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Coronavirus: update 28 March 1 p.m.

This article is updated every day at 1 p.m. or more frequently if the situation calls for it. The FAQ below is revised in response to questions from inside or outside the University.

  • 28 March: There are currently no updates.
  • 27 March:
    • This Monday, we are recording a special Q&A podcast with rector Cisca Wijmenga. We’ll discuss how the corona crisis has impacted life and work at the University and what the effects are for students, researchers and everyone at UG. Do you have a question for the rector? Please let us know and send it to podcast rug.nl before Monday at noon.
    • Extra BSA information added to Student Portal.
  • 25 March:

The coronavirus outbreak began in the Wuhan region of China in December 2019. The virus can cause COVID-19 disease. The UG is keeping a close eye on the developments and follows the advice and measures of the Netherlands National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Here is the FAQ:

Health

What measures should I take regarding hygiene and personal contact?

The most important measures you can take to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are:

  • Washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water on a regular basis
  • Using hand sanitizer if water and soap are unavailable
  • Coughing and sneezing into your elbow, not your hand
  • Using paper tissues and throwing them away immediately
  • Do not shake hands
  • In public, keep 1.5 metres away from others

What should I do if I feel unwell?

If you have a fever (38 degrees Celsius or more), respiratory symptoms (coughing or shortness of breath) and were in one of the following countries or regions in the past 14 days:

  • China (including Hong Kong and Macau)
  • Singapore
  • South Korea
  • Iran
  • Italy: the northern provinces of Aosta Valley, Piedmont, Lombardy, Trentino South Tyrol, Friuli-Julian-Venice, Veneto, Emilia-Romagna and Liguria

you should contact your GP by phone and mention your visit to the affected area. If you do not have a GP in Groningen, check here for information about general practices in the city.

If you were in one of these areas and have symptoms of the common cold or a slightly elevated temperature, stay home and make sure you have as little contact with others as possible. These could be the first symptoms of COVID-19, but it might also be a common cold and there is no need to call your GP at this stage. If your symptoms worsen, i.e. is you develop a fever (38 degrees Celsius) and respiratory complaints (coughing and shortness of breath), you should call your GP.

I have seen people with face masks, is this necessary?

In the Netherlands, we only advise the use of face masks for medical staff. Wearing face masks in general is not advised by RIVM or the Municipal Health Service as it offers a false sense of security. However, some people choose to use a face mask as a preventive measure. It is worth bearing in mind that in such cases, the mask is not a sign that the wearer is ill. They may simply be a healthy person who is taking steps to remain well.

I'm in one of the at-risk groups (asthma, COPD, diabetes etc.). What should I do?

You should take note of the precautionary measures and stay away from people who are unwell. If you do develop symptoms, especially fever and shortness of breath, contact your doctor. If you are a student, we advise you to contact a study advisor from your degree programme for personal advice.

If you do not have a doctor here in the Netherlands, call the Municipal Public Health Service (GGD). For further information, see the advice from the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM).

Teaching

Will lectures and exams still take place at the UG?

The Dutch Government instructed that all teaching at universities in the Netherlands be cancelled until 6 April. The UG is following this advice, but also decided that all UG faculties and programmes will switch to online education and examinations as soon as they are able. This remote teaching and assessment is valid for the end of block 3 and the whole of block 4, i.e. until the end of academic year 2019-2020. Physical education will therefore no longer be provided and a customised solution is being sought for the practicals.

Information about working and studying online is available on our internal web pages: the Student Portal for students and My University for staff.

You will be informed by the student administration of your study programme whether scheduled exams will take place, when, and in what form. Please check the information of your study programme on a regular basis. Where we are able, we will try to avoid any study delays as a result of the current situation. Despite this exceptional situation, we wish you good luck and success with your studies. Should you have any questions, please contact your study advisor.


Can I still use the UG library facilities?

All study rooms in the University Library (City and Zernike), Central Medical Library (CMB) and within faculties will be closed from Friday 13 March until at least Monday 1 June.

Due to the very limited opening times of the UG buildings, the services of the University Library will be limited but the borrowing and returning of books will remain possible to a limited extent. The self-service in the UB City Centre is open from Monday to Friday between 9:00 and 12:00. The self-service is only available to pick up your requested books. Books can be handed in via the 24/7 book box on the outside of the building.

My application might be impacted by the coronavirus. How do I inform the University?

You can contact the Student Information Desk at study rug.nl or telephone +31 (0)50 363 8004.

Events

Will events go ahead at the UG?

