Update 25 June
After the latest meeting with the GEES (Belgian Experts Group for the Exit Strategy), we drafted a text about the prospects for next academic year for our new students and their parents/guardians. We will distribute this text in the coming days in various ways: our website, the Moving Minds Magazine, social media, ....
When you have been reading the updates on Intranet in the past weeks, you will notice that this text will hardly mention anything new, but you can use it to answer questions from your family and friends. We will provide additional details on Intranet for students and staff soon.
Read the text destined for new students ‘How do we start the new academic year at UCLL?’.
Update 28 May
What will happen after the summer? General principles of the 20-21 academic year
Covid-19 will seemingly remain in our lives, at least until the end of 2020. Hence, we must be prepared. What does it mean for our university? And based on our education concept, what impact does it have on activities (catering, student activities, campus events, ....)? What exactly must our university prepare for after August?
Using campuses effectively
Many scenarios have been considered. The main element was the physical presence of students on campus, from very few to ‘everybody welcome’. From our discussions with the GEES (Belgian Experts Group for the Exit Strategy) we understand that 100% occupancy of our campuses will not be possible next academic year. Simulation models suggest that higher education has a significant impact on the containment (or flaring up) of the virus. As a result, thousands of people circulating in our buildings will simply not be possible in autumn. At the moment we are considering bubbles of people combined with 1.5m physical distancing. Based on this approach, we anticipate a 50% occupancy as a general rule. These measures may be revised following future GEES guidelines. Depending on federal guidelines, occupancy rate may be increased or decreased during the course of the academic year.
We are anticipating a balanced mix between online education and on-campus education activities. It would be like a hybrid car running on 2 engines: the classic fuel-based engine for long distances; the electric battery for shorter distances. Depending on your needs, you would switch between online education and on-campus education. Obviously, it may differ substantially depending on the study programme and the study phase. Every study programme will consult its teams to decide how it will be organised in the most feasible way. Obviously, lecturers will be trained in hybrid learning/teaching in due time.
Additional student coaching and small study communities
Because of this hybrid education, we will increasingly focus on students’ resilience. Priority for on-campus education in semester 1 will be given to new students (first study phase). In this way, we emphasise our explicit attention to the experience of first-year students. In addition, the activities that can take place on campus at the beginning of the academic year, will be centred around study communities. We want to establish connections between students and between students and lecturers. Students work together in small groups, their “bubble” so to speak. Risk of infections is thus limited and communication and mutual support is strengthened.
Balanced mix of 3 elements: qualification, social dimension, and personal development
Indeed, our priority remains delivering valuable degrees. However ..... our education processes and activities must also attend to the social dimension and personal development, in addition to the qualification. Now more than ever, our education must be a mix of these 3 elements. Students will meet each other less often by chance on campus or in their spare time. Experiencing a lively student life and a student’s personal development must remain part of the study experience.
Connected together = strong together
In the scenario envisioned for the next academic year, we must increasingly put the spotlight on this element. We not only reflect about reshaping the way in which we offer education, but also about the way in which we can support and strengthen the social, informal activities we used to have and which are vital for connecting with each other.
The next step: preparing and taking concrete measures
Based on this approach, we will have to come up with many practical solutions. Which clever actions are needed and feasible and efficient, at programme and university level, in supporting services and research centres? What is the impact of this approach on student activities on and around campus?
Study programmes will continue to put this approach into practice in the coming days and weeks. Information is distributed; we share good practices which some programmes have already put in place; we enquire at various levels of our university. What to expect in the next update? More detailed information and further concrete ideas.
Update 19 May
A lot has changed, including UCLL campuses have reopened. Although there is minimal activity on campus, it feels like a new start and makes us hopeful about vibrant and lively campuses in the not too distant future. We are happy to notice that students and staff follow campus guidelines very well. That is a huge relief and we want to thank everyone for their efforts. After all, these are major changes. Do you want to learn more about these guidelines? Please read the Intranet pages of your campus.
