The UvA is monitoring the situation surrounding the coronavirus closely and will post the latest updates here as needed.
The information in these updates can also be found in the FAQs, where the information is organised by subject, via the main uva.nl/corona page. UvA staff and students can also find the latest information in the weekly UvA newsletters.
The Office of the Rector is preparing for the restart, as of September, of PhD defence ceremonies at physical locations. There is - as with the restart of physical education and on-site research - a lot to be taken into account when dealing with this. It is a complex and interrelated whole. Everyone's health is of course paramount and the UvA-wide protocol that will be available next week will form the starting point. The Office of the Rector continues to receive a lot of questions from PhD candidates who are due to defend their thesis after the summer. A PhD ceremony is a unique moment that doctoral candidates naturally want to be able to plan and prepare for carefully. That is difficult at the moment, with all the uncertainties that are still in play. Not all questions can currently be answered, but an initial sketch can already be given. Hopefully this will offer a little bit more insight for PhD candidates and others involved in the defence ceremonies.
It is certain that significantly fewer people will be able to attend defence ceremonies on location than was the case before (the corona situation). The exact number will be determined on the basis of the protocol and information about this will be available in the last week of June at the latest. Members of defence committees who cannot be present on location (for example due to travel restrictions or cold / flu symptoms) can still participate via Zoom. Technical support will ensure a logical on-site setup for the interaction between the live and online attendees. For PhD candidates who are unable to come to Amsterdam due to travel restrictions, defence ceremonies online will remain a possibility. In addition, all defences in the period from September onwards can also be followed via YouTube for the benefit of family, friends, colleagues and other interested parties who cannot be physically present.
Furthermore, the time slots in which the defence ceremonies are planned will have to be more spread out than usual in order to keep the flow of participants separated. If this has any consequences for doctoral candidates (such as adjustments to the scheduled time of their ceremony), they will be informed individually by the Office of the Beadle - at the latest in the last week of June. The spreading out time-wise of the ceremonies may also mean that in addition to the Aula and the Agnietenkapel, other locations must also be used. PhD candidates will also be informed about this, if it concerns them individually, at the latest in the last week of June. A reception on location will not be possible for the time being. Doctoral candidates who wish to give a reception are therefore advised to explore the possibility of doing so at external locations.
An unavoidable caveat applies to all this: if a new wave of infections arises, government measures may once again remove the possibility of holding the ceremonies at a physical location. But for the time being, our planning is based on the positive scenario in which doctoral candidates can do their defences (almost) as usual.
PhD candidates will receive more detailed information from the Office of the Beadle later this month. That information will then also be communicated on the website - in the online updates and FAQs for PhD candidates.
Yesterday (Thursday, 5 June), at the Amsterdam District Court, summary proceedings were held about the use of online proctoring - the supervision of online exams via the Proctorio program. The judgment is set to rendered on Thursday, 11 June, and online proctoring may continue to be used until then, the judge announced yesterday.
The use of online proctoring can help prevent study delays in this period when not everyone can or should come to campus. Concerns about the privacy of those involved in the use of this tool were naturally taken into account when the decision was made to use it. Read more about the precautions that have been taken here. Online proctoring can only be used if no alternative is available.
Yesterday we received more clarity about the scope we will have to resume education and research on location from 15 June. For the time being, small-scale educational activities can only begin or end between 11:00 and 15:00 or after 20:00 and research activities are only permitted on a limited scale. Working from home will remain the norm. We are making preparations so we can make the most sensible use of the space available to us. This requires flexibility and understanding from staff and students. Extra attention has been paid to this is today's UvA newsletters for students and staff.
Small-scale research activities will be permitted from 11 May. We will be prioritising lab activities and PhDs and postdocs who cannot work effectively from home and are in the final stages of their project. PhD defences will continue to take place online until the summer.
It is not yet clear what education and research will look like exactly after the summer. All programmes will indicate at the latest by 1 July how education will be organised in the first semester. We will do everything we can within the scope of what is possible and permitted to have education take place at the UvA. Online education offers many possibilities, but direct contact – between students and lecturers and among students – is and will remain an essential aspect of studying.
The Library has drawn up a plan for the phased resumption of its services. From Monday, 25 May it will once again be possible to request books and journals in the usual way. For the time being, it will still only be possible to pick these up from the University Library on Singel, between 10:00 and 16:00.
From Tuesday, 2 June it will once again be possible to make use of part of the study places in the University Library on Singel, taking the necessary 1.5 m distance into account and solely on the basis of reservations. From 1 June it will be possible to reserve a study place via the Library website.
In consultation with other groups that use the campus we will be further investigating whether it is possible to make study spaces available in other library locations in the course of June.
All PhD defences at the UvA will take place online up to and including the last defence of this academic year, on Friday, 3 July. The Doctorate Board made this decision after an assessment by the Office of the Rector of what would be needed to realise defences on location in the short term. The conclusion is that the period up to the summer does not lend itself to defences on location, taking into account the regulations that currently apply.
In the period from the beginning of June to 3 July, a large number of defences are planned, often with one directly following another and also overlapping at times (in Aula and Agnietenkapel). It has not been possible in the time available to arrange for the additional locations, technicians and beadles that would have been necessary to carry out the defences on location in such a way that the conditions of RIVM and GGD were met. There is also still a lot of uncertainty about whether some of those involved would be able to be physically present.
We realise that this is not the message that PhD students had hoped to hear, but unfortunately there is no other option under the current circumstances. As previously announced, the Rector's Office hopes, in consultation with the faculties, to be able organise one or more festive gatherings in the Aula after the summer, in accordance with the applicable guidelines, for all of the PhDs who have completed their doctorate online. More information on this will follow in the summer.
