Update #9 COVID-19
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Update #9: education and the coronavirus (COVID-19), 11 March 2020, 16.00 hrs
The number of COVID-19 infected people in the Netherlands is still relatively low and thus far Maastricht University has only been affected slightly (1 employee, 0 students). At the moment, we see no reason to intervene in the current education period 4. Classes will continue, events will in general not be cancelled, and the university will remain open. If we do indeed find ourselves in a situation during the coming weeks that calls for closure, we cannot do so without a decision from the mayor that is based on the recommendation of the Municipal Public Health Service (GGD).
We are preparing for various situations that may arise so that we can act on them with appropriate interventions. If the number of COVID-19 cases increases drastically, Maastricht University should be as prepared as possible for a (partial or complete) discontinuation of its normal activities. Taking into account the interests of students and staff and in order to guarantee the continuity of the university, we are considering additional measures and alternatives with regard to the upcoming examination period. Furthermore, the Crisis Management Team is currently investigating what is needed to offer the lectures scheduled for periode 5 online. The team is also making an inventory of what is needed to be able to offer the traditional PBL tutorials online.
We are well aware that this requires much more than just digitising the existing education programmes. It will involve a lot of work for many employees, but the alternative—a closure of the university and the discontinuation of classes, which will then have to be made up at a later date—is even less desirable. For students and staff who have questions and concerns, we are considering offering webinars in the near future in which experts discuss various topics related to the coronavirus crisis.
In light of the potential emergency situation that may arise, and given the tools available to the university when public health is at stake, we ask for your understanding of our need to rely on the flexibility and trust of our students and staff. We are well aware that our staff are already under a great deal of work pressure, but we are requesting that additional efforts be made on working out alternatives to scheduled exams and teaching. In this way, the Executive Board, Faculty Boards and Crisis Management Team want to enable students to earn as many of their scheduled ECTS as possible in a potential situation of (partial or complete) cancellations, in which students and staff can no longer physically come together.