We realise that many students are having a difficult time. Revising, studying together, asking for advice, a listening ear from a fellow-student or lecturer, ....Online solutions have been an adequate alternative, yet cannot entirely replace a genuine face-to-face talk or get-together. If you experience difficulties coping with the situation, do not hesitate and contact our student services: student services Leuven/Diest and student services Limburg
No doubt, the corona crisis has impacted our institution immensely: discontinued internships, alternative ways of examining, online classes, ... Therefore, UCLL decided to ease the study progress measures and offer extra opportunities to students who need it. For example, the 30% study progress will not apply this academic year. However, we do no lower the quality of our education, such as learning objectives and projected competences. The FAQ pages have been updated with our new study progress measures.
New guidelines about international mobilities have also been approved (read the relevant FAQs). At the moment, travel to neighbouring countries is allowed, yet only for study or internship purposes and with proper attestation. Other travel within the EU will be allowed from September 2020 onwards (first semester 20-21). Travel outside the EU for study or internship purposes will be allowed from semester 2 onwards. However, such travel remains subject to measures issued by the Belgian Security Council and the countries involved.
Update 14 May
Schools in Flanders are preparing to reopen, albeit on a limited scale. UCLL has also been preparing to ready its campuses for reopening next Monday, 18 May, for a limited number of activities.
We give a summary of the major measures and guidelines that everyone, (academic) staff and students, must respect. In addition, consult all other Intranet news per campus for specific and additional information. FAQs on the Intranet will be updated whenever new information becomes available.
Major measures and guidelines from 18 May:
- When you are ill, stay home. Obviously, this is the number one guideline.
- Not everyone is allowed on campus. The number of people allowed on campus corresponds to 15% of the normal occupancy, mainly reserved for practicals and lab work. The rule of ‘maximum digitalisation’ remains valid for all staff members. If a staff member wants to come to campus, s/he will need prior approval from his/her superior. Students have access for planned on-campus activities only.
- Respect the 1.5 metre physical distance rule. It is one of the major rules issued by the government and must be respected rigorously on our campuses. Space between tables and desks in all rooms have been increased.
- Follow the circulation instructions on campus. There will be floor stickers and compulsory one-way traffic in order to avoid two-way traffic in the same areas.
- Respect the hygiene measures. Soap, disinfecting gel, and paper towels will be sufficiently supplied. Doors will be left open as much as possible, cleaning schedules have been modified in order to make time for proper disinfecting.
- Face masks are compulsory on campus. The UCLL face masks will not be available on 18 May, we expect the delivery by the end of May. Therefore, you must make sure to have your own face mask, before you come to campus next week.
- Bring your own food and drink. There will be no catering and the vending machines are switched off.
We want to emphasise once again that it is crucial that everyone strictly respects these rules. We will only get through this crisis if we work together.
Update 6 May
On Tuesday 5 May, our federal government has formally agreed to the measures proposed by the universities of applied sciences. It is particularly good news with regard to our exam schedules. During the past weeks, our staff members have worked hard to schedule exams, set up online assessments, prepare campuses to reopen on 18 May for minimal on-campus activities, order and buy necessary supplies.
Below you will find additional information about the measures put in place, in chronological order:
6 May: exam schedules finalised
The draft exam schedules have been validated by the government and will be communicated to all students and academic staff on Intranet and for each campus.
11 May: all internships may resume, even those not related to the health care sector
Until this date, internships in the workplace were not possible, with the exception of health care internships. Since a lot of activities are being resumed in businesses, shops, and compulsory education, the universities of applied sciences have decided that internships may resume if the relevant sectors resume their activities as well. This measure will increase chances that the academic year can be concluded in a timely manner. Obviously, all measures must be strictly respected and therefore it is essential that student, internship host organisation and the study programme make proper arrangements. In order to travel to your internship host organisation, you must have a copy of your internship agreement with you.