The Rector's Office is meanwhile continuing to carefully explore the possibilities for defences in the new academic year, taking into account all the preconditions and risks of on-site ceremonies. Information on this is expected to become available before the summer recess.
All UvA exchange programmes in the first semester of the new 2020-2021 academic year have been cancelled. This applies to both incoming and outgoing students in programmes such as Global Exchange and Erasmus+, including internship programmes.
Quickly changing circumstances and the unpredictability of the pandemic will result in a high degree of uncertainty in coming months regarding health situations, travel guidelines and the provision of on-site and online education at universities in the Netherlands and abroad. We expect the exchange programmes scheduled for the second semester will be able to go ahead.
The Executive board has taken the decision to cancel the exchange programmes together with the faculties and in close consultation with the other universities in the Netherlands. Although students may have anticipated it already, we do of course understand that this is still a huge disappointment for them. This is the first time in the history of international exchange at the UvA that we have had to take such an unfortunate decision.
All outgoing exchange students will be contacted personally to look at possible alternatives. The options will vary per student, faculty and partner university, and could range from postponing the exchange, taking a minor, electives or a project course at the UvA or following online education at a partner university.
International degree students are of course welcome. They can start or continue their Bachelor’s or Master’s degree at the UvA in September. We expect small-scale on-site attendance will be possible once again from September. This means we will be providing a form of hybrid education in the first semester, partly on-campus and partly online.
Hopefully in the coming period it will become clearer what the possibilities are for universities to provide on-campus education again – what is allowed and what isn’t within government guidelines. A lot will depend on the anticipated pressure on the public transport system.
Whatever is decided, the UvA guarantees that education will continue in the new academic year. Our hope is that small-scale attendance will be possible from 1 September. That would mean a form of hybrid education could be provided in the first semester of 2020/2021: partly on-campus and partly online.
We cannot yet say anything about the extent and what form this will take. Unfortunately, this uncertainty will continue for a little bit longer. In any case we want to do everything we can within the bounds of what is possible and permitted to provide education at the UvA. Online education offers many possibilities, but direct contact between students and lecturers and among students is and will remain a vital component of studying.
Hybrid education will also mean that activities will be taking place on-campus, in Amsterdam, which you are expected to attend if possible. In this period, more than ever, it is important to be there at those moments that it is possible.
What hybrid education is going to look like will vary according to the different buildings, Faculties and programmes. So please continue to keep an eye on the information provided by your programme. If you are not able to travel, please consult the programme pages as well or get in touch.
By 1 July at the latest it will be clear for all programmes what education will look like in the first semester, so everyone can prepare for this.
From Friday, 15 May, UvA PhD defences will be livestreamed on the university’s YouTube channel. This means that friends, family and colleagues of the PhD candidates, as well as other interested parties, can attend the ceremonies, which are currently taking place online via Zoom.
The livestreams are ‘unlisted’ on the UvA YouTube channel; that is, you need a direct link to follow a livestream. Doctoral candidates will receive the link from the Office of the Beadle and can then share it with friends, family and colleagues. In addition, the links are added to the defence ceremony announcements (in Dutch) on the UvA’s website, so that other interested parties can also take note.
The link to a livestream will only be added in the web announcement if the doctoral candidate has agreed to this (the Office of the Beadle will ask each doctoral candidate for explicit permission in advance). Immediately after the ceremony ends, the link will be deactivated and the stream will be removed. Of course, the consultations of the defence committee will - as always – be held in private and therefore not visible in the livestreams.
The national measures announced by the cabinet in yesterday’s press conference also have implications for the UvA. Here are the most important consequences:
If there’s no alternative, online proctoring (the online supervision of exams) can be used at the UvA. In this way, exams for large groups can be held remotely and study delays can be avoided.
Because of the coronavirus crisis, study programmes are looking for alternative forms of assessment, such as timed take-home exams, oral exams, final assignments or essays. For some exams, such as multiple choice tests for large groups, there are no alternative testing methods, partly because of the risk of fraud. Online proctoring is one solution that would prevent having to postpone testing. It also offers international students the opportunity to take exams without returning to the Netherlands.
During online proctoring, software monitors the location where the exam is being taken and the computer itself. This means that there are legitimate concerns about privacy and data security. Before making a decision, the UvA focused on this issue in particular. For example, it has been established that the data will only be accessible to authorised UvA staff, such as members of the Examinations Board. The company that supplies the software (Proctorio) may not see the images because they’re encrypted (end-to-end, zero knowledge encryption). The servers are located in the EU and after thirty days everything is automatically deleted. It has also been established that the images will never be used for anything other than detecting possible fraud. The solution meets GDPR requirements and the data protection official has given positive advice. Read the privacy statement.
Online proctoring software detects suspicious behaviour but doesn’t determine whether fraud has occurred. This is always the responsibility of the examiner and the Examinations Board. Students will be informed in advance about what the software looks for and how deviations from this are assessed. They’ll also be told how the software works. A practice test must be available well in advance. This will give insight into whether the student’s own hardware, software and internet connection are good enough to be able to take the online exam.
If your laptop is unsuitable for online proctoring, for example, it’s possible to rent one or contact the Education Desk. If your personal circumstances prevent you from taking the exam at home, it’s possible to take the exam in one of the UvA’s buildings, after contacting the study programme, and following the safety guidelines of National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM). The online proctoring software can then be used there. The Examinations Board of your study programme will assess whether there’s sufficient reason to use alternative testing.
Each study programme will decide for itself whether online proctoring will be used. If indeed no good alternatives can be found and online proctoring is chosen, then the study programme will provide information about this well in advance.
An expansion of the research activities allowed at physical locations of Dutch universities, has been announced by the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW) in a new version of the ‘Servicedocument HO - aanpak Coronavirus COVID-19’ (in Dutch). Research activities in university buildings can proceed, provided that strict conditions are met: the research must be organised in such a way that it complies with the general instructions of the RIVM and the GGD, and they must be research activities that cannot be done remotely (from home).
