiation week is starting in some cities on Monday. Despite concerns of coronavirus outbreaks, student association LSVb stressed the importance of new students being able to meet and connect with each other. The government imposed some extra rules to the initiation activities, to limit the risk of the virus spreading as much as possible. These include that activities must end by 10:00 p.m., no alcohol will be allowed, and group sizes are limited.

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