Guidelines WUR in relation to Corona outbreak

Corona guidelines and updates

Latest update: 20 May

The measures will be eased gradually from 15 June, although most measures remain in force. Read more about all WUR corona guidelines and updates here.

On this page, you can find the latest updates relevant for the majority of our personnel, students and partners. Detailed information is provided via email or by supervisors. Wageningen University & Research complies with measures advised and communicated by the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), the Dutch government, the local health authority GGD and the travel policy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Here you can find more extended corona related news items

The FAQ list offers detailed answers to many questions

Are you viewing the page on your mobile? Scroll down for the measures that are currently in place.

Update 20 May at 12:00

During yesterday's press conference (19 May) prime minster Rutte reiterated that the course for easing the corona mitigating measures would continue as initially planned. 'The room to do so has been made possible by our joined efforts,' the prime minister stated. He emphasised that discipline in following the social distancing guidelines and hygiene measures is essential.

For middle and higher education, this means that the government now aims for a gradual easing of measures as of 15 June. The universities have drawn up a protocol in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (Dutch acronym: OCW). A gradual return to normal activities on Campus is possible, but only under strict adherence to the RIVM guidelines and in coordination with the safety region.

In addition to the individual commitment of all students and staff, this also requires adjustments to be made to buildings, technical facilities, working schedules and mobility.

The preparations for a step-by-step return to normal activities are underway so that we are fully prepared to make a start when the situation allows. A full return to 'normal' is not expected before the end of this year.

Guidelines

The following guidelines continue to apply to all WUR students and employees:

  • Remote working remains the default. The executive board requests all students and employees to only come to our buildings if there is no alternative. Supervisors are asked to ensure compliance with this measure;
  • Meetings are to take place online unless absolutely impossible. Offline/Real Life meetings are permitted exclusively with express permission from management, for issues such as late-stage recruitment interviews.
  • No international travel.
  • When work requires your physical presence, adhere to the hygiene and safety guidelines, such as maintaining at least 1.5 metres between yourself and others.
  • Access to our locations is prohibited if you have health complaints:
    • Do not visit our locations within 24 hours after having experienced any of the following symptoms: Nasal congestion, coughing, a sore throat or a common cold. If you have any of these symptoms, avoid social contacts. Should the symptoms exacerbate, contact your general practitioner by phone;
    • Self-isolate for fourteen days if you have returned from an area marked red for corona, or if you have been in contact with someone infected by the virus.

Measures from 15 June onward

  • From 15 June, more research activities are enabled in our facilities, under strict compliance with the hygiene and safety precautions;
    • PhD and postdoc research in laboratories and testing locations
    • Thesis research in laboratories and testing facilities
    • Other lab and field research (such as applied research commissioned by third parties, field research etc.)
  • The Aula will be remodelled to allow PhD defences as of 10 August, and inaugural ceremonies from September. Always with an audience of no more than 30 persons, always maintaining a 1.5-metre distance as well as under compliance with the safety and hygiene measures. The option for an online PhD defence will remain intact.
  • Visitors from outside of WUR are barred from our buildings unless permission is granted by management.
  • Gatherings in WUR buildings and locations that hold no direct link with our research and education are forbidden.
  • Libraries remain closed, except for the "Pick Up & Go Desk" where books can be borrowed and returned.
  • No events on Campus or other WUR locations. This includes extracurricular activities (Wageningen Academy, Summer schools, WCDI)
  • Management permission is required for participation in gatherings held in other (non-WUR) locations.

Education

  • Courses for P6 will take place online only
  • Between 15 June and 1 September, a limited number of practical sessions may be offered. Education & Student Affairs is developing a procedure and process to assess possible exemptions.
  • Dutch excursions and fieldwork may take place within the RIVM guidelines (including those for transportation and the maximum number of people).
  • Internships in the Netherlands are permitted if businesses or organisations agree
  • The exams that conclude P6 will take place online
  • The exams will be resat online in August
  • The introductory period for new students will take place a mixed form (online and offline) and will be subject to the social distancing requirements and other regulations (see: AID website)

After the summer

In preparation for the return to studying and working on location, our buildings will be adjusted to comply with the one-and-a-half metre requirement and other regulations. These regulations have a profound impact on our ability to move within buildings and around Campus. Everything will be set up in such a way that there is sufficient distance between people at all times. Furthermore, the air circulation in rooms and buildings must be upgraded to meet the new requirements and opening hours will be extended to increase buildings' capacity.

