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Coronavirus: update 6 April 5 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.

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:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water on a regular basis
  • Use hand sanitiser if water and soap are unavailable
  • Cough and sneeze into your elbow, not your hand
  • Use paper tissues and throw them away immediately
  • We advise against shaking hands.
  • In public, keep 1.5 metres away from others

Veiligheidsregio Groningen (VRG)
Veiligheidsregio Groningen (VRG)
What should I do if I feel unwell?

If you have a fever (38C or more); respiratory symptoms (coughing or shortness of breath) and were in one of the following countries or regions in the recent past:

  • China (including Hong Kong and Macao)
  • 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. It could be the first symptoms of COVID-19, but it might also be a common cold and it is not necessary to call your GP at this stage. If your symptoms worsen: a fever (38c) 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).

Education

Will lectures and examens still take place at the UG?

The UG had earlier already decided to offer distance learning until the end of this academic year and this is now also the case for the majority of programmes. As a result of this, education for our students will be able to continue in most cases during this extraordinary time. There are still a number of challenges to be addressed particularly in the area of testing and examinations, but here too we are currently making great progress.

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. Should you have any questions, please contact your study advisor.

Are PhD ceremonies still possible?

On 26 March, the Board of the University decided that PhD thesis defence ceremonies will take place online until further notice. Only the chairperson and doctoral candidate will be present on-site in the Aula with other parties involved participating via video conference. It will also be possible to follow the ceremony via a live stream. In each case, the doctoral candidate will be given the choice between an online doctoral thesis defence ceremony or postponement until a regular ceremony is possible.

Can I still use the UG library facilities?

All study locations at the University Library are closed until 28 April. The borrowing and returning of books will remain possible to a limited extent.The self-service in the Inner City Library is open from Monday to Friday from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm but closed on Good Friday and Easter Monday. All online services (such as requesting literature via SmartCat) are available as usual via rug.nl/library and for the CMB via rug.nl/cmb. Updates and FAQs: rug.nl/library/corona

What is the situation with my BSA this academic year?

Students who are unable to meet the BSA standard this academic year due to the corona virus will be granted a reprieve as was communicated on 20 March. They will have the opportunity to meet the standard in the academic year 2020-2021 as was requested on 19 March by the Minister of Education, Culture and Science. On Thursday 26 March, the Executive Board formalised this request. More at Student Portal.

Diploma ceremonies

The closure of the UG buildings will mean that no 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.

Research

How does the scientific research progress during the closure period?

A lot of scientific research at UG is undoubtedly hindered, especially in laboratories. After all, all buildings will be closed until 28 April. In some cases, exceptions are possible for critical processes. Think of the care of laboratory animals and the continuation of long-term research and experimental setups. In exceptional cases, it is possible for researchers to enter buildings in consultation with the Faculty and the Facility manager. If you want to pick up equipment and other supplies, this can be arranged via the Facility manager.


Prospective students

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.

Is the university still accepting applications?

The university is still accepting applications for  Bachelor’s programmes to start in September 2020 and the application deadline has been extended to June 1 (formerly May 1). If the deadline for the programme has already passed (ie. Numerus Fixus programmes), this does not apply. Master’s application deadlines are specified on the relevant programme page.

I may not be able to meet the conditions of my offer, what do I do?

We are aware of the numerous ways in which the coronavirus is affecting applicants. The university will be as flexible as it can be within the current rules. Furthermore, the Dutch Ministry of Education is working with universities to see if changing the admission rules (for example by delaying the deadlines) might be necessary to make things easier.

No decisions have been taken yet but changes will be communicated on this page


Many English language test centres are closed. However, ETS is offering home-testing for the TOEFL English language test, and the GRE test - are these accepted by the University of Groningen?

Yes. The University of Groningen will accept both the TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition and the GRE General test which is taken from home. Please note that you can submit your initial application to the university without the English-language certificate, and then submit the certificate later. We are able to make a decision on your admission without this. However, it is required before you can make a visa application (if you need a visa). The GRE test is only required for students applying to master’s degree programmes in the Faculty of Economics and Business; it is not a requirement for other courses.

I have applied for a selective programme, when will I hear the outcome of the selection procedure?

Numerus Fixus ranking results will be released on April 15 2020 as previously communicated.


I am an international student, how/when do I apply for accommodation?

No decisions have been taken to delay or change the normal application procedures for SSH student housing. To find out more about applying for housing, see our accommodation pages here.

I am a non-EU student and have fulfilled the conditions of my admission, how do I apply for a visa?

We are aware that applicants who are delayed in meeting the requirements of their admission, may also be delayed in making a visa application. If you require a visa to study in the Netherlands, the deadline for meeting conditions currently stands at 1st June 2020; students needing a visa also need to make their payment before this date.
If you think you may not be able to meet  this deadline, it is extremely important that you inform  our Immigration Service Desk (isd rug.nl)  as soon as possible. General information about how to apply for a visa can be found here.


I was planning on visiting the university for an open day, student for a day, master’s day or university tour. Is this still possible?