The faculties will now identify which research activities within the UvA may be eligible to proceed under the new rules. More information is expected next week.
The Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science also announced that the profiling funds of Dutch universities are available for the financial support of students who have suffered a study delay due to being (or having been) sick with coronavirus or who are delayed due to having to provide informal care for family members who are (or were) sick with coronavirus. Students with children who, because of the corona measures, have had to combine their studies with caring for their children (who cannot go to school due to the situation) and who have therefore been delayed in their studies, are also entitled to access the profiling fund. According to OCW, the profiling fund is not intended for students who are delayed in their studies due to changes in the curriculum as a result of the corona measures. The implications for the UvA will be worked out in further detail next week.Up
Last night, the Dutch government amended and relaxed some of the coronavirus measures. For now this has had no impact on higher education: we will continue to work from home until at least 1 June and will continue using alternatives to on-campus teaching. In consultation with the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, in preparation for new governmental decisions, universities will draw up proposals for resuming (initially) small-scale, on-campus teaching and testing for which online alternatives couldn’t be found. These proposals are expected to be included in the government’s decisions of 13 May.
During the press conference, the government also announced that the ban on events requiring a licence will be extended until at least 1 September 2020. This will have consequences for the introduction weeks for new students in August and for the opening of the academic year.
Unfortunately the Introduction Week, the official welcome for new UvA students that was scheduled this year from 24 to 28 August, cannot take place in its usual form. Because we think it’s very important that Bachelor’s students get off to a good start at the UvA, the Introduction Week organisers are looking for other ways to do this. We don’t yet know what shape it will take, but we’re working on it.
The opening of the 2020-2021 academic year also cannot take place as it normally would, with a large audience attending in the Aula of the Lutheran Church. We are looking for alternatives.
At the moment there is no physical education at the UvA. To prevent or limit study delays, the UvA is trying to continue with examinations as much as possible. For each subject and study programme, we are looking at the online options for testing, such as timed take-home, oral, final assignment / paper, and manually parameterised tests - with an (almost) unique exam for each student.
For exams involving large groups of students, it is difficult to find workable alternative testing methods. To allow these exams to take place, the technology of online proctoring, which facilitates remote surveillance, is one possible solution. But there are also concerns about this form of exam. The UvA is now investigating both the options and the risks.
Before the UvA decides to use online proctoring, it is important to gather together all relevant information. The privacy of students and the conditions relating to the recording and storage of video images are important points for attention.
Three pilots are being held at the Faculty of Economics and Business. On the basis of these, plus an analysis of accompanying measures to guarantee privacy and an estimate of the required capacity of support for teachers, the UvA will make a decision on the use of online proctoring. This decision is expected to be made in early May. Should online proctoring become a reality at the UvA, the Examination Boards will also be involved in its implementation.
For the transition from the Bachelor's phase to the Master's, the UvA has opted for a so-called 'soft cut' with some restrictions. This is so that students who, because of the coronavirus measures, experience delays in the final phase of their Bachelor's programme, don’t find themselves stuck in between a Bachelor's and Master's programme.
Students with some degree of study delay can be admitted to a Master's programme, but only if the delay came about during courses in the second semester of this academic year (blocks 4, 5 and 6) and is related to the coronavirus measures. The delay may also not exceed 15 ECTS. With a delay of more than 15 ECTS, it’s no longer an achievable study programme: the student would have to earn too many ECTS in one year.
Students can complete their ‘missing’ Bachelor’s courses during the first (and often the only) year of the Master’s programme. They’ll be given the opportunity to do so throughout the academic year 2020-2021. This applies not only to UvA students but also to students who wish to go from a Bachelor's programme at another Dutch university to a Master's programme at the UvA.
Divergence from UvA-wide guidelines
For some programmes with a large practical component - skills, practical training - it hasn’t been possible these past months to offer all teaching or tests digitally. For these programmes, students in their third year may also enrol in a Master's programme in addition to their Bachelor's programme for the academic year 2020-2021. How and when the missed teaching can be caught up will be determined for each study programme. The entry requirements needed to be able to follow some parts of the Master’s programme will still be maintained.
Pre-Master’s students or ‘switchers’
Programmes will also show leniency towards pre-Master’s students (‘switchers’) who in 2019-2020 needed to complete courses in order to be admissible to a given Master’s programme. These students must have completed 80% of the pre-Master’s programme in order to be admitted. It’s also the case for these students that the study delay must have occurred during, and because of, the coronavirus crisis.
With these UvA-wide guidelines, we aim to limit study delays for students as much as possible and support them in progressing to the Master's phase.
All Master's programmes will inform prospective students before 15 May about any specific conditions for progressing to the Master’s phase for the academic year 2020-2021.
As we’re still working from home for the time being, and aren’t using public transport, we advise you to temporarily cancel your public transport subscription.
The tax allowance for staff who commute to and from work will continue. The Ministry of Finance has relaxed the rules for this. Employers are allowed to pay a tax-free travel allowance to their staff working from home for as long as the coronavirus measures are in place. The amount of the allowance will also remain the same. This adjustment will apply for as long as the recommendation to work from home is in force.
For prospective Bachelor’s and Master’s students exploring which programme might suit them, there’s a new source of information: ‘Instagram Chat’. Prospective students can ask questions of current students in different UvA study programmes using @uva_bachelor and @uva_master.
With over 100 students already registered to help, UvA students are showing their great willingness to help prospective students.
Prospective Bachelor's students can get information online in several ways: the ‘Study Choice Kick-off’ (in Dutch) offers a first look at different possibilities, ‘Experience Days’ allow you to watch an online lecture, do an assignment or chat with a programme information adviser, while ‘Student for a Day’ offers the option to meet a student on Zoom or FaceTime to ask questions.