The maximum capacity of our Campus and facilities will be reduced to about 30% of the former capacity as a result of these adjustments. We will increase to this new capacity in stages so that we can make adjustments if required by the national corona policy.

In the maximum corona capacity, we also take into account the limitations imposed on (public) transportation. These restrictions limit travel within the rush hour for students.

Education

  • We aim to restart physical courses gradually. First, practical sessions will be restarted, followed by small-scale, interactive courses and thesis research on Campus. On-campus teaching for first-year students will be prioritised.
  • In periods 1 and 2 we expect to offer a blended form of education, a combination of online and offline lectures. This will allow us to increase or decrease activities if the developments regarding the corona crisis demand.
  • On 15 June we decide whether exchange education (minors, internships) within Europe will be permitted from the start of the new academic year 2020-2021. This requires both WUR and the guest location to (at least partly) offer offline education.

There is light at the end of the tunnel. But we are aware that the virus is not yet defeated. With each easing of the measures, there is a risk that the epidemic could flare up again. The executive board is proud of the disciplined and responsible behaviour demonstrated by students and staff alike in the past months.

This has not been easy and has severely impacted our work, studies and private lives. We have not yet passed this stage, but, if we persist, we contribute to making our country safe again. Not just for us, but for our elderly, week and sick compatriots. Doing so includes reminding others, courteously, to adhere to the regulations.

Update 12 May at 12:00

Start of the Academic Year

The 2020/2021 academic year of Wageningen University & Research will commence on 31 August as usual. There are currently several teams at work to make the campus ‘1.5-meter proof’ as social distancing remains the norm. WUR strives to prioritise facilitating on-campus education for first-year students. Depending on the developments regarding the coronavirus, we expect education in September to be a mix of on-campus practicals and working groups with online lectures. On campus if we can, online because we can. First-year students will, if all goes well, be able to follow their first courses on-campus. If you have not already done so, please enrol for your studies as soon as possible, so that we may welcome you on campus. All information on education, programmes and enrolment can be found here.

Education for our current students will also start as normal, with a mix of on-site and online education. We will apply the experience of the past few months to improve our teaching skills further and to maintain our position as the best university in the Netherlands. Keep an eye on our website. If news becomes available, we will also send out an email message to all (new) students.

Update 7 May at 14:00

Current situation

The developments concerning the COVID-19 epidemic are such, that the Netherlands is now slowly and under strict control, able to ease some of the measures that were taken to curb the spread of the virus. This news was divulged at the press conference on 6 May. The prime minister stressed that following the general health measures remains critical: keep 1.5 metres distance from others, avoid crowded places, work from home and wash your hands regularly. The chance the epidemic could resurge is real. The virus is not yet under control.

Some business sectors that were fully closed will be permitted to reopen from next week, or have been offered the perspective of opening shortly. However, this does not include higher education facilities. For WUR, the implemented measures remain in place: online education and exams only, no travel for study or business purposes, online meetings, and working from home if at all possible. The measures taken by our organisation are in keeping with the government policies and RIVM guidelines.

The executive board wishes to thank staff and students fort heir continued patience and commitment in continuing our activities to the best of our ability during these trying times. We are aware that the uncertainty is a heavy burden to bear. It is good to see that we are helping and supporting each other. We are now able to look towards the future with confidence, and we may expect to emerge from the current situation stronger as a WUR-community.

Preparations for easing the measures

We are currently working hard to assess the possibilities and requirements of physically implementing a 1.5-metre distance on campus for staff and students. In lecture halls and offices, study locations, one-way traffic in hallways, a maximum number of people per room and a way to manage and control presence. Possibilities include working in shifts, tiered inflow and outflow in buildings, and the availability of general facilities such as restaurants. We are also assessing our accessibility, particularly with regard to public transportation, opening hours for buildings, and implementation of the hygiene measures. 

