“Considering the sharp increase in the number of Covid-19 cases in Europe and the crisis in Italy, the university should close its doors as a preventive measure” is a line from the petition drawn up by student Ben Münks. Yveline Shang and Younes Assou, two RSM students who are also on the University Council, are helping Münks raise awareness of his petition. They hope to present the Executive Board with the signed petition in next week’s council’s meeting.

Shang’s main goal is to find a solution that will allow students to attend lectures and seminars without actually coming to campus and getting together. However, the RSM student says the university is only able to stream eight lectures at a time.

'Not enough measures implemented'

Shang also believes that the university is not implementing enough hygiene-related measures. “The university advises people not to shake hands, and there are posters in the toilets telling students to properly wash their hands. But in Hong Kong universities were closed a week ago, even though fewer people are infected there than here.” Shang says that door handles are cleansed regularly in Asia, and corridors are sprayed with cleaning agents.

There are cultural differences between Dutch students and international students, says Shang. “Many Dutch students are saying: I’m young and healthy, so I’ll be fine. But our older relatives are susceptible to the virus.” Shang has found that many Asian students would like to wear face masks, but are afraid to do so. “It’s a question that is discussed a lot in group chats. Students are wondering whether they can put on their masks yet, but they are getting the impression that Dutch people won’t accept it.”

Petitions asking for universities to be closed have been drawn up in other Dutch student towns as well, e.g. Maastricht, Amsterdam, Groningen, Utrecht, Eindhoven and Leiden. Several faculties of medicine have already indicated that they will stop teaching seminars for the time being. Erasmus MC, too, has put a halt to its lectures, seminars and exams.


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