Coronavirus - archive updates

VU Amsterdam continuously informs its students and staff about the most recent developments in connection with the outbreak and spread of the coronavirus. Below you will find (most) of the updates that have appeared on vu.nl.

PLEASE NOTE: these updates may contain outdated information. Please read the latest information on vu.nl/coronavirus.

Student exchange second semester
The Executive Board has confirmed the procedure for student exchange in the second semester. Due to global developments regarding the corona virus including the associated travel restrictions and health risks, the Executive Board has decided to cancel the physical exchange programmes for semester two completely. The forecasts offer little hope that the situation will change in such a positive way that student exchange will be possible. 

Outgoing students will be informed if a virtual exchange with a partner university is an option for the second semester, and will be informed about possibilities for (online) Summer Schools at partner universities. This timely decision gives VU students sufficient time to research alternatives for the coming semester. More information can be found on VUnet.

The Semester in the Amsterdam programme (fee-paying exchange) has not been cancelled. More information can be found here.

Yesterday, the central government announced new measures to reduce the rapid spread of the coronavirus. These new measures will enter into force today at 6 p.m. and will in any case be in force for the next three weeks. What does this mean for VU Amsterdam?

The planned education on campus can continue. We do, however, make an urgent appeal to study and work at home, unless there is really no other option.

Education at VU Amsterdam
Scheduled education on campus can continue and teachers and students may travel to VU Amsterdam to teach and follow education. Teachers can continue to use the available facilities for online education. The six-feet distance rule applies to the organisation of our education, not the maximum group size of 30 people. If, due to circumstances, scheduled education on campus still has to be given online, students will be informed via Canvas. Students who are also attending education at institutions other than VU Amsterdam are advised to keep an eye on the information from both educational organisations.

Research at VU Amsterdam
Research that cannot be done from home can be carried out on campus on the basis of research protocols. For research, too, working from home remains the norm and we ask you to keep your presence on campus to a minimum. Researchers can consult with their manager about conducting their research on campus.

Studying at home remains the norm
A limited number of study places remain available for students who really are not able to study at home. If you come to study on campus, please follow the agreed basic rules at VU Amsterdam. If you are able to study at home, you will do so and not come to campus. Check vu.nl/studyathome for tips on studying at home.

Working from home remains the norm
There have recently been more opportunities to work on campus, but at this stage of the corona crisis, we are now making an urgent appeal to work from home, unless this is impossible. You can only come to campus for location-based work, such as teaching, educational support and carrying out necessary research. Employees who are unable to work from home due to their personal circumstances are also still allowed to come to campus. If you come to the campus, please adhere to the agreed basic rules. Consult with your manager if your presence is necessary. Check vu.nl/workfromhome for tips on working from home.

Academic meetings at VU Amsterdam
PhD defence ceremonies, orations, graduation meetings and graduation ceremonies can be organised in small groups, with a maximum of 30 visitors. Unfortunately, the usual receptions cannot take place at VU Amsterdam afterwards. For other meetings and events, we will initially look at whether they can be postponed or whether they can take place in another form.

Mouth mask
VU Amsterdam also has to deal with regional corona measures. In addition to the national measures, mayor Femke Halsema of Amsterdam advised to wear a face mask in publicly accessible indoor areas. This does not apply to our university. Everyone is free to make a choice when it comes to wearing a face mask at VU Amsterdam and we will respect each other's choice in this.

The new measures are a nuisance, but they are necessary to prevent worse. We must continue our joint efforts to get the virus under control. Continue to adhere to the basic rules and the new measures that have been announced.

The new measures announced last Friday by the central government and the municipality of Amsterdam will not affect education and research on campus. Academic ceremonies on campus will not be affected by the measure of a restriction of 50 people and a reporting obligation for events.

Stick to the basic rules
The new measures are a consequence of a large increase in the number of coronavirus infections in the Netherlands. VU Amsterdam would therefore like to stress once again that it is very important that students and staff continue to abide by the basic rules, both privately and on campus. If this does not happen, it may be that new measures taken by the central government will result in steps towards full online education and location-based research will have to be discontinued. This would be a major step backwards. That is why it is important to take a closer look at the guidelines we follow at VU Amsterdam for working and studying at our campus. Also check the website of the Amsterdam Municipal Health Service (GGD) to find out what to do if someone in your area is infected.

Additional corona measures for the introduction days
The number of people infected with coronavirus has been increasing in recent weeks. At yesterday’s press conference the government called on educational institutions to organize introductory meetings online as much as possible and to limit necessary physical activities to informative meetings in small groups in order to reduce the spread of the virus.

VU Introduction Days: online and in small groups
The central programme of the VU Introduction Days was already planned online and will go ahead as planned. Study programmes and study associations will organize informative meetings in small groups for new students on campus, along the lines of previous corona relaxations. We are confident that we can continue the VU Introduction Days in a safe and responsible way - in consultation with the Amsterdam Safety Region.

