Coronavirus: From 15 June education activities at VU campus

Read the latest update of Monday 25 May.

05/25/2020 | 6:00 PM

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- Frequently asked questions
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- Information for international students (current and prospective)
- Working from home
- Study from home
- Updates: archive
- Exams with online proctoring

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UPDATE: MONDAY 25 MAY - 12.00 HRS 

Student exchange upcoming semester (fall 2020)
The board of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam has established the guidelines regarding student exchange for the upcoming semester. In ensuring the security and health of all our students, VU Amsterdam has decided that, under the current circumstances, advice as put forward by the Ministry of Foreign affairs will be the primary source in deciding whether student exchange can take place. The decision to cancel student exchange with our partners will be made two months before the start of the semester at the partner university and cancelled in case the following scenarios apply:
(1) If the country has a travel warning (Corona related yellow, orange or red) AND
(2) in case the partner university does not offer online education in the first semester of academic year 2020/2021 or if this option has not been announced by the dates below.
More information you find on VUnet.

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UPDATE: WEDNESDAY 20 MAY - 18.00 HRS 

From 15 June, we will be allowed to teach and do research again on our campus. This is a great development, in addition to the ongoing online education. We will start with location-based education such as practicals and location-based research. This news will ensure that some of our students and researchers will be able to return to the campus to get started again.

For teaching on location, lecture times are rescheduled, so that students do not have to travel during the morning and afternoon rush hour. This has been done to reduce crowds in the streets and in public transport, so that keeping a distance remains possible and the virus has as little chance of spreading again.

We will start to provide location-based education between 11:00 and 15:00 hrs. Students who need to come to VU Amsterdam by public transport will only have to start their journey after the morning rush hour. Education may, according to national guidelines, end before 15:00 or after 20:00 hrs. This is to ensure that the return journey by public transport is not rush hour either. In exceptional cases, location-based education can also be provided after 20.00 hrs. Students who are again able to follow education on campus, will be informed via Canvas in the coming period.
 
Working on campus
We want to be careful with the room we’re getting at the moment. We have decided to initially focus on location-based activities, particularly teaching and research. In addition to these activities, we will continue to work from home as much as possible.

Within the available room, we are currently working on scenarios in which, in addition to location-based activities, other activities can also be started in phases and to a limited extent. We understand that everyone wants to return to VU Amsterdam, and we are convinced that there are certainly possibilities within the limitations. However, defining a one-and-a-half-meter university is a huge logistical puzzle. We expect that from 2 June more people will be able to get back to work on campus. This will be further elaborated next week, managers will also be informed.

On campus, if we can. Online, because we can
We expect a 'hybrid' form of education for a longer period of time: online, and where possible, on campus. What that will look like in daily practice from 1 September is still a complex puzzle. Much will also depend on the expected crowds in public transport.

During the corona crisis, you may expect high-quality education from VU Amsterdam that students can fully participate in. On campus, if we can. Online, because we can. Even if education on campus continues step by step and there are students who cannot or are not yet allowed to come to campus, alternative online opportunities are offered. Unfortunately, it will not be possible to offer an online alternative for location-based education.

Teachers, educational staff and students will receive further information by email about the development of education in the summer period and the coming academic year. 

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UPDATE: FRIDAY 15 MAY - 16.30 HRS

Conditions for going from a Bachelor’s to a Master’s published today

Generally speaking, students must complete their Bachelor’s or pre-Master’s before starting on their Master’s programme. This is known as the ‘BSc-before-MSc rule’. Due to the corona crisis, however, some students have had to partially stop their studies, resulting in an unfortunate delay.

Master’s programmes at VU Amsterdam have therefore examined how an exception to the rule can be made possible for the 2020-2021 academic year, so that students do not get stuck in the transition from Bachelor’s to Master’s because of the corona crisis. For each programme it has been examined how students who are lacking credits for no more than a few courses, under certain conditions, can start their Master’s at VU Amsterdam next year. The missing credits must be completed during the 2020-2021 academic year, in other words no later than 1 September 2021.

Some Master's programmes with multiple start dates have chosen to recommend a start date later in the 2020-2021 academic year. For a number of other Master's programmes, an exception to the rule turned out not to be feasible after all.

Today, students can find the specific conditions for starting on a Master’s programme on the relevant page at masters.vu.nl.

International students

  • All EEA students are subject to the same admission conditions. However, completing a Bachelor’s in your home country while starting an intensive programme of study here will be very difficult, and we do not recommend it.
  • This rule does not apply to non-EEA students. Non-EEA students must have obtained their Bachelor’s degree (when studying outside of the Netherlands) before starting a Master’s degree at VU Amsterdam. For questions, please contact the International Office at international@vu.nl.

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UPDATE: MONDAY 11 MAY - 12.00 HRS

During the press conference on Wednesday 6 May, the government announced a step-by-step softening of the coronary measures - all with the warning 'if possible'. The softening offers the necessary perspective, especially on a personal level, because we are allowed to go out a bit more and primary and secondary schools will reopen. 

