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UPDATE 27 MAY: Online Proctoring

27 May 2020

On this news page we will keep you up-to-date about the latest developments in the coronavirus situation as it relates to the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences.

UPDATE 27 May: online proctoring

Challenge online knowledge-oriented testing
In addition to providing online education, we as a university of applied sciences were also faced with the challenge of devising alternatives for the testing of acquired knowledge. The biggest issue was knowledge-oriented testing, in particular, which normally takes place in large groups under the supervision of invigilators. The past few weeks, study programmes have developed alternative forms of testing for this purpose, in consultation with and after approval by the Exam Boards, whereby the quality and level are guaranteed.

Practice has shown that for certain knowledge-oriented assessments it is either impossible or difficult to develop an alternative form. One way of realising these assessments online, in the absence of an adequate online alternative, is by making use of online proctoring. Proctoring is the (to a certain degree) monitoring (invigilation) of the student's activity during testing via a camera and/or the use of other tooling on the student's computer making, among other things, restrictions possible.

Questions about use of proctoring to minimise study delay
The Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences does not allow proctoring, because many, complex negative factors (privacy-based issues) are involved. Various assessments have therefore been postponed until it is once again possible to realise these on location. It will be possible from 15 June. The reality, however, is that in September a large part of our education and testing will also take place online and there is a limited capacity to administer (online) testing on location. At the same time, the questions about the use of online proctoring seem to be increasing, because study programmes want to avoid postponement of testing and the corresponding study delays. The most important questions from study programmes are whether it is still possible to implement proctoring, and if so, how.

Core policy proctoring
The core issue of online proctoring is the balance between the justified interest to prevent fraud during testing, and the invasion of a student's privacy in doing so. Due to the students' right to privacy, they cannot be asked or required to turn on their camera, if no recordings would normally be made (in regular offline education). Based on the principle of justified interest, there are three possible exceptions:

  • When the student identifies him/herself prior to testing (Please note, without saving the recordings).
  • When the assessment can only be taken with camera images, for example, a presentation or oral exam.
  • When, after taking a written assessment, the analysis afterwards shows striking deviations (for example, the grade obtained) compared to, for example, the normal grade in a similar assessment. In this case, the lecturer can use video calls to verbally validate the written assessment by asking additional substantive questions.

For reasons of privacy, Teams is the only means allowed in these cases. 

Researching the issue from different perspectives
However, in addition to the importance of privacy, other complex aspects are also important. The Executive Board has therefore asked a multidisciplinary study group of colleagues from the departments of Facilities and Information Technology, Education and Development, Concern Staff and the HUB Online Learning Technology to explore this issue. The study group explored the issue of proctoring from different angles (pedagogical/didactical, organisational, technological and legal perspective) and included the most important considerations in this memorandum (in translation). In the memorandum we outline what is, and what is not possible at his level and at this time, in the short term and in the future. Experiences of SURF, an educational IT organisation, and other universities of applied sciences are also included. These are the main conclusions:

  • Proctoring complex, not permitted. There are many complex aspects to online proctoring that need to be investigated further and with which we as a university of applied sciences have little or no experience. It has become clear that the complexity and possible risks of using online proctoring are high. Administering tests using online proctoring will therefore not be permitted until further notice.
  • Alternatives. For study programmes it is therefore necessary to investigate which possibilities and alternatives are available to testing without proctoring. This often means using a different type of assessment. The Online Magazine Testing offers a number of options.
  • Controlled experiments. Under the direction of the Facilities and Information Technology department, we have started a number of small-scale experiments with online proctoring. These are assessments that are of minor importance to study progress, but carry a high risk of fraud. The experiences gained from this experiment will be used to determine whether and, if so, how we as a university of applied sciences can make responsible use of online proctoring. Given the complexity of the issue, many questions remain unanswered. The study group will include these questions in the experiments.

The results of the experiments will be developed into guidelines and advice that will be included in the online magazine Remote Testing. Check this regularly for the most up-to-date information in the field of online testing.

Read the memo (still being translated) for extensive exploration on the topic of online proctoring. The main conclusions of the memo Online Proctoring will also be published in the  Online Magazine Remote Testing. For alternative testing possibilities also refer to the  online magazines and earlier notes.

We are working on a webinar about online testing and online proctoring as well. It is for professionals and all aspects of the issue will be addressed. Further details will be communicated as soon as possible.

Should you have questions after reading this update and the memorandum, please go to:
https://hr.topdesk.net/ and click on: Toetsen op Afstand. This website can also help you with your other questions about online education and testing. Experts from Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences are available to answer your questions. 

UPDATE 20 May: Greenlight for restart education on location

In the update of 15 May, we announced how the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences intends to restart education on location step by step. There was one condition to that step by step plan: the government decisions regarding higher education. Tuesday evening during the press conference with Mark Rutte, it became clear that we have a green light for a phased start of our education.

According to the National Protocol Restart Higher Professional Education (Dutch) it is permitted to have education on location from 15 June. Specifically education that cannot be provided remotely, such as skills training, teaching in workshops, graduation activities and online assessment, for which invigilation is indispensable; also because the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences is very reluctant when it comes to online invigilation for reasons of privacy.

Time slots
The universities of applied sciences are allocated specific time slots, reducing the pressure of travel during rush hours with public transport. That means that the education activities between 11:00-15:00 and between 20:00-22:00 will take place on location. If necessary, Saturdays will also be scheduled between 8:00 and 18:00, with a possible continuation through the month of July. For this purpose, we are allowed to make use of a maximum of 20 percent of our normal capacity of students and staff throughout the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences.

The latest decisions of the government show that there is also room to program forms of education in a responsible manner between 15:00 and 20:00. During this time slot, people are not allowed to leave the buildings. Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences will be very reluctant to use this option. We will only make use of the possibility of teaching at locations between 15:00 and 20:00 in exceptional cases and in the form of customised teaching.

We are working hard on the scheduling for the above-mentioned time slots. More about this will be communicated in a next update.

Graduation sessions
The central government documents also provide opportunity for organising graduation sessions on location. In view of the scarce capacity, we have, for the time being, chosen to only allow on location graduation-related activities that cannot take place online (such as matters requiring attendance in a workshop or laboratory), and to have other graduation sessions take place online.

Questions about (night) travel with public transport
In order to avoid public transport when it is busy, we appeal to our students and staff to travel to the locations by bicycle as much as possible.

We received several questions about the late end time of the schedule and about travelling with public transport for people with health risks or informal carers. We will schedule as optimally as possible and ensure that the number of travel movements (including in the evenings) is kept to a minimum. Due to scheduling within the time slots, travel will take place at quieter hours, so during the off-peak hours of public transportation. If you do have urgent objections, please contact your Study Career Coach or counsellor. We will then, just as in normal circumstances, look at whether and how we can come up with tailor-made solutions. We are confident that the measures taken by public transportation companies will be adequate.

The start-up of education on location takes place in different phases. In our update of 15 May, you can find an overview of the three phases. For your own safety and health and that of our other students and staff, we ask you to take note of our 1.5 metre protocol before visiting the locations.

We are looking forward to the next phase. Enjoy your weekend!

UPDATE 18 May: transfer education and internship abroad

Transfer mbo-hbo: inflow without mbo diploma possible
Due to the coronavirus pandemic some senior secondary vocational students (mbo) are not in a position to sit all tests or exams in order to get their diploma on time eventhough they want to transfer to higher education. We would like to give this group of students the opportunity to still start a study programme at the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences. It is a possibility even if they have not been awarded all their mbo credits. They will have the opportunity to finish their mbo, as well as start their higher education study programme at the same time.

This regulation applies to mbo students of level four who have received a positive final advice, which indicates that completion of their mbo study is expected within the near future (before 1 January 2021). They can ask for this final advice at their own mbo school. This regulation has been drafted by the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences in collaboration with the Rotterdam mbo schools and universities of applied sciences. In this way, we remove uncertainty and offer MBO students more perspective on a follow-up study programme. This means that mbo students can apply for a higher education study programme without having to wait until they have obtained their diploma. As a result, they can simply start their follow-up study programme in September and do not have to postpone studying for a year. Because that would be a pity. We hope that this arrangement will help mbo students in choosing a study programme with confidence. In addition to the national regulation, the Rotterdam MBOs and universities of applied sciences have taken the initiative to draw up a number of rules (Dutch only) to make the process as clear as possible for students, lecturers and educational institutions.

Are you an 'MBO-4' student in the examination year and are your studies delayed? Do you want to continue your studies at the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences: please read these rules to find out how. If you have more questions, you can of course visit your own school or contact the Student Information Office of Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences: hr.nl/studievoorlichting.

Transfer from Associate Degree to Bachelor
We would also like to make the transition from an Associate degree to a Bachelor study programme possible for students who want to continue their studies, but who have not yet completed their Associate degree programme. The coronavirus pandemic should not be the cause of a small study delay that prevents students from making the transition from an Associate degree programme to a Bachelor programme. We have drawn up an arrangement for these students as well. Inflow in a Bachelor study programme is possible if the completion of the Associate degree programme is expected before 1 January 2021. The Exam Board of the Associate degree study programmes will draft a final advice to this end, based upon which registration for a Bachelor study programme is possible.

Are you possibly experiencing some study delay, but do you want to transfer to a Bachelor programme? These rules (Dutch only) include how you can do so and what the conditions are. If you have any questions, ask the RAc Student Affairs team. Make sure that you register before 1 June.

Internships abroad and exchange programmes
The Executive Board has decided that in the first semester of 2020-2021 there will be no exchanges and no internships abroad. This has been decided because of the great uncertainty that currently exists about the possibilities of being able to travel safely from September onwards, and the consequences this will have for careful preparation of the trip. Only students who are currently physically abroad already, and will follow an internship there - and therefore do not have to travel for it - are allowed to fulfil this requirement of their study programme abroad, provided that they also meet all the other requirements for an internship abroad. 

Online education and assessment
Now that, for the time being, distance learning has become the norm within our organisation, lecturers enjoy sharing their experiences with each other to inspire each other. For up-to-date information and newest applications for online education and assessment, please visit the online magazine Distance Learning (translation is ongoing) and the online magazine Toetsen op Afstand. These online magazines are continually being updated.

UPDATE 15 May: Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences open step by step for education on location

We have been given a little more freedom of movement in the Netherlands. Primary education has started on location again and next month, if all goes well, we can visit a sidewalk café. In the meantime, our online education and assessments will continue of course. The government will soon decide whether higher education will be able to make more use of the locations in the coming months. If the decision is positive, it means that Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences will also have more room to take up education on location again in the coming months. This restart of education on location will be initiated as soon as possible in order to prevent or limit study delays. It will be a gradual process, in other words: online education whenever possible, and distance learning and working from home will remain the norm.

Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences will open its doors to limited education on location in various phases. We are pleased to inform you about our approach.

Phase 0: now until 15 June – activities related to graduation
According to the current agreements with the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (and within the guidelines of RIVM), it is already permitted to have graduation-related activities take place on location. That is our current phase. The aim is to offer graduates the opportunity to complete their studies on time. Graduation guidance and sessions will remain online, as is currently the case. We understand that for some students this is not the ideal conclusion to their studies, but unfortunately that is the current situation. Activities on location involve practical education in workshops or practical labs that are directly related to graduation. This applies in particular to courses at the Willem de Kooning Academy and Institutes offering technical oriented education such as the Schools of Engineering and Applied Science, Built environment, and Rotterdam Mainport Institute.

These are small-scale activities in practical labs and work places at the following RUAS locations:

  • Wijnhaven/Blaak Willem de Kooning Academy (from 25 May)
  • Academieplein (from 2 June)

Students and staff to whom this applies will be further informed by their own institute or study programme.

Opening small-scale, graduation-related activities in the practical labs and workshops gives us the opportunity to gain experience with measures and protocols for the next phase. It goes without saying that in carrying out these activities we will follow the RIVM guidelines to ensure the health and safety of employees and students. In our buildings, extra visible measures will be taken regarding signage (directions) and hygiene measures. Everyone will keep 1.5 metres distance from others, in case of common cold complaints, you will stay at home, etcetera. Follow the instructions and directions at the locations exactly. 

The small group of students and staff who do not have the facilities for online education and assessments from home, or who can work or study better in our buildings, can in this phase, just as in the past weeks, visit the Kralingse Zoom and Rochussenstraat locations. We will monitor this situation continuously to make sure that the pressure on the locations and public transport does not increase as a result of this measure.

Phase 1 and 2 depends on government decision Protocol Restart Higher Professional Education
Before we move on to phases 1 and 2, we would like to point out that the government will soon decide on a limited restart of on location education according to the National Protocol Restart Higher Professional Education. A final decision-making is still to take place, and will most likely be communicated 20 May. At that time, it will become clear whether the above-mentioned protocol which institutions of higher education are already discussing with the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science will become the framework for the period following 15 June. Changes may therefore still take place.

It is important, however, that we already start now with preparations and measures for the various phases, so that we can react as soon as possible. We also want to provide insight into efforts being made behind the scenes. In addition, we are aware that both employees and students could use additional perspective for the coming weeks and months. In order to meet this need, we have opted - subject to approval - to inform you at an earlier stage. 

Phase 1: 15 June until 1 September – limited educational activities on location
According to the National Protocol Restart Higher Professional Education, which will probably be adopted by the government in the course of next week, there will be even more room to start education on location from 15 June. This concerns education that cannot be provided remotely, such as education in skills, education in workshops, graduation activities and online assessments for which invigilation is indispensable; also because RUAS is very cautious with regard to online invigilation, in the interest of privacy. The universities of applied sciences will be allocated specific time slots for this purpose, which will reduce the pressure of public transport travel during rush-hour. This means that the educational activities will take place at on our locations between 11:00-15:00 and between 20:00-22:00 in the evening. Where necessary, Saturdays will also be scheduled, with a possible extension in the month of July. For this purpose, we are allowed to make use of a maximum of 20 percent of our normal capacity of students and staff present at the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences.

How will we proceed:

  • 5 locations open
    We have considered which buildings are suitable for education and the 1.5 metre distance requirement without substantial adjustments. From 15 June to September limited education on location will be offered at the following locations:

-      Academieplein
-      Wijnhaven/Blaak Willem de Kooning Academy
-      Museumpark
-      RDM
-      Rochussenstraat

Location Museumpark will be set up specifically and exclusively as a digital assessment location, for assessments that cannot be administered remotely. We will realise an assessment capacity, within RIVM guidelines, for a maximum of 300 seats. The Kralingse Zoom location, which is currently open, will be closed from 15 June. The reason for this is that the demolition of building section C can then take place faster and the campus can be reopened on 1 September, with very limited inconvenience.

This means that you may be scheduled at a different location than you are accustomed to normally. Staff and students involved will be informed of further details by their own study programme or institute. We aim to be able to provide clarity about schedules at the beginning of June.

Other locations will remain closed for the time being. The small group of employees and students who have used the Kralingse Zoom location in recent weeks to work or study, because they have no facilities at home, will be able to visit four locations from 15 June: Academieplein, RDM, Rochussenstraat or Wijnhaven/Blaak (Willem de Kooning Academy). If these four locations become too busy, other measures will have to be taken. Museumpark will exclusively be used as a location for assessments on the basis of centrally coordinated scheduling.

  • Scheduling. The scheduling will be centrally controlled, to monitor the frameworks of the protocols. We will work together with institutes that make joint use of a location in order to create the best possible schedule. Further information will follow from your own study programme or institute. We emphasise once again that we are bound by the aforementioned time slots and that the use of Saturdays and continuation through the month of July is also a possibility, preventing study delay as much as possible. We do ask for your understanding and cooperation.

  • Online assessment at Museumpark. Digital assessments, for which invigilation is indispensable, will take place exclusively at the Museumpark location from 15 June to 1 September. The first three floors will be used for digital assessments. As we mentioned, there is a capacity for 300 individual spaces. The lay-out will be adjusted according to the 1.5 metre rule. The starting times of the schedule will reflect nationally allocated time slots. Starting times for activities in rooms that are located close to each other will be spread out. We will use the Saturdays to organise assessments for inflow requirements (national assessments Pabo) and admission requirements (21+). Additional information will be communicated as soon as possible.

  • Measures and details within the buildings. We attach great importance to the health of our employees and students and do everything in our power to create a pleasant and safe environment within the RIVM guidelines. For example, we ask that every student and staff member register upon entry and to de-register upon departure. Dispensers with disinfectant hand gel have been placed on stands in a number of places within the buildings. In addition, we will have stickers with instructions and directions for the maximum number of people per room and to indicate mandatory walking routes. Only together can we ensure a safe learning and working environment for everyone. That is why we urge our students and staff to strictly follow these instructions.

  • Catering facility. If possible, catering will be made available in the form of pick-up points; restaurants will unfortunately remain closed. Coffee and candy vending machines will be available with disinfecting wipes to clean the touch-screen panels and your hands.

  • Protocols. In line with the national protocol, Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences has drawn up its own protocol for education and the 1m50 society. We hereby urge everyone to read this protocol carefully before visiting a location. This protocol must be observed at all times. For educational situations that must take place within one and a half metres, such as practical education involving physical contact (such as nursing or physical therapy) or the use of confined welding booths, further guidelines apply, based on the guidelines for contact professions of the RIVM. 

  • Working from home remains the norm. Phase 1 only covers part of our education and research. Which means that we will still be working from home for other educational activities, research activity, and facilitation or support, as is the case at this time. The same applies to meetings and consultations.

  • Summer holiday. Many questions have been asked about the summer holidays. Of course it is important that after this turbulent time, we can enjoy a well-deserved rest. We want to emphasize two things: on the one hand we will not unnecessarily shorten the summer holidays, but at the same time we will not pass up the opportunity to prevent as much study delay as possible, if necessary. Even if this means that we have to work/learn a little longer, so that students (or study programmes) will have caught up as much as possible in September. This will ensure that we can start the next academic year with a clean slate. As soon as we can realise the schedules for the period after 15 June, we will further inform you.

Phase 2: from 1 September until further notice
If the coronavirus pandemic develops as expected and we assume a positive scenario, there is a chance that government measures will be further relaxed as of September, creating increased room to offer our education on location. Although we will not then return to the normal situation, it is possible that the time slots will be extended and/or capacity will be increased. We are preparing for the organisation of further education and research activities on location, where we can accommodate smaller groups of students. 

  • Reception of new students. We would like to welcome our new students and meet them preferably in small groups at our school locations for further meet and greets with their fellow students and teachers.

  • Making face-to-face interviews possible. As is well-known, we are worried about losing the connection to the student. In order to restore it, it is absolutely necessary to renew that contact by means of face-to-face interviews and come to agreements about study progress. In addition, we will be attentive to students who may drop out, for whatever reason. We would prefer to hold face-to-face interviews with these students.

In the coming weeks it will become clear how we can realise and structure this phase and under what conditions. As soon as more is known, we will inform you via an update.

Travel to our locations
A limited restart at locations, also means travelling to the locations. We can imagine that this is a pleasant, but also an exciting prospect, after a longer period of working or studying from home. In order to reduce the burden on public transport as much as possible, we advise to use a bicycle as much as possible. If you travel by public transport, please observe the applicable measures. The limited parking facilities will not be made available to staff or students in advance. In exceptional cases, for example for medical reasons, we will consider whether space can be made available.  If you have any questions and/or concerns about this, please contact your counsellor, your manager or e-mail the corona information point corona.info@hr.nl

Finally
We would like to draw your attention once again to the fact that due to government measures there may still be changes in the development of the phases. We would also like to emphasise once again that distance education and working from home will remain the norm for the time being, until government measures are made more flexible. We look forward to the next phases with great interest and will inform you as soon as possible if there are any new developments. In any case, let's start the weekend in a positive way, with a little more perspective.

UPDATE 22 April Online invigilation, small-scale education on location, and online education tricky for some students

Mark Rutte’s message yesterday was crystal clear: keep it up! The government does not want to risk anything, and a second coronavirus wave must be prevented. For the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences it means that we will continue on the same path as before: distance learning, online assessments and working from home. Much earlier we had set the date of 1 June, which we will stick to.

Events
The prime minister was also clear about events: there will not be any until September. The same applies to RUAS. We will not make plans for introductions on location, camps, events for the start of the academic year, et cetera. We do ask that institutes and study programmes think about possible (online) alternatives, for example, for new students, to make them feel welcome.

Small-scale graduation sessions in workplaces and labs
In the meantime, we will assess current possibilities for education on location, based on earlier agreements with the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. For example, small-scale graduation sessions and other graduation activities requiring the actual presence of the student. For example, we are checking options for making use of our workplaces and labs for administering exams on a small-scale, of course, according to guidelines of the National Institute for Public Health and Environmental Protection (RIVM).

At some study programmes, students and lecturers depend on these spaces to graduate. In order to prevent delay or catch up, we are evaluating the use of ‘RIVM-proof’ workplaces and labs. To this end we will draft protocols. As soon as there is more clarity about this, we will communicate it as soon as possible.