As a result of the measures relating to the coronavirus some third-year students and pre-Master’s students may experience difficulties in completing their Bachelor’s programme and, therefore, starting their Master’s. The ‘Bachelor-before-Master’ rule means that in principle students can only start a Master’s after having completed their Bachelor’s programme. In these special circumstances universities want to provide students with solutions and minimalise delays for them in the transition from Bachelor’s to Master’s programmes resulting from the corona measures. However, there is such a variation between universities, programmes and the possible transitions between Bachelor’s and Master’s programmes that a ‘one size fits all’ solution is not possible. All universities will provide prospective students greater clarity about the conditions for admission for the individual Master’s programmes in the 2020-2021 academic year before 15 May. The UvA is currently working out guidelines about this and will inform the relevant target groups via their own programmes and departments.
The student council elections will be postponed by three weeks and will now be held in the week of 8-12 June. The processes surrounding the elections have also been adjusted in such a way that any moments requiring physical contact have been replaced by communications via the UvA website, social media, email and/or phone A poll by the Central Student Council showed that most faculty councils are in favour of postponing the elections, because recruiting candidates and organising campaigns is difficult under the current circumstances. There’s also a concern turnout may be low.
The postponement of the elections means the term for nominating candidates will also be moved, to 28 April through 7 May. As in previous years the elections will take place online: on 8 June all students entitled to vote will receive an invitation to vote from WebElect. The results of the student council elections will be announced on Thursday, 18 June. Read the news item.
Because of the measures relating to the coronavirus it has been agreed to follow the guideline in the recommendation of the UvA Matching Advisory Group, which means this year all UvA Matching activities for prospective students will be offered online and participation in Matching will not be a compulsory requirement. Although it is no longer a requirement, we do want to expressly encourage all prospective students to take part in online Matching. This is in their best interests as well as the programmes’: it enables prospective students to find out whether they have made the right choice for them and gives programmes the opportunity to provide advice. All programmes will therefore provide a form of online Matching.
Students who apply before 1 June 2020 can take part in online Matching. At the latest, this will take place at the end of June. The form it will take will vary according to the programme, from online assignments done independently to interactive activities in the form of livestreams, tests and interviews, or a combination of these.
Can I still present an informal introductory talk during my online defence? Can my assistants attend the ceremony? And how will I get my PhD certificate? These are some examples of the questions the Office of the Beadle is currently receiving. The answers to these and other frequently asked questions from PhDs can now be found on a dedicated webpage.
In order to be able to continue teaching and providing teaching support, the UvA recently purchased the online meeting and teaching software program Zoom. In response to media reports and employees’ questions about the safety and privacy aspects of Zoom, additional information is available about working with Zoom. UvA employees and students can find the information on staff website and the student website.
A ‘Corona Research Fund’ has been set up to raise funds for Amsterdam UMC researchers to enable them to conduct new and urgent scientific research into the coronavirus. Supported by the fundraising institutions of the Amsterdam UMC, UvA and VU, the fund offers individuals, companies and organisations a way to contribute to the fight against the coronavirus. Just like the participating funds, the UvA and the VU have each made an initial donation of €25,000 and a nice sum has already been raised from private donations. ‘This exceptional situation requires exceptional measures. If scientists succeed in learning more about the virus, we can hopefully find a solution quickly,' said Joost Wiersinga, an internist specialising in infectious diseases and Head of Amsterdam UMC’s Infectious Diseases department.
Yesterday evening the cabinet announced that the measures aimed at controlling the spread of the coronavirus will be extended up to and including 28 April. For the UvA this does not involve any changes in the short term – it was already decided last week that education would be provided online and staff would work from home until at least 1 June - but we do of course understand the major impact this has on staff and students. We are paying special attention to this this in the UvA newsletters today.
In the coming period students and staff can continue to make use of the library lending service online, but the option of borrowing physical books and other materials via the catalogue will not be available as of 12:00 on 2 April. From then on, every request for a physical copy will be forwarded to one of the Library’s information specialists, who will look for an e-copy (open access or paid) and/or parts of publications in online repositories. If no online version is available, Library staff will discuss alternatives with the person requesting the material, such as scanning part of the book. As a last resort, if no other option is available, the physical book can be supplied. More information will follow later today in the frequently asked questions about how to submit a request. The last requests can be picked up from the Library until 12:00 on Monday, 6 April at the latest.
Tomorrow, the Dutch cabinet will decide on measures regarding the coronavirus after 6 April. On Tuesday evening, the Cabinet will hold a press conference. On Wednesday morning, the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU) will discuss the impact for Dutch universities. The UvA’s central crisis team will then look at whether the Cabinet's decisions warrant changes to the UvA’s own measures. UvA staff and students will be informed about this on Wednesday afternoon through the UvA’s newsletters. If there is news to report earlier, we will post it on our Coronavirus updates page.
Interview with Rector Karen Maex on UvA Radio
Interviewers Timon Tamminga (in Dutch) and Felix Faillace (in English) spoke at length with the UvA’s Rector Karen Maex. They discussed, among other things, the impact of the coronavirus on teaching and research. ‘You see the value of a university. When something happens in a society, a university isn’t separate from that. This is of course a very special situation. Researchers are immediately affected and begin working on it in the margins or in the middle of ongoing research,’ said Karen Maex in the Dutch radio interview. The measures also have a major impact on the organisation as a whole: ‘We’ve noticed that the UvA community has responded with great agility. They are involved in every possible way, from professors, lecturers, PhD researchers and students to support staff. The entire community is putting its shoulder to the wheel.’
