On Monday morning, an EUR employee had to lecture seventy persons at the entrance to the Tinbergen Building in three hours. He gestures to a student that he must stop: “People aren’t quite used to it yet.” A blonde student who is wearing a cap but no face mask nearly trips when she enters De Etude restaurant. “Sorry, I was in a hurry,” she says by way of explanation.

Since Saturday, face masks have been mandatory on campus Woudestein, as they are in all higher education institutions. When you are moving from one part of a building to another, you must wear a face mask, as stipulated in an e-mail sent to all students and staff. There are stickers next to the entrance of every building on campus showing a male figure wearing a face mask.

Those who don’t wear a face mask risk a €95 fine, but it remains to be seen whether that fine will actually be imposed on campus, as Erasmus University does not have the authority to impose fines. However, the university does have the authority to suspend students. According to an employee who tells maskless people to put on a mask, no one has been suspended yet.

Benjamin Bosch Image credit: Peer van Tetterode

Nothing new

Most students on campus appear to be in favour of the mask mandate. Twenty-eight-year-old psychology student Celia, who does not want us to print her surname, thinks it’s understandable that face masks must be worn on campus. “I’m an intern at a general practice centre where I see people with symptoms every day. Whenever I see them, I find myself thinking, if we can bring down infection rates by wearing face masks, that’s the least we can do.”

In the same corridor in the Tinbergen Building we find a young blond man who is quickly putting on a mask. Economics student Benjamin Bosch, 24, nods. “I’ve read that it really does reduce infection rates. I think it works. And by now we’re all used to it anyway.”

Psychology student Barend van Brakel, 24, agrees and adds: “It’s also to some extent about raising awareness. If we’re all wearing masks again, it’s clear to all of us that the pandemic is far from over and that we have to keep doing our best to stop spreading the virus.”

Only normal

For International Management student Kana Nahiko, 23, wearing a face mask everywhere is ‘nothing new’. “I was a little surprised that we only have to wear it indoors and on public transport here. In Japan, where I’m from, we’ve had to wear face masks wherever we go for quite some time now.” Her fellow student Alessio Parmentelle, 22, nods in agreement: “I don’t necessarily like it, but it’s the least we can do.”

Marketing student Petya Germanova, 22, can relate to that. “I’m from Bulgaria, where it’s completely normal not to go anywhere without a face mask. I don’t think it’s weird at all that we’re now having to wear masks at uni.”

Alessio Parmentelle en Kana Nahiko
Alessio Parmentelle en Kana Nahiko Image credit: Peer van Tetterode


Although students generally support the mask mandate, some of them are a little confused by the sudden need for masks indoors.

Some aren’t quite used to the new rule yet. Economics student Affan, 21, who does not want to be identified by his surname, enters the Theil Building without a face mask. “The rules aren’t entirely clear to me. I’ve seen a few people without face masks here, so that makes me think it’s OK to do that.”

Business Administration student Alejandro Aranje, 19, isn’t quite accustomed to it yet either. He walks past the coffee bar in the same building. He’d like to wear a face mask, but says it’s harder than it looks. “I keep forgetting to put it on.”

Not the problem

International Business Administration student Jules Pattojlio, 18, agrees that the virus must be fought, but has his reservations about the face mask policy. “We must take our responsibility, but the real problem isn’t people not wearing face masks. The problem is there still being so many large-scale events and people not getting tested.”

Others object to wearing face masks for other reasons. If it were up to econometrics student Sebastian Humaloe, 19, he’d take off his pink face mask at the earliest opportunity. “It’s tight. It’s really annoying.”

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