If the coronavirus figures continue to evolve favourably, universities and colleges in Flanders will be able to start in code green, meaning special measures will no longer be necessary, announced Flemish Education Minister Ben Weyts on Wednesday.
The current exams, as well as resits, will still be organised according to the measures that were already in place, but activities such as proclamations and info days can already be held on campus, if the safety protocols for higher education are respected.
“We want to offer perspective to students who are currently sitting their exams and are looking forward to more social contact,” said Weyts in a press release, following the agreement with representatives of the colleges, universities and students.
We volgen de epidemiologische situatie op de voet, maar we gaan er momenteel van uit dat we volgend academiejaar (2021-2022) kunnen starten in code groen. Dat betekent: zonder bijzondere coronamaatregelen. pic.twitter.com/GWUVPiPDU9
“On the one hand, we offer various possibilities for the organisation of end-of-year activities such as proclamations – which are, after all, important rites of passage for students and teachers alike,” he added. “But we also offer a somewhat longer-term perspective, for the start of a new academic year.”
Weyts stressed that the sector will continue to monitor the epidemiological situation closely, but that they “assume that we will be able to start in code green,” thanks to the progress of the vaccination campaign.
If the campaign continues to run well, nearly all staff and students will have been vaccinated before the start of the next academic year, and all extra Covid measures – on top of those that apply in general society – can be lifted.
“Students were subjected to a strict coronavirus regime for a very long time: they were among the first to go into a lockdown and stayed in it for a long time,” Weyts said. “So everyone is looking forward to a new start in code green.”
For the French-speaking universities and colleges, Regional Minister for Higher Education Valérie Glatigny also envisages a face-to-face start to the academic year.
“This examination session is going well overall. We are monitoring the situation very closely. Our objective is to offer students 100% face-to-face learning for the start of the academic year in September,” she said on Bel-RTL. “We will confirm this around 25 June.”