Urgent call
The VU Introduction Days can only run smoothly and safely if everyone keeps to the basic rules at all times. We urge everyone to behave responsibly, also during the introduction days. Only by pulling together can we beat the virus.

On the webpage of the VU Introduction Days you will find more information about the introduction period and the introduction activities of our study programmes. Any changes to the programme will be published here and in the VU Introduction Days App.

In home quarantine if you're from abroad?
The number of people infected with the coronavirus is increasing again and a number of countries or certain parts of countries have recently received an orange travel advice (holiday trips not recommended, only necessary trips) or red travel advice (trips not recommended). On https://www.netherlandsworldwide.nl you will find the most up-to-date information.

If you travel to the Netherlands from a country or area with an orange or red travel advice, the Dutch government urgently advises you to go into home quarantine for 14 days. This applies to everyone entering the Netherlands, whether you are coming back from a holiday or as a foreign employee for the first time. The advice to go in home quarantine also applies to students who are studying at the VU or are starting their studies in September. More information about home quarantine can be found here. Information on self-quarantine for new international students after arrival in the Netherlands can be found here.

The VU expects students and employees to follow this urgent advice from the central government and go into home quarantine. Even if you have no symptoms or have been tested negative for COVID-19. The VU expects employees to work from home in this situation, provided there is no actual illness. In case of illness, the usual rules apply, of course, and you as an employee report your illness to your manager.

We expect employees and students to always follow the basic rules of the central government, also abroad.

Agreement on travelling to the VU campus
Amsterdam educational institutions, including VU Amsterdam, have reached an agreement with the city of Amsterdam and transport companies on travelling to the institutions and the use of public transport during rush hours in Amsterdam. This was a precondition for the relaxations announced by the government and will take effect on 1 August. The timetables will be set up in such a way that students can come to the educational institutions spread out. The agreement will be signed shortly and will be valid until 31 December 2020.

What does this mean for education at VU Amsterdam?
The regional agreement will enable students to travel – to a limited extend - during rush hour, starting September. Teaching hours will be spread out over during the day and week so that as many students as possible can travel by public transport outside rush hours. This will allow VU Amsterdam to make full use of the available capacity on campus, including the 1.5-metre rule, starting period 2 of the new academic year. Education on campus will start at 9:00 or 10:00 am. The timetables are currently being worked out and will soon be available on rooster.vu.nl.

Short distances by bike or on foot
In addition to the spread in starting times of lectures, all other forms of transport to VU Amsterdam have been considered: on foot, by bicycle, bus-tram-metro, train and car. Students who live relatively close to VU Amsterdam are asked to come on foot or by bike, which provides more space in the bus, tram and train for people who live further away.

Monitoring agreements
The parties involved will monitor the agreements and continue to discuss them. If it gets too crowded or in case of extra space, the agreements may need to be amended.

Until the end of 2020 hybrid education at VU Amsterdam

Because of the limited space at the VU campus due to the coronavirus measures, education will be taught in hybrid form until the end of 2020; mostly online, but on campus when possible. 

By making our education available in a hybrid form, we create scope for (locationbased) on-campus educational activities and meetings. Face-to-face contact between individual students and with teaching staff is crucial to personal and academic development, because studying is a joint effort.

First semester of the new academic year 
All lectures will be taught online throughout the first semester (September 2020 to January 2021). For other education activities and exams, we look at what is possible for each period.

For period 1 (Sept./Oct.) and period 2 (Noc./Dec.) this is now known:

  • All lectures will be taught online
  • All exams will take place remotely
  • All other educational activities; mostly online, but on campus when possible

A decision for education in period 3 will follow in October.

If students are enrolled in a course taught on campus but they are not able to come to the university, various online alternatives are available for them. This will unfortunately not be possible for locationbased education, such as practicals.

From 20 July students are able to register for courses in period 1 and their timetables will show which activities will be taking place on campus again. Because we will only be able to make limited use of campus facilities, on-campus activities will be spread out and will mainly consist of practicals and tutorials. It is therefore possible that students will have to wait until October or even later to come to the VU campus for education. If there is no location shown in the timetable, then the education will take place online.

From the 1st of September there are three possibilities for defence ceremonies at VU Amsterdam. 

  • Physical: with - next to the committee - a maximum of 30 guests. (reception for up to 40 guests possible within VU Amsterdam)
  • Hybrid: committee members can participate online in the physical promotion in the auditorium (reception for up to 40 guests possible within VU Amsterdam).
  • Online: the whole promotional ceremony is online

For orations and farewell speeches there is always a live stream available via the YouTube channel of the VU Beadle's Office. A maximum of 75 guests are allowed in the hall, including cortège. A reception afterwards within the main building of VU Amsterdam is not possible.