As a result of the decisions by the government, the Board of the University has taken the decision to limit all activity to an absolute minimum up to and including 1 June. This restriction of activity will result in UG buildings being closed with only the most essential activities continuing to take place.

The closure of the UG buildings will mean that no inaugural lectures, PhD ceremonies or diploma ceremonies will take place until 1 June.

Studium Generale, the USVA, the University Museum and the Sports Centre will also be closed during this period.

Travel

What is the latest advice regarding travel?

On 19 March the Board of the University decided that there should be an immediate halt to all foreign travel for staff and students. In other words, foreign travel is no longer allowed as of today. This currently applies until 10 April, but could be extended, pending central government decisions.

I recently returned from an area affected by COVID-19. Should I report this?

You do not need to report your recent whereabouts. The University is following the RIVM guidelines which advise that if you have visited any of the areas below with a high risk of infection in the past 14 days, you should stay at home as a precaution if you experience even the mildest of symptoms. If your symptoms worsen, contact your doctor (or after-hours surgery) by phone. If you do not have a doctor (GP) here in the Netherlands, check here.

If you live in Groningen, you can also contact the GGD at 050 367 4000.

The high-risk areas are:

  • China (including Hongkong and Macau)
  • Singapore
  • South-Korea
  • Iran
  • The northern Italian provinces of Aosta Valley, Lombardy, Veneto, Emilia-Romagna, Piedmont, Trentino-Alto Adige/South Tyrol, Liguria and Friuli-Venezia Giulia.

Contact your doctor by phone only. Do not go to the doctor’s surgery in person.

I recently returned from work or a holiday in Italy or another area with many COVID-19 cases. Can I come to the University?

Staff or students who have visited one of the regions with a high risk of infection in the past 14 days and who experience even the mildest of symptoms should stay at home as a precaution. If your symptoms worsen, contact your doctor by phone. If you do not have a ? GP in the Netherlands, check here or contact the Municipal Public Health Service (GGD).

We advise students who incur a study delay in connection with the measures from the Municipal Public Health Service (GGD), the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) or the UMCG concerning COVID-19 to contact their study advisor.

Is the UG in contact with staff and students who are currently abroad and will the UG help them if they have to return?

Due to the decision of many countries to ban or limit air traffic, it may be the case that certain students or staff will have little or no opportunities to come to the Netherlands. If this becomes an issue, the UG will offer active support and an information point at study rug.nl has been made available for this purpose.

For general information you can also visit:

The (emergency) telephone number (24/7) for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ contact centre is: +31 70 247 247 247.

I am still abroad, what do I need to do?

Still abroad and want to return? Every student and staff member abroad needs to register at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs by https://informatieservice.nederlandwereldwijd.nl and via UG's Mobility and Scholarship Desk msd@rug.nl

Policy

What is the University’s policy now that COVID-19 cases have been identified, resulting in heightened concern?
Very limited UG opening hours until 1 June

As a result of the most recent developments, the Executive Board has taken the decision to limit all activity to an absolute minimum from Monday 16 March up to and including the 1 June. We appreciate that this is very inconvenient but in line with the most recent government measures.

The restriction of activity will result in UG buildings being closed, which will also mean that the canteens as well as the student and information desks will be closed. In the case of the most urgent questions, the Central Student Desk and the cashier’s office can be reached via study rug.nl and in extreme cases, an appointment can be made via Information services
University Library

Due to the very limited opening times above, the services of the University Library will also be limited but the borrowing and returning of books will remain possible to a limited extent.

PhD and diploma ceremonies

The closure of the UG buildings will mean that no PhD ceremonies or diploma ceremonies will take place until 1 June. We appreciate that this is very inconvenient and we will be looking into appropriate solutions in the near future.

The advice for all staff is to work from home as much as possible, and if this is possible with their role. Employees should coordinate this with their immediate manager.

We are of course prepared for a possible contamination and are relying on expert advice from the RIVM and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs . We also have regular contact with the GGD Groningen, as was the case with the return Vindicat members from Northern Italy.

If you have returned from a trip abroad and have the symptoms associated with COVID-19 (high temperature and breathing difficulties or respiratory symptoms), stay at home and phone your doctor or out-of-hours surgery. If you do not have a doctor here in the Netherlands, contact the Municipal Public Health Service (GGD) instead.

We understand that there are questions and concerns, so the advice continues to be that you should ensure you are informed about COVID-19 by (Dutch) institutions (eg RIVM / GGD / UMCG ) and talk about it with each other. If you are a member of staff, you can discuss your concerns with your manager. If you are a student, you can discuss your concerns with your study advisor or another contact person. If they are unable to allay your concerns, employees can contact the Health, Safety & Sustainability (amd rug.nl). Students can contact the Student Information Desk: study rug.nl, tel. 050-3638004.