In our policies, we consider both the priorities of our organisation and the individual circumstances of our colleagues (such as domestic situations and care commitments, colleagues falling within the high-risk category and the health of individual employees).

Thus, we will be able to make use of our fabulous campus and facilities optimally and flexibly, as well as being able to facilitate the personal interactions that characterise our organisation. We will inform you of additional steps when information becomes available.

Education before and after the summer

Education at Wageningen University, including the exams, will be online only in period six as well. In P6, 263 of the 275 courses will continue. Twelve courses have been cancelled. Most masters’ programmes have alternatives to replace internships by a second thesis, and the last steps are currently being taken towards a so-called ‘soft cut’ (the option of starting the masters’ if the bachelors’ has not been fully completed).

The new academic year will be preceded by an alternative introduction (AID) period, because large events remain prohibited until at least 1 September. We do expect practicals to be available on campus in the new academic year, albeit in an adjusted form. We also expect thesis students to be able to access laboratories (under the RIVM and GGD conditions).

It is realistic to expect a lower number of new international students in the new academic year, although we are as yet unable to estimate actual numbers. In collaboration with other Dutch universities, we have launched a campaign to communicate that education will take place in the coming academic year: “On Campus when we can, online because we can”.

Recalibrating the strategic housing plan

Over the past weeks, the corona crisis has severely impacted how we work. Many people are working from home, and the occupancy of the laboratories and other workspaces has been adjusted to the one-and-a-half metre society. The executive board wishes to evaluate this way of working before moving forward with the strategic housing plan, which has been offered to the representative body within WUR for consent and advice in February (see news of 12 February).

During the re-calibration, we will consider what lessons can be learned from the last weeks. What are the permanent effects of working from home, to what degree could online education become part of regular education, and how should spaces such as offices and laboratories be set up to be ‘pandemic proof’. A working group will advise on policy regarding working from home, based in part on the experiences of these past weeks. A recalibrated strategic housing plan will be submitted to the representative body at a later date.  

Pulse measurement

We have also decided to interview staff members about their working conditions more frequently than the current bi-annual employee satisfaction monitor, especially on moments that could make a difference. The current situation of working from home is one such moment. Thus, some 500 randomly selected employees have been asked to participate in a so-called pulse measurement. In this survey, we focus on issues such as collaboration, vitality, and feelings of mutual connection. The results will be used to adjust the current policy and measures where needed and possible, as well as for input in the strategic housing plan.

Financial outlook

We expect the current developments to impact opur financial results for this year significantly. We are monitoring these effects. At this time we expect to be able to handle the economic impact, particularly as we expect government support for some areas of our work. A long-term financial outlook is more complicated, as we are unable to predict how the market for our research and education will develop after the corona crisis. The taskforce ‘WURld after the Curve’ has been asked to analyse this further. We will use this analysis to adjust our long term course and financial position.

Update 22 April at 10:00

Current situation

All measures and guidelines regarding work and study at WUR issued over the last few weeks will remain in force and unabridged. This is the conclusion after the prime minister's press conference on the crisis yesterday, 21 April. 

In short: education will continue online, international travel is prohibited, and employees must work from home if at all possible. Please check the measures and guidelines on this page, and the FAQs here.

The executive board is aware that this is a difficult and uncertain time for everyone. Let us all continue to keep up our spirits and continue to contribute to curbing the spread of the virus. Adhering to the WUR-measures, by working from home as much as possible, for example, is a meaningful way to contribute. But we are also looking ahead: we are developing protocols that can help us start up again once the measures are eased. And we are also working on "WUR after the curve". Thank you all for your commitment during these challenging times, please keep it up and continue to support each other where possible and needed.

