In January, Groningen University started a pilot study involving rapid coronavirus testing prior to exams. It is not yet certain whether EUR will organise something similar, says the university’s spokeswoman. However, she did emphasise that it is the university’s greatest priority to ensure that students will be able to return to campus for some programme components before the summer, and for all programme components after the summer (circumstances permitting).

As mentioned above, the universities of Nijmegen and Eindhoven will join EUR in this round of pilot studies. Previously, Delft University of Technology and Amsterdam VU University embarked on a pilot study of their own.

Moving bubbles

Corona testen

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According to a message from the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU), ‘the pilot studies are designed to create more opportunities for in-person contact on campus and to teach us valuable lessons for the resumption of regular on-campus classes later this year, while adhering to social distancing guidelines’.

According to VSNU’s message, the pilot studies may involve rapid-testing facilities, on-site testing and home test kits, as well as ‘crowd control’ and ‘moving bubbles’ techniques.

EUR’s spokeswoman explained that the idea behind the pilot studies is that education institutions will carry out different types of experiments so as to gather more information on the national level on which measures are effective and which aren’t.

Reopening campuses

The Ministry of Education is allocating €9 million to the conduct of the pilot studies. According to VSNU, the study results will be collected before the summer and may be used by the Ministry in its request to the government’s Outbreak Management Team (OMT) for a recommendation on the resumption of in-class teaching at universities, universities of applied sciences and VET colleges.