Exit strategy: Flemish universities present worst-case scenario

Exit strategy: Flemish universities present worst-case scenario
Credit: Belga

In a worst-case scenario, only one in six students in Flemish universities can be present in lecture halls at the same time next academic year, De Tijd reported.

The universities have proposed this to the Group of Experts for an Exit Strategy (GEES).

Flemish universities had already started teaching fully online before the nationwide lockdown began, but as the coronavirus crisis progressed, a growing number of students became opposed to online education.

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Despite this, "we are currently assuming a cautious scenario in which the capacity of our classrooms is reduced by a factor of six," said Jan Danckaert, Vice Rector of Education at the Free University of Brussels (VUB).

That would mean that a room for 100 students could see as little as 15 to 20 students at a time.

Students will be divided into bubbles that will be taught in turns, resulting in only two weeks on campus per semester in this worst-case scenario. When the new coronavirus (Covid-19) epidemic is under control, that number can be relaxed and increased to, for example, one-third of full capacity.

"The bubble that is not allowed to go to the auditorium at that time can then follow the lesson via live streaming," said KU Leuven rector Luc Sels.

However, live streaming requires a lot of bandwidth, which not all universities can handle. Students would then have to watch the recordings of the lessons at home afterwards.

Besides being taught in turns, students will receive what's known as blended learning - a combination of digital classes, practical seminars and question sessions in which social distancing will not be required but the use of face masks will.

The Brussels Times

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