For more information, please visit VUnet 

No more public transport restrictions as of 1 August
The government announced new relaxations of the corona measures on the evening of Wednesday 24 June. One of the most important relaxations is that as of August 1, all travel restrictions for students will lapse. This creates more opportunities for physical education and meeting on our campus. We have worked hard to get this relaxation done and are pleased that our call for more physical contact between students and with teachers has been heard by the government.

The RIVM rules - e.g. keeping a distance of 1.5 meters - and their elaboration in our own campus protocols remain in force and space on campus will still be limited even after August 1st. Therefore, all lectures will be given online in the first semester of the new academic year and working groups will also take place mainly online. This also applies to taking exams. In doing so, we can use the scarce space on campus for location-based research and education and small-scale (educational) activities, focusing on meeting, working together and studying together. This is indispensable for our current students and even more so for prospective students who have yet to find their way.

Education on campus 
In period 1 of the first semester, education remains online for the majority of students, but due to the expansion of public transport, there are now more opportunities to facilitate the important physical contact between students and their instructors. We will try to organize it in such a way that every student will be able to come to VU Amsterdam in the first semester for education or other activities. This will be noticeable for most students from period 2 onwards, because the timetables for period 1 have almost been worked out. In period 2 we are going to work with spaced lecture times and an adapted educational programme to be able to use the campus as well as possible within the 1.5 meter rule. In addition, we will also ask anyone who lives within a reasonable distance of VU Amsterdam to come on foot or by bike. This will allow a little more space in buses, trams or trains for those who need to travel a greater distance.

Meetings on campus 
The government has also announced relaxations for meetings. A maximum on the number of visitors has been dropped, but the 1.5-metre rule continues to apply. As of the new academic year, promotions will again be planned on campus. Until then, they will be organized online. We are currently investigating whether we can also create space for other meetings on our campus.

Consultations with carriers 
VU Amsterdam regularly consults with, among others, GVB, NS and representatives of the safety region. The new relaxations and how we are going to implement them are also discussed. Additional agreements are being made with these partners within these relaxations. We will announce the agreements as soon as they have been established.

Travelling abroad

From 15 June travelling abroad is possible, but limited. It is only possible to travel to areas that have a green or yellow travel advice on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Due to the corona virus, however, there are still many uncertainties that could potentially lead to rapid and unexpected changes in travel advice, possibly leading to an early return. It is therefore recommended to check the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs before you plan your trip and that if the travel advice is yellow to only travel if your trip is necessary and cannot be postponed. 

Students and researchers who want to go to areas with a yellow travel advice must discuss this beforehand with their tutor or supervisor. Any costs incurred in case of a cancellation or early return due to new corona measures, will not be reimbursed from the central financial resources. For exchange programmes, the previously communicated guidelines continue to apply.

Contact
Employees can contact their manager for advice and students can contact the International Office ([email protected]). See specific information on VU travel policy on VUnet.

Education starts on campus

Due to the corona crisis, students of VU Amsterdam have been following online education for weeks. For most of our location-based education, such as education in labs, an online alternative was not possible or a huge puzzle. We are therefore very happy that for this type of education, students were allowed to come to our campus again. This week, among others, the first students will start at our Faculty of Science.

Lab skillsare learned on location
Thanks to the creativity and inventiveness of teachers, students have in some cases been able to follow their practical education at home. This is the case, for example, with the Bio-Analytic Chemistry lab of the Medical Sciences and Pharmaceutical Sciences programmes, which is taught by VU teachers Oscar van Linden and Jeroen Kool. "Analytical lab education consists largely of analysing, processing and writing down data measured with analytical equipment. Normally this data is measured by the students in the labs. With the help of an Excel script, we have now generated useful data ourselves, with which the students have then set to work after attending all the lectures that go with the lab," say Van Linden and Kool.

It is admirable that in a number of cases the practical education has taken place online. However, for students it is essential to follow their lab education on campus to master the general analytical and technical lab skills and to learn about the associated safety aspects. In the coming period, these students will be present in groups of five per day in a lab room and will all work individually, so that sufficient distance can be kept. 

Studying together
We expect that our education will have a 'hybrid' form for a longer period of time: online, and if possible, on campus. This not only depends on the space offered by the campus, but the possibilities in public transport also plays an important role. We are currently holding constructive talks in which we are working on more possibilities for students in public transport. After all, a physical meeting on campus is crucial for our education, because at VU Amsterdam you study together.

Student exchange upcoming semester (fall 2020) 
The Executive Board of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam has established the guidelines regarding student exchange for the upcoming semester. In ensuring the security and health of all our students, VU Amsterdam has decided that, under the current circumstances, advice as put forward by the Ministry of Foreign affairs will be the primary source in deciding whether student exchange can take place. The decision to cancel student exchange with our partners will be made two months before the start of the semester at the partner university and cancelled in case the following scenarios apply:

  1. If the country has a travel warning (corona related yellow, orange or red), AND 
  2. In case the partner university does not offer online education in the first semester of academic year 2020/2021 or if this option has not been announced yet. 

