Rector asks all students to stay home

Leuven Life

14 maart 2020
Article
Auteur(s): Gwynne van Kaauwen
The university cancels all physical lessons until at least the Easter holidays, regardless of their nature. Students don’t have to come back after this weekend.

Originally written in Dutch for Veto by Pieter Jespers, Mathilde Dams and Tijs Keukeleire

Translated to English for The Voice by Gwynne van Kaauwen (Contributing Writer)

Originally published on March 13, 2020

On Friday, rector Luc Sels communicated by e-mail the new measures to be taken by the university. There is only exception from these rules for students needed in the healthcare sector. These students will get more information through Toledo.

Learning centers will be closed from Saturday and libraries will only remain open for research and thesis students. The previously announced capacity restriction to one-third will remain in place. 

Students are not allowed to eat their meals at Alma. Yesterday, Alma switched to two meals per day. ‘We still provide a daily classic and vegetarian dish for the lowest price,’ says Daniel Lips, CEO of Alma. Soup and sandwiches can also be picked up. Almas will close during the evenings.

No lectures

Students don’t have to be in Leuven anymore, since all lectures are cancelled and will be replaced by online alternatives as much as possible. 

The new measures primarily relate to lectures. Provisionally, deadlines still apply for the time being, unless professors or faculties decide otherwise. However, meeting these deadlines can become harder when libraries are opened for just thesis students.

Now that the federal phase is in force, the university switches from simply encouraging digital education to a total transition. Practicums and lectures in small groups, which could previously continue, are no longer possible.

The university is taking more control and following government measures for schools. These have to close next week as well. A few faculties had already gone this far. The faculty of arts cancelled all physical lectures on Wednesday night.

Research continues

The research activities continue as usual, according to an e-mail to staff.  Support services will also remain active, with priority for critical services. Others have to, depending on the circumstances, shift to reduced services. 

If assignments are not location-bound, KU Leuven urges its employees to work from home as much as possible and to meet via Skype for Business. Through schedules employees can guarantee alternating physical presence.

Location-based assignments require consultation at the service level, according to the email.

Trips Abroad

All trips to foreign countries in the context of studies will be postponed until after the Easter holidays. The suspension can be extended, according to the rector.

The most recent state of affairs at the KU Leuven can be found at  www.kuleuven.be/coronavirus. For questions you can contact  coronavirus@kuleuven.be.

Statement by the Belgian authorities here.