In the case of higher education, it has been indicated that the softening of measures will be investigated in more detail. It is possible that new measures will apply from 15 June. This will be accompanied by restrictive measures in public transport and on campus. In preparation for this, we are investigating what is possible within these new standards for working and studying on campus.

What do the new guidelines announced by the government currently mean for you as a student or employee?

Location-based education
For higher education, the restrictions will remain unchanged until 15 June. Before that date, the government will provide more clarity about the possible softening of the current measures 15 June.

We are working on new guidelines whereby the education to be provided on campus (such as practicals) can be restarted. As soon as there is more clarity about this, we will report this immediately. Education that is not location-specific will in any case be offered online until 29 June, in accordance with the guidelines previously used for educational blocks 5 and 6.

Working from home
Working from home remains, despite the softening of measures, the norm for the time being. An exception applies to employees involved in vital processes on campus. We are currently working on new guidelines whereby education and research that is location-specific can also be restarted on campus as soon as this is permitted. It is expected that there will be a 'hybrid situation' over a longer period of time in which working from home will be combined with limited use of the campus.

Study at home
Students also have to study at home for the time being. For students who do not have the opportunity to study at home or make exams, we have created workstations on campus. These are specifically designated study places. You can read the working method on VUnet. The study facilities in the University Library are still closed. The University Library does offer its services online. It is also possible to receive books at home.

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UPDATE: FRIDAY 8 MAY - 14.00 HRS

Exams with online proctoring during the corona crisis

During the corona crisis, VU exams will be held with online supervision, or online proctoring. This only happens if the Examination Committee has established that no other form of testing is possible. 

We want to make sure that students are delayed as little as possible. Now that regular exams at VU Amsterdam are not possible, we are looking for alternatives to allow exams to continue. It is important that sufficient measures can be taken against fraud, because we want to guarantee the quality and value of our diplomas. After consultation with the examination committees and after careful consideration of students' concerns about privacy, it has been decided to use online proctoring for exams that cannot be replaced by an alternative form of testing such as a paper or open-book exam. 

Experience with online proctoring
We have already gained some experience with online proctoring within the framework of a European Project. Until now we have worked with ProctorExam, a Dutch proctoring company. We have decided to also conclude a contract with Proctorio as of 1 May, so that larger groups can also participate in proctored tests. 

Concerns about online supervision
We understand our students' concerns about online proctoring. Students who due to special circumstances have difficulties participating in an online exam at home can contact us via this form. Students are not required to participate in an online exam; they can choose to wait until exams can be taken on campus again. They will have to wait until the next physical examination opportunity, however. In the current circumstances, we cannot yet indicate when this will take place.

All students have received an email explaining this, including information on how we deal with online proctoring, privacy and fraud. Read more about taking exams with online proctoring at VU Amsterdam.

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UPDATE: WEDNESDAY 6 MAY - 16.30 HRS

All our educational activities will take place online until the end of the semester (29 June). But what will this look like after the summer? VU Amsterdam is currently looking into that question. In any case, we are going to make sure that students receive the education they can count on in the new academic year as well. But it remains uncertain to what extent we will be able to use the campus. At the same time, we also want to offer prospects for the longer term.

On campus if you can, online because you can
The measures and RIVM regulations remain leading for VU Amsterdam. For this reason, the Dutch universities are devising various scenarios for providing and following education. On campus, if possible. But also: online, because it is possible. 

Based on the above, VU Amsterdam is currently investigating how education can be organised in the coming months. National press conference with (possible) new decisions concerning the corona crisis will be important moments in this respect. After 15 May, we will be able to tell you more about what our education will look like in the summer period (after 29 June) and the academic year 2020-2021.  

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GENERAL INFORMATION

Contact and frequently asked questions
What are the consequences of the coronavirus for working and studying at VU Amsterdam? Read our frequently asked questions. The FAQ will be updated as soon as there is new information to share. If your question is not listed, employees and students of VU Amsterdam can contact their information points

Information about the new coronavirus
You can find the most up-to-date information about the new coronavirus on the website of the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM). The RIVM is monitoring the situation in the Netherlands and has a questions & answers page available about the coronavirus. VU Amsterdam is following the advice of the RIVM closely, together with other Dutch universities.

Travelling abroad
Under the current circumstances, business trips and trips for study, internships and research abroad are not considered necessary by VU Amsterdam and must be postponed or cancelled. Employees can contact their manager for advice and students can contact the International Office (international@vu.nl).

What can people do to prevent the spread of coronavirus?
The most important measures that people can implement to prevent the spread of coronavirus are quite simple. It is important to implement them, as they apply to all viruses related to the flu or cold:

  • Wash your hands with soap regularly
  • Cough and sneeze on the inside of your elbow
  • Use paper handkerchiefs
  • Don't shake hands
  • Keep a good distance from other people (at least 1.5 metres)