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Corona: frequently asked questions

What is the position of VU Amsterdam regarding the corona crisis in the Netherlands?

VU Amsterdam follows the advice of the RIVM for public health and the advice of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for travel abroad. Together with other Dutch universities, VU Amsterdam keeps a close eye on these advices and communicates via this page if there are any updates for students, staff and visitors.

This page will soon be deleted. For questions about education, please contact the Student Desk or the International Office. For more information about hybrid working, employees can visit this web page or contact the HRM Servicedesk.

General questions

  • Measures on campus

    The only measure that remains intact after the relaxation of the corona measures on 15 March 2022 is the isolation for people who have tested positive for corona. 

    Basic advice, such as washing your hands regularly and taking a self-test in case of symptoms, also remains in place for the time being. 

    More information on quarantine measures and when to get tested can be found on the government website. 

    The advice to students and employees to preventively self-test twice a week has been dropped. The advice is now only to test in case of symptoms. For the time being, the self-tests can still be ordered via www.zelftestonderwijs.nl.

    Also, good ventilation is provided at the education locations. You can read more about ventilation in the answer to the question 'How does VU Amsterdam ventilate its buildings on the campus?

  • Hybrid working

    VU Amsterdam has decided to continue to facilitate working from home, in combination with working on campus. A hybrid form, in other words. You can make agreements about hybrid work with your manager, in consultation with your immediate colleagues.

    VU Amsterdam has drawn up a handy overview of discussion topics for making agreements about hybrid work. For more information on hybrid work in general, click here.

  • Activities on campus

    There are no restrictions for academic ceremonies, graduation, information activities and other gatherings such as seminars and (work-related) meetings. If the activity is not related to education/research, the nature of the activity soon becomes an event and the event rules apply (get information about this). 

  • What are the quarantine regulations at VU Amsterdam?

    For the quarantine regulations see the site of the national government.

  • What should I do if I test positive for COVID-19?

    If you are told after a test that you have tested positive, you should follow the instructions of the GGD closely. The most important measure is to isolate at home. If the GGD carries out a source and contact investigation, it is important that you cooperate. It is also possible that the GGD asks you to inform people with whom you have had contact. See the GGD website for the latest information.

    What does VU Amsterdam do if a student or staff member tests positive for Covid-19?
    The national approach to the corona pandemic stipulates that the GGDs are in charge of the regional approach to COVID-19 infections. This is of course done in close cooperation with the RIVM and the Safety Regions. This means that the GGD determines what happens if a student or employee at VU Amsterdam is found to be infected. 

    In the interpretation of this, it has been established that, just like last year, we are not allowed to ask about or register infections on an individual level. However, in case of striking developments or signals – for example, a large number of course participants suddenly cancelling their course - we will inform the Amsterdam GGD. This contact takes place via AMD and the VU Amsterdam crisis organisation.

    For more information on the working method of the GGD, please visit the GGD website.

    VU Amsterdam has no direct role unless asked. We ask employees and students to follow the national guidelines and instructions of the GGD.

    Should I do something myself if I hear from a (fellow) student, colleague or employee that they have tested positive for COVID-19?
    The most important thing is that the person who has tested positive follows the instructions of the GGD and goes into home isolation. In the source and contact investigation, the GGD determines whether others, such as fellow students or colleagues, may have been at risk and have to take measures. As was already the case last corona period, each person is asked to make their own assessment or consideration. This is no different now with the new measures. 

    Use the quarantine check from the national government to determine whether you need to go into quarantine.

    Staying at home
    You may want to stay home as a precaution if you have had contact with the person who tested positive, even if the GGD does not consider this to be a risk according to the criteria and you are not explicitly summoned to go into quarantine. In that case, discuss with your teacher or manager that you want to stay home as a precaution, and the possibilities to study/work at home.

    Guidelines
    Teachers and managers must follow the instructions and guidelines of the GGD and RIVM, insofar as these are given, and must enable their students/employees to follow these instructions. It is essential - as in the past period - that a person who tested positive goes into isolation and does not come to VU Amsterdam.