18 May: Protection and safety
On 18 May, our campuses reopen for minimal on-campus activities, such as activities for which physical presence on campus is necessary. As a consequence, there will only be a small number of people on campus. We have estimated that no more than 15% of people will be on campus in comparison with pre-corona days. All campuses work closely together and are currently in full preparation mode: sufficient supply of hand sanitiser, direction signs, floor stickers, plastic screens; laboratory instructions, and so on. You will receive more detailed information from campus services. Wearing face masks on campus is compulsory (see below under face masks)
18 May: Quiet study spaces on campus
We have made arrangements for students who do not have a study space due to family situation, to come and study on campus. Yet, everyone must respect the physical distancing rules. Obviously, such spaces are limited. We will reserve them for students who genuinely need them. You can apply for such space through student services. studentendiensten Leuven/Diest en studentendiensten Limburg.
We have made arrangements for online assessments: richtlijnen docenten (in Dutch only), student guidelines.
Manuals and protocols have been written with regard to safety measures for on-campus exams. As mentioned previously, on-campus exams will be spread in time, rooms will be cleaned and aired, there will be direction signs; we avoid large groups, 1.5m physical distancing, .... All these measures have also been examined and approved by the government. Each campus will provide specific information in due time. Face masks are compulsory on campus.
Face masks: available before exams start In early April, UCLL bought face masks in cooperation with KU Leuven. Two types of face masks were bought: disposable and re-usable. Both types will be available on campus by the end of May, for all students and staff. Additional information will follow on the way in which they will be distributed. We wanted to distribute them on 18 May, especially to people who must be on campus or perform an internship. However, as you can imagine, we are not the only organisation that bought face masks and the delivery has been delayed. All students and staff are required to wear face masks on campus.
Do you or someone in your family belong to the group of higher-risk people?
Higher-risk people are people who are more likely to develop serious symptoms. FAQs on the Intranet have been updated with information about covid-19 higher-risk people; what you should do as a student or staff member if you belong to this group and which measures must be taken if a family member or a housemate belongs to this group:
Information staff en students
Update 24 April
Most notable elements of the Flemish emergency decree for higher education
On 15 April, the Flemish Parliament passed the so-called ‘emergency decree’ for higher education. The full version of the decree can be found on https://onderwijs.vlaanderen.be/nl/coronavirus-informatie-voor-hoger-onderwijs (in Dutch). We will elaborate on those elements that are most relevant to UCLL.
- Validating modifications
The decree provides a legal basis for the modifications that are already in place in a large number of course units. These modifications were implemented due to unforeseen circumstances, and are now validated by law. However, the modifications must be motivated and student representatives must be consulted. UCLL discussed these modifications at the Academic Council and has already made preparations before the Easter vacation: all study programme committees will assess them in the coming days. The study programme committees, including the student representatives in these committees, are requested to provide advice about these modifications. If course units are to be modified, we will notify students through the usual communication channel, which is Toledo.
- Extending the academic year
A second element of interest is the possibility of extending the 2019-2020 academic year. What does it mean in reality? UCLL will make all possible efforts to avoid any extension of the study year. However, if a particular and essential course unit or internship activity cannot take place or cannot be concluded before the start of the new academic year, our university has the option to allow these internship or study activities to take place in October. The extension of the academic year, as determined in the decree, will allow students to conclude these course units without having to re-register and pay a tuition fee. Because of this measure, students will still be able to officially graduate in the 2019-2020 academic year. UCLL will make the utmost effort to apply the extension of the academic year to graduating students only and for the smallest number of students, if possible.
- Resitting exams
Furthermore, the decree allows that exam periods will take place at another time than planned at the start of the academic year. Retaking exams is guaranteed, unless the nature of the course unit does not allow to retake the exam as a consequence of measures taken. Such cases must be restricted to a minimum and must be thoroughly motivated at all times. UCLL will undertake all efforts to guarantee the right to resit exams (on condition that resitting a specific exam was always an option).
Exams: practical arrangements
During the past weeks, we have been preparing the on-campus exam schedules while taking into account all safety precautions (such as physical distancing). Safety is our priority, therefore we will strictly implement the federal guidelines.
- As indicated earlier, we will publish the exam schedules by the beginning of May.
- Meanwhile, we are looking into alternative, including online, ways of assessment.
- We will primarily use our own campuses to accommodate the on-campus exams.
- See also the 2 April update about exams.
What will take place on our campuses from 18 May onwards?