As a UG staff member, should I be working from home?

Colleagues who are undertaking activities that do not require them to be present at the university should work from home when possible at the discretion of the Faculty Boards and line managers. This will limit the need for people to be physically present. In order to be able to efficiently work from home, you may need certain documents or materials - the Faculty Board or your line manager will be able to inform you in more detail of how to address this.

Staff members with health complaints such as colds, coughs or fevers should stay at home and if necessary, report their illness to their manager.

Information about working online is available on My University.

What measures are other universities taking?

All Dutch universities and higher-education institutions are following the RIVM’s advice, which means that they are all taking similar measures.

What is the UMCG doing regarding contact with patients?

Staff members of the UMCG who have recently been in an area where instances of COVID-19 are present or who have been in contact with a confirmed infected patient will need to inform the UMCG about exactly where they have been. This can be done via this form .

Staff who are not presenting with symptoms are able to come to work. If your health changes (fever and cough or shortness of breath) you should stay at home and contact the Labour and Health Office on 050-3614535 during office hours. Outside office hours you can contact the infection prevention officer (see UMCG intranet).

*Staff member* also refers to: R&D employees and students who work (co-schappen) or study in the UMCG. The latest news for UMCG employees, can be found on UMCG intranet.

Other questions

I am still concerned. Is there anything else I can do?

If you are a member of staff, you should discuss your concerns with your manager. If you are a student, you can discuss your concerns with your study advisor or another contact person. If they are unable to allay your concerns, staff members can contact the Health, Safety & Sustainability department ( amd rug.nl ) and students can contact the Student Information Desk: study rug.nl , tel. 050-3638004.

I have a question regarding the coronavirus, my health and my work. Who should I contact?

For these questions you can contact the department of Health, Environment and Sustainability, tel 050-36 35534. Your question will be forwarded onto one of the occupational physicians or occupational social workers by the secretary who answers the phone.  If your question is not totally work-related, yet cannot reach your GP but are in urgent need of advice, you can also call that number.

Where can I find the additional measures introduced by the Dutch government on 23 March?

The additional measures to combat the coronavirus outbreak are listed on the government website. They were announced by the government at a press conference on 23 March.

Useful websites and contact information

For more information on the coronavirus and possible prevention measures, we refer to the following websites:

If you need help or have any questions about health or travel that are not answered on these websites,

  • staff can contact the Health, Safety and Environment service (AMD) of the UG at  amd rug.nl
  • students can contact the Student Information desk: study rug.nl, tel. +31 50-3638004.

Previous updates

  • 19 March: The Board of the University has decided that with immediate effect, all overseas travel by staff and students is prohibited. In other words, overseas travel is no longer permitted and this is applicable until 10 April, but could be extended (subject to decisions by the central government). Information about living/staying abroad has been added to the FAQ.
  • 17 March: Information for international students and international staff available via the Student Portal for students and My University for staff.
  • 15 March: Very limited UG opening hours until 10 April. Information for students is available via the Student Portal . For staff via My University.
  • 13 March: Information about working and studying online is now available. For students via the Student Portal. For staff via My University.
  • 12 March: The UG takes measures to contain the coronavirus: All teaching, exams and large events cancelled until 10 April, and where possible, teaching and exams online.
  • 12 March: Teaching activities with UMCG staff temporarily cancelled.
  • 12 March: Added question - The Faculty of Medical Sciences/UMCG has cancelled all educational meetings with UMCG teachers until 4 April.  Why are the classes of other faculties in the same building (ADL1) continuing?
  • 10 March: Added question - What policy is UG following now the number of coronavirus cases and concerns are increasing?
  • 9 March: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has amended the travel advice for Italy. In the region of Lombardy and the provinces of Modena, Parma, Piacenza, Reggio Emilia, Rimini, Pesaro-Urbino, Alessandria, Asti, Novara, Verbano Cussio Ossola, Vercelli, Padova, Treviso and Venice the colour has changed from 'orange' (only necessary trips) to 'red' (no trips at all) . Departure from these provinces is possible for foreign tourists. Further information can be found on the website of The Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  • 7 March: Information from UMCG for Vindicat-members has been added. The Municipal Public Health Service has also published a press release about the return of Vindicat in Groningen (Dutch only).
Last modified:28 March 2020 1.03 p.m.
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