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Coronavirus: Brussels university will activate code orange

© Belga

A university in Brussels will follow the lead of three Flemish universities and enforce stricter coronavirus rules after triggering code orange for the start of the new academic year.

The Dutch-language Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) is the latest of at least three universities in Belgium to announce they were cranking up coronavirus to level orange, up from the widely recommended code yellow.

While the universities of Hasselt, Ghent and Antwerp said code orange would apply from the start of the new academic year on 21 September, the VUB will apply the changes from the week after.

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Across Belgium, most universities are kicking off the new cycle under code yellow, which allows for lecture halls and classroom to be filled at 50% capacity.

Under code orange, universities are required to cut the occupancy rate down to a fifth of a hall or classroom’s capacity, meaning more students will move to distance learning.

Despite moving to stricter rules, the VUB has clinched partnerships with the real estate and cultural sectors to use empty office and living spaces to provide as much on-site teaching as possible while complying with code orange and social distancing rules.

One such partnership will allow some 455 VUB students to attend class in unoccupied office buildings in the European Quarter’s Rue Joseph II, which runs parallel to the bustling Rue de La Loi, according to Le Soir.

Spread out into four floors, the building’s 12,500 square-metres spread over four floors will be overrun with student activity, which VUB Dean Catherine Pauwels saying that the move will make the EU Quarter more lively as well as expose students to the host of activities that keep the EU’s capital abuzz.

Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times

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