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Corona

Here you can read all about how we deal with corona at VU Amsterdam.

The government has asked all educational institutions to prepare for a possible resurgence of the corona virus and to translate the national Sector Plan medium-term approach corona mbo/ho into a plan for their own institution. A plan for VU Amsterdam has been prepared and is currently up for decision. The measures described in it are based on five scenarios outlined by the government. These are the different stages of the pandemic. For each scenario, it will soon be clear in advance which measures students and staff of VU Amsterdam will have to deal with. The government will decide when to scale up or down to a different scenario. The corresponding measures will take effect from that moment. 

The cabinet's guiding principle is to keep education open for as long as possible. This means that even in the event of far-reaching contact restrictions in society and other sectors, education will remain possible on campus with appropriate measures.

On this page, you will soon find the different scenarios and which one is valid at that time. You can read about the current situation below.

Current situation

Measures and advice
At VU Amsterdam, we follow the coronavirus measures of the national government. If you test positive, you should stay at home for at least five days until you have been symptom-free for 24 hours. In case of complaints, do a self test before coming to the university. More information about staying home and self-isolating can be found on the website of the national government.

Hygiene measures also apply at VU Amsterdam, such as wash your hands often, cough and sneeze into your elbow and avoid shaking hands. You can find the most up-to-date information on the website of the national government.

Good ventilation is provided in the buildings of VU Amsterdam. You can find more information at the bottom of this page.

Education and work
Education and exams will again take place on campus. If this is not the case, the lecturer will publish this in Canvas. VU Amsterdam has chosen to facilitate working from home in combination with working on campus. More information on hybrid working can be found here.

Questions
Information about ventilation, what to do in case of contamination and the VU travel policy can be found at the bottom of this page. For questions about education, please contact the Student Desk or the International Office. Employees can contact the HRM Servicedesk.

  • Ventilation VU buildings

    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.

  • Tested positive / contact with an infected person

    What does VU Amsterdam do if a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19?
    The national approach stipulates that the GGDs (public health service) are in charge of the regional approach to COVID-19 infections. They do this in close cooperation with the RIVM and the Safety Regions. This means that the GGD determines what happens if an infection is found in a student or employee of VU Amsterdam. We are not allowed to ask about or register infections on an individual level. However, if there are any striking developments or signals - for example, if a large number of course participants suddenly cancel their course - we will inform the GGD Amsterdam. That contact is via the Health Safety and Environment department and the crisis organisation of VU Amsterdam.

    Staying at home 
    It may be that, as a precaution, you want to stay at home if you have had contact with a person who tested positive. In that case, discuss with your lecturer or manager that you would like to stay home as a precaution, and what the possibilities are for studying/working at home.

    Guidelines  
    Lecturers and managers should follow the instructions and guidelines given by the GGD and RIVM (National Institute for Public Health and the Environment), as far as these are given, and enable their students/employees to follow these instructions. It is essential that a person who tests positive goes into isolation and does not come to VU Amsterdam.

  • Self tests available

    As of June 30, self tests are available at the hostesses in the entrance area of the VU buildings.

    If you would like a self test, please ask the hostess for one. 

  • Travelling abroad / moving and travelling to the Netherlands

    Travelling abroad
    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.

    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.

    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 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 VU Amsterdam. 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
    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?
    From 23 March 2022 people travelling to the Netherlands from outside the EU/Schengen area no longer need to show a negative test result. Check the current rules for entering the Netherlands.

    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. 

    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.