Update 16 April at 13:00

Current situation

A month has passed with the new corona measures. These measures appear to be effective in curbing the spread of the virus in the Netherlands. Still, at the same time, it is clear that we are far removed from a return to our normal daily lives. This means that the previously announced measures for our staff members and students remain in effect without change (see this page and the FAQ). It is marvellous to witness how WUR staff and students handle this situation and are able to continue so many educational and research activities at such an outstanding level.

Operational processes concerning research and education are continuing mostly along the normal logistic paths. This means that your own management and supervisor are your primary sources of information. They are also responsible for an optimal organisation of the work-flow and tasks.

Easing the measures step-by-step

The government will announce on 21 April if, and if so, how, the measures may be eased. This is what the prime-minster calls the 'one-and-an-half metre society'. Within WUR, we are working out how we may implement possible lifting of some measures on campus, by developing protocols that we may apply in this situation. These adjustments can be implemented only if and when the government eases the measures, and will always remain within the constraints thereof. Possible changes in the rules for WUR will be divulged through an update as soon as possible following an announcement by parliament. In that stage too, we will lean on the creativity, ideas and efforts of staff and students.

WUR after the Curve

A Task Force, named 'WUR After The Curve', headed by Martin Scholten, is currently considering what "the world" will look like after the corona crisis. It will (or will try) to envision what challenges, opportunities and adjustments WUR may see itself facing. It is essential that we look beyond the crisis at this stage, and consider our challenges and opportunities from various perspectives. The task force has been requested to advise the executive board and the board of directors mid-May.

Leave

A large number of employees are currently combining their 'usual duties' with additional caregiving activities that result from the corona measures. This is not easy. Employees and their supervisors must continue to discuss practical solutions for the work and home situation. For example, by spreading the work over the week, temporarily cutting back hours or making use of extraordinary leave options. More information is provided in this Intranet publication.

Easing the ‘Harde Knip’ (BSc-MSc)

'The Harde Knip'-regulation states that students are normally only permitted to enrol in a Masters programme if they have successfully completed their BSc programme. In consultation with the Ministry of Education, it has been decided that all universities will make concerted efforts to enable third-year students that have fallen back due to the corona crisis, to start their Master's programme in spite of not having fully completed their Bachelors. The 'Hard Cut' has thus been eased into a 'Soft Cut'. Wageningen University will provide further information on this provision per MSc programme before 15 May.

Trouble with online exams

Some students may face circumstances that make it impossible for them to take the online proctored exams in the intended way. Students that cannot take part in the online exams for insurmountable reasons are asked to send an email to studentdean@wur.nl before 23 April. Students are subsequently informed by email which details to provide. Please be aware that this request is primarily intended to gain insights in the number of students that cannot participate in the online exams from home and the reasons why. While we will make an effort to help facilitating all students, there is no guarantee that we are able to find solutions for all.

Update 1 April at 12:00

Message from the executive board

Dear colleagues and students,

The corona outbreak affects us all. Primarily because of the concerns we have for our health, and that of our friends, colleagues and family. This is why WUR is making every conceivable effort to contribute to curbing the spread of this virus. 

WUR has taken measures that are unprecedented in the history of our organisation. Our lecture halls, laboratories and group session rooms are empty, there are no meetings in our buildings, and research activities have been scaled down.

Prolongation of an extraordinary situation

Parliament announced on Tuesday, 31 March, that the measures that are currently in place are beginning to show some effect, but that they must be prolonged for at least another month. The prime minister also indicated that he does not expect the situation to be normalised soon after. For WUR, this means that the previously announced measures will remain unabridged and in effect. In keeping with the other universities’ policies, we will stick to the end dates of 1 June and 1 August for the different measures.

In doing so, we heed the prime minister’s call to take responsibility. Should the situation show signs of improvement by 28 April, we will not hesitate to adjust our measures, but for now, it is advisable to prepare, both mentally and physically, for a lengthened period of restrictions in our work and studies.

We are aware that this has major implications for all members of our community. But we can overcome this difficult time together. Help each other and, with the help of all the modern tools and applications we have available, keep an eye on one another.

