On 14 January, the Cabinet implemented stricter face mask rules. Starting from that date, everyone had to wear face masks ‘at all times and in all places’ in buildings operated by universities and universities of applied sciences. In actual practice, quite a few people flaunted that rule. The Cabinet is now somewhat relaxing the rule, judging from a letter that was published last night.
Stricter requirement to wear a face mask on campus still unclear
Many students and employees are not sure when they are supposed to wear a face mask.
“Students attending VET colleges and higher education institutions who have a designated seat or standing spot and are able to keep a safe distance from others are exempt from the mask mandate.” This rule applies to libraries, study spaces and the support staff’s offices, among other places.
According to the Cabinet, this means ‘that face masks will be mandatory in most lecture rooms and lecture theatres, since these generally aren’t big enough to allow all students to keep 1.5 metres’ distance’. Furthermore, face masks will continue to be mandatory for people seeking to get from one place to another, in the corridors of the various buildings.
Quarantine rules were amended yesterday, as well. As far as higher education is concerned, the Cabinet has chosen not to follow the course of action recommended by the Outbreak Management Team (OMT) on 24 January, which stipulated that all students who had come into contact with someone who had tested positive were allowed to come to campus if they did not have any symptoms and took self-tests for five days.
It seems that the Cabinet found this course of action too risky. Yesterday it was announced that this rule only applies to pupils and students aged younger than 18. Older students who have come into contact with someone who has tested positive must follow the general rule, which stipulates that they do not have to quarantine if they received their booster shot more than a week ago, or if they had the coronavirus fewer than eight weeks ago – provided they don’t have any symptoms. The Cabinet said nothing about the ‘five days’ self-testing’ recommended by the OMT.