Inside Erasmus University’s buildings, students are given a lot of instructions by means of enforced walking routes and stickers. Hand sanitiser dispensers are available in all corridors. But are physical distancing rules observed outside the buildings? “When you’re finally allowed to be on campus, you want to get to know your fellow students and talk to them. So you’re less likely to comply with the restrictions,” admits 18-year-old Anna Numan, a first-year educational sciences student. “But of course you are always aware of it.”
Now that the infection rate is rising fast in Rotterdam, students, in particular, are subject to very strict monitoring. House parties are prohibited and large-scale society gatherings have been cancelled. “The rules are enforced more strictly in the city than in the villages surrounding Rotterdam,” reports Nando Piree, a 19-year-old first-year business administration student. He has overheard his fellow freshers discuss illegal parties. “Apparently, there are clubs that close their front doors at 12 o’clock and turn off all the lights, only for wild parties to ensue indoors. That is how they circumvent the coronavirus restrictions.” He himself does not visit such clubs.
Going to a café
“Some places don’t really enforce the distancing rules,” says Anna. “During Eurekaweek, we would sometimes spend some time at cafés’ outdoor seating areas. Some cafés in the city centre allowed up to ten people to sit at the same table. So yeah, we availed ourselves of that opportunity. But other cafés will tell groups to keep their distance, and the police may even swing by to check if the rules are being followed.”
Despite the fact that many students are getting infected, many students do in fact respect the rules, says Jonah van Lotringen, 20, a third-year history student. “I’m getting the impression that students are aware of the importance of keeping 1.5 metres’ distance. I myself am always mindful of it, but I’m also experiencing a certain pressure to do things right, both in the city and on campus. I only attend meetings where I can keep my distance and where the organisers actually enforce physical distancing.”