You can find more information on VUnet.

From 15 June, we will be allowed to teach and do research again on our campus. This is a great development, in addition to the ongoing online education. We will start with location-based education such as practicals and location-based research. This news will ensure that some of our students and researchers will be able to return to the campus to get started again.

For teaching on location, lecture times are rescheduled, so that students do not have to travel during the morning and afternoon rush hour. This has been done to reduce crowds in the streets and in public transport, so that keeping a distance remains possible and the virus has as little chance of spreading again.

We will start to provide location-based education between 11:00 and 15:00 hrs. Students who need to come to VU Amsterdam by public transport will only have to start their journey after the morning rush hour. Education may, according to national guidelines, end before 15:00 or after 20:00 hrs. This is to ensure that the return journey by public transport is not rush hour either. In exceptional cases, location-based education can also be provided after 20.00 hrs. Students who are again able to follow education on campus, will be informed via Canvas in the coming period.
 
Working on campus
We want to be careful with the room we’re getting at the moment. We have decided to initially focus on location-based activities, particularly teaching and research. In addition to these activities, we will continue to work from home as much as possible.

Within the available room, we are currently working on scenarios in which, in addition to location-based activities, other activities can also be started in phases and to a limited extent. We understand that everyone wants to return to VU Amsterdam, and we are convinced that there are certainly possibilities within the limitations. However, defining a one-and-a-half-meter university is a huge logistical puzzle. We expect that from 2 June more people will be able to get back to work on campus. This will be further elaborated next week, managers will also be informed.

On campus, if we can. Online, because we can
We expect a 'hybrid' form of education for a longer period of time: online, and where possible, on campus. What that will look like in daily practice from 1 September is still a complex puzzle. Much will also depend on the expected crowds in public transport.

During the corona crisis, you may expect high-quality education from VU Amsterdam that students can fully participate in. On campus, if we can. Online, because we can. Even if education on campus continues step by step and there are students who cannot or are not yet allowed to come to campus, alternative online opportunities are offered. Unfortunately, it will not be possible to offer an online alternative for location-based education.

Teachers, educational staff and students will receive further information by email about the development of education in the summer period and the coming academic year.

Conditions for going from a Bachelor’s to a Master’s published today 

Generally speaking, students must complete their Bachelor’s or pre-Master’s before starting on their Master’s programme. This is known as the ‘BSc-before-MSc rule’. Due to the corona crisis, however, some students have had to partially stop their studies, resulting in an unfortunate delay. 

Master’s programmes at VU Amsterdam have therefore examined how an exception to the rule can be made possible for the 2020-2021 academic year, so that students do not get stuck in the transition from Bachelor’s to Master’s because of the corona crisis. For each programme it has been examined how students who are lacking credits for no more than a few courses, under certain conditions, can start their Master’s at VU Amsterdam next year. The missing credits must be completed during the 2020-2021 academic year, in other words no later than 1 September 2021. 

Some Master's programmes with multiple start dates have chosen to recommend a start date later in the 2020-2021 academic year. For a number of other Master's programmes, an exception to the rule turned out not to be feasible after all. 

Today, students can find the specific conditions for starting on a Master’s programme on the relevant page at masters.vu.nl. 

International students

  • All EEA students are subject to the same admission conditions. However, completing a Bachelor’s in your home country while starting an intensive programme of study here will be very difficult, and we do not recommend it.
  • This rule does not apply to non-EEA students. Non-EEA students must have obtained their Bachelor’s degree (when studying outside of the Netherlands) before starting a Master’s degree at VU Amsterdam. For questions, please contact the International Office at [email protected].

During the press conference on Wednesday 6 May, the government announced a step-by-step softening of the coronary measures - all with the warning 'if possible'. The softening offers the necessary perspective, especially on a personal level, because we are allowed to go out a bit more and primary and secondary schools will reopen. 

In the case of higher education, it has been indicated that the softening of measures will be investigated in more detail. It is possible that new measures will apply from 15 June. This will be accompanied by restrictive measures in public transport and on campus. In preparation for this, we are investigating what is possible within these new standards for working and studying on campus.

What do the new guidelines announced by the government currently mean for you as a student or employee?

Location-based education
For higher education, the restrictions will remain unchanged until 15 June. Before that date, the government will provide more clarity about the possible softening of the current measures 15 June.

We are working on new guidelines whereby the education to be provided on campus (such as practicals) can be restarted. As soon as there is more clarity about this, we will report this immediately. Education that is not location-specific will in any case be offered online until 29 June, in accordance with the guidelines previously used for educational blocks 5 and 6.

Working from home
Working from home remains, despite the softening of measures, the norm for the time being. An exception applies to employees involved in vital processes on campus. We are currently working on new guidelines whereby education and research that is location-specific can also be restarted on campus as soon as this is permitted. It is expected that there will be a 'hybrid situation' over a longer period of time in which working from home will be combined with limited use of the campus.