UvA Radio makes radio for Dutch and international students. You can listen to the podcasts via Spotify or Soundcloud:
Interview with Karen Maex in English:
Interview with Karen Maex in Dutch:
Information for international students
We have added a page with information specifically aimed at international students. You can find this here.
Tips for studying from home
Studying from home 100% is a new experience for most students, with a huge impact. On uva.nl/studying-at-home you can find tips to help ease the transition to studying from home.
Online PhD defences
PhD candidates who are going to defend their dissertation online still have many questions, mainly practical ones. Together with the Communications Office, the Office of the Beadle is working on a webpage with FAQs for PhD candidates. It is expected this will become available in the course of next week.
The first of the Uva’s online defences took place yesterday and proceeded without any problems. Read the news article.
Working from home for staff
For staff working from home is also something many are still getting used to. It demands a lot from everyone and also leads to questions. The staff site includes a page dedicated to working from home to help you find your way in these new and exceptional circumstances. You can now find occupational health and safety tips for working from home here too.
Online education and working from home extended until June 1
Last night, the government announced a series of new measures to combat the spread of the coronavirus. One measure states that all gatherings, including those with fewer than 100 people, have been banned through to 1 June. Because of these extra measures, unfortunately, we are obliged to offer all teaching and testing online until 1 June. The advice to work and study from home as much as possible has also been extended until 1 June. For practical training that cannot be offered online, we are looking for a tailored solution.
We’re aware that this is a drastic measure for both students and staff. For this reason, we’re for now keeping the option open of providing on-campus teaching after 1 June.
Video message from Geert ten Dam to staff
Working from home with children around you, an unstable VPN connection, video calls lacking sound or image, while at the same time providing good quality online teaching...That's tough. UvA Executive Board member Geert ten Dam would like to show everyone her support in this video message:
PhD defence ceremonies
As long as the measures related to the coronavirus remain in force at the UvA, PhD defence ceremonies will take place online (using Zoom) rather than on location in the Aula or the Agnietenkapel. The Office of the Beadle is busy with all the preparations, including a doing trial run on Zoom. The first online PhD defence is scheduled for later this week on Thursday, 26 March.
The coronavirus is also having far-reaching consequences for pupils in secondary school who were to take their school-leaving examinations: it was announced this morning that the central final exams have been cancelled. The application deadline for university programmes has been postponed and matching is being organised online where possible. The diplomas being awarded in this special situation are for the UvA fully valid.
Space will be created in the academic calendar allowing for tests to be taken at alternative times and binding study advice will be postponed by one year. Below is a summary of the most important decisions taken today by the board of the UvA, in consultation with the deans of the faculties. The information in the FAQs will also be adjusted as far as is possible today to reflect any new information. Students will receive specific information about their exams from their study programme as soon as possible.
For courses in block 4 where no online assessment alternatives can be offered at the end of the block (end of March), study programmes will plan alternative assessment times. There are several options for this: during blocks 5 and 6, in the resit period in weeks 27 and 28, or in an extra week which has been added to the academic year (week 29) for the purpose of administering tests.
Note: the alternative assessment times will differ per study programme; sufficient time will be allowed between a test and the resit of that test. Students will receive more information about the dates and method of the assessment from their study programme.
The UvA will not issue any negative binding study advice (BSA) to students for the current academic year. Instead, students will receive a deferred BSA, which gives them the opportunity to complete the required number of credits for the BSA in two academic years instead of one. This applies to all students; therefore, they do not have to demonstrate that they have not achieved the required number of points as a result of the coronavirus. If students have obtained enough points, they can still receive a positive BSA.
A large number of students are currently hard at work writing a thesis. In principle, the deadlines for the theses remain the same. However, due to the corona measures, some students may not be able to collect the necessary data or will have less access to relevant sources. Study programmes will take these restrictions into account as much as possible. If necessary, programmes will discuss measures that can be taken to help alleviate such issues, for example by offering students existing data sets. If completion of a thesis is not possible, study programmes will offer adapted arrangements to the students in question. These arrangements will be determined in consultation with the Examination Board of the study programme, taking into account the overall learning objectives.
Unfortunately, as long as the corona measures are in place, graduation ceremonies and diploma ceremonies will be postponed until further notice. In exceptional cases, a diploma can be sent by registered mail on request.
We are following the travel advice of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The travel advice for international students is - where possible and when it can be done safely - to return to their home country. The UvA advises international students not to deregister prematurely if they intend to continue the studies. The UvA will make every effort to offer alternative (online) forms of education to all students. If necessary, this will also apply in the long term with regard to alternative forms of assessment. In short, we will do everything we can to prevent study delays for all students wherever possible. International students who still want to deregister from the UvA can submit a request for deregistration via Studielink. You will be refunded tuition fees from the moment of your deregistration in Studielink to the end of the current academic year.
The National Student Survey will be cancelled this year. The survey would have been sent out to students from 20 April onwards. This is no longer realistic in the current situation. Any measurements taken could present an incorrect picture (all kinds of other effects could be measured) as a result of the situation around corona.
Students will be further informed by their study programmes about the concrete effects of the new decisions.
After consulting with the Association of Universities (VSNU), the Minister of Education, Culture and Science has just taken a number of important decisions on topics including the binding study advice and registration deadlines for programmes. During these discussions with the Minister the Dutch universities indicated they would act according to the spirit of the resulting document.
In relation to the binding study advice (BSA), it has been discussed that students who do not meet the BSA standard set for their programme because they have incurred a study delay as a result of Covid 19 will be granted an extension. They will get the chance to gain a positive study advice in the 2020-2021 academic year. The universities will draw up more detailed guidelines to determine to which students this applies. Students who meet the BSA norm in 2019-2020 will receive a positive study advice this year.
As for the registration deadlines for Bachelor’s and Master’s programmes, which in a lot of cases is 1 May, the general plan is to extend these to 1 June.