We will continue to keep you updated on new developments and measures. Keep an eye out for these updates. If you have questions, contact your supervisor or management. Check our FAQs, or, if your item is not included, reach out one of the email addresses available to assist staff and students or to info.corona@wur.nl.

We wish you all the best in this challenging time and thank you all for your efforts to keep all our activities going as best we can.

The executive board of Wageningen University & Research,

Louise O. Fresco

Arthur P.J. Mol

Rens Buchwaldt

Tools for working from home

Now that it has become apparent than we will be working from home for a longer period of time, more people may wish to temporarily make use of office hardware, such as screens and office chairs, in their home. If your supervisor grants permission and registers home use, this is permitted. Draw up a schedule for picking up hardware, so that the required hygiene and distancing requirements are met.

New updates

Two measures demand further elaboration. You will be informed in more detail at the end of this week:

Update 25 March at 12:00

No physical cursory education in P6

  • All cursory education and exams will take place online to and including the sixth period. The campus will be void of all educational activities during this period. With this measure, WUR adheres to the agreements made within the VSNU (the association of universities in the Netherlands).
    • Depending on the development of the pandemic in the Netherlands, the measures may be altered, possibly allowing some practical sessions to be held in the second half of P6.
  • Exceptions can be made for the laboratory and experimental work related to graduate courses. However, this requires permission from the chair holder.
    • Students needing to work in WUR buildings for the above purpose are urgently requested to adhere to the hygiene guidelines and to adhere to the prescribed distance to others.

Measures until 1 August

  • No work or study-related travel abroad;
  • PhD defences online only;
  • No inaugural ceremonies or farewell speeches;
  • No events on campus or other WUR locations.

Measures until 1 June

  • Limit physical meetings.
    • If meetings take place, all measures communicated by the RIVM must be strictly followed.
  • The working from home measure remain in effect. All employees are requested to work from home if possible. Buildings will open for essential work.
    • Employees and students needing to work in one of the WUR buildings are urgently requested to adhere strictly to the hygiene guidelines and to maintain the prescribed distance to others.
  • No external visitors without permission from the managing director;
  • Adjusted opening hours for all buildings;
  • Impulse Ontmoeting closed (offices are accessible);
  • Forum library closed;
  • Catering services closed.

Assistance with returning from abroad

Students and employees that are stranded abroad and want to return to the Netherlands can register on the newly launched platform www.bijzonderebijstandbuitenland.nl. This platform is a joint initiative of the national government, the travel sector, insurance branch and airline carriers. Previously communicated guidelines regarding repatriation remain in effect.

Watch out for cybercriminals

Please continue to stay alert for cybercriminals. Check what to watch out for in the intranet.

    Update 23 March at 12:00

    New travel guideline: Return home (replaces all previously issued guidelines)

    All students and employees currently outside of the Netherlands for study or business purposes are urgently requested to return to the Netherlands or their country of origin as soon as possible. International students in the Netherlands can and are advised to stay in the Netherlands.

    These adjusted travel and lodging guidelines result from the recent developments in the global corona pandemic. The spread of the coronavirus is causing global challenges and disruptions of medical infrastructure and logistics systems. In short: travel is becoming increasingly difficult, and there is increasing pressure on health care systems.

    • Employees should seek support from their supervisor
    • Students needing assistance with their return can reach out to personalsupport.corona@wur.nl

    Students not wishing to return, are requested to report to personalsupport.corona@wur.nl providing reasons for their non-compliance. In doing so, they waive further financial support for return on a later moment from WUR in their return. The general WUR travel insurance stays in place. We stress that all outgoing travel for internships, business and thesis work are prohibited until 1 August.

    Additional expenses for repatriation

    Students may face additional costs linked to a forced return. Wageningen University will provide financial support in these cases. Further information is available via: Contribution to travel expenses for students abroad. Students in dire financial need as a result of their expedited return can report to ssc@wur.nl.