Assessment
Parallel to this, we are looking at how we could possibly organise controlled assessments in a room with an invigilator present, starting 1 June, for assessments that really cannot be administered online. This too, of course, will take place entirely in accordance with RIVM rules. For all assessments applies; if conversion to an online form is possible, the rule is that we will opt for the online form. Exceptionally, for assessments that cannot be administered online, we will evaluate an alternative that’s on location starting 1 June.

Online invigilating (supervision) and proctoring
We are aware of questions about online assessments and the use of online invigilation. Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences has decided not to use the possibilities of online proctoring (online supervision) for online assessments. The reason being that it is a complex matter with different complications, including the issue of student privacy. Also, just as physical supervision, it does not provide 100 percent coverage of the risk of fraud, which makes it less effective. This means that the risks with regard to fraud are carefully weighed by the study programmes for each assessment and overcome as much as possible.

For example, by using other forms of assessments, such as assignments in which the knowledge is also tested. Or by conducting assessments from the first year and sometimes the second year, in which no final qualifications are tested and no knowledge essential to professional practice is tested and which is not tested elsewhere throughout the four years, using online testing programmes with fraud prevention according to the GDPR framework. study programmes make these considerations in consultation with the Exam Board.

On an experimental basis, study programmes have gained and are gaining experience with online assessments in which proctoring is used. Within the framework of the GDPR, limited controlled risk is taken experimentally, in consultation with the designated experts; and it is documented well. In a number of cases, we have found that we are confronted by the limits of privacy legislation, and it is then decided to no longer apply online assessments and proctoring. These experiences are taken into account in subsequent steps, as we continue to think about how we can experiment with online proctoring, while remaining within the framework of the GDPR.

Open on Saturday
Prior to the corona crisis, it was communicated that our buildings would also be open on Saturdays, so that students could find a place to study on the Saturday. After a current inventory, it appears that it is not necessary to open locations on the Saturday. We therefore postpone this plan until 1 June. Should the government relax the measures before then, RUAS will once again evaluate the opening of the buildings on Saturday. This will of course be communicated immediately.

Online education tricky for some students
Many students are already fully accustomed to distance education, but for some it is more difficult to connect to online education. Not at all strange, because it is a totally different way of education than we were used to. Still, it is important for students to experience the new way of education as much as possible. Especially to avoid unnecessary study delay. Are you experiencing problems with online education? Then contact your Study Career Coach or report to the counsellor. On this Hint-page you will find tips to study from home as well as possible.

Zoom
The previous update already mentioned the (limited) use of Zoom. We would like to emphasise that the use of this application can only take place with the RUAS approved version. Even if you receive an external invitation for a video call via Zoom, you need to use the version that you can download via our Hint-page.

Deadline Leniency Scheme
A few weeks ago the update included information about the leniency scheme. Students can make use of this if their trip abroad was cancelled or cut short due to the corona crisis and they cannot get their money back from the travel organisation or insurance. Because all trips for the current academic year have already been cancelled and the students who wanted to return to the Netherlands have returned, it was decided to attach an end date to the leniency scheme. The deadline for submitting a complete application to your institute's dean is 15 July 2020.

Vulnerable families
Due to the corona crisis and government measures, there may be concerns about tensions within vulnerable and unsafe families. To a large extent there is a loss of ‘social control’, leaving vulnerable families even more isolated, with the risk of violence.
Several concrete tips that can be relevant to RUAS professional personnel:

  • Make sure that you, as a RUAS professional, are accessible and that it is clear how you can be reached.
  • Video calling or chatting can be a good alternative for face to face contact.
  • In case you do not trust a certain situation of a student and his/her home situation, discuss this with collegial experts (and/or dedicated personnel), according to the reporting code.
  • Providing information and coming to a concrete understanding with your student can help maintain contact with the student.

    For additional information, check our special Hint-page (Dutch).

UPDATE 9 April:Binding Study Recommendation, Magazine Online Assessment, Electives, Help with studying online, and looking ahead

No postponement of the Binding Study Recommendation (BSR), but cancellation
The Binding Study Recommendation is being discussed nationally. The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW) is allowing universities of applied sciences and universities some scope, in line with legal regulation of powers, to adopt their own approach, but is communicating in terms of postponement of the BSR. A number of universities of applied sciences and universities have opted for this approach. Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences maintains the approach that first-year and second-year students will receive a Binding Study Recommendation, but that there will be no consequences attached to it. The Rotterdam University has therefore explicitly opted for a cancellation of the BSR. Nobody will have to quit their study programme.

This does not mean that Rotterdam University does not attach any value to the BSA. On the contrary, the students’ own responsibility will be pointed out to them, and they must take that advice very seriously. After all, the credits that have not yet been obtained will have to be obtained at a later date. Formal requirements for obtaining the first-year certificate, the Associate Degree exam, and Bachelor exam are still valid.

Transfer from Bachelor to Master
A national agreement has been made with the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science to prevent students being delayed in the transition from Bachelor to Master for the next academic year because they have not been able to complete one or more courses. Universities of applied sciences and universities are given the opportunity to deviate from the inflow requirements that a Bachelor programme must be fully completed prior to participation in a Master programme. 

The universities of applied sciences will conditionally admit Bachelor students to their Master programmes until 1 January 2021. If the student fails to complete the entry requirements before 1 January 2021, he/she must quit the study programme. 

No later than 15 May 2020, universities will communicate the conditions for inflow to Master study programmes in the academic year 2020-2021. Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences will specifically discuss this with those universities to which many of our students are transferring, such as Erasmus University and Delft University of Technology. As soon as more information is available, it will be communicated. 

Magazine Online assessment
Distance education also includes assessments at a distance. That comes with limitations but also offers opportunity. The Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences has published an online magazine, that offers ways to get a handle on digital assessments. It includes an overview page about changes in the type of assessment and manner of administering assessments, guidelines and tips for different assessment forms.

The magazine has been created in a very short period of time. We are continuously working on completing the magazine. You can contact a special helpdesk for questions about distance assessments.

Help with studying online
Studying at home with a laptop is, after all, different from studying the way we were used to. All tips and tricks for studying from home have been bundled on a single Hint page by the Student Welfare Team. (Education and Development Department) The page help with studying online includes information for students about what they can do to create better daily rhythm and structure, and feel more at ease.  

It is also clearly indicates who students can turn to for help, such as the Counsellors Office and Students in Action Team. This page can also help lecturers and coaches to better guide and support their students even though they are not on location.

Electives
It had recently become apparent that the range of electives, in particular, was rapidly shrinking. However, an inventory showed that the majority of electives will continue to be available. The Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences is pleased with the fact that the diversity of the available electives is great and that students, even in these times, can enrich themselves by taking electives. If there are any changes in the schedule or if an elective course cannot take place, the study programme offering the elective will inform the students.

Limited use of Zoom
The Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences has previously communicated that the Zoom programme should not be used. Over the past weeks, many questions have been asked about the use of Zoom in our online education. The risks for privacy and security when using this product have been discussed many times in the national and international media. However, Zoom has obvious advantages and supports specific forms and activities of education better than, for example, Microsoft Teams. The specific forms are: (1) live lectures to large groups in which it is important to see more than four students simultaneously and (2) so-called break-out sessions in which the lecturer switches from group to group.

This is why over the past few weeks we have been working with Zoom on a configuration  that fits within the frameworks for privacy and security of our educational institution. As a result, we can now use Zoom on a small scale, which means that we can update our earlier ban of Zoom to the following basic assumption: "Microsoft Teams unless". Please use Zoom only for educational situations when absolutely necessary. Do not use Zoom for normal consultations, team meetings and external contact for which Microsoft Teams can be used, and not at all for privacy-sensitive conversations! When using Zoom, the configuration of Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences Rotterdam is mandatory. It is also strongly recommended to review the documentation available on HINT before use. The developments with respect to Zoom and any consequences for privacy and security will be closely monitored by our privacy officers and security officers in the coming period. 

Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences is preparing for the different start-up scenarios
As a university of applied sciences, we are of course already thinking about starting up our education as soon as that is possible. We are thinking through various scenarios, including the appeal from our Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, that schools should think ahead in case the RIVM measures will be extended. For example, what would it mean for physical and online education at Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences if the 1.5-metre measure were to be extended? Everyone understands that we cannot start 'as usual' in the new year if such restrictive measures still apply. A working group consisting of colleagues from different disciplines is thinking through the different scenarios and any possibilities. We will inform you further about this in due course.

Open on Saturday
Starting this weekend, students would have been able to visit the open work stations of the still open locations Kralingse Zoom and Rochussenstraat on Saturdays. However, due to the Easter weekend this will not take place. The buildings are closed up to and including Monday. The consequences of the Coronacrisis for upcoming Saturdays are still being discussed.

UPDATE 3 April: online education and assessments, working from home, places for study and personal issues

Online education en assessments
An inventory carried out at various institutes shows that the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences has managed to convert almost the majority of its education from on location to online. Education that cannot take place without developing or demonstrating practical skills, and for which no alternatives can be developed for that reason, will not take place. This education will take place at a later date. Assessments, as well, are or have been largely converted to an online form; here too, in particular the assessments involving skill cannot be taken online and will be postponed to a later date.

Value of diploma first and foremost
Some forms of assessments are more susceptible to fraud in an online environment than others. Preventing fraud also remains essential in online assessments. Study programmes will mainly make use of a number of approved options, which have already proven their quality in the field of online assessments. Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences will continue to put the quality of education and diplomas first. Especially now that we are temporarily RUAS Online, it is important to conduct assessments in a responsible manner.

The fact that it has taken a while before it has become clear which of these assessments can take place (according to the regular schedule, or later) is because the Exam Boards, who have the legal task to guarantee the level of our education, check these assessments one by one for validity and reliability.

All study programmes are in contact with students and have informed them about which education and assessments are taking place, and which are not and possible alternatives. In a few instances the study programmes are still consulting with an Exam Board for the sake of care and precision, and students will be informed no later than the beginning of next week. As a result, every student will know what to expect.

The study programmes have done an immense job, on which many people have worked very hard. We are proud that, in these times, employees and students have rolled up their sleeves to get things done. At the same time, there is the realisation that the situation is not ideal, because not all education can be offered digitally.

The Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences is appealing to students to be understanding, but also to be engaged in the education and assessments that can be offered online.