From 18 May onwards, our campuses re-open to allow those education activities for which no off-campus alternative is available. In order to put in place maximum protection, several measures are being prepared. We consult with other universities of applied sciences and KU Leuven to align our measures and we strictly follow the guidelines issued by the national security council. In the weeks to come you will receive more information about the exact nature of these measures.
We will also look at ways and scenarios for staff members, departments, and teams to be able to work as adequately and as safely as possible. It will largely depend on the type of work and, therefore, the same measures will not apply to all.
Update 16 April
Update 3 April: update exam timetables
After consultation with the UCLL Academic Council, we continue to lay the groundwork for exam timetables and concluding the semester.
In short: the exam results must be communicated no later than 4 July. It means that this year’s exam results will be issued one week later than usual. It will allow everyone to schedule educational activities, assessments, and exams while at the same time providing sufficient time for studying. Exams will be scheduled from Monday through Saturday between 8am and 8pm, in periods of 3 hours. Thus, we are able to conclude the semester before summer and ensure vacation time for everyone.
Academic and campus staff continue to fine-tune these plans in the coming weeks. We intend to publish detailed exam timetables for each programme and campus before the beginning of May.
- Exams will be scheduled in June. Our academic staff is compiling a list of on-campus exams for which no alternative exists. Certain study programmes may start assessments and exams from 18 May onwards. It is determined by the curriculum and the programme calendar.
- Exam results must be published no later than 4 July. It means that the exam period will end on or before 30 June.
- The exam moments will be extended to Saturdays and evenings. In practice, from Monday through Saturday, between 8am and 8pm.
- Each day, we schedule 3 exam periods of 3 hours each:
- 8-11am, noon-3 pm, 4-7 pm
- 8.30-11.30 am, 12.30-3.30 pm, 4.30-7.30 pm
- 9 am-noon, 1-4 pm, 5-8 pm
- Minimal physical distance of 1.5 m, sufficient spreading of large groups, and measures of hygiene and protection will be taken into account when calculating the maximum capacity at our campuses.
- Alternative ways of examining (e.g. assignments) are promoted. Needless to say, students must be informed about it by the lecturer in a timely manner. All modifications will be adequately discussed beforehand with the student representatives.
Additional information about this semester:
- On 18 May, our campuses will reopen for educational activities, while respecting at the same time the government measures about physical distance and protection. Obviously, we will primarily focus on those education activities for which no off-campus alternative is available.
- From 18 May until beginning of July (7 weeks) each programme will schedule educational activities and/or exams. We will do everything in our power to guarantee manageable exam timetables and sufficient study time. Each study programme will determine which activities are scheduled and when, taking into account the feasibility on campus. Thus, exam periods, study or cramming period may be different depending on the study programme.
- The basic principles communicated earlier remain our priority: ensuring vacation time + study progress.
- After 4 July students will have the opportunity to exercise their right of access of graded exam papers, e.g. on 6 or 7 July or sooner if exams can be concluded earlier.
- It also means that students will have the opportunity to lodge an internal appeal until 11 July and that the lecturers involved may be contacted during the week after (probably until 17 July) to provide feedback with regard to such appeals.
- Suspension of graduation ceremonies end June/beginning July: after consultation with all Flemish Universities of Applied Sciences and Arts, it was decided that graduation ceremonies will not take place before the Summer vacation. Nevertheless, students will be able to graduate. We are currently looking into alternatives in September/October and at the impact on our calendar. Additional information will follow later.
Dear colleague, dear student,
During the past weeks, we put all our efforts into digital education. It required huge flexibility from students and staff for which we are immensely grateful. What will happen during the remainder of the academic year: exams, internships, practicals, labs, and so on? As you probably know, a ministerial decree was issued stating that the government measures remain in place until at least 5 April.
In order to launch preparations for the period after 5 April, UCLL management devised various scenarios following feedback from student representatives and after consultation with the other Flemish universities of applied sciences on Tuesday evening. Below, we will outline the framework within which UCLL and other universities of applied sciences will operate and which will be implemented in each study programme.