    Advice from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on organising return travel

    • Contact air travel carriers that fly to the Netherlands or Europe (or travel company, if relevant)
    • Make use of whatever flight possibilities are available.
    • If you are unable to depart: register at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs information service if you have not already done so. This will ensure the local embassy is aware of your presence in the country. You will receive information from the embassy on options such as additional flights made available by airline companies.
    • If you are unable to return, make sure a safe stay is guaranteed. If you run into issues, contact the local embassy through the contact centre of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, available 24/7 at +31 247 247 247. This number can also be used for other questions you may wish to ask the local embassy.

    Update 20 March at 12:00

    BSA adjusted

    Following a request of the Ministry of Education (OCW) to adapt the Binding Study Advise (BSA) for first year bachelor students for the current academic year 2019-2020, Wageningen University has developed new rules for this year’s BSA. These will be send to all first year bachelor students, study advisors and exam committees and included in the FAQ page. Details can be found on the BSA page.

    E-mail address for student support

    Students needing (practical and emotional) help and information during this corona crisis can now reach out to personalsupport.corona@wur.nl This e-mail box is designated for students currently staying abroad and wanting to return to the Netherlands, and international students in the Netherlands wanting to return home. Its primary goal is to offer emotional support and liaise with the correct people/organisations.

    Events cancelled until 1 June

    All events planned in WUR buildings or on WUR grounds until 1 June are cancelled, and if possible postponed until at least after the summer. The fifth edition of F&A Next, which was planned for 13 and 14 May, is postponed until next year. For this year, an alternative in the form of a short webinar on 13 May with a few exciting key-notes and start-up pitches is under development. Further information to follow on the F&A Next website.

    #WURkfromhome

    Show your colleagues and fellow students what it is like to work from home and post your home office on Instagram (uniwageningen) and Twitter (@WUR) under the hashtag #WURkfromhome. This way, we can still keep in touch with each other. The funniest, best and most unique tips will be shared on this website. You can also share with video.cs@wur.nl using @WURkfromhome in the subject line.

    At least 90 per cent of P5-courses online

    Every conceivable effort has been made to guarantee the continuation of our education. And successfully: of the 299 courses normally offered, at least 90 per cent is now available online. Only three intensive practical sessions were cancelled, and 270 classes have already started. The executive board congratulates the teachers and supporting staff with this spectacular achievement.

    Update 19 March at 12:30

    Opening hours WUR buildings

    As of 23 March, the opening hours of WUR buildings will be adjusted. All buildings will be open from 8.00 am to 6.00 pm, Monday through Friday.

    Exceptions:

    Forum, Orion and Leeuwenborch are opened from 8.00 am to 7.00 pm due to the live recording of online courses. The libraries are closed but online collections are available.

    WFSR and WBVR: due to the Statutory Research Tasks (WOT), opening hours are adjusted to the requirements of the work. WOT duties in other buildings are to be carried out within the new opening hours where possible. There is some room for exceptions.

    Carus: opening hours adjusted to the requirements of the care for livestock.

    Impulse Ontmoeting is closed for meetings. The offices in Impulse are accessible.

    Buildings that are usually open on the weekend will continue to open, but from 10.00 am to 4.00 pm, except for Carus and locations with WOT commitments.

    Cleaning is done within the opening hours where possible so that the buildings can close immediately at closing time.

    Online courses throughout period 5

    All courses for the entire duration of period 5 (P5) will be offered online, regardless of measures for the corona outbreak possibly being diminished or lifted. Exams will be offered online. This decision has been made to provide students and teachers with as much clarity as possible and to facilitate work and study planning.

    The postponed practical sessions will be rescheduled at a later date. More information on the exams and practical sessions will follow. How we will proceed during the sixth period is to be decided based on the developments over the coming weeks.

    Recovered employees

    Employees who have recovered from a confirmed COVID-19 infection, or non-diagnosed symptoms such as shortness of breath, flu-like symptoms, or a common cold, WUR adheres to the RIVM/GGD policy. If all (!) symptoms have disappeared for over 24 hours, they may return to work on location if needed. Naturally, all limitations and regulations such as working from home as much as possible, continue to apply to prevent the spread of the virus.

