Ghent University switches to code red

The University of Ghent will switch to code red for educational activities from Monday 26 October. Ghent University reports this in a press release on Thursday morning. It is the first higher education institution to do so. ‘It’s a shame for Ghent University and its students, but we have to’, Rector Rik Van de Walle said on Radio 1 on Thursday morning.

In concrete terms, this means that there will be no more lectures on campus within a week and a half. For labs and practicals, it will be examined whether these can be organized corona proof. Work and study places will remain available and the current guidelines on teleworking will continue to apply. The rector calls on all Ghent University employees to carry out remote workable tasks at home as far as possible.

For students who are doing an internship, the safety regulations that apply to the internship place apply, according to Ghent University.

Mental preparation

The university is waiting until October 26 before the new rules come into effect ‘because that still requires some mental preparation and some logistical organization is also needed. The situation is what it is and we have to get through it. But we have to take responsibility and protect our students and staff. ‘ For example, Van de Walle explained the decision on Radio 1.

Previously, Ghent University had said it would keep code orange until mid-November, but ‘the corona figures and the indicators are going in the wrong direction, and then I am expressing myself softly’, Van de Walle continued. ‘We talked to experts and they are on the same page and recommended code red. … If possible, we will relax again, but it does not look like we will be able to do so anytime soon. Then we have to renew that code in red. ‘

‘The exams, in January, will also be corona-proof in any case: with a limited presence on the campuses and partly online. I would like to emphasize that the students will not experience any delay in their studies, ‘said the rector. ‘We will organize everything online that is possible. What is not possible online, we do in the university buildings anyway. ‘

The press release with the announcement also stated that the university does not want to avoid its social responsibility: ‘Students (and staff) not only run the risk of becoming infected themselves, but also of infecting non-UGents in their turn. . We are thinking, for example, of risk groups such as grandparents. ‘

The university will maintain this policy for at least four teaching weeks, until November 22. “We will relax again as soon as possible”, it sounds.

Practical information can be found on the university’s website itself.

Own course

Flemish universities have been following their own course for some time when it comes to color codes. For example, some universities started the academic year in code yellow, and others immediately in code orange. Politically, that decision was a sensitive one at the time. Flemish Minister of Education Ben Weyts (N-VA) was not pleased with the decision.

Thomas More university of applied sciences and the KU Leuven and VUB universities, which started the academic year in code yellow, have also recently announced that they will tighten their measures. Code orange will be used there from Monday. This means that only one in five seats in an auditorium may be occupied and that a mouth mask is mandatory. Education up to fifty people can continue in code orange with an occupancy rate of one in two with a mouth mask, or one in five without.

‘What the other universities are doing is their decision. But I see that everyone has become stricter, we are now going one step further. It’s a shame for Ghent University and its students, but it has to be done, ‘Van de Walle concluded.

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