The rapid testing pilot project in the higher and vocational educational sectors in Groningen will be expanded. Two new locations will be joining the pilot project: one at the Euroborg for Noorderpoort students, and the other in the Wiebenga building in the city centre for students of the Hanze University of Applied Sciences (Hanze UAS) and the University of Groningen (UG). On 18 January, the UG, Hanze UAS and Noorderpoort launched a rapid testing centre on the Zernike Campus to see whether, and how, more in-person teaching could take place in the long term, despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Another two rapid testing centres are to open, joining the centre on the Zernike Campus: one is in the Wiebenga on Petrus Driessenstraat and the other in the Hotspot in the Euroborg. The educational institutions hope that these two new locations will show whether by offering students easy rapid testing, it will be safe for them to return to in-person practical lessons. These particular locations were chosen because of their links with practical teaching and their central position in the city centre.
From 24 March onwards, students and lecturers from the all-round beautician programme and the Hotel School on the Euroborg will be offered a rapid COVID-19 test before attending a practical lesson. A rapid testing site has been set up in the Hotspot. Noorderpoort students from programmes including Laboratory Techniques and Nursing will help to run the centre.
On 1 April, a rapid testing centre will open in the Wiebenga for students and lecturers of Hanze UAS and the UG who teach or are taught practical lessons in the city centre. Rapid tests will also be offered to students about to sit an on-site examination in the city centre, as well as to the invigilators. In addition, UG students who reserve a work station may go for a test. Hanze UAS students from the Health Care Studies and Nursing programmes will help to run the rapid testing centre in the Wiebenga.
The Aletta Jacobs School of Public Health will use data from the Euroborg and Wiebenga rapid testing centres to study both the willingness of students and staff to take a COVID-19 test, and the technical, logistic and legal aspects of rapid testing.
The rapid testing centres at the Zernike Campus, Wiebenga and Euroborg constitute a pilot project in Groningen, and are part of a plan developed by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science to gradually test ways of reintroducing in-person teaching, and to gauge the value of rapid testing in this respect. The UG, Hanze UAS and Noorderpoort are the first educational institutes to launch these rapid testing pilots. Initial studies focused on testing students prior to on-site examinations, but the pilot is now being expanded to include students and staff involved in practical lessons and UG students who reserve a study station.
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