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Despite the rapid increase in the number of infections in the Netherlands, there have been no major outbreaks at the UvA in recent months. Due to the high level of vaccination among students and staff, the wearing of face masks, the way in which we take each other into account in the buildings and the focus on ventilation, we have jointly ensured that the UvA is not a source of infections.

It is great to see how (almost) everyone is cooperating, keeping to the rules and therefore jointly ensuring a safe environment. It is now of the utmost importance for us to keep this up in the period ahead, however difficult this may be at times. After all, while some students and staff prefer to come to the campus as often as possible, others wonder whether this can be done safely.

Education on campus

In recent times, we have all made every effort to ensure that classes can continue in person as much as possible. All the experiences of the past 18 months show how essential this is for the well-being of students and the quality of education. And now, after 18 months, this is perhaps even more the case, as that all kinds of other (social) activities are being cancelled once again. We are therefore pleased that education can continue to take place on campus and that library and study places will remain available, despite a lower capacity.

So far, so good, but we aren’t there yet. The number of infections in the Netherlands is increasing, and this could also happen at the UvA. We therefore call on everyone to get vaccinated (if possible), to genuinely take a self-test twice a week (it doesn’t take much effort and the tests are free), to be sure to stay at home if you have symptoms (even if you miss a compulsory tutorial as a result), to wear a face mask and to keep your distance from others where possible. Let us all work together to show that higher education is safe!

Working from home

A lot of research and support work is once again taking place from home, to make room for education and for colleagues who cannot work at home, and to help prevent the spread of the disease. This once again requires flexibility and means that team meetings will be less lively, spontaneous meetings will no longer take place and that people will feel the lack of their colleagues and social contact. We can well imagine that this is not a happy prospect in these already dark days.

For this reason, we would ask everyone to look out for each other. If you have a fellow student or colleague who is struggling, call each other, arrange to meet or refer them to the various initiatives and opportunities offered by the UvA to provide support during this period.

Coronavirus access pass

The government is working on a bill to introduce the coronavirus access pass in higher education. Despite the practical and fundamental objections to this, we are preparing for the event that it should become compulsory. This leads to many new questions: does it count if I get vaccinated outside the EU, am I obliged to come to the campus, where can I get tested, can I ask my students for a coronavirus access pass myself? We will try to answer all these questions if the government decides to introduce these passes.

We will undoubtedly be faced with more new challenges in the coming period. However, we are confident that we will also get through these challenges together. Stay safe and healthy!