Study at home
Students also have to study at home for the time being. For students who do not have the opportunity to study at home or make exams, we have created workstations on campus. These are specifically designated study places. You can read the working method on VUnet. The study facilities in the University Library are still closed. The University Library does offer its services online. It is also possible to receive books at home.

Exams with online proctoring during the corona crisis

During the corona crisis, VU exams will be held with online supervision, or online proctoring. This only happens if the Examination Committee has established that no other form of testing is possible. 

We want to make sure that students are delayed as little as possible. Now that regular exams at VU Amsterdam are not possible, we are looking for alternatives to allow exams to continue. It is important that sufficient measures can be taken against fraud, because we want to guarantee the quality and value of our diplomas. After consultation with the examination committees and after careful consideration of students' concerns about privacy, it has been decided to use online proctoring for exams that cannot be replaced by an alternative form of testing such as a paper or open-book exam. 

Experience with online proctoring 
We have already gained some experience with online proctoring within the framework of a European Project. Until now we have worked with ProctorExam, a Dutch proctoring company. We have decided to also conclude a contract with Proctorio as of 1 May, so that larger groups can also participate in proctored tests. 

Concerns about online supervision 
We understand our students' concerns about online proctoring. Students who due to special circumstances have difficulties participating in an online exam at home can contact us via this form. Students are not required to participate in an online exam; they can choose to wait until exams can be taken on campus again. They will have to wait until the next physical examination opportunity, however. In the current circumstances, we cannot yet indicate when this will take place.

All students have received an email explaining this, including information on how we deal with online proctoring, privacy and fraud. Read more about taking exams with online proctoring at VU Amsterdam.

All our educational activities will take place online until the end of the semester (29 June). But what will this look like after the summer? VU Amsterdam is currently looking into that question. In any case, we are going to make sure that students receive the education they can count on in the new academic year as well. But it remains uncertain to what extent we will be able to use the campus. At the same time, we also want to offer prospects for the longer term.

On campus if you can, online because you can 
The measures and RIVM regulations remain leading for VU Amsterdam. For this reason, the Dutch universities are devising various scenarios for providing and following education. On campus, if possible. But also: online, because it is possible. 

Based on the above, VU Amsterdam is currently investigating how education can be organised in the coming months. National press conference with (possible) new decisions concerning the corona crisis will be important moments in this respect. After 15 May, we will be able to tell you more about what our education will look like in the summer period (after 29 June) and the academic year 2020-2021.  


Information on going from a Bachelor’s to a Master’s

Generally speaking, students must complete their Bachelor’s or pre-Master’s before starting on their Master’s programme. This is known as the ‘BSc-before-MSc rule’. Due to the corona crisis, however, some students have had to partially stop their studies, resulting in an unfortunate delay.

Master’s programmes at VU Amsterdam will therefore examine how an exception to the rule can be made possible, so that students do not get stuck in the transition from Bachelor’s to Master’s because of the corona crisis. This is a one-off measure. This means that, under certain conditions, students who are lacking credits for no more than a few courses will still be able to start on their Master’s at VU Amsterdam next year. The missing credits must be completed during the 2020-2021 academic year, in other words no later than 1 September 2021.

The exact conditions for starting will be set by each Master’s programme individually. You will find the specific conditions for starting on your Master’s programme on the relevant page at masters.vu.nl no later than 15 May.

We strongly advise students to do everything possible to complete their Bachelor’s or pre-Master’s programme before the end of this academic year. The study load makes it very difficult to complete missing courses while on an intensive Master’s programme. If you need any advice, please get in touch with your faculty’s academic advisor.

This exception to the ‘BSc-before-MSc rule’ only applies to students starting on a Master’s or pre-Master’s programme in the 2020-2021 academic year.

Does the exception apply to all programmes?
Master’s programmes with multiple start dates may stick to the ‘BSc-before-MSc rule’ and recommend that students choose a start date later in the 2020-2021 academic year. Students can then complete their previous coursework and start on the Master’s with hardly any delay.

Other programmes may have their own reasons for not allowing an exception to the ‘BSc-before-MSc rule’. You will find the specific conditions for starting on your Master’s programme on the relevant page at masters.vu.nl no later than 15 May.

I am currently on an HBO Bachelor’s, and I want to start on a pre-Master's in September. Can I start if I have not fully completed my Bachelor’s due to the corona crisis?
Yes. Students with a limited study delay due to the corona crisis may start on a pre-Master’s in September. The exact conditions for starting will be set by each pre-Master’s programme individually. You will find the specific conditions for starting on your programme on the relevant page at masters.vu.nl no later than 15 May.

I still have to finish my Bachelor’s degree abroad. Can I still start my Master’s at VU Amsterdam in September?