The information below is valid unless new government measures are issued. We will operate based on this scenario and provide a new update before 5 April when the government will have issued new measures at that time. We continue to count on your understanding in these exceptional times. Together, we will get through this difficult period and we believe that we can conclude the academic year in a satisfactory and positive way for everyone if we apply these measures. We will do our best to implement this scenario in every study programme and we will provide detailed information soon.
Our fundamental principles:
- Concluding the academic year as planned in the current academic calendar (no extended academic year)
- Modifying the semester planning, yet keeping workload for students and staff achievable.
- Ensuring a summer vacation for all
- Ensuring that a maximum number of students is able to graduate
The new measures
1. Current measure of maximum digitalisation extended until 18 May
Resuming classes/lectures after the Easter break seems not to be a realistic prospect. Chances are that the government will extend the current measures, possibly until mid-May. In comparison, the academic universities decided last week to continue offering exclusively digital education until the end of the academic year. However, because the number of practicals, labs, and internships at our universities of applied sciences is much higher than at academic universities, we intend to facilitate them as much as possible. We have started compiling a list of these specific course units, which should be ready by Easter break. After that, we will be able to implement concrete plans.
- Internships will be replaced by alternative assignments as much as possible to enable proper evaluation.
- Whenever possible, study programmes will try to provide a full evaluation of internships.
- If internships are suspended, we will try to provide the opportunity to complete the internship in Summer.
2. Limited classroom activities from 18 May onwards
If we are allowed to offer classroom activities after 18 May, we are able to use these few weeks before exams for those activities that cannot be completed digitally. Mind you, it will be limited to course units for which no other alternative is possible and while observing the rules of social distancing. During these weeks and until exams, internships and work-based learning can resume.
3. Sufficient time for exams, assessments, and deliberations
In early June, exams and assessments will begin. Our scenario also entails that some practicals may take place at the same time. The goal is to ensure that students are offered maximum opportunities to finish their semester as usual. All these modifications and possible measures of social distancing may result in an examination period unlike any other. We try to find new and inventive ways of taking exams.
In short, we will take all measures to conclude the academic year as planned and, at the same time, ensure that students and staff can enjoy a summer vacation.
4. After the summer vacation: concluding the academic year and retakes
After the summer vacation, we will try to resume our normal activities and schedule an examination period as usual, which is only possible if we can implement the above scenario as planned.
Update 19 March
The UCLL crisis team did not take any new urgent measures on March 19. We would like to take this opportunity, however, to sincerely thank everyone for complying immediately with th previous measures. In some cases, it was not at all easy.
Here is a short update:
- Make sure that you are aware of the latest measures of 18 March (read the update again if needed). During the course of the day, various updates were added to the text.
UCLL's international students:
During the past week, the international office sent an email to all international students currently studying at UCLL, asking them what they wanted to do in the current situation (stay or leave) and/or whether they had already returned home or were on their way home. More than half of the students decided to remain in Belgium as travelling home was a challenge and they have confidence in our health system.
We set up a live chat session to connect with our international students (see also the intranet and FB International messages on 18 March). Our student services will be organising similar live chats in small groups or individually (by appointment) a few times a week. We want to make sure that our students are well supported in every possible way by providing tips and tricks or other practical information, and offering moral support.
Our FAQs have also been updated with new information or based on questions that we received from students. So, keep those questions coming!
- Follow UCLL on social media to stay informed about the UCLL community. Do you have a great idea or do you want to share something? Use #UCLL or email your idea to email@example.com.
- Internships: yesterday, the National Security Council communicated a clear statement that we must comply with. We ask all programmes and students to observe this measure meticulously. This measure must be put into practice as soon as possible, at the latest by tomorrow morning. Please consult with your internship host organisation (do not simply leave).
“All internships are immediately suspended. Only internships in the health care sector will continue, on condition that the necessary protection measures are observed.”
It means that all internships of Management and Technology students taking place at the internship host organisation are suspended. Internships where distant and/or digital tools can be used, may obviously continue. We ask everyone to examine online or digital possibilities as much as possible.