Extra places for study
Now that online assessments are being realised, students are in need of quiet study spaces in the available locations of Kralingse Zoom and Rochussenstraat. Students from all institutes can come here if they have no or insufficient facilities at home to be able to study well, or in case of other reasons they cannot fully concentrate on their studies and work at home. At the two locations, in addition to the open learning centres, a number of classrooms will be opened where students can work in peace and quiet. Students can clearly indicate on entry that they need such a place to study, so that they can be allocated a space.

Everyone should strictly adhere to the applicable government instructions regarding the distance to keep from another and to stay at home in case of the slightest health complaint. Also follow the instructions of the RUAS employees when they are allocating spaces to work and learn, as well as the instructions they give in the performance of their supervisory duties.

Where the facilities at home are adequate, it is advisable to make use of them. Incidentally, it may be the case that the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences decides to limit access in case of too much traffic.

Working from home
In order to be able to work from home as optimally as possible, information pages including tips and advice have been made available for employees on Hint. For example, about setting up a workplace, working from home with children and staying healthy, both physically and mentally.

For additional information, please check the Hint pages: Gezond thuiswerken and Fysieke en mentale gezondheid.

UPDATE 30 March: quality of diplomas, work-related travel, vital professions and online study programme choices

Safeguarding the quality of online education and online assessments
In these times as well, it is important to the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences to safeguard online education, online assessments, the quality and the level of our diploma. We will monitor that the consequences of the Corona measures do not negatively affect our education. Now that we will temporarily continue as RUAS Online, it is important to make sound decisions about any changes in our approach to assessments.

During the past few days we have worked hard to produce a document that includes a proper description of the guidelines and advice from RUAS with regard to online assessments (in Dutch for now; as soon as the English version is available, we will share it). The Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences is eager to publish and share this document. It is based partly on the knowledge of other universities of applied sciences, and at the same time allows other educational institutions to make use of the our knowledge on the subject.

Meanwhile we are working on the chapter ‘Assessments’ of the digital magazine ‘Education at a Distance’, with which employees can get started to be able to offer assessments in a digital format as optimally and carefully as possible. We expect to have the first sections of the chapter ready at the end of the week.

Appeal for the ‘Helpdesk Assessments’
Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences has the in-house expertise available with regard to online assessments. But we could use some extra support. Everyone who has experience with the execution of online assessments and who is willing to help colleagues online with the available tools, can report to the helpdesk. We appreciate being able to make use of your expertise. E-mail to: corona.info@hr.nl and use the subject heading: ‘I would like to help’.

Vital professions
Recently, there has been a lack of clarity as to which professions fall under the heading of 'vital professions', at RUAS as well. This document  (only available in Dutch) of the central government includes the description: ‘lecturers and staff that are needed at school’ for distance education. Upon enquiry at the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science we now know this also applies to higher education. All employees of the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences have vital professions and can rely upon emergency child care. The central government’s principle is that both parents must have a vital profession, but “it is not a firm requirement. If you are unable to find substitute child care, you can bring them to emergency child care after all”, as is stated on the website.

Work-related travel
The previous update stated that all study trips were cancelled until the end of the current academic year. This also applies to work-related travel. Trips cannot be booked for the period up to August until further notice. The Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences will reconsider this decision when the travel advice of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been adjusted, when the colour codes of countries change from orange/red to green/yellow.

Choosing a study programme
It is also a difficult period for perspective students who have to choose a study programme. How can they make a well-considered choice without being able to visit open days? The Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences Rotterdam has recorded a video with Chairman of the Board, Ron Bormans, answering that question. Online, everyday is an Open Day. On the website of the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences (rotterdamuas.com) you can find information about the study programmes that interest you, and you can have conversations with, for example, lecturers and students who are sharing the experiences that they have had at their study programmes. In this way, students can still make a well-founded choice of study programme in these challenging times.

UPDATE 27 March: May break, Study-related travel, Interview Cycle, Assessment and Minors

May break and holidays
At the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences we are working hard. Very hard. Colleagues are doing everything they can to make sure that education at a distance is possible. That takes time and energy. Therefore this organisation needs 100% input from everyone to make RUAS Online a success. It is heartwarming to see how colleagues and students are becoming familiar with the ‘new normal’ despite the challenges that we are faced with. It is therefore a good thing that when it’s time for May break that we actually take a break. The same applies to Easter and Ascension Day. It will be a different celebration than we are used to, taking into consideration the current societal developments. But it is very important to take that time and find moments of relaxation. All work and no play does not do anyone any good. Colleagues who want to continue to work throughout that period are of course free to do so. But please look after yourselves. Students will not be offered online education during the May break and on holidays, but there is always time for independent study. In this situation as well, the advice is to take care of yourself during these odd times. We may possibly need a part of the summer holiday to catch up on educational components and assessments. As soon as this becomes clear, we will notify you.

Study-related travel
All study-related travel that was planned up to and including the end of the current academic year will be cancelled. Initially, this concerned travel until the end of April, but given the measures taken by the government in response to the Coronavirus, the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences considers it wise to extend the period up to the end of this academic year. We will assess study-related travel for the academic year 2020/2021 at a later time.

Interview Cycle
At RUAS Online, the evaluation interview of the interview cycle for employees will continue as planned, only in a digital form. There is uncertainty about dealing with temporary contract of employees, for example. If an immediate decision must be made about converting a temporary contract into a permanent contract, then we will "simply" cut that knot, and make that decision. If the temporary contract can yet be extended, then that is an option as well.

Assessment
RUAS Online will try to have as many assessments as possible take place. It will be evaluated for each assessment whether it can take place or not. Assessments requiring physical actions or skills from the student will most likely not take place. We are looking for digital solutions for assessments that are normally taken in a room where several students and an invigilator (supervisor) are present. In the course of next week, each study programme will make clear which of their assessments can take place and which cannot.

Minors
The deadline for Minor registration at the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences has been changed from March 31 to May 14, the date that already applied to the ‘Kies op Maat’ (KOM) Minors. Students are urged to register on time. A different deadline has always applied to students from abroad, which is 1 May, and that date will be maintained.

The Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences wishes students and employees a good weekend!


Update Wednesday March 25: Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences Online, Open Days as well

RUAS Online
On Monday 23 March, the government introduced new measures that have a far-reaching effect on our interactions and therefore make education on location impossible. For the sake of clarity for students and staff, we have decided to extend the measures, previously announced for higher education, from 6 April to 1 June.

The Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences has noted that this week measures have continually become stricter. It’s understandable. We have now reached the point where we think of the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences as an 'online university': RUAS Online. That is the new normal. Which will remain until further notice. The latter means at least until 1 June, but possibly longer. If national instructions allow, we will offer education at our locations again. But for now, we will operate as RUAS Online.

Online education and assessments
This measure means that - where possible - all education and assessments are offered online. Our Exam Boards have been called upon to ensure as a matter of priority that the online method of assessments meets the standards of the law and our own regulations. Education and assessments that are not suited for the online format, for example, because the physical factor is essential, will be offered when education will resume as ususal.  Accurate documentation is therefore important of what has and has not been offered, so that it is clear for each student what he/she must still do and in what form.

More and more education is being offered online and the supply will increase in the coming period. The Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences calls on students to keep up. Ask your study programme how the education is offered online and make sure you don't miss lessons unnecessarily!

Students who are at a loss, are requested to report to their study programme, lecturer or Study Career Coach.

The university of applied sciences is working on support for remote online assessments. Every effort is also being made to make applications available for this purpose. Our online magazine OnderwijsopAfstand.hr.nl will shortly be supplemented with information about online assessments. We are working on setting up a one-stop shop for questions and support. For IT support questions, please contact the FIT service point (service@hr.nl). More information will follow as soon as possible.

Everyone is welcome
The current societal situation has a major impact on everyone, including prospective students. In times of uncertainty, they have to make important decisions. Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences emphasizes that everyone is welcome. The current developments in society are already confusing enough, so the message is: you're welcome, then we'll create something beautiful. Together.

The university of applied sciences is preparing for a situation in which applicants cannot get their application file in order in the same way as is usually necessary, for example, because exams in senior secondary education have to be postponed. We are going to devise regulations for this so that prospective students can be correctly placed. Further information will follow. Keep a close eye on our website and the updates for that reason as well.

Online Open Days and registration of prospective students
Secondary school students and senior secondary vocational students who are in the exam phase can virtually visit our Open Days. They can ask students and teachers questions using various channels and learn everything about their education. Actually, exactly the same as during an Open Day on location, but with a computer or tablet. More information about the online Open Days will follow as soon as possible. In this way, prospective students can carefully choose their study programme.

When prospective students apply to their study programme of choice this coming academic year,
the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences will be able to keep them-up-to-date on the latest developments here at RUAS and at their study programme.

Opening of buildings
The Kralingse Zoom and Rochussenstraat locations are open to employees and students who do not have facilities to teach or follow education online. We ask that you only come to these locations in case it is strictly necessary, and you have no other option available to you. In which case, you are most welcome. However, we point out that when visiting the locations you must follow the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment guidelines

Services at a distance
In addition to education, services are available at a distance as much as possible: online, by the telephone or via e-mail. Lecturers can find information about online education on the website: OnderwijsopAfstand.hr.nl and soon a magazine about online assessments will be available on the website as well. The files of the library can be consulted via www.hr.nl/mediatheek.

Digital safety
In this time of distance learning and working from home, the university of applied sciences is asking special attention for digital security. We are currently aware of phishing emails related to the Coronavirus that have been sent. This is not yet the case at Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, but it cannot be ruled out that it will happen in the near future. The University of Applied Sciences therefore asks you to remain vigilant during this period as well. Have you received an e-mail that you are suspicious of? Please check Hint, to find out what to do.

Transferring files for access at a distance
Employees or students who want to transfer shared files, so that they can access them from home, are urged not to do so themselves. At the moment almost all colleagues and students are working online, so dragging your personal folders to OneDrive or your shared folders to Teams will cause a delay. Please do not do so, but let FIT help you. On Hint you can find a step-by-step instruction. This and other information about working from home, is available on hint as well.

Situation after 1 June
The university of applied sciences understands that there are many questions about the period between now until the summer, simply because it is not clear what the situation in the Netherlands will be like until then. The university of applied sciences will continue to work online for as long as necessary. What will happen at summertime, or after that, cannot be predicted, and national agreements will have to be made about that as well. We do not rule out the possibility that our annual schedule will have to be rearranged and that it will have consequences for the holidays.  As soon as this is clear, you will be informed.

‘Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences Online’
For now, 'Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences Online' is our current status and together we will make it work. We are taking big steps and we ask for your understanding when things are not perfect. If we continue to communicate, we will solve this together. By way of this communiqué, the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences also expresses its appreciation for the colleagues who keep our locations running, colleagues who provide support in any way they can, and for those colleagues who do everything they can to ensure that our education continues online.

