“Lectures for large groups will soon be possible again”, Rutte said during his press conference. The students also don’t have to keep one and a half metres distance from each other.

Face masks and tests

The requirement to wear a face mask will also be abolished in the education sector as of 25 September. So until next week, students and staff must still wear a mouth mask in the corridors, and after that they no longer have to.

“However, the advice remains to do a self-test regularly, for example twice a week, in order to reduce the risk of infection.” Students and staff can still get free self-tests.

One and a half metres

The ‘one-and-a-half-metre society’ is therefore going to disappear, even though the virus is still going around. It is still sensible to give each other space, Rutte said, but it will no longer be compulsory.

For access to cafés, cinemas, theatres and similar venues, people will soon have to show an access ticket, for example a QR code on their phone. You can receive such a ticket1 if you have been fully vaccinated, have recovered from corona or were tested negative less than 24 hours ago.

Reason to celebrate

But these proofs are not necessary for higher education, is the current viewpoint. This may change if the infections increase, the cabinet said earlier.

Students will be happy about this, thinks president Lisanne de Roos of the Interstedelijk Studenten Overleg (ISO): “Since the reopening of higher education a fortnight ago, we have heard a lot of enthusiastic reactions from students who, after one and a half years, finally have the feeling that they can study again. Now that the last restrictions are also disappearing, there is extra reason to celebrate.”

Online

In the first weeks of the academic year many students still had online lessons, despite the relaxations. According to De Roos, this was mainly due to the maximum group size of 75 students. Now, according to her, ‘nothing stands in the way of full physical education again’, although she hopes that the institutions will continue with online education for vulnerable students.

The Ministry of Education states that education can be provided again as before the introduction of the corona measures, ‘after sufficient time has been given to adjust timetables’.

Vulnerable

The universities sound cheerful but cautious. It is good news that students and lecturers ‘can more or less go to the campus normally again’, says chairman Pieter Duisenberg of universities association VSNU. “We will look at how we can use the extra space safely and responsibly.”

He takes into account that ‘vulnerable students and lecturers’ will not feel safe when the corona measures are abandoned. “As is the case now, universities will continue to engage with them to find the best solution.”

Universities of applied sciences also wanted the maximum group size to disappear again in higher education, they said at the start of the new academic year. The Netherlands Association of Universities of Applied Sciences was going to make a case for this, said chairman Maurice Limmen in August.

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  1. For example as a QR code in the CoronaCheck app ↩︎
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