Read more about the agreements here (in Dutch).
On Friday morning the UvA’s Executive Board will discuss what the consequences of these measures will be for UvA students and staff.
We hope to be able to provide more information about this in an update on Friday afternoon.
Today the Doctorate Board decided that all doctoral defences in the period from 23 March through 6 April will go ahead in online form. Instead of defending their dissertations to their supervisors, the Chair and the other members of the doctoral committee in person, doctoral candidates will be doing so from behind their PC or laptop at home, using the online platform ZOOM.
We cannot predict how long the current situation surrounding the coronavirus will continue. That is why the Doctorate Board has opted for this online alternative, so PhD candidates can complete what they have worked so hard on for four years and take the next step in their careers. The Board greatly regrets that these circumstances will prevent the defence ceremonies from being celebrated in the presence of family, friends and colleagues.
The Office of the Beadle has informed all the relevant PhD candidates and their supervisors by email. The Doctorate Board is expected to take a decision regarding the PhD defence ceremonies scheduled after 6 April next week.
This afternoon the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and the Association of Universities (VSNU) are discussing a number of important issues that concern all universities in the Netherlands. These include the binding study advice, tuition fees, registration deadlines and enrolment in Bachelor’s and Master’s programmes, possible financial consequences of the coronavirus and the possible repatriation of staff and students currently in other countries.
We understand you still have many questions, about your study progress for example. In the course of this evening after the next steps to be taken have been announced, we will post a short update with a link to the VSNU website.
Tomorrow (Friday, 20 March) we will post a more detailed update on the consequences for UvA staff and students.
A number of UvA Buildings will close starting from the evening of 18 March until at least Monday, 6 April. It will be possible for staff members to pick things up from buildings that are closed.
Some buildings will remain open to offer staff and students for whom working remotely is not an option a place to work. In addition, some buildings will remain open because specific research, care for animals or plants, essential lab work or other activities need to continue.
In the FAQ ‘Buildings and facilities’ you can find an overview listing which buildings are closed and which will remain open with adjusted opening hours.
The information for UvA staff about working from home has been adjusted as a result of a number of questions we received. You can find the adjusted information in the FAQ 'Working and studying from home'.
Preparation for renewal of measures
The government's choice to have the coronavirus spread in a controlled manner and thereby to gradually build up group immunity could mean that the measures that have now been taken will be extended beyond 6 April. Although that is not yet certain, we must prepare for it.
Impact on staff and students
It will be a difficult time and it will have a big impact on us all. We are very aware of that. The switch to online education is not easy to arrange for every study programme, lessons need to be adjusted, study advisers are receiving many questions that they do not always have answers to, PhD candidates are having to postpone their long-awaited defences. And international students in particular find themselves in a vulnerable and sometimes uncertain position.
We want to do everything we can to prevent study delays and, together, to ensure continuity: by working and studying online as much as possible, even with all the limitations that that entails. Block 5 will therefore be given online; we are working hard to set this up for every study programme.
It is great to see initiatives being launched to support digital teaching, tips and tricks being passed on, virtual workgroups being created and everyone willing to be flexible to make the best of it. On the other hand, we are also fully aware of the complexity that is often involved: trying to give a lecture at home with children around you, online connections that do not work, no place or equipment to quietly Skype, study or follow a web lecture. It is not easy. It demands a lot from everyone.
In the newsletters sent this afternoon to staff and students, we try to answer questions about working from home, online teaching, travel policy and other matters. These questions and answers will of course also be available in the overview of frequently asked questions on this webpage uva.nl/coronavirus.
We do not yet have an answer to a number of important questions about registration dates, exams and binding study advice, partly because this is being coordinated by central government in The Hague. Many study programmes are currently working on organising alternatives to the written exams at the end of this block. The alternatives decided upon may differ per study programme.
We hope to provide more clarity on this no later than Friday. Keep an eye on this page for general updates and on Canvas for information from your study programme.
Once again, it is great to see that you are supporting each other and are taking into account those who are having a difficult time, whether it be through illness, caring for others, having children around the house or any other reason. Thank you for that.
Government measures prolonged and extended: no on-campus teaching at the UvA until Monday, 6 April
On Sunday, 15 March, the government took additional measures to tackle the coronavirus. In line with these extra measures, there will be no on-campus teaching at the UvA until Monday, 6 April.
Further consultations will take place today with the Examinations Board regarding binding study advice (BSA) and examinations. More concrete information is expected on Friday, following national consultations on Thursday.
Teaching will be offered as much as possible online. Keep an eye on Canvas for more information about this. The same attendance requirements apply to this form of teaching as to other forms, except in the case of a force majeure, such as a technical failure.
Interview with Geert ten Dam in Folia
Folia spoke to UvA President Geert ten Dam on Friday, 13 March about how the decision came about, and what the consequences are: ‘We have never experienced this before, and we are not going to expect the impossible from anyone.’
The next update is scheduled for Tuesday, 17 March, around noon, or earlier if necessary.
The goal is to ensure that the current period can be completed, the exams can be taken at another time or in another manner than usual, and that the next period – beginning 30 March - will be offered online as much as possible. The aim is to minimise the negative effects for students and to prevent study delays. Various scenarios for facilitating this will be discussed with the faculties over the coming days. The Ministry of Education is also working on guidelines. More information will follow after the weekend.
On the CANVAS page ‘Keep on Teaching’ (login with UvAnetID) there are ‘tips & tricks’ available for lecturers regarding the provision of education online. This page will be updated daily over the coming period. A Dutch version will also be available as of next week. Are you a teacher and do you need more information or do you have suggestions? On the CANVAS homepage there is a link to a discussion section where you can give feedback.
A decision will be taken at a later date on whether or not events and meetings scheduled at the UvA after 6 april will be go ahead. Communication on this issue will follow once a decision has been made.