    PhD defence ceremonies

    As of next week, 23 March, all PhD defence ceremonies will take place online. In consultation with their supervisor, candidates may elect to go ahead with a digital defence or to postpone the ceremony. If a postponement is desired, the ceremony will be rescheduled. The digital defence will follow the format of a regular ceremony to a large degree. This provision applies until 1 August. More information can be found on the intranet.

    No new PhDs

    Until at least 1 August 2020, no new PhD students will be granted physical access to Wageningen University. If so desired, a distance education set-up may be used to start new PhD trajectories, at the discretion of the supervisor. In such cases, all go/no-go rules and regulations continue to apply. At a later stage, we will develop a policy regarding the possible effects of the corona crisis for PhD candidates who have already started their PhD trajectories before 20 March 2020. More information can be found on the intranet.

    BACs

    Broad Assessment Committees (BACs) will continue digitally where possible. The BAC chair will assess with the managing director and -if needed- the Rector Magnificus, whether this is desirable. Postponement is recommended if the quality of the BAC process cannot be safeguarded or if the candidate so desires. The postponement period will be added to the time in between the Tenure Track steps. More information can be found on the intranet.

    Inaugural addresses and farewell speeches

    All inaugural and farewell addresses are cancelled until 1 August and will be postponed to a later date. We will contact the professors it concerns to set an alternative date.

    Update 18 March at 13:00

    Working from home and extraordinary leave (overruled by the update of 25 March)

    The measures that WUR is taking to contribute to reducing the spread of Covid-19 will run until 6 April. However, it is realistic to assume that circumstances may compel us to extend these measures for a longer period of time.

    That means we need to be prepared for a situation where employees will be tied to their home for a longer period of time for a variety of reasons.

    The executive board has taken a number of measures that enable employees to take (paid) extraordinary leave when staying home is unavoidable. All employees will receive a letter about this today via the OneWageningen email address. For specific questions, you can contact hr.servicedesk@wur.nl

    Take care of each other

    Another important point of attention is caring for each other. When you notice that things seem to be going less well with a colleague or fellow student (at home or abroad), because someone seems to become isolated, is sick or is otherwise vulnerable or worried. Contact him or her for moral support or practical help.  And involve your supervisor, co-workers, fellow students or teacher. The company doctor, company social work (bedrijfsmaatschappelijkwerk@wur.nl) and the student service center (ssc@wur.nl) are also ready to provide help.

    Support to study from home: New course

    To help all students get through the coming weeks in which they are not able to meet (on campus), we created the ‘Corona and my education’ course page on Brightspace. We advise all students to join this course because it helps to switch from on-campus to online education. You will find practical information on how to study from home and an online hang-out where students can reach out to each other. More information can be found here. Additionally, all students receive access to Skype for Business. More information about using Skype will be provided here later.

    Update 17 March at 13:30

    Message Dutch prime minister

    The Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte addressed the nation on 16 March, to provide further details on the measures the government has taken. He stated that: ‘All recommendations issued to date are based on the first scenario of “maximum control”. From relatively simple measures such as avoiding handshakes and maintaining a 1.5 meter distance, to far-reaching decisions such as closing the catering sector. (..) How long these measures will remain in place, and whether or not more stringent steps are needed, depends mainly on how the virus will conduct itself in the coming weeks or months. (..) Some measures may be lifted, but others may have to be strengthened as an additional step in preventing the virus from spreading unhindered. We will continue to tailor our response over the coming months, seeking a balance between allowing normal life to continue as usual, and taking whatever measures are needed. If we are able to guide the spreading of the virus, the public health consequences will stay within our grasp.’

    The WUR executive board supports the prime-ministers call and urges students and employees to adhere to the measures imposed by the government both in letter and spirit. Only thus can each of us contribute. Our FAQs provide answers to the most common questions, and we will continue to update our internet and intranet pages with the most up-to-date information and guidelines. Our efforts to safeguard the continuity of our education and research are undiminished, and we welcome any innovative ideas that may help us achieve this goal.

    Let our WUR community rise to the occasion and help each other in these difficult times by paying extra attention to those in need.