  • Can I also do a self-test if I have (mild) symptoms?

    Yes, you can do a self-test or get tested at the GGD. Do this as soon as possible. You can make a test appointment at the GGD via 0800-1202 or coronatest.nl. Do you have a negative self-test and do the symptoms persist for a longer period of time? Then also do a self-test the next day. If you have a positive self-test, you should still take a test at the GGD. More information can be found on the website of the national government

  • What are the guidelines for travelling abroad (research and internships)?

    Only travel to countries with a green or yellow travel advice. Students (internships, research, residencies, fieldwork etc.) and researchers who still want to travel abroad when code orange is indicated, should discuss this with their study supervisor or manager.

    Whichever country you go to, you may still be faced with coronary measures such as possible entry requirements, a quarantine or testing obligation. Therefore, always keep an eye on the travel advice. Click here for the latest travel information from the central government and for the general VU travel policy. Possible costs for cancellation or early return due to a new outbreak will not be reimbursed from central funds.

  • How does VU Amsterdam deal with the ventilation of the buildings on campus?

    VU Amsterdam closely follows the discussion on the possible spread of Corona through ventilation systems in buildings and also receives questions on how the ventilation systems at VU Amsterdam work. 

    We think it is important to explain how the systems work at VU Amsterdam, how the RIVM guidelines are applied and whether additional measures are necessary for VU Amsterdam. We take all possible measures to maximise the use of the ventilation systems in our buildings for air refreshment. We adhere to the recommendations and rules for ventilation in the Buildings Act and the instructions of the RIVM, and we regularly consult with the Municipal Health Services (GGD). By adequately following this advice and guidance, we are doing what can be expected of us and are helping to minimise the risk of contamination through ventilation. VU Amsterdam is dependent on the latest scientific knowledge available about the possible spread of the virus via ventilation. We are therefore unable to give any guarantees that there is a 0% risk to anyone. What we can do is closely follow the guidelines of the RIVM and the instructions of the GGD and quickly adjust our approach in the event of new insights.

    Ventilation systems at VU Amsterdam
    Our systems comply with the rules for air ventilation in the Dutch Buildings Act and also with the guidelines of the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM). Our buildings are not all the same. One building is older than the other; one is fully connected to an air-conditioning system; another is partially connected to an air-conditioning system. In laboratories and specific research environments, other air treatment systems (for example in combination with fume cupboards) are applicable than in offices and educational environments.

    The systems are operated in such a way that the ventilation in the buildings, old or new, is as good as possible. All ventilation systems in our buildings are maintained by professional personnel and checked on the actual functioning of these systems. The air-conditioning systems are maintained up-to-date and kept in good condition. FCO's Property Management department is responsible for this. This department takes care of maintenance and operations with its own technical people and in cooperation with contract partners. We attach importance to proper functioning and carry out additional checks on a daily basis. 

    Is air quality monitored? 
    The air quality (CO2) is actively monitored by the building management systems of VU Amsterdam. This monitoring shows that the air quality is in accordance with the RIVM standards. We have various automated measuring systems in the buildings that monitor the air quality in real time. As soon as a critical limit is reached, a report is immediately sent out. This is picked up immediately and assessed on the spot to determine whether measures need to be taken. In addition, manual measurements are taken daily in the various buildings. There is increased alertness and speed in the response and handling of reports (questions and complaints) relating to climate and ventilation. Complaints about the climate are sometimes confused with complaints about ventilation. The fact that it is too hot or too cold does not mean that the ventilation is not in order.

    At what capacity do ventilation systems currently run at VU Amsterdam? 
    The ventilation capacity is set for 100% utilisation. This means that we use the maximum ventilation capacity. This maximum ventilation capacity is also sufficient if the one-and-a-half metre measure is dropped, and the campus becomes more crowded again. It is important that the maximum number of persons in a room is not exceeded.