The next update is expected to be published on Monday, 16 March, around noon.
At various points throughout the day, consultations will be held regarding the pressing issues – both practical and education-related - that we at the UvA are facing due to the situation surrounding the coronavirus.
What is currently clear? As communicated yesterday, UvA buildings will remain open. For the time being, this applies to the University Library and the various faculty locations, and therefore also to study areas. Should that change, it will be reported in an update later this afternoon. The USC, SPUI25 and CREA are all closed. All in-person education and exams are cancelled until 31 March, and so are all UvA events such as conferences and inaugural lectures. As far as PhD defences are concerned, it is expected that these will be able to continue, provided that the number of people involved is limited. The ICTS department is currently working on creating a page in CANVAS with tips and tricks for teachers regarding online education.
Numerous questions are coming in via email@example.com and social media about distance education, the rescheduling of examinations, possible delays to study progress, and whether events planned for later than 31 March will still take place or not. These issues are being discussed internally and we will report on the outcomes as soon as possible. The next update is expected to be released around 4 p.m.
Following the cabinet's press conference and the advice of RIVM, we are considering the measures to be taken in relation to teaching and working activities at the UvA. We will report this to students and staff as soon as possible and we will also complete all the information on this page.
After consulting with experts the UvA has regretfully had to decide that the Bachelor’s Day scheduled for this Saturday, 14 March cannot go ahead, to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus. The most important reason is the large number of visitors from other parts of the country and from abroad.
We will inform all participants directly. in the course of next week we hope to provide prospective students with the information they would otherwise get on location at the Bachelor’s Day as best we can online, in the form of video recordings.
You can find more information about this decision here.
The new measures announced by the cabinet to limit the consequences of the coronavirus also have major implications for the UvA. It has been decided that for the rest of this month teaching activities will be provided in digital form as much as possible, staff are advised to work from home and large-scale events such as the Bachelor’s Day will be cancelled.
From Friday 13 March, at least until 6 April, no teaching activities (lectures, tutorials, etc.) will take place on location at the UvA. All teaching activities will, as far as possible, be provided in digital form. More information on this will follow as soon as possible.
Any exams planned this month will not go ahead, unless there are exams that can be taken remotely. The UvA feels this situation should not be allowed to affect your study progress and we are doing our very best to find a fitting solution. For further information we advise you to keep a close eye on Canvas.
The aim is that more information will follow on this as soon as possible. This will be communicated via uva.nl/coronavirus, on Canvas and/or via your programme.
Placements or internships may be able to continue, depending on the location. This is up to students and the organisations where they are doing their placement to decide this on an individual basis.
If decisions are taken specifically affecting your programme or department you will be informed of this separately. If you are a student of medicine or dentistry special rules and guidelines apply; you can find these on Tulp Intranet and Actanet.
All UvA events will be cancelled, regardless of the location. This will also have major consequences. Earlier on the decision was already taken to cancel the Bachelor’s Day, but this also means that until 1 April events such as inaugural lectures and conferences cannot go ahead either. This also applies to events organised by student associations. At this moment expectations are that PhD defence ceremonies will go ahead, although the number of people who can attend will be restricted.
All staff are advised to work from home as much as possible. This will require consultation with your supervisor. UvA buildings will remain open. One reason is that in certain locations ongoing research and other activities require people to be present on location.
Staff who have a cold, cough or fever must stay home.
The capacity of our VPN connection will be extended so that it will also be possible to connect to network drives, SAP, CORSA and other systems from home. We do urgently ask you to avoid keeping your VPN connection running unnecessarily when you are not using it. Naturally we advise you to take your laptop home with you.
There are still many questions and issues to answer and resolve. We will continue to inform everyone as soon as possible via the website, newsletters and Canvas.
Note: Please see the update for 12-03-2020 - the situation has changed and unfortunately the Bachelor's Day cannot go ahead.
There are no new general updates to report as of 12:00 today.
We do specifically want to inform visitors and staff scheduled to attend the UvA Bachelor's Day on 14 March that for now the event is set to go ahead as planned. The UvA is following the guidelines of the RIVM and GGD: at this moment there is no reason to avoid or cancel events. We do advise visitors to check their email regularly or keep an eye on our website for the latest developments surrounding the coronavirus, as the situation could change.
From Monday evening 9 March the rule is that we don't shake hands at the UvA.
Based on the new goverment guidelines, the UvA is asking staff members who live in North Brabant to work from home as much as possible during the coming seven days. This applies to staff whose duties allow for this. If you are scheduled to teach, working from home will not be possible and we will expect you to come to the UvA to teach as usual. Contact your supervisor to discuss whether working from home is an option for you. The above only applies to staff members who live in North Brabant. Staff members who live in North Brabant and who have a cold, cough, or have a fever must stay home or work from home.
What if you have a work or study-related appointment in North Brabant? As a general rule, don't go to the appointment but try to find another way of holding the meeting, by phone for instance.
Many people who are experiencing cold and flu symptoms are staying home as a precaution. As soon as the symptoms have passed you can go back to the UvA again the next day. If the symptoms get worse and you develop a temperature, cough and/or shortness of breath, and if you have also been to an area with a high rate of contamination or have been in contact with someone with the virus, you need to contact your GP. (Source: RIVD)
In response to questions from students and staff about what is covered by UvA insurance if work or study trips need to be changed or cancelled, we’ve added a number of new frequently asked questions and answers to the FAQ page under the heading ‘Travel’.
The UvA has travel insurance through Meijers. In principle, any trip that’s part of a curriculum (students) or work-related (in the case of UvA employees) can be covered by the UvA’s travel insurance. Cover extends to cancellations and all travel-related costs (e.g. ticket, taxi, accommodation costs). For example, if you are attending a conference abroad and it’s cancelled, you can submit a claim to Meijers.
