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.
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Corona update May 12
Due to Ascension Day tomorrow, this week the update appears a day earlier.
Yesterday's press conference outlined cautious optimism. It is a balancing act between "managing expectations" and taking actions based on facts and figures. The question of if and which relaxations of measures will be possible as of next week, was therefore not yet answered.
In all likelihood, in the next update we will be able to indicate what the relaxation in "Step 2" of the opening scenario of the central government means for, for example, the WUR campus facilities. Only then will it be clear whether and which relaxations will be implemented.
Exchange programs and travel
Specific information is given regarding travel to and from abroad now that the general negative travel advice expires on 15 May. Clarity about the possibilities this offers is important for WUR students who want to study abroad in the coming semester, and for international students who want to come study at WUR, starting in September.
We believe that students should absolutely have the opportunity to participate in exchange programmes. In the coming weeks we will know more on to what extent it will be possible to initiate exchange programmes. Students and lecturers will be notified as soon as we have more information.
For employees, WUR will align the travel policy on the basis of the advice of the central government. The information in the corona FAQs will be updated very shortly.
Perspective for employees: WUR roadmap
The relaxations that have already been implemented mainly aim at education. In general, WUR follows the opening scenarios of the national government. The implications for WUR have been translated into a WUR roadmap. We see that for now, despite minor easing, we still maintain Level 4, the highest risk level. Working from home therefore remains the norm, as does following all the basic measures: keep 1.5-meter distance, wear a facemask, and take a test when you have symptoms related to COVID-19. Only when we can go to Level 2 – in line with the instructions of the Dutch government - will it be possible to return to (more) work at WUR locations. It is not yet possible to indicate when that will be.
WUR employees can now order Covid Self-tests at www.zelftestonderwijs.nl
They are free of charge for all students and staff of Wageningen University & Research (using your WUR-login), and provided by our government. Self-tests will make it possible to detect infected persons who haven't developed Covid-19 symptoms (yet).
Using these tests thereby contributes to reducing the spread of the virus in the Netherlands. These tests will not be used as an ‘entrance ticket for the campus’ and use of them is strictly on a voluntary basis. Nevertheless, we strongly encourage employees who work at WUR locations to make use of this free option.
Working @ WUR
In our internal communication, we ask employees to actively participate in Working@WUR. This programme focuses on a new balance between remote and on-location work and is mainly aimed at a future situation where there are no, or only very limited, COVID-19 restrictions. However, it does make use of the experiences that have emerged from the past year.
Update 6 May
This week again, a short update, due to the May holidays.
5 May is National Liberation Day in The Netherlands on which we celebrate the end of WWII. For the second time it was celebrated without the usual national festivities. Some traditional elements did take place, such as in Wageningen the traditional lighting of the National Liberation Fire, at midnight. For the time being, the corona measures will continue to leave their mark on what can take place, and what cannot. Yet there is also room for optimism. The declining trend of infections and the increase in the number of vaccinations mean that we can carefully start looking forward to a different situation after the summer.
For education, we are preparing for education in the new academic year in which the 1.5 meter measure will lapse. In the new academic year, however, a maximum group size of 75 people applies. In doing so, we act in line with the advice of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and the VSNU, which is followed by all Dutch universities. By making this decision well before the summer, timely organization and preparation is possible. Teachers and students will be notified on what it implies for them as soon as possible.
Education period 6 will start next week (May 10), and more students will come to campus again because more education is allowed on campus. However, it is expected that further easing of Corona measures will not take place on short notice. We continue to monitor developments on a weekly basis and translate them into what will be possible at WUR locations, so that we also can offer prospects to employees in research and support.
Update 29 April
This week and next it is the May holiday. We had a beautiful sunny King's Day this week, and many colleagues enjoy some well-deserved days off. Students use this week to prepare for the exam week of the 5th period. Therefore this week short update.
The Education Taskforce uses the time to complete the preparations for a timeline and scenarios and to make decisions about which scenario is used for the educational situation per academic year 21/22. Teachers will receive information about this shortly.
We are also awaiting further instructions from the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and VSNU on the provision of self-tests. Compared to last week, no additional information has yet been provided.
Finally, we would like to emphasize that we understand employees who experience stress or unrest due to the long-term uncertainty we have to deal with. The limited relaxation mainly affects education, but all other general COVID-19 measures will remain in place until further notice. As WUR, we want to offer colleagues who are affected by this a good and precise safety net. This often starts with a signal to a manager, so that we can look together at what is needed to get through this period again.
Update 22 April
The press conference of Tuesday, 20 April, provided clarity on the expected easing of some of the corona measures. The curfew will be lifted, shopping will be possible without booking a timeslot, the outdoor terraces will open from 12.00 to 18.00 hrs and students are permitted to follow live classes one day per week. The government stresses that if we stick to the basic rules of social distancing, hygiene and wearing a face mask, as well as testing when there are symptoms, the easing poses an acceptable risk on the route back to normal.
How the relaxation of these measures affects WUR is detailed below.
