Students in Dutch-speaking higher education in Brussels will also be able to return to campus full-time when the new academic year starts; however, face masks will be mandatory.
In August, it was announced that colleges and universities in Flanders and Wallonia would be able to switch entirely to full-time contact education from September, but the decision was postponed for Dutch-speaking campuses in Brussels. But have now also been given the green light.
“Our higher education institutions can start the new academic year in code green, although in Brussels there is still a mouth mask obligation,” said Flemish Minister of Education Ben Weyts in a press release.
Weyts stressed that colleges and universities in the region want to “fully support the vaccination campaign” by urging all unvaccinated students to get their doses. “Hopefully, in this way, we will be able to get rid of the mouth mask obligation in Brussels as well,” he said.
In Flanders, as is the case for secondary education, students and teachers can take off their face masks when seated. The general rules apply outside classrooms, however additional measures can be taken based on local risk analysis of the epidemiological situation.
Higher education institutions can also take additional measures – including making face masks compulsory – based on “their own insights of the situation, as well as the ventilation capacity and the possibility of keeping one’s distance.”
Full-time contact education will also restart for students at French-speaking universities and colleges in Wallonia and Brussels, although face masks must still be worn inside, the cabinet of higher education minister Valérie Glatigny said in August.
The region will carry out an evaluation of the situation, and whether face masks still need to be worn inside, 15 days after the start of the academic year.
Students who, for example, need to be particularly careful about attending class in person for medical reasons, or those who still feel uncomfortable returning to campus, can still follow lessons or watch recordings of lectures online.
Internships, open days and exams will also be held in person.