    There are, however, differences between buildings in terms of the installation set-up. Not all VU buildings are equipped with fully mechanical ventilation systems. Sometimes there is top cooling (top cooling means that there is a maximum of 2-3 degrees of cooling compared to the outside air), sometimes windows can be opened, or combinations of systems. For example, in the W&N Building, in the T and U wing and the 4th floor P corridor on the south side, there is no mechanical ventilation system, or only a partial one. There are other possibilities of bringing fresh air in through opening windows and/or ventilation grilles. This also applies to the smaller buildings such as BelleVUe and Filosofenhof. In MF Building, various combinations of systems are also present.

    Is fresh air or recirculation used?
    One of the topics in the discussion on ventilation is the extent to which fresh air is used or the air present is recirculated. Recirculation is a technique whereby part of the air present in the building, which still meets the air quality requirements, is recirculated so that the air handling installations do not always have to process 100% of the outside air (for example, cooling, heating, dehumidifying).

    We currently adjusted the installations so that fresh outside air is used for ventilation as much as possible. The recirculation has been turned off. As a result, the extracted air from the buildings is now blown directly outside.

    In addition to normal operations, we start the installations of the buildings two hours before the buildings open and let them run for two hours after the buildings close before switching them to night mode (with less ventilation).

    From the point of view of sustainable energy use, installations often also need recirculation to operate in more extreme weather conditions. When the outside temperature drops, it may not be possible to meet the temperature or humidity standards in all buildings. Also, on warmer days, we draw in more warm air from outside, which can cause the indoor temperature to be higher than normal.

    If situations arise in which this may become a problem, it is determined in consultation with the Operational Crisis Team and then the Strategic Policy Team whether actions should be taken. For example, if the temperature in the building becomes too cold or too hot.

    Some locations on campus already have different ventilation rules as standard, will these remain the same? 
    In certain (research) areas, such as labs (for example, fume cupboards), the dissecting room, the MF walk-in room and the Human Performance lab at the Medical Faculty, additional or separate requirements already apply in 'normal operations'. These situations already have a different set-up for their environments in terms of ventilation. No additional measures are required here at present.

    I want to know more about the ventilation at VU Amsterdam
    With this information, we want to point out which measures VU Amsterdam has taken in the ventilation of buildings. Property Management and the crisis team closely follow the developments, discussions and recommendations of the government (and therefore RIVM) and will take follow-up measures if necessary.

    We did everything possible to maintain and adjust the installation properly under these special circumstances.

    For further information or specific information in a building or lab, please contact the On-Site Campus Team On-site-campusteam@vu.nl.

Education: study and teaching

  • Education on campus: current situation

    On 4 April - at the start of period 5 - all educational activities planned on campus will take place again on campus. We decided earlier that from 5 March onwards, all examinations will take place on campus again. For students who cannot come to the campus due to quarantine obligations, regular exam rules apply.

  • Are the tests on campus or online?

    From 5 March onwards, examinations will again be held on campus. In exceptional cases, a test will be taken remotely. Students who are unable to take a digital test with OLP at home have the option of taking the test on campus, as was previously the case during the lockdowns. You can register using this form.  

    You can find the exam locations in the main building (13A32 and during exam week also 13A36). If you use an examination place for an OLP examination, you also take the examination via online proctoring. There are PCs available on which you can do your exam. Bring your own laptop just in case. Be there on time, so that you can start at the scheduled exam time.

    It is still necessary to sign up for your exams. The normal term for signing up for exams applies, at least two weeks before the exam date. So make sure you sign up in time. 

  • I have corona related symptoms and therefore cannot come to campus for education and/or exams. What does this mean for me?

    Are you unable to take the exam on location because you have corona or flu related symptoms? Then the existing arrangements in the exam regulations apply and you can make use of the resit. It is not possible to take the exam online or remotely in such a situation. In some cases, it is also possible to request an additional examination opportunity from the Examination Board. 

    We realise that there is not always a (full) alternative available to involve students - with complaints at home/personal circumstances - remotely in education on campus. 

    Are you unable to attend education on campus for a long period of time? Then contact your academic advisor to see if an alternative study plan can be drawn up.  

