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Covid-19: Flanders’ higher education moves to code orange

Credit: Belga

Higher education in Flanders will switch to code orange by the autumn holidays at the latest, with extra attention for first-year students.

The occupancy rate in auditoriums will be limited to one in five, but for first-year students the occupancy rate will remain one in two provided students wear face masks. The educational institutions will also offer maximum safe study places for students who commute.

Flemish Minister of Education Ben Weyts has reached agreement on this with the Flemish Inter-University Council (VLIR) and the Vlaamse Hogescholenraad (VLHORA).

“We must have an eye for the most vulnerable. The first-year students have not been able to finish their school year in secondary education as they should. They don’t have any experience and we don’t want them to become sitting ducks,” he told VTM Nieuws on Sunday.

Higher education in Flanders will switch to code orange as soon as possible and at the latest by the start of the autumn holidays. Individual institutions can still take stricter measures on the basis of their own local risk assessment.

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Code orange further limits the occupancy rate of the auditoriums and the presence of students on campus.

Sporting and cultural activities will be suspended, the presence of non-essential third parties on campus will be limited.

Education in small groups, practical and lab exercises will remain possible.

Internships may continue in accordance with the protocols that apply at the internship placement.

On Thursday, the University of Ghent announced that it would switch to code red on the Flemish government’s pandemic matrix, meaning there is a high risk of contracting the virus. That change will happen on 26 October.

The Brussels Times