  • All EEA students are subject to the same admission conditions. However, completing a Bachelor’s in your home country while starting an intensive programme of study here will be very difficult, and we do not recommend it.
  • This rule does not apply to non-EEA students. Non-EEA students must have obtained their Bachelor’s degree (when studying outside of the Netherlands) before starting a Master’s degree at VU Amsterdam.

On the evening of Tuesday 21 April, Prime Minister Rutte announced that a large part of the measures taken previously will be extended until 19 May. A number of rules will be relaxed, including the arrangements for childcare and primary schools. These will slowly reopen as of 11 May. The government has also decided that all events must be cancelled until 1 September. 

As a result, nothing will change for the time being with regard to the measures taken previously for VU Amsterdam. All employees who are not involved in essential processes will work from home until 1 June and online education will be provided until 29 June. 

In consultation with the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, the Dutch universities will, in preparation for new government decisions, develop proposals for resuming (initially) small-scale, physical education and examination activities for which there are no online alternatives. It is expected that these proposals can be included in the government’s decision-making on 13 May. 

No events at VU Amsterdam until 1 September 
All events scheduled until 1 September at VU Amsterdam have been cancelled, or in some cases will be held online. We are currently looking at how the introduction days and the opening of the academic year on 2 September can go ahead in an alternative form and become the wonderful events you're used to. 

Working from home and studying 
HRM has collected tips for all employees to be able to work from home as well as possible. More information, answers to frequently asked questions, and tips about working from home can be found on VUnet and on this page.

We also have a specially designed page for students with more information and tips on how to get through this period and study at home as well as possible. 

Stay informed 
We will regularly update www.vu.nl/coronavirus with new information. Follow this page to stay up to date with the latest developments. We will keep you informed through this page and our (social media) channels in case of any policy changes.

You can follow us on social media via TwitterFacebook and Instagram. 

Transition between Bachelor’s to Masters’s: more certainty before 15 May at the latest 
For some of the third-year bachelor students and pre-Master’s students there is still some uncertainty about the transition from Bachelor’s to Master’s. Normally, there is a ‘Bachelor-before-Master’rule in place, which means that students can only start a Master’s after having completed their Bachelor’s programme. However, in these special circumstances, universities want to provide students with solutions and minimize delays resulting from the corona measures in the transition from Bachelor’s to Master’s programmes. 

This transition, however, differs between programmes and universities, which is why a standard ‘one size fits all’ solution is not possible. To give students as much clarity as we can, all universities will provide prospective students with more clarity about the terms and conditions for admission for individual Master’s programme for the academic year 2020-2021 before 15 May. VU Amsterdam is currently working on the guidelines and will inform the relevant stakeholders on short notice through their programmes and departments.


New information is available for students about studying at home and for employees who want to help each other. 

Study & Corona 
Now that VU Amsterdam is closed until June 1, you can no longer study at the study places, library or other places on campus. You’re currently studying at home, which might be different than you are used to. To help you with this, VU Amsterdam has set up a page on VUnet to help you study at home. This page includes tips about your workplace and the best way to study there. 

Should you run into problems with your studies due to the corona crisis, you can find the contact details of the study advisor of your course on this page. They can help you if necessary. On this page you will also find information about arrangements with regard to financial matters, housing and your secondary job. 

VU Support: help your VU colleagues in this exceptional period 
Since we have all been working from home together, the workload has increased considerably for some employees and decreased for others. In order to support each other in this unusual situation, the VU Management Pool is starting a temporary initiative together with HRM and Occupational Health and Safety: VU Support. 

Via VU Support, we make an inventory of where there is currently a need for temporary extra capacity within VU Amsterdam, and where there may be extra capacity that we could use. We will then look at whether supply and demand can be brought together. Read more on VUnet.

Video message Mirjam van Praag 
After a couple of weeks of working and studying at home, president of the Executive Board Mirjam van Praag sees that we continue as much as possible. VU Amsterdam keeps on going and innovating, although that is not always easy. “I am very happy with your resilience and the resourcefulness with which you continue. This is incredibly hard for a lot of people. Vinod, Marcel and I appreciate your efforts and warmth enormously.”

Watch the complete video message here.

IT support working at home 
IT has been working hard on IT support for employees at home. On the VUnetpage Working at Home Facilities IT you can find which types of Home Office Equipment Bundles you can order and what the terms are. You can also find the link to the order form there.

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers 
The frequently asked questions and answers are being updated continuously. Is your question not listed? Get in contact with one of the servicedesks.

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Extension coronavirus measures central government 
As Prime Minister Rutte announced yesterday, the current measures from the central government have been extended until 28 April. For education, staff and students of VU Amsterdam, nothing will change for now: the previously communicated date of 1 June remains unchanged. This means that no activities will take place on the campus until 1 June and employees will work from home until then. Until 28 June, students will only follow education online.