Update Friday March 20: deadlines for new registrations, Binding Study Recommendation, NSE, annual calendar and safe online working from home

New registration deadlines
The Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences (RUAS) previously communicated that the deadline for students to register for a new study will be postponed from May 1 to June 1 (EU applicants only). The government has now also decided to keep this date. RUAS made the decision earlier to suspend the Study Programme Check until April 6. RUAS is investigating whether, and in what form it is possible to offer the Study Programme Check after April 6. Therefore, keep a close eye on these updates. Regarding the selection procedure, RUAS will stick to the deadline of April 15, because the selection procedure is progressing steadily despite the circumstances.

Binding Study Recommendation
As previously communicated, current first-year and second-year students will receive a binding study recommendation, but no formal consequences will be attached to this. So no one has to leave their study programme. That does not mean that the university does not attach value to the study recommendation, on the contrary. Students should take that recomendation very seriously and discuss how to approach the continuation of their studies with their study career coach.

The students' own responsibility is, therefore, expressly appealed to. Certainly in view of the fact that the credits that have not yet been obtained must still be achieved at a later time. RUAS expects students to actually follow the programme that is offered long online. At the moment there are no holidays, where possible education continues as usual.

NSE is cancelled
Given the impact of government measures on the coronavirus for education, the National Student Survey (NSE) will not take place this year. Tuition fees Many questions come in from students whether to pay tuition fees. RUAS understands the impact of the current situation. In the previous update, RUAS already reported that tuition fees should simply be paid, because although education does not take place in our physical locations, it does take place in other ways. In addition, RUAS cannot independently decide to waive tuition fees; this authority lies with the government. That is why RUAS refers to the website of the Education Executive Agency (DUO), which lists the possibilities offered by the government for student finance and tuition fees.

Enrollment from MBO and HAVO and transfer to university
Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences receives a lot of questions about enrolling for a study programme after completion of MBO or HAVO. There is a chance that, as a result of the corona crisis, not all prospective students will get all formalities ready in time to register. The university recognizes this problem, just as the government does, and is investigating what appropriate measures can be taken. The basic principle is that prospective students should not be the victim if they do not get formalities in order, through no fault of their own. Foreign students without a visa requirement are also included. This issue is receiving national attention and is also relevant for our students who want to transfer to the university. RUAS will endeavor to ensure that this group of students is not rejected on formalities.

Scenarios after April 6
RUAS understands that there are many questions about the situation after April 6. Some universities have communicated that they will suspend all their face-to-face education until the summer holidays. Currently, RUAS does not opt for this, but is awaiting instructions from the national government. Several scenarios are being developed for the period after April 6. It is important now that it is well established which education will take place, which education will take place in an adapted form and which education cannot take place at this moment.

Consequences for holidays
RUAS does not rule out the possibility that the annual calendar is set up differently, simply because it is not clear what the situation will be like in the Netherlands after April 6. Scenarios in which face-to-face education is not possible for a long time are being considered. This can have consequences for, for example, the summer holidays. As soon as more is known about this issue, RUAS will communicate this as soon as possible. This depends on government instructions, as was the case with the decision not to offer face-to-face education at the locations until April 6. When education is restarted in the "normal" form, it will have to be examined individually for each student what needs to be caught up and in what form. This, for example, also applies to internship assignments. Students who encounter problems with regard to study backlog, internships, etc. are called upon to turn to their study programme, for example to their study programme coach. In order to be able to provide customization, RUAS must have insight into the issues at stake for every student.

Online security
There are indications that other platforms besides Teams are also being used for video conferencing, such as Zoom.us. RUAS understands that employees are looking for opportunities, but there are risks involved if everyone deploys systems on their own initiative. Teams was purchased by RUAS as part of Office365, is managed and secured by the IT department and is specially configured for the university. This does not apply to other providers. Without further agreements, organization and management, RUAS runs privacy and security risks. In addition to video conferencing, this also applies to other applications that are not hosted by RUAS. If Teams really falls short in functionality, or if there is a need for systems that are not currently offered by RUAS, please contact the information manager of your institute, knowledge center or service department. Information managers can advise on the use of software and, if necessary, initiate a process to offer additional software in a secure university environment. If you have any questions about the use of personal data due to changed processes, please contact privacy@hr.nl. The NCSC website also provides some points of attention in connection with working from home and current cyber threats: https://www.ncsc.nl/actueel/nieuws/2020/maart/15/aandachtspunten-thuiswerken (not available in English).

Closing locations MP and Willem de Kooning
In the past few days, an inventory has been made of the number of students and staff present in the buildings that were still open. On the basis of these statistics, it has been decided to also close Museumpark and Willem de Kooning Academy locations from Tuesday 24 March. This means that from that date, only the locations Kralingse Zoom and Rochussenstraat will be accessible (from 08:00 to 17:00).

Tips for working from home
Employees are forced to work from home as much as possible. How do you make the best possible home workplace? The Q&A of the Coronavirus Information Point (Informatiepunt Coronavirus ) contains a number of useful tips to help employees set up a pleasant workplace.

What day is it?
These are strange times to say the least. Times that have an impact on everyone, not only in the dynamics of RUAS, but it also affects us in the family atmosphere. Everything is different. Not only in society, but also in the field of study and work to such an extent that you may even have asked yourself the question what day it is? To be clear, it is Friday. Almost weekend, so try to enjoy it in the"old fashioned" way, even if the possibilities may be more limited than before. So: have a nice weekend!


Update 18 March: Binding Study Recommendation, tuition, distance education and working from home

Binding Study Recommendation measure
Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences has decided not to attach any consequences this year to the study advice given at the end of the first year of enrolment (also referred to as Binding Study Recommendations). This means:

Students who are now in their first year of enrolment (bachelor study programme or associate degree programme) will receive advice on their study progress, but the advice will have no consequences.

Students who are currently in their second year of enrolment (bachelor study programme or associate degree programme) and whose study advice has been deferred, based on personal circumstances, will also receive advice on the progress of their studies. No consequences are attached to this advice either.

The expectation is that the university of applied sciences will communicate about the further details of this measure at the end of this week. It is emphasized, however, that the study credits from the first year that have not yet been obtained, still must be obtained at a later date.

Tuition
The next collection of tuition fees will take place on 25 March. Several students have asked whether they have to continue to pay tuition fees now that no education is offered at the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences locations.

The answer is yes. The education will continue, even if it is not provided at our locations. Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences is working hard to implement distance learning. Moreover, a university of applied sciences may not on its own decide to waive tuition fees. This means that a regular collection of tuition fees will take place on 25 March.

Manuals for distance education available
The magazine  is online! Produced for and by our RUAS colleagues. It contains manuals for the following: providing online and LIVE lectures, organisation of peer feedback, and includes didactic perspectives and many practical tips.

Of course, we will add new sections to the magazine in the near future, but the most important information to get started is included.

Lecturers, we hope this information will serve you well with distance education! A Helpdesk has also been realised for 'digital & didactic questions'. Staffing will be set up during the next few days.

Our basis is applications that we can support well, such as Microsoft Teams and FeedbackFruits.

We have developed this magazine in a few days. A product of true co-creation. An intensive collaboration between lecturers, project guidance (from the HUB technique of education approach), IT specialists, libraries, communication, crisis teams and facilitators. But also external contacts with other universities of applied sciences, universities and suppliers contributed to collecting knowledge and tips. It’s quite special to be part of such strong unity and team effort throughout these challenging 'Coronavirus times'.

Please take note of the magazine OnderwijsopAfstand.hr.nl https://onderwijsopafstand.hr.nl/onlinemagazine/home/. Let us also realise that massively working online, will raise concerns with respect to privacy. If you have any questions about this subject, please report to the Corona information team.

Opening hours libraries
The various book distribution points at the library will be closed from Wednesday 18 March through Monday 6 April. Material from the library is available online. Information specialists will actively help students and lecturers to find online teaching and study materials. They will provide support by e-mail or telephone in the event of a guidance question and, if necessary, an appointment will be made at the Museumpark location. More information is available at www.hr.nl/mediatheek. This measure is in line with the provisions regarding the Counsellor's Office and IT support, where questions can be asked via e-mail and, if necessary, a person to person appointment can be made.

Working from home with children
The many urgent measures that have to be taken, both by the government and by the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, require improvisation from all of us. For example, how do we deal with the fact that childcare and schools are closed and that home education is needed? We realise that the current situation presents many employees with a challenge. We are currently working hard on additional policy measures.

Until greater clarity, we will apply the following, at least until 6 April: Employees do not have to take leave in the coming period if they are occasionally unable to work due to the government’s measures. As soon as we have adopted additional policy, we may renege on the course that we have set. For the time being, we hope that we all will be able to remain calm and let the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences continue to operate under these difficult circumstances.

In situations where it is structurally impossible to work most of the working hours at home, because the care task demands all the attention, we understand that it can give an employee more peace of mind to look for possible solutions in consultation with your manager. In that case, it may help to take leave or to use your Long-term Employability hours. But a suggestion could also be that in that case some of the hours are compensated later, when the first crisis is over and everyone's commitment is needed, to once again educate on location.

Accessibility occupational welfare services
During these turbulent times, insecurity, questions and or feelings arise, regarding the Coronavirus. Despite closed locations, staff members can, when necessary, meet with the staff welfare officer: Liselot de Jonge. If you find it difficult dealing with the current situation, experience feelings of insecurity or find that all these changes are difficult to cope with, please contact her. 

In addition, you can contact her about other issues such as personal and or work-related problems, the balance or disruption between work en personal life, imminent stress, burn-out and absence/sickness, dealing with organisational changes and personal development issues.
For more information, check intranet: (https://hint.hr.nl/nl/HR/Werken-bij/faciliteiten/hr-academie/activiteiten/bedrijfsmaatschappelijk-werk/).

Accessibility staff welfare officer Liselot de Jonge: By telephone via: 06-39087626  or by e-mail: l.de.jonge@gimd.nl or l.d.a.de.jonge@hr.nl 

You can reach her on all work days between: 09:00-17:00. At other times, you can e-mail her
and you will be contacted as soon as possible.

Stop registration home quarantine or infection, regular situation of calling in sick
In view of the current state of affairs with regard to the discontinuation of teaching at locations and the fact that the majority of employees work from home, we will no longer register and communicate home quarantines and Coronavirus infections. Managers will no longer have to report this. However, the following is important: in the event of illness, we naturally request that this be done via the regular sickness notification procedure. 