  • Attandence obligation students

    Do we oblige students to come to the campus?
    Starting 30 August 2021, the normal obligation for students applies. That is: if the Teaching and Examination Regulations (OER)/study manual stipulate that a student must be present, then they must be present. If no obligation to attend is laid down, this obligation does not apply. So: suppose that attendance at a lecture is not mandatory and a student is scheduled on day x to follow education on campus, then the student is not obliged to do so. However, students are encouraged to follow as much education on campus as possible, if the government measures allow it. They are reminded to follow the campus and basic rules in the interests of everyone's safety.

    If a student cannot attend classes on campus due to Corona-related circumstances (e.g.: tested positive, in quarantine or at risk), should we provide an alternative to campus education?
    Starting 30 August 2021, the usual arrangements for courses where attendance is compulsory will apply, which are laid down in the Teaching and Examination Regulations (OER). Education that takes place entirely on campus is usually not also offered online. Students who cannot attend the examination will be referred to the resit. Students who are unable to follow education on campus (for a prolonged period) are advised to contact the study advisor to see if an alternative study plan can be drawn up.  

    We realise that there is not always a (full) alternative available to involve students – who have symptoms or due to personal circumstances - remotely in the education taking place on campus.  

  • Do I qualify for the halving of tuition fees announced by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science?

    The Cabinet has decided to halve the statutory tuition fee in academic year 2021-2022 due to the consequences of COVID-19. The halving applies to all those who pay the regular statutory tuition fee in 2021-2022 and to those who pay a premaster fee.

    For students who pay institutional tuition fees or increased statutory tuition fees, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science has asked all higher education institutions to apply a discount of €1084. VU Amsterdam has also done this. On this page you can find all fees for 2021-2022 (and for the current academic year).

  • Reduction BSA standard 2021-2022

    For all first-year students, the standard for the Binding Study Advice (BSA) will be reduced by 6 credits (6 EC). This applies to all students who started their Bachelor programme at VU Amsterdam in 2021-2022. With this reduction, we join the national agreement between universities to meet students because of the corona crisis: a difficult time in which it can be more difficult to pass the BSA.

    We reduced the norm for most programmes from 42 to 36 EC. A reduction of 6 EC also applies to programmes with a deviating norm, of 48 or 54 EC.

    Temporary postponement
    If you are (temporarily) unable to study this academic year optimally, for example as a result of the corona measures or due to personal circumstances you can apply for a BSA deferment (postponement). You may also apply if you missed on-campus compulsory activities due to home-quarantine. In these cases, you must report your situation to your academic advisor as soon as possible.

    Your academic advisor can also help if you have difficulty studying, are in doubt about your programme or if you would like guidance in planning your study.

  • Instruction for lecturers: what should I do if a student is infected?

    A student or staff member who has tested positive is instructed by the GGD to pass on the positive result to the educational institution if he/she has been at the institution during the contagious period. Has the student or employee been at the institution during the contagious period (up to 48 hours prior to the start of complaints or the positive test), then the Amsterdam Municipal Health Service advises the educational institution to inform the students in the group(s) of the positive tested student or staff member about this. These contacts are regarded as 'other contact' and not as 'close contact'. This means that students and staff members who receive this message do not have to go into quarantine but do have to keep a close eye on themselves. 

    If the infected student/employee has had close contact within the institution, he/she will inform the persons in question on the instruction of the Municipal Health Service (GGD) or the GGD will inform the persons in question itself. 

    Action perspective for the lecturer:

    1. Have you been informed by a student that he/she is infected with corona? Share the message below on Canvas with the groups the student has participated in. 

    2. Do you receive several reports from the same group at the same time? Please inform the On-Site Campus Team On-site-campusteam@vu.nl


    CANVAS MESSAGE 

    *** This message will be updated as developments occur, so please check the Q&A page Teaching and Corona for the latest version before sending ***

    Dear student, 

    You are receiving this message because you have been on campus with someone who has corona. In this message we give you more information and rules to follow. In this way you will help to prevent the people around you from becoming infected.

