The five Flemish universities have jointly decided to exclusively give classes digitally until the end of the school year because of the new coronavirus (Covid-19).
The Rectors of the KU Leuven, UGent, VUB, University of Antwerp and University of Hasselt decided on Friday to react to the coronavirus crisis proactively, and limit their offer to online courses until the end of the school year.
In an earlier stage, the KU Leuven already announced that it would resort to online courses "as much as possible" last week, and Walloon universities took preventive measures to protect their students and staff from the virus by shutting down all their lecture halls.
"We could communicate and extend certain measures every few weeks, but as everything is going digital now, we thought it would be better to decide right away to continue the lessons digitally until the end of the semester," said Caroline Pauwels, Rector of the VUB, to the Belga news agency.
— VLIR (@VLIRnws) March 20, 2020
Translation of Tweet by the Flemish Inter-University Council: "The five Flemish universities have decided to teach digitally until the end of this academic year #FlattenTheCurve #Covid_19"
More information about how this will work in practice will be communicated in the coming days and weeks, after all faculties and services have been able to coordinate their plans.
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The current academic calendar will be maintained as much as possible, but how the exam period will be organised is not entirely clear yet. Additionally, the universities are looking into finding remote alternatives for practical courses, traineeships and students' master's thesis, reports De Morgen.
All universities have also guaranteed that there will be a holiday period for both students and teachers.
The Brussels Times