Coronavirus press conference: In-person teaching to resume in higher education
At the press conference on Friday, August 13, Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Health Minister Hugo de Jonge provided an update about the coronavirus situation in the Netherlands, announcing that secondary school (MBO) and higher education students would be able to return to in-person classes for the new school year.
Coronavirus restrictions relaxed for secondary and higher education
After the summer holidays (from August 30), students in secondary and higher education will be able to return to campus for in-person classes. Students will no longer be required to adhere to the 1,5-metre distance rule.
Certain rules will be in place for in-person teaching:
- Urgent advice for biweekly (self)testing for students
- Students must wear face masks when walking through buildings / campus
- Max. 75 students per lecture hall / classroom
- Proper ventilation for all indoor spaces
Restrictions for events and festivals
Earlier this month, the Dutch government extended the ban on all multi-day events and non-seated indoor events until September 1. At Friday’s press conference, Rutte announced the ban would once again be extended until September 19.
The ban applies to multi-day events with overnight stays, implying that the Zandvoort Formula 1 Grand Prix will be able to go ahead at the start of September. It will, however, have to adhere to the existing rules for outdoor events.
From September 20, new rules will apply for events, cinemas, theatres, restaurants, and bars. All institutions hoping to admit more than 75 people will be required to make use of so-called coronavirus certificates (i.e. visitors / customers must present proof of vaccination, proof of recovery, or a recent negative test). This applies to both indoor and outdoor spaces, with either fixed or non-fixed seating.
The Netherlands extends restrictions until September 19
While restrictions have been relaxed for education, the following restrictions have been extended until at least September 19:
- Nightclubs are closed
- Restricted opening times for the catering industry (6 am - 12 am)
- Work from home as much as possible
- Wear a face mask on public transport and at airports
The cabinet hopes to relax certain measures (i.e. masks in public transport and 1,5-metre distance advice) from September 20, with the aim that all restrictions will be lifted by November 1.
Rutte and De Jonge also emphasised the importance of the so-called basic rules:
- Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly
- Maintain 1,5-metre distance
- Ensure proper ventilation in all indoor spaces
- If you’re showing symptoms of COVID-19 then stay home and get tested
The next coronavirus press conference is scheduled to take place on Friday, September 17.