The students association notified the university of the infections last Friday evening. According to the university, source and contact tracing was being carried out by the Municipal Health Service (GGD Rijnmond) and the infected members had all been quarantined. In a letter, Rector Magnificus Engels has also wished the students a speedy recovery.

Barred immediately

According to the rector, the overall situation is so serious that he decided to immediately bar the SSR from all physical and online activities during Eurekaweek. “I understand that this week is important for the student association, but I really want to rule out any risk of infection. At the same time, I think it is vital that this present outbreak is thoroughly analysed.”

Among other things, Engels wants to know how the students’ trip had accommodated the code of conduct that had been adopted by all student associations, in which they state that they are aware of their social responsibility.

Engels: “Over the past days and weeks we have worked extremely hard to put in place a completely new, safe protocol for the Eurekaweek and for the activities of our student organisations. This has been done in close consultation with the Regional Safety Department and Mayor Aboutaleb. It’s because of this that the Eurekaweek has been able to take place. It goes without saying that the safety of our prospective students and your (prospective) members, along with society at large are and remain our top priority. Should anyone participating in these activities become infected, we will always act in consultation with the GGD municipal health service.”

'Cancel all recruitment and orientation activities'

Once again, the Rector strongly urges students to comply with all measures relating to COVID-19, as well as immediately report any incidents and cancel all activities to do with recruiting and introducing new members (other than those covered by the official program of the Eurekaweek), unless the university has first approved these and the safety regulations.

A fortnight ago, a cluster of EUR students were also found to be infected with COVID-19, many of them medical students. Following that incident, the Rotterdam student associations, including the SSR-R, organised a campaign to draw fellow students’ attention to the importance of observing corona regulations.

SSR Chair Jelle Mooij: 'The university's decision is disproportionate'

SSR-R chair Jelle Mooij campaigning outside Rotterdam Central Station to promote corona regulations. Image credit: Marko de Haan

SSR chair Jelle Mooij describes the decision to exclude the students association from the online activities because of the Covid-19 infections as ‘disproportionate’.

The 23 members of the students association contracted the coronavirus while on a trip to Greece. Although the SSR advises their members not to travel to any orange-designated countries, Greece was a yellow country at the time of the trip, Mooij points out. “As a student board, we have pushed our members several times to follow the measures,” he adds. “Even in Greece our members wore face masks wherever it was appropriate.”

Rector Magnificus Rutger Engels decision to immediately bar the association from all Eurekaweek programs, both in person and online, means that they are not allowed to partake in the information market on campus nor offer guided tours to new students. “I understand that physical participation must be handled with care, and we do fully support that”, Mooij responds. “But when it comes to online activities, the members who are infected were not going to participate in our Eurekaweek program next week. But above all, we just don’t understand why we can’t take part in any of the online activities,” he states.

Rector Magnificus Rutger Engels will speak with the board on Monday morning to hear a verbal explanation concerning the situation. Based on this and in light of the code of conduct for student associations during the orientation period, the Executive Board will decide whether extra measures are still needed in addition to the exclusion of SSR from Eurekaweek, which is to start on Sunday evening.

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