    Extra information on avoiding domestic travel

    Our policy aims to reduce contact as much as possible to curb the spread of the virus. Travel that can be undertaken without coming in contact with other people, or trips that are unavoidable due to our Statutory Research Tasks, may continue after consultation with management.

    Students who have questions about their enrollment, internship or courses can reach out to ssc@wur.nl. Questions of a more general nature can be directed at info.corona@wur.nl.  

    Update 16 March at 13:30

    Extra travel restrictions (overruled by the update of 23 March)

    Travel restrictions for staff and students have been tightened. All business and study-related travel are now prohibited, with the exception of commuter travel where physical presence on location is required.

    Staff and students currently residing abroad are urgently requested to stay updated on the news from both their host country and the Netherlands. In case there is any reason to question your personal safety, you are requested to return to the Netherlands immediately. Stay informed on the travel possibilities, an increasing number of flights are cancelled. This could also prompt an early return.

    Effect on research

    The taken measures also have an effect on research performed by Wageningen University & Research. WUR is doing everything within its power under the current circumstances, in order to meet its contractual obligations and to meet the planning agreed to perform its obligations, also in view of the social importance of our research. Read the full update for our partners here. Practical tools for projectleaders can be found on intranet.

    Update 15 March at 18:30

    Dealing with school closure

    The government has issued a set of additional measures regarding the COVID-19 crisis on Sunday 15 March at 5.30 pm. One of these measures is the decision to close all primary and high schools immediately. This decision directly impacts employees whose children go to school. We count on the flexibility of these employees, their colleagues and managers to find appropriate solutions.

    In some cases, this may not be possible at such short notice. Wageningen University & Research allows employees who are stuck at home and unable to work, a three day period for which they need not take leave. In the coming days, we will issue long term measures for our organisation and/or follow government guidelines as they become available.

    For WFSR and WBVR staff, we have requested an exemption so that these employees can continue using schools and child care facilities. Further information will follow.

    Update 13 March

    Message from the executive board

    The measures announced by WUR on 13 March will remain in effect, at least until 6 April, per the newly published date. On 12 March, the government announced stringent measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The executive board follows the developments closely. This outbreak calls for unprecedented personal and collective responsibility. We must adhere to strict rules of personal hygiene and exercise caution in our social contact to prevent spreading the disease. This will affect our daily routines.

    At the same time, we must pay extra attention to those who are concerned about additional risks for themselves or their loved ones. We are aware that our international community is now faced with uncertainty over the well-being of their friends and family at home. Our mutual solidarity will enable us to face this crisis and find suitable solutions. We understand that these measures profoundly affect staff and students, and we are aware that many of you have questions or feel uncertainties.

    Please know that we will make every conceivable effort in the coming weeks to solve these problems. We are facing this challenge together, and we count on your support and personal efforts to bring this situation to a satisfactory conclusion. And should you have questions, please do not hesitate. We are always available to answer your questions (info.corona@wur.nl) or check the FAQs.

    On behalf of the executive board, Louise O. Fresco, president.

    Update 12 March

    Working from home

    We ask all students and staff to work from home as much as possible. Crucial functions in our organisation, such as the maintenance of the IT network or caring for livestock, require the presence of staff. Consult with your supervisor if physical presence is absolutely needed and how you can best carry out your duties. This may mean your working hours have to change temporarily. Where no agreement can be reached, management will make a decision.

    Education (overruled by the update of 25 March)

    To and including 6 April all educational activities will be online only. Stay up to date about your courses via Brightspace. Updates on educational activites are placed in the FAQs.

    Buildings and events (overruled by the update of 19 March)

    WUR buildings are still opened but entry is regulated. Not all facilities are opened. All events on Wageningen Campus and in WUR buildings are cancelled. The public defense of doctoral theses will continue for the time being, however, additional measures are taken. Stay up to date via the FAQs.

    Questions

    Check the FAQs for WUR students and employees or this page for the latest updates. Check here whom to contact for what. Or reach out to info.corona@wur.nl.

    Have more (general) questions? The RIVM has opened a hotline for questions: 0800-1351.