A Covid pass for on-campus lectures? Radboud University says no
The government is considering implementing a 3G-policy in order to keep universities open during the corona peak of the winter months. This means that students who want to follow lectures on-campus will have to present a corona pass. Radboud University foresees obstacles.
The odds that there will be a 3G-policy in higher education have increased now that outgoing Health Minister Hugo de Jong has set up a draft decision for such a policy. The intent is to make in-person education possible despite the high number of corona infections, in contrast to the previous lockdowns.
Students who want to follow lectures on campus will have to be able to present a corona pass while the policy is in effect. Only those who have been vaccinated, cured, or have recently been tested for corona, are welcome on-campus. Everyone else will have to follow their courses online.
House of Representatives
However, according to the draft decision there are a few exceptions to the use of the corona pass. For instance, universities are not allowed to ask students for a corona pass when administering tests and exams. Additionally, education must always remain accessible for those students who do not have a corona pass. It is possible that hybrid education will have to meet this demand.
‘We are in favour of safe education, preferably without 3G’
As of this moment it is unclear if the policy will be implemented. Education Minister Ingrid van Engelshoven (D66), who wants to prevent a new lockdown for higher education, stated at the end of August that a corona pass would be a good tool to meet this goal. But the question is whether a majority in the House of Representatives (Du: Tweede Kamer) feels the same way.
In any case, Radboud University is not a proponent of the plans. ‘We are in favour of making education as safe as possible for everyone, without 1.5-meter distance; preferably without 3G’, as stated by university spokesperson Martijn Gerritsen. According to him, checking all the corona passes will be very difficult to implement. But he goes on to say: ‘Naturally, we feel responsible for public health and we will continue to follow the government’s directives.’
‘The government is asking for the impossible’
What is certain is that the implementation of the 3G-policy would have a lot of consequences for Radboud University. It would require universities to set up a test street where students can get checked for corona – there are already similar initiatives at RadboudUMC and Utrecht University. ‘We don’t know yet exactly how to organise this’, Gerritsen says. ‘We could do checks at random for practicality’s sake, as is being done at German universities.’
The Universities of the Netherlands -the new name of umbrella organisation VSNU- hopes that the government will come up with an alternative solution. ‘The government is asking Dutch colleges and universities for the impossible’, the organisation states on their website. According to the UVN, requiring corona passes is unquestionably limiting access to education.
The education umbrella organisation is asking the House of Representatives to search for alternatives, considering the self-reported high degree of vaccination and the few corona outbreaks in the sector.
Public Enquiry Meeting
Student political groups AKKUraatd and asap will be hosting a public enquiry meeting on corona regulations, at Radboud University on Monday, November 29th. Subjects of the evening include the mask requirement, QR codes, the 3G policy and hybrid education.
‘Division on corona regulations is not only prevalent in society, but among students as well’, explains AKKUraatd secretary Fleur van Zuijlen. ‘That’s why we will not be hosting a debate, but rather an inclusive public enquiry.’ The enquiry can be attended both on-campus and online. Members of the University Student Council will also be present. ‘They can then raise the students’ comments with the university’s Board of Governors’, according to Van Zuijlen.
The public enquiry will commence in theatre hall C, at 19:00 hours; there is room available for 75 students. The enquiry can also be attended online.