    What does it mean for you?
    The contact you had falls under the category of 'other contact' and not 'close contact'. You may be infected with the coronavirus. Because the risk is small, you are allowed to go to the campus as long as you have no complaints. Keep an extra close eye on your health for the next ten days. Do you get complaints that fit with corona, such as:

    • colds: nose cold, runny nose, sneezing, sore throat 
    • coughing 
    • tightness of the chest or shortness of breath 
    • an increase in temperature or fever 
    • sudden loss of smell and/or taste 

    Then do a self-test immediately, and also if you have previously been tested negative or if you have new health problems. If you have vulnerable family members due to old age or illness, make an appointment for testing at the GGD. Stay at home until you know the result of the test. 

    In case of a positive self-test, make an appointment at the GGD for a retest. Stay at home until you know the result of the test. Your housemates also stay at home.

    You can make an appointment for testing at the GGD via 0800-1202 or coronatest.nl.

    Remember the basic rules and follow the general advice that applies in the Netherlands, for example about going to school or work. For more information, visit rivm.nl and Rijksoverheid.nl. Self-tests can be ordered free of charge at www.zelftestonderwijs.nl.

    Safety rules
    It is important that you follow the safety rules. This will help prevent the coronavirus spreading further and people around you becoming infected.

    Activities
    If you have no complaints, you can visit the campus and participate in educational and exam activities. Before visiting the campus, check the current possibilities and corona measures at www.vu.nl/corona

    Hygiene 

    - Wash your hands regularly with soap and water and do so at least 

    • after coughing and sneezing
    • after having been on the toilet
    • before (preparing) food. 

    - Use a paper handkerchief for coughing. Do you not have a paper handkerchief at hand? Then cough into the crease of your elbow. 

    - Only use a handkerchief once and throw it away after use. Wash your hands afterwards. 

    See the website of the government for the current overview of basic rules.

    If you have any questions about the coronavirus or if you have any doubts about your symptoms, call the GGD in your area. GGD Amsterdam: 020-55 55 202.

  • How can I offer my education online or hybrid and where can I turn with questions?

    Go to vu.nl/online-education for an overview of available tools, didactic and technical advice and tips and tricks for online teaching and learning. 

    VU NT&L, together with LEARN! Academy, AVC, SOZ and the University Library, has also arranged for extra hands to help you on your way.

  • Exceptions to the BSc-before-MSc rule 2022-2023 (zachte knip or "soft cut')

    Students who have not completed their entire Bachelor’s/pre-Master's programme, will, under certain conditions, still be able to start their (pre-)Master’s at VU Amsterdam in the 2022-2023 academic year. Read more

Moving and travelling to the Netherlands

  • Visa, immigration and visiting the campus

    Can I travel to the Netherlands as an international student?

    We strongly advise you to look at this checklist before you decide to travel to the Netherlands. The information on this website will be updated regularly. In general, all non-EU students can travel to the Netherlands with a valid entry visa (MVV) or the IND approval letter (in Dutch: ‘kennisgevingsbrief’) stating that you will receive a residence permit.

    Did you already receive a message that your application has been approved but you do not hold the IND letter yet? Please contact studentimmigration@vu.nl in that case.

    Lastly, be aware that there will be less flights or flights might be cancelled due to the (local) restrictions.

    I have already received the approval of my visa/residence permit procedure but I cannot travel to The Netherlands. What should I do?

    Not all embassies can open yet. This is due to the local situation. Is your embassy still closed? Foreign Affairs will then only issue an MVV if you fall under an exception category of the EU entry ban (opens in new window). Or if you need an MVV with exceptional urgency. And if the local situation allows it. This differs per embassy. It is still possible that you cannot pick up an MVV yet. The IND will only consider your case urgent if you meet these three criteria:

    • You can prove that you can travel to the Netherlands at this time. This means that there are no physical restrictions and that the borders are open. Flights are departing from your country to the Netherlands. 
    • Your work or research comes under the vital professions.
    • You need to explain why your case is urgent. And you have to prove that this urgency relates to a vital profession. 

    If you meet all three criteria, ask VU Amsterdam to contact the IND. The IND will then determine whether the case is indeed urgent.