The Health Care internships of Nursing, Midwifery, and BLT (NOT Nutrition & Dietetics, Oral Hygiene) students will continue as planned, on condition that the necessary protection measures are observed at the internship host organisation. Thus, UCLL is following the guidelines of the National Security Council, along with other universities of applied sciences: our health care sector is facing huge challenges, therefore your efforts as an intern are crucial in the coming weeks in order to support the health care workers. They count on everyone’s help. Do you, as a student, have questions, or are you worried about risk groups in your immediate environment? Contact the study programme (internship coach, programme manager) to discuss it.
Students in Social Work and Child & Youth Care programmes must comply with the government guidelines and suspend their internships. UCLL will allow exceptions if two conditions are fulfilled. 1: The internship must have a clear component of urgency, e.g. people with high care needs and/or an internship host organisation that currently relies on interns. 2: All parties involved, student, study programme and internship host organisation, must agree about the continuation of the internship.
The Teacher Education internships have already been suspended by the government since last week.
We can assure you that we are looking for alternatives through assignments and digital solutions. If not at all possible, the study programme will make an evaluation: (See also FAQs)
- Campus accessibility: all campuses are going into vacation modus, all on-campus activities are suspended. Campuses are only accessible in exceptional cases and after prior permission by the campus manager.
Study centres will also close: digital databases have massively increased materials in the last couple of days: see additional information.
This measure will take effect this morning. On Wednesday, 18 March, at 12 noon all campuses will close down.
corona update 16 march
corona update 15 march (11 a.m.): new measures international mobility
In accordance with the travel advice of the Belgian Government of March 14, UCLL suspends all international travel till at least until April 3. We strongly advise you to return to Belgium if you have the possibility to do so.
FAQ international for employees: https://intranet.ucll.be/en/node/36789
corona update 13 march: new measures until 3 april
UCLL will take new measures following the communication issued by the National Security Council and the Belgian government. We are aware that these new measures will raise new questions and we intend to provide further details in the coming days and week.
General measure: “Maximum digitalisation”: students do not come to campus until 3 April, unless there is no other way.
- Study programmes: all lectures, exams, class activities, and continuing education sessions on campus are suspended from this Friday evening until 3 April. The “30-persons rule” is cancelled. We will put maximum effort into providing online classes. You will receive additional information from your study programme and on Toledo. Make-up exams will be scheduled. Students will be briefed about the exact date and time.
- Internships: if you are currently doing an internship, follow instructions of the organisation providing the internship. Do not take the initiative of cancelling the internship yourself. Internships in compulsory education will be discontinued. Teacher Education students will be informed by their study programme. Are you a lecturer and do you have questions about internships, course units and our Education and Examination Regulations? You may find answers on https://intranet.ucll.be/nl/node/36762 (Dutch only)
- Staff: we urge everyone to work from home. Discuss with your superior ways in which this can be done in the coming weeks. If you cannot work from home, you should also discuss it with your superior. Meetings that cannot be cancelled, must use a digital platform as much as possible. In exceptional cases only, the organiser of a meeting may decide that it must remain a “physical” meeting. In that case social distancing must be observed. Do you feel ill? Contact your GP by telephone and follow instructions
- Campuses: our campuses remain open, yet will be in ‘sleep mode’ until 3 April: restaurants and large spaces are closed. “Techniek -en Wetenschapsacademies” (Technology and Science academies) are closed from Friday evening 13 March until 3 April.
- For which purpose are you still allowed on campus? Provided that you respect the social distancing rules: individual interviews; appointments with internship coaches and with our services; lecturers who use campus facilities to provide online education and for practical research activities. Also: We will limit the opening hours of study centres and libraries because class activities are replaced by online or remote lectures, assignments and other ways of teaching. The study centres and libraries can only be used for borrowing or consulting study material. You will see additional information on the Intranet campus pages.
- Important: stay informed by monitoring our Intranet. You will receive a push notification through app or email in case urgent and instant measures must be taken, as it is the case now.
- FAQ International for students: https://intranet.ucll.be/en/node/36790
- FAQ International for employees: https://intranet.ucll.be/en/node/36789
- Other questions? Please contact your study programme or your superior. They will contact the UCLL crisis team for answers, if needed.
- Next update: Monday, 16 March, around noon