As a result of the decisions by the government, the Board of the University took the decision to limit all activity to an absolute minimum up to and including 1 June. This means that all events have been cancelled or been moved online.

I already paid my tuition fees, can I be reimbursed if I no longer want to start or if I want to deregister because of the corona virus?

You can withdraw your application in Studielink until the status says Enrolled. After you withdraw, the tuition fees will be transferred back to your bank account as soon as possible. If you are already enrolled and you want to (temporarily) terminate your enrollment, you can submit a request for deregistration in Studielink. When you deregister, you are entitled to a reimbursement of 1/12 of the tuition fees for each remaining month of the academic year in which you are no longer registered to pay the tuition fees. Please note that you are not entitled to reimbursement if you deregister as of July or August. You can read more about deregistration and reimbursement here.

Will the start of the 2020 academic year be delayed due to coronavirus?

There are currently no plans to delay the start of the new academic year on 1 September 2020.

I have already applied but cannot start due to the current situation. Can I start at another time? For example can I defer my entry to February 2021 or September 2021?

You are able to withdraw your application in Studielink and can submit a new application with your preferred start date. Please note that all bachelor’s programmes at the UG start in September only. Masters programmes often have the additional option to start in February. In addition, if you cancel your application for a Numerus Fixus programme, you will have used one selection place. For more information about start dates for master’s programmes, click here.

If the start date of the programme is not in Studielink, you can send an e-mail to study@rug.nl (including your student number, the programme you wish to to enrol onto and the start date). We will then be able to help and let you know what to do.

Events

Will events go ahead at the UG?

The Board earlier took the decision to limit activities and events to an absolute minimum up to and including 1 June. The closure of the UG buildings will mean that no inaugural lectures and diploma ceremonies will take place until at least 28 April and possibly 1 June.

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

However, On 26 March the Board decided that PhD thesis defence ceremonies will take place online until further notice. Only the chairperson and doctoral candidate will be present on-site in the Aula with other parties involved participating via video conference.


Are PhD ceremonies still possible?

On 26 March, the Board of the University decided that PhD thesis defence ceremonies will take place online until further notice. Only the chairperson and doctoral candidate will be present on-site in the Aula with other parties involved participating via video conference. It will also be possible to follow the ceremony via a live stream. In each case, the doctoral candidate will be given the choice between an online doctoral thesis defence ceremony or postponement until a regular ceremony is possible.

Travel

What is the latest advice regarding travelling?

The Board of the University decided on 19 March 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 now applicable until 28 April, but could be extended (subject to decisions by the central government).

I returned from work or a holiday in Italy or another area with many COVID-19 cases like China. What should I do?

Staff or students who have visited one of the regions with a high risk of infection in the recent past and 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 your study advisor.

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

The RIVM guidelines remain in place regarding the closure of buildings with staff, students, lecturers and researchers continuing to work from home until 28 April. This means that the earlier announced closing of all buildings will be extended until at least that date. Studium Generale, the USVA, the University Museum and the Sports Centre will also be closed during this period.

In a number of cases, exceptions will be made in certain situations. An example is the care of laboratory animals; the continuation of long-term research and set-ups for experiments. In consultation with relevant Faculties and the Facility Managers, it will be possible for researchers to enter buildings in exceptional cases. If staff wish to collect equipment and other supplies, this will also be arranged through the Facility Manager.

University Library

All study locations at the University Library are closed until 28 April. The self-service in the Inner City Library is open from Monday to Friday from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm but closed on Good Friday and Easter Monday. All online services (such as requesting literature via SmartCat) are available as usual via rug.nl/library and for the CMB via rug.nl/cmb. Updates and FAQs: rug.nl/library/corona

Diploma ceremonies

The closure of the UG buildings will mean that no 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.

Working from home

Staff, lecturers and researchers continue to work from home until 28 April, if this is possible with their role. Employees should coordinate this with their immediate manager.

General

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 should work from home. 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.

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, (amd rug.nl). 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 31 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 31 March.


I am an EU student experiencing financial difficulties due to the Corona crisis, what should I do?

If you have trouble paying the tuition fees due to a decrease in your income because of the Corona Crisis, we would like to point out extra loan options at DUO. Even if your loan is already at its maximum and you are still experiencing difficulties, we advise you to contact DUO to discuss your situation. For further information, please contact DUO and visit their website.

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

  • 31 March:
    • On March 12, we announced that PhD ceremonies will be cancelled or postponed. The Board has now decided that they can take place online until further notice. Read more on the Student Portal or My University.
    • Listen to the special Q&A podcast with rector Cisca Wijmenga: www.rug.nl/podcast.
    • Unfortunately, we have made the difficult decision to cancel the UG Summer Schools 2020. Hopefully we will see you next year instead.
  • 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:
    • Clarification: The UG switched to online teaching and examinations until the end of this academic year. This therefore means that remote teaching and testing applies to the whole of block 3 and block 4. In addition, our buildings will remain closed at least until 10 April 2020. Information about this was previously shared on the Student Portal, and on My University.
    • Staff can find information about working conditions and tips for working from home on My University.
  • 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:06 April 2020 5.14 p.m.
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