The purpose of extending the measures taken by the central government is to control the coronavirus and protect public health. These measures have consequences for everyone in their daily lives. It means for example that employees with children will have to organise home schooling for a longer period of time and we will only be able to go outside sporadically. Students also feel these measures: unfortunately, studying as we are used to cannot be done for the time being. Social life as we know it still has to be fulfilled in other ways.

VU Amsterdam is here to help
We want to be there for everyone. Especially in these times, the welfare of our employees and students is paramount.

VU Amsterdam is still available to everyone, albeit in a slightly different way than we are used to. Employees can contact their supervisor if they have questions, for their well-being - or that of a colleague - or if they are worried about their private situation. Students can contact the student advisors and the student psychologists are also available.

Working from home
Working from home can raise different questions and difficulties for everyone. For example, are you comfortable at your desk? How do you get the right software? That's why we created the page vu.nl/workfromhome. Here you will find tips, tricks, and frequently asked questions about working from home.

Everyone works hard to get everything done and that's not always easy. We really appreciate the great effort from everyone. We are seeing great initiatives emerge, colleagues encouraging each other and students visiting each other virtually. If there is one thing we have learned recently, it is that we are exceptionally resilient and, above all, very human. We are quite proud of that. Together, we can come a long way in helping each other out.

Updates on the latest state of affairs also appear almost daily on www.vu.nl/coronavirus. Here you will also find links to the FAQ for staff and students, and the right contacts.

Do you have any questions about your studies or just want to talk? VU Amsterdam is still available.

Although the physical campus is no longer open, our student counselling services are still available for you. Especially now. The faculty study advisors can still be reached for any questions you may have about your studies.

Study progress 
Are you worried about your study progress? Do you have questions about what effect this period can have on your studies? Or do you have other questions that you cannot answer yourself? The study advisors can be reached by phone or email. On VUnetyou will find the right information for your study programme.

We know that this time can also cause a lot of uncertainty and unrest. Do you feel the need to talk to someone? The student psychologists are also there for you. You can reach them best on [email protected] or via VUnet.

Safety 
If you are acutely worried about your own safety or someone from the university you know, contact our security officers

Tips and advice for working from home 
The webpage vu.nl/workfromhome has been updated with more tips and advice for working from home. 
  
Software available for employees and students 
The page download.vu.nl with software for students and employees is now also accessible from home. 
  
Frequently asked questions and answers 
The page with frequently asked questions and answers is continuously updated. Behind each updated question you’ll find the word: NEW 

VU Amsterdam Summer School 2020 has been cancelled 
The university has decided to cancel this year's edition of VU Amsterdam Summer School. Please find more information on vu.nl/summerschool

No activities at VU campus until 1 June 
VU Amsterdam has decided that there will be no activities at the campus until 1 June. This means that all employees in non-vital professions will work from home until 1 June and that study facilities will not be available to students until then. With this decision, VU Amsterdam wants to create clarity and calm in the many data circulating from government and education.

Students: The earlier announcement stating that all lectures and exams will be held online until 29 June still stands.

At present, government measures apply until 6 April. For meetings that can be planned or need authorisations, the measures apply until 1 June. Prime Minister Rutte has announced that on Tuesday, 31 March, the measures applicable until 6 April will be reviewed. Should this give cause to change the measures at VU Amsterdam, we will announce this via this page and other channels. 

Defence ceremonies 
There will be no physical defence ceremonies at VU Amsterdam until 1 June. Defence ceremonies until 1 June will take place online. PhD students and other involved parties will be informed about this later by the beadle.

Diploma ceremonies 
When you graduate, we'll send you your diploma. Unfortunately, it is not possible to organise a graduation ceremony due to these measures. We will organise a festive celebration on the occasion of current graduates at a later date.

Online lectures and exams until 29 June  
In consultation with the other universities, VU Amsterdam has decided to continue teaching and holding the exams online until 29 June. 

Where this is not possible, such as practical or skills training, solutions will be sought to prevent study delays as much as possible. If new government policy makes activities such as practicals on campus possible again before 29 June, we will restart them and inform the students about this. 

Due to the circumstances, a lot of creativity, flexibility and willingness comes to the fore among students and staff. This is wonderful! Make sure to share your experiences and help each other. 

Information about online education via Canvas 
Through Canvas, students are kept informed by their teachers about what online education will look like. If you don't have any information about your subjects yet, teachers will let you know as soon as possible. 

There is a Canvas page for teachers with information about the possibilities for online education. There are also faculty contacts available for answering questions and there is a daily online consultation hour from 12:00 to 13:00. You can find more information on the Canvas page

Extension measures 
The government's measures for higher education currently apply until 6 April. These measures also apply to working and research on the VU campus. More clarity about a possible extension of this date will soon be available. Should government policy change in the coming period, we will inform everyone via vu.nl/coronavirus about the consequences of the changes for the activities at VU Amsterdam.