Leniency Scheme (as it applies to annulment of internship, or studies abroad)
The leniency scheme, previously established for cancelled trips to China, has been extended and now covers all travel to and from foreign countries. The scheme concerns necessary costs incurred that cannot be reimbursed in any other way, such as via insurance or via the airline. Students who have been affected can contact their own institute.

Calamities abroad
In case of (imminent) calamities abroad, a student, or staff member must always call this number: 0031 - 10 794 99 99.

At this number you can reach someone to offer primary support 365 days of the year, 24 hours per day and 7 days per week. The number must not be used for other questions such as internships, deadlines, or other business that is not urgent. Students and staff can call this emergency number direct, or request to be transferred via a local telephone office by means of a collect call or reverse charge call.

Students abroad who have questions about less urgent matters such as grants, can contact CoIA Exchange: coia-exchange@hr.nl.

Information for international students in Rotterdam
In case of (imminent) calamities international student can always call this number: 0031 - 10 794 99 99. At this number you can reach primary support 365 days of the year, 24 hours per day and 7 days per week

Questions about housing can be sent to coia-housing@hr.nl.

Questions about practical things such as deregistration in case of premature departure from Rotterdam, can be sent to CoIA-Student Support: coia-studentsupport@hr.nl.

International students who need a doctor (GP) in Rotterdam, can find one through https://gpforinternationals.erasmusmc.nl.

Questions about the Coronavirus situation
Do you have questions about the consequences of the Coronavirus at your work or study programme? Visit the  website of the Information Point Coronavirus or e-mail: corona.info@hr.nl

Do you have a general question about the Coronavirus? Please check the RIVM  or  GGD Rijnmond or call the RIVM information line: 0800-1351

 

Update 16 March: consequences up to and including 6 April

Binding Study Recommendation suspended

Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences is suspending the Binding Study Recommendation this academic year (2019/2020). Consequently, everyone can continue studying. De Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences does not rule out that at some time a student may get a BSR, but no negative consequences will be attached to this advice.

Adjusted opening hours

All measures that were taken earlier by the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences were initially effective until 31 March. As a consequence of a decision by the central government,  those measures are now effective through 6 April. Meaning that no education will be offered at our locations up to and including 6 April. The buildings will still be open, but as of this moment the so-called summer schedule will be applied. So locations will be open from 08:00 to 17:00.

Which locations will remain open?

From Wednesday 18 March the following locations will be open: Kralingse Zoom, Rochussenstraat, Museumpark and Willem de Kooning Academy. Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences will evaluate per day which buildings must remain open. Keep reading the updates. Employees who need materials in order to do their work must take action on Tuesday of those materials are at one of the locations that will be closed as of Wednesday.

Precautions

When visiting the buildings, observe the precautionary measures that were drawn up by the government.Keep a distance of 1.5 meters to another. The following is really important:
do you have health complaints? Stay at home. Can you work from home? Work at home. Are you expected to work from one of the open locations? Observe the precautionary measures.

Student services

Students can study independently in the open learning centres if they do not have the means for education online at home. Next, only the libraries are available at locations that are open. In first instance, the libraries are not open for the purpose of studying, but to provide guidance to students who find it difficult to find study material online. Take into account the following: if you are in a space that is too cramped to keep enough (1.5 m) distance from each other, look for another space, in accordance with the above-mentioned precautions.

For that same reason independent study in small groups is discouraged. Try to communicate with each other via e-mail or WhatsApp as much as possible instead of meeting in person. All forms of education that involve physical contact, such as group assignments for which you need to get together, such as street interviews and surveys, cannot take place.

Distance education

Teaching in physical form will be at a standstill until at least 6 April. We are working together to offer online education as much as possible. Instructions for this will be available to lecturers on Tuesday 17 March. Please keep an eye on these updates.

What can lecturers and lecturer teams do already? Discuss within your team and with your course director which educational components have priority in setting up and offering distance education. In the meantime, we will encourage students to spend time on independent study.

Working from home

Employees are advised to make good use of the possibilities offered by Microsoft Teams. You can find an easy instruction here. The Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences is advising educational teams to use the following Team Structure: 1 Team per year of a study programme (cohort). Including one channel per course (code). The Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences expressly requests that employees do not create new Teams in Microsoft Teams in an unstructured way. We request that employees choose a team structure that is restrained and is tailered to our work.

Service point and IT support

If you need IT support, the Service Points are available by phone and e-mail. Please consult the FAQ, frequently asked questions, first. If you still have questions after reading those, you can use TOP desk
self-service portal (please refer to https://hint.hr.nl/werkenopafstand) Or ask support via the
e-mail: service@hr.nl. The colleagues at the Service Points can if necessary call you back to quickly answer your questions.

Request for assistance

Everyone with experience with executing distance education can support colleagues online by using Tools (such as Microsoft Teams and FeedbackFruits). Please e-mail to corona.info@hr.nl with subject heading: ‘I can help’.

Studying abroad

Last week-end the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences started recalling all students from abroad who depend on air travel to return. These students have been contacted to this end. If they want to stay abroad after our repeated requests, the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences will respect that decision. However, this means that the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences can no longer be held to the duty of care for these students, should their situation abroad worsen unexpectedly. Of course, we will offer help where possible.

When students have followed education abroad that meets our quality requirements, then the credits earned abroad will be valid.

Leniency scheme

The leniency scheme previously only applied to students whose internship or study activities in China were cancelled, now it applies to all countries. If a student has incurred costs in this respect (travel costs, visa costs, accommodation costs) that cannot be refunded in any other way, the leniency scheme becomes effective. Students who have incurred costs in this respect will be further informed by their own institute. Given the different circumstances in different countries, the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences needs a few days to find out if the leniency scheme needs further tightening.

Travel after 6 April?

Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences has previously communicated to stop all travel until the end of April. In the middle of April we will consider whether this period should be extended. At this moment it is not possible to estimate about the situation after 1 May, and for that reason we advise everyone to be cautious when organising trips between 1 May and the summer holidays; especially when it comes to air travel.

The Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences points out the personal responsibility of outgoing students and staff and notes that in case problems arise in the period after the end of April, the leniency scheme does not apply.

The preparations for study-related trips abroad and internships abroad are progressing according to the applicable procedures.

Internships in Health Care and education

Now that the schools are closed, students on internships in education are often asked whether they can help with taking care of children of parents with vital professions or with digitising of education. Students on internships in Care may be asked to assist in the provision of care.

The following is important here: the starting point is that the students do an internship. If you have an employment contract, you must follow the policy of the school/organisation (your employer). If you work at a school on the basis of an internship contract (intern) and your internship address asks you not to come in, you will stay at home and we will look for a way to prevent study delay as much as possible. If the internship address asks you to be present, we assume that you will be.

For now, we assume that you are available for school (online) on your school days and will not go to your internship address on those days. If you are hesitant, for example because you or someone close to you has health problems, please contact your study programme lecturer or Study Career Coach.

Graduating guidance

Graduating guidance is taking place, although in an adjusted format. It is organised online or by phone. If this cannot be organised, the consequence is that the guidance cannot take place. There is only one exception to the rule that we do not offer education in physical form: Graduation sessions can take place, of course, taking all safety and hygiene measures into account.

Study Delay

The Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences is making every effort to provide education in such a way that there is as little study delay as possible. The Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences calls on students to do the same. Nevertheless, it is realistic to assume that study delays will occur. Once we enter the phase of regular education again, it will be assessed per study programme whether and which additional measures should be taken.

Questions?

Do you have any questions about the consequences of the Coronavirus at your work or study programme? Visit the website of the Information Point Coronavirus. Do you have a general questions about the Coronavirus? Check the websites of RIVM or GGD Rijnmond, or call the RIVM information line: 0800-1351

Update Friday 13 March: the educational activities at our locations have been cancelled. What now?

As a result of the stricter measures, students and employees understandably have many questions. This update provides answer to the most frequently asked questions. We would also like to emphasise that the discontinuation of educational activities at the locations does not mean that education is at a complete standstill. At this time, provisions are being realised to start to provide distance education as much as possible. The study programmes will be communicating about this to staff and students next week.

Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences buildings are open

The public spaces at the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences are open. The open learning centres and library are accessible. We would like to point out that all library services are also available online. The buildings will be open according to the regular opening hours. Due to the limited number of students and staff at the locations, the cafeteria services will be limited.

Distance education

We are working hard to enable a partial start of distance education. In the mean time we encourage students to pick up independent learning. At the start of next week, we will publish an online environment to provide manuals and tools for distance education including the most essential forms of education. Start to communicate with your team and course director which educational components should get priority for the set-up and provision of distance education. Assessment at a distance is not possible throughout the cancellation of educational activity.

Mandatory lectures, assessments, Binding Study Recommendation

We understand the many questions about lectures, assessments, Binding Study Recommendation,
etcetera. The Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences is discussing such sector-wide subjects with other universities of applied sciences and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. As soon as a national guideline has been formulated, or a guideline specifically for the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences is available, we will communicate any new guideline.

Graduating will take place, according to planning 

Graduation sessions up to and including 31 March will take place, for the time being. This means that graduation guidance will also take place. Students and lecturers must come to agreements about this, for example, if guidance can be offered at a distance. Graduation sessions from 31 March will be included in later communication updates.

Submitting study assignments

Submitting study assignments can, in theory, take place. Students must discuss with their study programmes in what manner this can be realised.

Interviews for Study Programme checks have been cancelled

All planned Study Programme Checks have been cancelled up to and including 31 March. Planned interviews from 31 March will be included in later communication updates.

Planned consultations and meetings

We are cutting back on our meeting culture. Meetings and sessions about corporate-critical processes will take place. It is up to the director or chairperson of a meeting to determine if the above-mentioned is the case. 

Working from home

The central government states the following in their guideline:

  • Are you ill, or do you have common cold complaints, stay at home.
  • Everyone can be asked to work from home as much as possible.
    • Come to agreements with your direct manager, also include which services are necessary.
    • If working from home is not possible, discuss with your direct manager what to do.
    • We are working on an instruction for staff to work from home.

Instruction for working from home
When you want to work from home you can use the Microsoft Office365 environment. To do so go to https://portal.office.com and log in with your username: gebruikersnaam@hr.nl. This environment offers Outlook for our e-mail, OneDrive for your personal files and folders, and Teams for collaborative (project) documents. Are you looking for files placed in the shared folders that you cannot find here? Go to https://myfiles.hr.nl. On HINT you can find available manuals for using Microsoft Office365 (search term: “slimmer samenwerken”).

