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17 June 2024

Campus
& Culture

Faculty of Science is introducing face masks

The science faculty is taking extra coronavirus measures: face masks, one-way traffic, supervisors and a covenant for trainees. “If we would have to close again, the damage would be incalculable”, says faculty Dean Guus Schreiber.

The VU keeps repeating that face masks are the responsibility of students and staff. Why is the science faculty requesting that people wear them now?
“We have a lot of location-based education: lab courses. Those started again on June 15. We have caught up a lot, but if we have to stop now, it will be a disaster.”

Then what is the problem?
“There are concerns about people clumping together when they leave a room. Lecturers understand perfectly well that students are fed up with the measures, but we must ensure that on-site education can continue. That is why we have agreed on these additional measures together with the Faculty Student Council. The study associations also agreed. There are also students who are concerned. It is in our common interest to keep education open.”

So face masks. What are the other measures?
“You can take off your face mask if you are sitting in place and can keep your distance. We also have student stewards, extra signage and one-way walking routes, and a covenant for trainees. For the role of student steward, we ask a few students per course who want to do this. They appeal to people and create social pressure.”

And that covenant, what does it say?
“Internships are the bottleneck, because most of them have to be done within the VU, in the labs. We can therefore ask trainees to sign a covenant that they also behave responsibly in their private lives.”

In their private lives?
“Everyone who walks around in a lab, including all employees, must ensure that they obey the rules so as not to endanger colleagues. It’s not a crazy thing to ask of people. Medicine and Acta do the same.”

Do you think that the VU measures are not strict enough?
“Many other faculties do not have location-based education. We are not against the VU measures and the Executive Board thinks it is excellent that we do this. Especially at our faculty, there’s no more leeway. Everyone is under high pressure.”

“Try giving lab courses at a meter and a half distance. Things that were normally possible with one group, now have to be done in three groups. And there are nearly four hundred first-year biomedical sciences students, who have lab courses almost every period. Many of my people are therefore unable to work from home, they actually work a lot more hours on campus. And the timetables look very different, which means that there is much more distributed education. So students are also under great pressure.”

The corona measures of the science faculty apply in the three buildings where the scientists are housed: W&N, NU and O2.

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