    Where can I find up to date information about the Dutch measures against the corona virus?

    On this website from the Dutch government you can find the most recent information.

    Is the visa fee non refundable?

    Important message for users of our immigration platform “VisaCare”: as soon as you’ve submitted your personal details and have started the application, we assume that you wish to apply for a student visa/residence permit. If you decide to cancel your application throughout the process (i.e. before completing all of the required steps), you need to pay a handling fee of €85. We will deduct the €85 from the visa fee you transferred already.

    If you haven’t paid your visa fee to VU Amsterdam yet, you must pay the €85 handling fee to the VU. We will send you the instructions how to pay this.

    The total visa fee of €275 is non-refundable if we’ve already sent your application to the Dutch Immigration Authorities (IND).

    My question was not answered here, how can I contact you?

    E-mail: studentimmigration@vu.nl
    Phone: Please schedule an appointment in our online tool

  • Measures for travelling

    Most recent update on the Dutch government measures

    The most up-to-date information about the Dutch measures can be found on this website.

    Non-EU students who wish to travel to the Netherlands:

    • You can travel to the Netherlands with a valid entry visa (MVV) or the IND approval letter stating that you will receive a residence permit. (In Dutch: ‘kennisgevingsbrief’). Did you already receive a message that your application has been approved but you do not hold the IND letter yet? Please contact studentimmigration@vu.nl in that case.
    • Be aware that there will be less flights or flights might be cancelled due to the restrictions. We strongly advise you to look at this checklist before you decide to travel to the Netherlands. 

    Measures before and after travelling to the Netherlands

    In order to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus in the Netherlands the Dutch government has decided to implement measures for passengers travelling to the Netherlands from areas with many coronavirus infections by means of a health declaration form and self-quarantine.  

    What measures do I need to take before travelling to The Netherlands?
    Check the most up-to-date information here. We advise you to consult this page regularly. 

    I want to fly to the Netherlands. Do I need a negative coronavirus test?
    This depends on the status of the country you are travelling from. Please, check here for information on when the negative test result requirement applies. In certain cases a proof of vaccination may be sufficient (not all vaccines are approved, see here), while in other cases a negative test result is required even if you are fully vaccinated. Therefore please read this checklist carefully to see if you need to have a negative test result and/or completed health declaration.

    What should I do when I arrive at the airport in the Netherlands?

    • More information about the COVID-19 rules at the airport is available here.

    How do I go to my student accommodation from the airport or train station?

    • You will have to arrange your transport to your accommodation yourself. Route descriptions for public transport will be available soon. It is also possible to make a reservation for a taxi in advance. 
    • To travel to your accommodation from the airport, you can use a taxi or the public transport. For both, you will need a non-medical face mask.

      How do I get the key of my room?
    • If you rent an accommodation via VU Amsterdam, the housing providers will inform you how and where you will receive the key of your room.
    • If you rent an accommodation on the private market, you will have to make arrangements with your landlord yourself. 

Contact

Students

Student Desk
Do you have questions about registration and deregistration, tuition fees, registering for education, applying for a list of grades and authenticating a diploma? Answers to frequently asked questions about transition, registration and admission can also be found on this webpage. Otherwise, you can send an e-mail to studentenbalie@vu.nl.

Student wellbeing
We know that this time can also cause a lot of confusion and unrest. Do you feel the need to talk to someone? Our student psychologists are here for you. You can reach them via studentenpsychologen@vu.nl. Check out vu.nl/heyareyouok for an overview of the support offered by VU Amsterdam.

International Support Services
If you have specific questions regarding your study abroad, housing or visa, please find the contact or appointment details of our specific International Support Services. For questions regarding full-time enrolment and tuition fees or to collect a student card, please visit the Student Desk.

Faculty of Medicine and ACTA

If you’re a student at the Faculty of Medicine, please visit the faculty website. For Master's students and employees of the Faculty of Medicine, the guidelines and information of Amsterdam UMC on the Tulip Intranet apply (under the tile Coronavirus: Information and frequently asked questions).