Home-work environment
At this time, the home-work environment is much used. Because of this, it will be slower than normal. Whenever possible try to make use of the Microsoft Office365 solution for working at home.

Telephone service
If you want to transfer your fixed work line (number) to your mobile phone, and you are not at one of our locations, e-mail to: service@hr.nl. State your username, fixed work number and the mobile phone number to which you want calls to be transferred.

Update 12 March: educational activities are cancelled up to and including 31 March

As was indicated earlier, the Coronavirus developments are progressing at a fast pace. Today the measures for Higher Education were updated within hours. Earlier today the advice was to continue to organise educational activities for a maximum of 100 persons. In the meantime, the government has advised the higher education sector (universities and universities of applied sciences) to no longer offer education at our locations until at least 31 March. This applies to both educational activities as well as assessments.

This means that starting 13 March, all educational activities at Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences locations are cancelled. We appeal to students and lecturers to not be present at the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences.

The buildings will remain open for other activities. Internship activities will continue to take place, in theory. It is up to the intern and internship business to decide. The measures stated above are in addition to the measures communicated earlier on Thursday, such as the travel policy and cancelling certain events, such as the upcoming Open Day.

We are monitoring developments and will keep you up-to-date on the latest status reports.

Students and staff can direct their questions to the Informatiepunt Coronavirus corona.info@hr.nl  

Tomorrow the Crisis Team will meet again to discuss the impact of this measure, after which we will update our communication. 

 

Update 12 March: Tightened Measures Coronavirus

Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences has taken further measures, because the developments with regard to the Coronavirus are rapidly unfolding. The government has tightened its measures in several fields, as has become clear during the press conference this Thursday afternoon. Students and employees have many questions.

Status report

Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences is aware of 18 home quarantines at this time. In addition, one student has been diagnosed with the Corona infection. The student who has been diagnosed with the infection is a student at the study programme Health Technology at the Pieter de Hoochweg location. The Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences is in contact with the GGD, who will determine if contact investigation is necessary in the student's environment. In which case, the GGD will contact those involved. The location remains open and educational activities still take place.

Travel

The Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences has decided to immediately suspend all travel abroad for the time being. About sixty study-related trips were planned for the next few weeks. They will not take place, regardless of travel advice to the country of destination. Previously this applied to destination areas with a code orange or red only, but now it applies to all countries. Recent developments have taught us that the situation can change quickly. For example, with countries like Denmark, Austria and the United States.

Students and employees who travel against this measure will by definition do so as part of a private trip. The Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences accepts no responsibility or liability. Any study-related or internship activities during these trips will not be rewarded with study credits.

Students or staff who are abroad will be contacted in order to come to an appropriate solution or to provide the necessary assistance.

Study trips to Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences cannot take place either.

Events

Events of Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences that are not related to education are immediately suspended. Events that are directly related to education and lead to a gathering of more than one hundred people will also be suspended, in accordance with government measures. For example, large-scale lectures, trial study and diploma ceremonies. Should students need their diploma for perhaps a job application or transfer study programme, then they can contact their study programme (institute).

The Open Day of 28 March will not take place. Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences will possibly organise an Open Day at a later date. Taking into consideration the process of choosing a study programme for aspiring students, the application deadline for study programmes will be changed from 1 May and postponed to 1 June.

To be clear: education-related and work-related activities for less than 100 persons, such as lessons, meetings, graduating and the Study Programme Check can take place .

The Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences has several open spaces where large numbers of staff and students gather, such as open learning centres, cafeterias, and libraries. The Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences will reflect on how to handle the use of these spaces, and more instruction will possibly follow later.

Stricter advice on health complaints

The advice previously given for North Brabant now applies to the whole country. That means that everyone who has a cold should stay at home. The regular procedures for reporting sick apply. People who have no health problems and for whom it is possible to work from home are advised to do so, after consulting their direct manager.

Education in combination with physical contact

All forms of education and working methods that include physical contact will be stopped immediately. For example, lessons in physical therapy, movement education, but also professional emergency response courses, and management training sessions where working methods are used requiring physical contact.

Internship and employment

In reality it appears that students who are interns and/or work in a dual education programme, are occasionally asked to no longer go to school, because their employer wants to limit risk of infection. In such cases where people combine education at the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences with corresponding work, the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences respects this position. In cases of an internship the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences is of the opinion that education is a priority, but the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences will do as much as possible in consultation with the parties involved to reach a suitable solution for all parties.

Update 11 March: stricter travel advice to Italy, sickness reporting North Brabant, and events 

Travel to Italy is no longer permitted

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has further tightened the travel advice for Italy, for parts of the north the code is now red, and for the rest of the country the code orange applies. The latter change means that travel for work, study, or internships is no longer permitted, in accordance with our
"Calamity Plan for Travel Abroad". A travel ban is mandatory in nature. This means that students who travel contrary to the exit measure, do so by definition in the context of a private trip. Rotterdam
University of Applied Sciences does not accept any responsibility, liability or duty of care towards these students. Any study-related or internship activities during this trip will not be rewarded with study credit.

Of course, the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences understands what effect the travel ban can have. One consequence of this travel ban is that for a number of students, study or internship activities have been or will be cancelled, even though they may already have incurred costs. In view of the exceptional nature of this measure, Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences will apply a leniency arrangement for students with regard to the necessary costs already incurred, which cannot be refunded in any other way. The students concerned will be further informed by their own institute.

Travel to areas with a code green or yellow

Study-related travel to areas with code green or yellow can take place. Do realise that if the color code changes to orange or red, return to the Netherlands is mandatory. The university of applied sciences will contact the staff member or student and will make every effort to make repatriation possible. Students or employees can of course make their own decision not to leave for a destination with code green or yellow. In that case, any costs already incurred will not be reimbursed by the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences. Make sure you are well-informed and well prepared for your trip, also with regard to travel insurance and cancellation insurance.

Students and employees from North Brabant

As we have communicated before, the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences adheres to the current policy of RIVM and GGD. In line with RIVM advice, the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences advises employees and students who live in North Brabant and who have common cold complaints, such as a head cold, couching, or fever, to stay at home.

Students from North Brabant
Students who live in North Brabant, and who have complaints, can call in sick at their study programme in the same way as they have in the past.

Employees from North Brabant
Some employees who have mild complaints, can decide to work from home. They do not need to call in sick. Coordinating the situation with the direct manager is necessary, as would normally be the case as well. Employees who have complaints and who cannot work from home, must call in sick.

Colleagues or students with family members or roommates who themselves have mild complaints must consider their actions for themselves based on common sense. If they have no complaints themselves, no additional guidelines apply.

Events

As we have communicated before, events such as congresses and graduation ceremonies can be held as long as we comply with guidelines of RIVM and GGD. On site, we will pay considerable attention to sanitary provisions, and communicate about guidelines such as the instruction not to shake hands.

Update 8 March: advice students and employees from North Brabant with common cold complaints

 

Throughout the past few weeks, the first Coronavirus infections were reported in the Netherlands. As we have communicated earlier, the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences acts according to the current policies of the National Institute for Public Health and Environmental Protection (RIVM) and the GGD.

In line with the advice from RIVM of 6 March 2020, the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences advises students and employees who live in North Brabant and who have common cold complaints, such as a head cold, couching, or fever, to stay at home.

Employees and students have been asked to consider whether this measure applies to them. Please be sensible. We point out the separate e-mails that have been sent today to both staff and students. In case you are staying at home with complaints of a cold, call in sick in the usual manner. Please communicate that you are absent in relation to the RIVM’s measure for North Brabant.

We follow the RIVM’s reporting continuously, and when reports show a change in advice, we will communicate that with you. For Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences updates, keep checking the Information Point Coronavirus via www.hr.nl/informatiepunt-coronavirus. When you have questions related to the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, please e-mail: corona.info@hr.nl

When you have questions related to the advice for North Brabant, and general questions about the Coronavirus, please check the website of RIVM

 

UPDATE 6 March: working method for reports and registration of home quarantine

Information Point Coronavirus is live

As of today the Information Point Coronavirus of the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences is available. Employees and students who have questions about the Coronavirus can send these to: corona.info@hr.nl. On our external website we have also published an online Information Point Coronavirus with questions and corresponding answers. It will be regularly updated based on current developments. The latest RUAS updates will also be published. Please point out this Information Point to fellow students and colleagues and read the Dutch or English version

Home Quarantine 

At this time the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences is aware of three reports of our students who have been placed under home quarantine by order of the doctor (GP) or GGD, as a precaution. They have not been tested for the Coronavirus, but have been in contact with someone who may possibly have been infected by the virus. The Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences is in contact with these students and is monitoring the situation. If you have any questions, please e-mail: corona.info@hr.nl

Reporting and registration of home quarantine for managers and Study Career Coaches 

A process has been set up for Study Career Coach and managers in order to register notifications of students and employees who report that by order of the doctor (GP) or GGD they have been placed under home quarantine. The process is illustrated in this flow chart. Students report to their Study Career Coaches, and employees to their manager. It is important that the correct questions are asked upon a report and that this information is directly e-mailed to the Dean/Director, with a Cc to the Course Director, or manager who is responsible for the student/employee. Reports are registered in order for us to properly monitor the sickness reports. 

Travel Advice Italy 

On Tuesday evening 3 March, the travel advice for the largest parts of northern Italy  was changed from code yellow to code orange. According to the Calamity Plan Travel Abroad of the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, travel to this area is not permitted for study or work. At this time, one of our students is present in this area; we are in close contact with this student. 

Doctors for international students 

We have received word that international students who do not have a doctor in the Netherlands, have difficulty reaching the GGD because of how busy the health service is. The Erasmus MC has published an overview of general medical practice (GP practices) in Rotterdam who are accepting international students. We would like to ask lecturers to point out this information to international students if they are in need of medical help or advice, for example, in case of health complaints that could possibly be linked to the Coronavirus. 

RIVM Advice 

Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences acts according to the advice of the National Institute for Public Health and Environmental Protection (RIVM). As the Coronavirus situation changes, RIVM also adapts their policy, if necessary. Previous updates may therefore contain information, for example on when to contact a GP or GGD, that is no longer in line with RIVM's current policy. In case of any uncertainty or lack of clarity, please contact the Information Point Coronavirus via corona.info@hr.nl

UPDATE March 3: Information Point Coronavirus and Osiris registration

Information Point and FAQ

In the near future, an information point will be set up at our university of applied sciences where students and staff can ask questions about the Coronavirus via e-mail. Based on these questions we will publish frequently asked questions. In this way we hope to be able to answer as many questions as possible and make the information available as widely as possible. More information will be published soon.