We would like to again remind students and staff who are planning to travel for study or work to check the travel advice of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has four travel advisory levels: green, yellow, orange and red. You can find the travel advice for all areas and countries on www.nederlandwereldwijd.nl. What each colour (yellow, orange or red) means for students and staff is described below:
Yellow advice: (Attention, safety risks)
One or a few infections have been identified, which may mean in a (growing) risk for continuity and safety. Students and staff should keep an eye on developments in the region and consider whether the risks are manageable and acceptable before traveling.
Orange advice: (Only necessary trips)
There is a high risk of infection for people in the named region. Many institutions and public places are closing their doors and universities are cancelling classes. A negative travel advice applies to students and staff. Employees/researchers who have an urgent need to travel anyway must first discuss this with the director of their institution or faculty. Students and employees in the region are urged to return.
Red advice: (Do not visit)
There is a very high risk of infection for people in the named region. Everyday life has been disrupted and traveling within and to the region is (almost) impossible. A negative travel advice applies to students and staff. Students and employees in the region are actively being repatriated and faculties are in contact with them to offer support where necessary.
The RIVM (National Institute for Public Health and Environmental Protection) advises inhabitants of the province of Noord-Brabant to minimize social contact if they have symptoms of a cold, coughing, or fever. This means: stay at home. For instance, work from home, do not visit other people or places where many people congregate. Should you have symptoms and still want to go out, try as much as possible to keep a distance from other people. This will reduce the risk of inadvertently spreading the virus. Call your doctor only if your symptoms get worse.
Go to the FAQ.
Yesterday the Ministry of Foreign Affairs adjusted its travel advice for Northern Italy. The travel advice applies to the following regions: the Aosta Valley, Peidmont, Liguria, Lombardy, Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Veneto and Emilia-Romagna. Code orange now applies to all these regions. The Ministry advises against all non-essential travel to this region, to prevent further infections with the corona virus in the Netherlands.
The UvA follows the recommendations of the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM). The latest travel guidelines for different destinations can be found on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. As long as code orange applies to the above regions in Northern Italy, travel to this region cannot go ahead. Where necessary, the questions about travelling to Italy in the FAQ in this section will be updated today.
The Academic Centre for Dentistry Amsterdam (ACTA) has decided to cancel a number of courses because of surgical mask scarcity in the wake of high demand related to the coronavirus. ACTA will inform students, lecturers and patients who are affected by this. Students of the Faculty of Dentistry must follow ACTA guidelines. These can be found on ACTAnet and Canvas. This means that for dentistry students, the ACTA guidelines prevail over the information on the UvA website.
Students of the Faculty of Medicine must follow the guidelines of Amsterdam University Medical Center (Amsterdam UMC), which can be found on the Tulp intranet system. For Medicine students these Amsterdam UMC guidelines prevail over the information on the UvA website.
The National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) held a press conference on Sunday, 1 March and has finetuned its advice regarding the coronavirus. The UvA is following this advice closely.
Have you recently returned from a higher-risk area AND have symptoms such as coughing or shortness of breath? As long as you have these symptoms, stay home. These symptoms could be the start of Covid-19. Stay home to give yourself time to recover and to avoid infecting others. Call the doctor if your symptoms worsen.
This applies to the following areas (for an updated list see the RIVM website):
The RIVM website now also provides information in Chinese.
There are now people in the Netherlands who are infected with the coronavirus. Events at the UvA will continue as usual. At some point today, the Dutch government will open a new hotline: 0800-1351.
Students or staff members with questions about the coronavirus can also send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Students of the Faculty of Medicine must follow the guidelines of Amsterdam University Medical Center (Amsterdam UMC), which can be found on the Tulp intranet system. For Medicine students these Amsterdam UMC guidelines prevail over the information on the UvA website.
If you are in the Netherlands and you have a cold or lung problems, you probably needn’t worry about having the new coronavirus. There is a much greater chance that you simply have the flu or another cold virus.
Contact your doctor or the local your municipal public health service (GGD) in the following circumstances:
The doctor will consult with the GGD as to whether you need to be tested for the coronavirus. It’s important to contact your doctor as soon as possible by telephone (to prevent possible infections), to follow your doctor's instructions closely, and to inform your study programme coordinator or manager.
In three provinces, namely Lombardy, Veneto and Emilia-Romagna, all activities related to teaching have been suspended up to and including 29 February. This information comes from the website of the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research. The UvA has exchange agreements with seven partner universities in these provinces. We will contact all exchange students who are currently at one of these partner institutions. We'll also get in touch with staff who are staying in one of these regions for study or research. We advise against travelling to these 3 provinces, at least until after 29 February.
The UvA advises students and researchers not to travel to China for the time being. Because of the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, our partner universities in various Chinese cities are closed for teaching and research. The UvA is remaining in contact with students and staff who are already in China as much as possible.
We advise staff members and students who have plans to travel to that region to not travel to China.
Because of quarantines in many Chinese cities, it's possible that a number of Chinese students in Amsterdam are unable to travel back home or to their home university as planned. For information or questions, they can contact email@example.com.
For the time being we are welcoming students from China as usual. We urge students who have recently been to Wuhan or Hubei province, or who have been in close contact with people from Wuhan or Hubei province who show symptoms to contact their doctor or the General Practitioners Practice UvA by phone or email immediately.
Chinese exchange students who currently live in Amsterdam and have recently travelled to China are advised to contact a doctor by phone or email if they have any symptoms resembling those of the coronavirus (ie. you have a fever of 38 degrees celcius or higher, a cough, breathing problems or shortness of breath).
Students who are on exchange as part of the Global Exchange Programme in Amsterdam, China, Hong Kong SAR and Taiwan (semesters one and two) have been contacted.