Education opens as of period 6
In period 6 (from 10 May), we will offer education and education-related activities on campus. The situation will be similar to that of last fall, before the Christmas holidays. Please bear in mind that it is quite possible that there may be differences between individual students and how often they may follow courses on campus. Students have already been informed; teachers will be updated at the beginning of next week. The WUR shop will reopen as of 28 April from 10.00 to 14.00 hrs.
The eased measures also enable study associations to organise small-scale activities, as was permitted before the lockdown of 15 December. They will be informed.
As of 13 May, PhD defences will once again be permitted in the Aula, with a maximum of 15 people in the audience. For now, the defence must do without celebratory drinks after the ceremony, and all basic measures must be followed. Blended or entirely digital defence also remains possible. Check out the FAQ and protocol for further information.
Self-tests form an addition to the existing measures on campus. We stress that the tests are taken voluntarily and are meant to identify infections rapidly to create a safe environment. The tests are provided by the government free of charge. You can order tests through the website: zelftestonderwijs.nl from the beginning of May. If the applications exceed the offer, it may be that not all requests can be accepted.The self-test is not a replacement for the GGD test. More information for students and employees will follow as it becomes available. Check out the corona FAQ for more information.
You will find the most recent questions and answers in the corona FAQ based on the prevailing guidelines and measures.
Regardless of how much we want it, the measures are not eased yet. We are preparing to allow more students to follow classes on campus in period 6. This week, the government announced a decision is to be made on this issue next week.
Another issue we wish to provide clarity on shortly is the self-tests. From the start of May, the government aims to make self-tests available free of charge to students and staff. Taking a self-test is not a prerequisite for access to the campus. More information will follow as soon as a definitive decision has been reached.
Reporting a positive COVID-19 test
The following applies within WUR when someone has been tested positive for COVID-19 and has been in contact with others on campus: the supervisor or teacher is informed so that the people who have been in contact with the affected person can respond by self-isolating and getting tested. If the corona measures and the social distancing requirements have been followed, there is, in keeping with the government guidelines, no need to quarantine as a group.
We are currently at a stage where the government and its advisory bodies appear to assess the development of the pandemic more positively. But, there is no certainty, and there are no guarantees. Therefore, we are continuously in a dialogue with our colleagues from other universities and in consultation with the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, the VSNU (Association of Dutch universities), the GGD and public transportation organisations so that we may prepare for changes in the measures. In these updates and through messages sent to staff and students, we will provide more information as soon as it becomes available.
Self-tests in higher education
The Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science definitively indicates that students can attend on campus education for one day a week from April 26 (for WUR: as of teaching period 6). We are currently examining how to organise this per study. Students and teachers will receive more information about this shortly. In the coming weeks, WUR is organising pilots with COVID-19 self-tests. In its education, WUR will work on organising small-scale pilots of COVID-19 self-tests so that we can rapidly scale up if and when needed. Until otherwise announced, all measures remain in force, including the social distancing measure, regardless of whether self-tests are deployed. If students and staff use the self-tests that the government is making available for education institutes, this will significantly contribute to identifying asymptomatic patients, thus mitigating the spread of the virus. Thus, self-tests contribute to safety on campus and beyond. They can, and will, not be used as an “entry ticket to the campus”.
Working@WUR, scenarios for the near future
Just as we are working on scenarios of how to organise education in the new academic year, we are also developing scenarios for our organisation. The balance between working online and on-site at WUR locations is key. In Working@WUR, HR and FB (facilities and services) are detailing these scenarios, as was announced on Intranet at the start of this week. With the question “Have you thought about it yet?” they invite employees to discuss among themselves the adjustment from remote working to a return to the work floor, as well as a future design of remote working. What measures apply are determined by the situation at hand.
Did you enjoy the wonderful spring weather of the past few days? Did you use your break to take an extra walk without your coat or hold a Teams meeting on your balcony? The blooming Japanese cherry trees and magnolias in the neighbourhood gardens and all the spring flowers on campus provide a welcome splash of colour in these times.
The corona measures remain in place without alterations. During the last episode of Zondag met Lubach Arjan Lubach stressed once again: ‘stick to the measures, also during these final months.’ This means maintaining a one-and-a-half-metre distance from others on campus, frequently washing your hands and wearing a facemask where required. Fortunately, the directives are often followed well!
Work continues as usual. For example, preparations for the new academic year, in the knowledge that much is still to change between now and September. This is why WUR now works with a scalable scenario in which uncertainties can be accommodated.
But, some tangible adjustments are also being organised. Rapid (self) testing will be launched shortly, from period 6 at WUR. We will start this as a pilot in a limited number of places to gain experience for the coming academic year. The pilots are to provide insight into how we may make some extra physical education possible on campus and in the field, for multi-day field trips, for example. We will divulge more information as it becomes available. There is already some easing of the measures for single-day field trips. Teachers and students will be informed.
With the curfew moving up to 22.00 hrs as of yesterday, the opening hours of many of our buildings (Forum included) have been extended to allow students to make use of the study places until later in the evenings.
Have more (general) questions? The RIVM has opened a hotline for questions: 0800-1351.