What to do in case of health complaints?

Our university of applied sciences acts according to RIVM guidelines. If you, as employee or student, have a fever in combination with respiratory complaints and have been in a risk area in the last two weeks, or you have been in contact with someone infected with the Coronavirus, report to your doctor (GP) or the GGD. The doctor or GGD will determine whether it is necessary to stay at home. In the event that it is necessary to stay at home due to risk of Coronavirus infection, report this to your manager (for staff) or Study Career Coach (for students). They will register your situation so that we can continue to monitor the number of possible cases of illness.

Cleaning

Based on advice from RIVM (National Institute for Public Health and the Environment), it seems that extra cleaning activities, in addition to the already thorough cleaning, serve no purpose to prevent or spread the Coronavirus. Washing your hands a few extra times is useful though. For that reason, our cleaning company will ensure that soap dispensers are filled and that towels are sufficiently renewed. As soon as necessary, based on RIVM advice, additional measures will be taken. This is not yet the case.

Events and congresses

Congresses or other large-scale events can (still) take place. The RIVM guidelines apply to speakers and participants: if they have been in a risk area and have, or are developing health complaints, they must stay at home. If the quality of the event comes under pressure due to too many cancellations, make a practical decision to still hold the event or not, as you would in other cases. 

Register in Osiris when you travel abroad for your study programme and internship

Our students travel all over the world for their study programme/internship, which we stimulate as part of internationalisation. For the sake of your own safety, it is important that students take care of timely and full registration in Osiris before they travel abroad. In case of unexpected calamities in a specific country, it is then directly apparent who is in that area. This makes communication easier and a possible repatriation as well.

Study-related travel to areas with a code green or yellow

Within this university of applied sciences we adhere to the Calamity Plan for study-related travel abroad. Study-related travel to areas with a code orange or red, based on advice from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, cannot take place, as we have communicated earlier. Study-related travel to areas with code green or yellow can take place. Do realise that should the colour code be changed to orange or red, you must return to the Netherlands. In that case, RUAS will contact the traveller and facilitate repatriation if necessary. Students or employees can, of course, decide for themselves to not travel to destinations in an area with a code green or yellow. However, any costs already incurred will not be reimbursed  by the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences.

The Crisis Management Team is monitoring the situation carefully and anticipates various possible scenarios. As soon as there are new developments, we will inform you. 

UPDATE 1 March

The first coronavirus infections in the Netherlands were diagnosed last week. With the spring break just behind us, we understand that this raises questions within the organization. As communicated in previous updates, we follow the current policy of the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (Dutch: RIVM) and the local Municipal Health Service (Dutch: GGD). In addition, the central government has recently published a guideline that specifically applies to education. 

Returning from a contaminated area:
  • In case of minor respiratory complaints, RIVM recommends staying at home. If the symptoms worsen, contact your General Practitioner or GGD by telephone.
  • Contact your GP or the GGD immediately by telephone in case of a fever with respiratory symptoms (e.g. coughing or shortness of breath) and agree with the doctor whether you can go to work / to school. If this is not the case, report this immediately to your Study Career Coach (SCC), your Course Director or direct supervisor.
  • Employees or students who do not have a fever or (mild) respiratory complaints, can go to work / go to school according to the guidelines of the authorities.
Returning from an uncontaminated area:
  • If you return from an uncontaminated area, no special measures apply. In case of doubt or concern, the authorities advise you to contact your GP or local GGD by telephone.
What can we do as a university to prevent the possible spread of the corona virus?
  1. Wash your hands more often than usual, for 20 seconds.
  2. Use paper handkerchiefs and throw them away after use. Then wash your hands.
  3. Cough or sneeze in your elbow.
  4. Although not in line with our code of conduct, for the time being we will not shake hands, but will nod gently.
  5. If you have a fever or respiratory complaints that you are concerned about, consult your GP or GGD by telephone.
  6. Report it directly to your Study Career Coach (SCC), Course Director or direct supervisor if you suspect you are infected with the corona virus.
  7. Make sure you are well informed about the facts and fables surrounding the corona virus. You can find more information on the RIVM and GGD websites. In addition, the government has also opened a general information number: 0800-1351 which you can call in case of questions.
We understand that current developments can give a feeling of restlessness, but we ask everyone to keep calm. Right now, we have to deal wisely with the situation and act on the basis of the facts used by the authorities in their current guidelines.
 
The crisis management team of the university will meet again on Monday. We will discuss the current situation and determine whether we, as a university, have to take extra measures. If necessary, we will again communicate an update of the latest state of affairs.
 
Do keep an eye on Hint for current updates on the corona virus from the crisis management team.

 

UPDATE 26 February 08.30

Stricter travel advice for Italy and South Korea

On Monday 24 February, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs tightened the travel advice for Italy. Due to a travel ban (both entry and leaving) for several municipalities in northern Italy, the code red has been issued for these municipalities (no travel). For the surrounding areas of these municipalities the code orange applies (strictly necessary travel only); code yellow applies to the largest part of northern Italy, and Rome and the surrounding area (please note, safety risk).

On Tuesday evening 25 February, the travel advice for South Korea was tightened as well. The code orange applies to the city of Daegu and the Cheongdo area due to precautions taken by the local government to prevent further spreading of the Coronavirus. Code green applies to the rest of the country.

Travel to Italy and South Korea

In accordance with the Calamity plan for travel abroad, the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences does not grant permission for travel to areas with a code orange or red. At this time, we are listing our students and employees who are in Italy en South Korea for study or work, or who intend to travel to these countries. In this context the Crisis Management Team again emphasises the importance of meticulous registration of outgoing mobility by our institutes.

Returning from Italy

Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences complies with the policies of the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, and GGD, with respect to travellers returning from Italy. The policy states that people returning from northern Italy (including the area with code red) do not need to be placed under quarantine, and only need to be tested for the Coronavirus in case they develop a fever and respiratory complaints. This means that no special measures will be taken for students and staff returning from northern Italy. They must report to their GP or GGD only when
they develop a fever and respiratory complaints after their return.

Situation in China

The situation in China remains unchanged since the previous update.

UPDATE 17 February 17.00

The Crisis Management Team has become aware of concern and questions arising about planned study-related travel to other countries in Asia with respect to the Coronavirus. 

We would like to point out that the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences follows the travel advice of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as is stated in our calamity plan for travel abroad. This means that when the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued a code green or yellow for a certain country, the decision to travel abroad for a study-related activity is up to the individual student or employee. The study programme or institute may decide as well to cancel a study trip
because the measures taken in a particular country are causing difficulties with regard to following the (educational) activities.  

Of course we understand that news about the Coronavirus causes concern. We urgently advise that every traveller is well-informed and prepared before travelling abroad, also with regard to travel insurance and cancellation insurance.

UPDATE 10 February 17.00

On Thursday 5 February, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs further tightened the travel advice for China. The code red (no travel) for the Wuhan region and code orange (strictly necessary travel only) for the rest of the country remains unchanged. The accentuation of the advice now also applies to people who are in China to consider whether it is necessary for them to remain there. If not, they can make use of the available opportunities to leave China. The reason being, the further possible precautions taken by the Chines authority to combat the spread of the Coronavirus.

Travel ban Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences

The travel ban to China that was established on Thursday 30 January remains in full force for employees and students of the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences.
The travel ban is mandatory in nature. This means that when, despite this ban, students travel to China, the travel is by definition considered to be of a private nature. The consequence is that towards these students the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences accepts no responsibility, liability or duty of care whatsoever, and that no study credit will be awarded for any possible study programme activities during the trip.

Consequences travel ban and leniency regulation

The Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, of course, understands the possible effects of the travel ban. A consequence of the travel ban is that study programme activities in China of a number of students have been annulled. It is possible that these students have already incurred expenses for these study programme activities. In view of the highly exceptional nature of this travel ban measure, the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences has come to a leniency arrangement for students to cover the necessary costs that they have incurred, provided that these cannot otherwise be compensated. Students who have been affected, will be informed further by their own study programmes.

The Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences understands that the annulation of an internship or other study programme activity in China is disappointing, but due to these recent developments there are no other options.

UPDATE 31 January 16.45

At this time the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences has seven students in China. We are in contact with them and are doing everything in our power so that they can return to the Netherlands. This many students is more than we were initially aware of, which underlines the importance of proper registration of outbound travel at the institutes.

In February, we are expecting eight incoming Chinese students for an exchange programme, or for a complete study programme. These students are and will remain welcome here. In this we are following the advice of the Municipal Health Service (GGD) which states that travellers from China are welcome.

However, should they have complaints (more than 38 degrees of fever, lung problems or shortness of breath, within fourteen days of arrival from China), they must report to the general practitioner (GP) or the GGD. CoIA and the institutes involved will inform the students about what to do in case of health complaints, but also about possible sensitivities they might encounter in the Netherlands. In addition, the housemates will be informed of the arrival of the Chinese students.

Intention to travel

At this time, we are aware that about 85 students, or employees of the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences were planning to travel to China between now and the summer. This number is based on the inventory of all institutes, departments, and research centres.

In case of an annulled trip to China, the responsibility lies with the institute to provide for adequate alternatives for the studies to be attended in China, in consultation with the student and the Exam Board. We expect to be able to further inform you on this subject on Monday.

Tensions

It is possible that tensions will arise towards colleagues or students with an Asian appearance as the spread of the Coronavirus continues. The crisis management team reminds everyone to be vigilant that colleagues and students with an Asian appearance are not treated discourteously. The RUAS Behaviour and Integrity Code.

Thursday evening a travel ban to China (including Hong Kong) was declared for students and staff of the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences. This has been communicated both internally and
externally. The decision is in line with the policies of other Dutch universities (of applied sciences).

Travel ban to China - 30 January

Thursday afternoon the Ministry of Foreign Affairs adjusted the travel advice to China to code red (no travel) for the Wuhan region and code orange (only strictly necessary travel) for the rest of the country.This advice was issued because of the considerable increase in the number of Coronavirus infections. As the safety of students and employees is paramount, the Executive Board has decided that travel to China for internships, studies or working visits is no longer permitted for staff and students of this university of applied sciences.

This restrictive measure is in line with our emergency plan for travelling abroad and is valid for an indefinite period of time.

Students or staff who would have travelled to China in the near future for study, internship or work will be further informed by their institute, research centre or department.

For further information about the Coronavirus we refer to the websites of the RIVM and the GGD. We follow the developments around the Coronavirus closely and we will keep you informed.  

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