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According to the initial results of the UvA Crisis Monitor almost half of students and staff at the UvA are very or extremely worried about the coronavirus crisis. Their primary concerns are about the health and well-being of family and friends. In addition, students are worried about their study progress and indicate that academic stress is higher than it is in normal circumstances. A similar picture emerges for staff: many are experiencing a higher degree of work pressure than normal.

The majority of students and staff are positive about communications surrounding the corona measures. Where online education is concerned, the majority indicated that this is going well. A large number of the academic staff have indicated they are experiencing problems continuing their research.

The results indicate that the increased work pressure is related to factors including having to combine working from home with child care/schooling and a disruption of work-life balance. For the time being, however, we will have to continue working from home as much as possible. We are working on different scenarios we can use in the event we can (partly) resume working from UvA locations.  One of the priorities will be providing work and study spaces where sufficient distance can be observed. The option of getting additional support in providing online education and exams will remain available.

In response to the Crisis Monitor the Board wants to emphasise that they are aware that working and studying during the corona crisis is placing great demands on staff and students. We must therefore continue to take care not to make impossible demands on ourselves and others, to prevent work pressure and academic stress from rising even more.

The aim of the monitor is to gain more insight into how the measures the University has had to take because of the corona crisis are impacting the well-being of students and staff. The monitor consists of repeated measurements: students and staff are asked to complete a short online questionnaire once every four weeks. The results are important for policies and administration during the coronavirus crisis and will be used by the central organisation and the faculties/units.

The results of the first Crisis Monitor

Students

The survey was held among 33,453 students, of whom 20% (6,599 studenten) completed the questionnaire.

Concerns

Almost half of the participating students (47%) indicated they were very or extremely worried about the corona crisis, and 42% were somewhat concerned. Their concerns are primarily about the health and well-being of family and friends (75%). Their own study progress is also an important point of concern (59%).

Academic stress

Of the participating students, 58% indicates that academic stress is higher or much higher than under normal circumstances. Most students cite a disrupted work-life balance, adjusting to working online and the lack of a good physical workstation (chair, desk, own room) as factors. Another important finding is that 14% of students indicates additional care responsibilities have increased their academic stress.

Communication

Of the participating students, 63% indicates that they find the information the UvA provides about the measures taken as a result of the corona virus is clear or very clear. However, 14% indicates they find the information provided unclear or very unclear. Students cite the central UvA website (53%), the UvA-wide student newsletter (53%) and their own lecturers (51%) as communication channels they use as sources of information.

Education

Of the students who responded, 77% indicated they had taken part in online education in week preceding the survey. In this group 70% indicated their experience was good or very good, and 11% indicated it was bad or very bad.

Staff

The survey was held among 6,527 members of staff, 2,899 of whom completed the questionnaire, making for a higher response rate than among students, of 44%.

Concerns

Nearly half (45%) of participating staff members indicate that they are very or extremely worried about the corona crisis, and 45% is somewhat worried. As in the case of the students, most staff members (80%) are concerned about the health and well-being of family and friends. To a lesser degree (37%) they are concerned about their own health and well-being.

Work pressure

Nearly half of the staff members (47%) indicate that work pressure is higher or much higher than usual. The most cited factors are a disrupted work-life balance (57%), reduced concentration (50%) and adjusting to working online (43%). Of the staff members who responded, 31% indicates additional care responsibilities have also added to work pressure.

Communication

Of the participating staff members, 81% indicates the information the UvA provides about the measures taken as a result of the corona virus is clear or very clear. The opposite view is held by 6%, who feel it is unclear. The most-cited sources of that information are the central UvA newsletter for staff (69%), their own manager/supervisor (59%) and the website uva.nl/corona (52%).

Education

Of the lecturers who taught classes (in the week preceding the survey) 60% indicated this went well or very well, and 3% indicated it went badly.

Research 

Over two-fifths of the responding academic staff (43%) indicated indicated they encountered problems conducting research (in the week preceding the survey).