According to Sandra Klarenbeek, the Head of the Teaching Support department, the number of 318 spots was based on the number of spots the UL would have available if all students were to observe physical distancing rules (1.5 metres apart). However, the rules are more complex than that, Klarenbeek said on Erasmus TV on Tuesday morning. “For instance, up to thirty people are allowed to be in one single room, but what’s considered one room in a library? We have not yet received a clear answer to that question. In addition, we wish to ask students some questions about their health condition at the entrance, so that might result in a bit of a queue. That queue is something we have to take into account, as well.”

For these reasons, the university has chosen to get off to a slow start, with just fifty study spots available for now. “If that goes well, we’ll be able to expand that number quite rapidly – hopefully, by fifty spots per week,” says Klarenbeek.

'Bloody inconsiderate'

Students who were fortunate enough to obtain a spot in the University Library were ‘glad to be back’. Kyra, who is doing a Master’s degree at the Erasmus School of Law, likes working on her thesis at the library. “At home there are many distractions. You’ll strike up a conversation with a flatmate, or you’ll do some washing. Before you know it, your day will be over, and you won’t have done all the things you wanted to do. I’m a lot more focused here.” The same is true for Sofie, who is doing a Master’s degree in Econometrics. “Your attitude to work is different when you’re at home. It’s nice and quiet here, which means you’re able to work with greater focus for longer.”

Reserving a spot in the UL is quite the challenge, though. “This morning all the spots were booked at one minute past nine,” says Kyra. Nick, another student doing a Master’s in Econometrics, says it’s ‘bloody inconsiderate’ that half the students who book a study spot do not actually show up to claim it. “I can’t revise at home because I’m having some issues with my computer,” he explains. “So I think it’s pretty awful that some students book a spot without actually using it, even though many students really need those study spots.”

Hand sanitiser and coloured lines

The students think the UL has done a good job of implementing a coronavirus protocol. There is a UL employee at the entrance who will check students’ ID cards and make sure they have made a reservation. Students are then asked questions about their health status at a different desk. There are dispensers of hand sanitiser all over the place, and the route to the room with the study spots is clearly marked by means of coloured lines. “As far as the spread of coronavirus is concerned, you’re safer off here than in the supermarket or on the street. You don’t even have to touch a door handle,” says Sofie. Her fellow student Nick agrees. “You really don’t come into contact with anyone. There’s enough room between the study spots. In this way, they probably could have reopened the study spots earlier.”

The university has got some experience of making study spots available in the last few weeks. Fifty spots are available to students on the ground floor of the Tinbergen Building.

Uni-open20_15 (2000px)

Read more

In pictures: the campus is coming to life

On Tuesday, some commerce on campus reopened their doors and students could finally study…