COVID pass at university unfeasible

Enforcing the use of a COVID certificate is unfeasible, universities say.
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With the number of infections on the rise, the government aims to strike hard against the virus. One of the plans is to introduce a COVID pass in higher education, allowing only vaccinated, recovered or negatively tested students access to the campus. But such a rule is completely unfeasible, universities and university colleges claim. Enforcing such a rule would cause significant logistical issues, as education is not the same as a festival with only one entrance.

Moreover, the government demands guaranteed access to education for students who do not have a COVID certificate. Thus, alternatives must be designed for this category of students. Impossible, the overarching organisations write in a press release. ‘Following lectures online is an option, but offering smaller courses, project work and practicals in an alternative form as well, is unfeasible’, says Pieter Duisenberg, chair of the association of universities VSNU.

Following lectures online is an option, but offering smaller courses, project work and practicals in an alternative form as well is unfeasible

Pieter Duisenberg, VSNU

His colleague of the Union of University Colleges Maurice Limmen agrees. ‘Introducing a COVID pass will negatively impact the accessibility of education, no doubt about it. We are unable to offer the same education both in-person and online.’ The institutions, therefore, emphatically call on the government not to apply for COVID passes in this manner. Nor is there a reason to, they say, as many students and employees are vaccinated, and no outbreaks have occurred in the sector.

House of Representatives

The House of Representatives has yet to discuss the COVID pass. The house moves at a slower pace than the cabinet had hoped. The bills to introduce the COVID pass will not be discussed this week, which means that everything will be delayed by at least a week, while lockdown measures may even be introduced shortly.

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  1. I have only seen the reports in the media and not the official response, but what I hear from the VSNU seems not well thought-out to me. Similar to the previous responses of the hospitality industry, the VSNU just raises the arguments that a COVID pass cannot be implemented and that the university (cf. the bars/restaurant) are not a source of infection. Like the hospitality industry it lacks any constructive proposal how to control the pandemic and how the universities themselves, internally, could contribute. What can the universities do to increase the vaccination rate of the university population? As an employee I am not aware that our university has taken any active measures to increase that rate. In the long term, a higher vaccination rate is the only route to keeping good education ‘accessible’. Rather than just saying no (to things that can be done), the VSNU could say yes to a (possibly improved) COVID pass for the short term and become pro-active in increasing the vaccination rate.