In these bizarre times, VU Amsterdam president Mirjam van Praag gives all employees and students a word of hope. She sees beautiful things happening in the VU community. "I admire your creativity and enthusiasm for finding solutions for working together, studying together and giving lectures and remote exams". The VU campus has become digital!

You can watch her video message here.

Education until summer
In addition to the exams this week, we will also look at the remaining education until the end of this academic year. After tomorrow afternoon, we expect to be able to provide clarity about our education in block 5 and 6.

Tips for working from home
Working from home for a long period of time is not fun, convenient or practical for many of us. With or without housemates and children around you, working from home requires a new rhythm and brings challenges. In addition to your VU workplace, you also miss the daily contact with colleagues during this period. Human contact is very important. Fortunately, nowadays it is very easy to do this digitally. Look for tips on vu.nl/workingfromhome.

Binding study advice and application and enrolment deadlines 
As a result of the coronavirus, the Binding Study Advice (BSA) for this academic year, will be postponed to the end of the academic year of 2020-2021 for all students at VU Amsterdam. This means that for students who have not obtained sufficient points, the BSA decision will be postponed until the end of the academic year 2020-2021. Students do not have to apply for a postponement of the BSA this academic year. Students who have obtained sufficient points will, as usual, receive a positive BSA. 

Online education and alternative forms of exams
All teaching and supporting staff have worked hard in recent days to offer online education and have researched which alternative forms of exams are possible. Teachers provide an update for their course on Canvas. Today, after 15:00 hrs., this information can be found on the course pages.

It is not yet clear for every course how the education will be given in the near future. When this is the case this will also be announced. If the information is not yet available on Canvas, it will follow soon. Keep a close eye on Canvas.

Pick up your stuff
We receive questions whether employees can still come to VU Amsterdam to pick up things, which is possible and allowed with you VU identity card. Furthermore, VU Amsterdam remains open only for vital processes and all other employees have to work from home. Please follow the frequently asked questions and answers for regular updates.

Dear employees and students,

Today, the government decided to close all schools, catering establishments and childcare facilities until 6 April to stop the further spread of the coronavirus. Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam will also close down from now on, except for the vital processes.

What does this mean for VU employees?
We call on employees not to come to VU Amsterdam and work from home. You can find more information about this on VUnet.

Teachers
We have already asked teachers to find alternative ways to continue their teaching. Together, we will work might and main to make this happen. In order to facilitate the transition to remote teaching, a Canvas page has been set up with compact information about the possibilities of online teaching. More possibilities will be added to this page next week. We will continue to work on this.

PhD candidates
Defence ceremonies at VU Amsterdam are postponed. The beadle will contact PhD students and their promoters. If this leads to insurmountable problems, a suitable solution will be sought in consultation.

Vital processes
Employees working in vital processes on campus, such as energy supply, security and technical systems, hygiene, company emergency organisation, remain at work, possibly in a weekend and holiday shift. Further agreements will be made with the relevant teams about this matter.

We understand that our employees with school-age children or children who normally go to day care will be in a difficult position from tomorrow onwards. Please consult with your supervisor about how you can best continue your work.

What does this mean for VU students?
The (physical) education and the exams that were planned on VU campus and external locations have already been cancelled. Studying and using facilities such as the University Library at VU Amsterdam will not be possible until 6 April.

Education
Education will be offered online as much as possible until 6 April. Keep an eye on the Canvas page of the subjects you are following. This page provides information on how and if remote education takes place. For subjects that are not offered online, we will look for another solution.

(Re)Examinations
The (re)exams that are planned from 16 March until 20 March will not take place. For the exams that are planned in the week from 23 March until 27 March or after, alternative ways of taking the exams (remotely) are currently being looked into. On Tuesday 17 March, our study programmes will provide clarity about this via Canvas. For (re)exams that cannot be taken because of the coronavirus, another opportunity is planned within this academic year.

Internships
Students who are currently doing an internship at VU Amsterdam or at an external workplace should stay at home. Appropriate solutions will be looked into in the coming period.

Working or studying abroad
We call on students and employees who are currently abroad for work or study to return immediately. Travelling abroad for study, internship or research purposes is currently not considered necessary and should be postponed or cancelled.

Communication
We will keep you informed with updates via www.vu.nl/coronavirus in the near future. The answers to frequently asked questions will also be adjusted to the new situation as soon as possible. If there is urgent information that everyone needs to know, we will send you an email.

The Netherlands is experiencing unprecedented times. We are doing everything we can to continue education in the coming weeks and to facilitate working from home as much as possible. We urge you to stay at home as much as you can and to adhere to the measures taken by the central government.

We ask our staff, students and student associations to adhere to these guidelines in their activities outside the university as well. Take the call seriously: stay at home and make sure there is sufficient social isolation.

Finally, look out for each other. We're in this together.

Kind regards,

The Executive Board