Corona Q & A

Questions and answers regarding COVID-19 for current students & employees

Last update: 18 June 2020, 1.00 PM

Note: the NHL Stenden buildings are closed for students until further notice. Only those members of staff involved in business-critical processes may be onsite. Teaching and testing are continuing online in as far as possible! In addition, the university of applied sciences is taking steps towards dealing with a relaxation in the measures tackling the coronavirus. This could mean that you receive a personal invitation to come to the campus. Without this personal invitation, you will have no access to the buildings at this stage.

Dear Staff and Students,

We understand that you may have questions regarding the coronavirus, so we have put together the most frequently asked questions and their answers. If you are still left with a question, you can refer to one of the useful websites below, use the contact information or join one of the webinars NHL Stenden regularly organises:

  • For students: Wednesday afternoons from 4pm to 5pm, topic and frequency vary. The next webinar will be announced in the student newsletter.
  • For staff: Tuesday afternoons from 4pm to 5pm, frequency varies. The next webinar is planned for 10am on Thursday 11 June.

Staff can sign up for a webinar by clicking on this link: https://teams.microsoft.com/l/channel/19%3a91a1d5c1b50f400a8faf937f6be97fff%40thread.tacv2/Algemeen?groupId=ee7a5599-705d-48c8-aec0-c4b195e4c026&tenantId=016a9e48-ba0b-49f4-97f8-a88352164e58

Students can sign up for a webinar by clicking on this link: https://teams.microsoft.com/l/channel/19%3a103dd0f765e444a99d594c8e5d799312%40thread.tacv2/Algemeen?groupId=896680e3-e6e3-41ec-ae4f-994233aaabc4&tenantId=016a9e48-ba0b-49f4-97f8-a88352164e58

If you need help or you have a question not covered by one of these websites:
Please get in touch on studentinfo@nhlstenden.com

For other questions, see below.

FAQ

Have educational activities been cancelled due to the coronavirus?

No! The NHL Stenden locations in the Netherlands will be closed until further notice. Education is continuing online.

On Monday 11 May and Tuesday 19 May, the Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutter announced new measures for tackling the coronavirus. The ‘intelligent lockdown’ is changing, from an intelligent but strict lockdown to restrictions being gradually relaxed. The ban on events requiring a permit remains in place until 1 September 2020. Measures for primary school children, childcare centres and secondary school education, however, have been relaxed. For NHL Stenden, the decision taken in April still applies: we will be providing only online education until at least 15 June. 

What measures have been taken?

The following measures have been taken and have effect as of 15 June:

  • From 15 June, we will gradually start to invite students and staff to the university of applied sciences. These could be students in vulnerable situations who were, for instance, unable to participate in online education and testing, students who were due to graduate at the end of the year, students who need to take a national exam or carry out practicals that can only take place offline. The focus of our onsite education is therefore on restarting practical education and testing. Please note! If you do not have a personal invitation to come to the campus, then you will be refused admittance.
  • Admittance to the university of applied sciences is by invitation only. Attendance is voluntary: it is not compulsory. If you do not wish to accept the invitation to come to the buildings, please contact your study programme.
  • Until at least 1 September, there will be no lectures or lessons taking place on our Dutch campuses. Teaching and testing are continuing online.
  • We expect that between 1 September 2020 and 1 February 2021, the emphasis will be on online education. A gradual relaxation of the regulations will continue during this period.
  • All events have been cancelled until 1 September.
  • The buildings will be not accessible for students until further notice. Teaching and testing are continuing online.
  • The locations in Groningen, Assen and Meppel will be closed for students and staff until 15 June.
  • Other locations will remain open from 9am to 5pm. Only the main entrance will be open. Only staff with permission from their supervisor may work in the building. Please sign in at reception when you enter the building and sign out when you leave.
  • These measures also affect the facilities onsite. All canteen and coffee facilities will remain closed until the summer holidays.
  • If you have any of the symptoms related to those of the coronavirus, stay home and call in sick. See question on calling in sick.
  • If you can work from home, do so. Normal work will continue as far as possible. See question on working from home.
  • Staff accounts due to expire during the closed period will be automatically extended.

Should the government further relax the measures in the meantime, then we will again look into what forms of education and testing can take place at our locations again whilst still adhering to the relevant guidelines.  

FAQ topics

  1. General- update
  2. Buildings/facilities that are open/closed and for who- update
  3. Students and staff abroad
  4. International students in the Netherlands
  5. Grand Tour
  6. Erasmus+ grants (exchanges and internships)
  7. Information from the Immigration service: visas, travel ban, residence permit- update
  8. Future students – study choice- update
  9. Communication- update
  10. Online education and testing- update
  11. Education: delay in study duration, tests, tuition fees
  12. Internships
  13. Financial effects
  14. Information for staff
  15. Illness- update
  16. Events and travel
  17. Other

Topic 1: General

How will NHL Stenden adapt the gradual relaxation of the corona measures?

Now the Dutch government has announced a gradual relaxation of the corona measures, we have examined what is possible for us as a university of applied sciences. We too will gradually make changes in which we will increasingly work towards providing a mix of types of education. This will be based on the following four principles:

  • We will stay in touch with our students
  • We will provide education and testing online in as far as possible
  • We will do our best to ensure the safety of our staff and students
  • We will look at what is possible

Below is an outline of the possible phases in the relaxation of the corona measures. These are simply indications and may be modified at any time.

Phases (prognosis)

Below we make a cautious forecast of the possible phases in the relaxation of the corona measures. These phases may change depending on the developments, governmental decisions, protocols and our own experience.

  • Phase 1 (1-15 June): All education is provided online in as far as possible
  • Phase 2 (15 June-1 September): Everything will take place online in as far as possible. An increasing number of students and staff will, in phases, be invited to come to the buildings. The focus of our onsite education is on restarting practical education and testing. We will also look at the space needed for essential activities provided by support services to the primary process.
  • Phase 3 (from 1 September): online where possible, offline where necessary. For instance, with the introduction for first year students, arrival and reception of international students, for catching up on delays in study duration.
  • Phase 4: online were possible, offline when offline is better for bringing students together and catching up on delays in study duration.

What is the short-term perspective?
In general, the perspective is that:

  • Until the summer of 2020, the focus will lie on those students due to graduate, students with a handicap who wish to carry out tests in a non-digital environment, and on catching up with practicals
  • After the summer of 2020, the focus will lie on connecting with the new first-year students. Attention will be paid to how the available physical space can be used.

Help us to stop the spread of coronavirus. How?
Students do not have to attend school, but they probably want to meet up with each other. Help us to stop the spread of the corona virus by not meeting up in large groups, not going to bars and cafes, and restricting travel to a minimum.

We ask that everyone does what they can to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Please regularly check the latest guidelines issued by the RIVM and keep to them. And make sensible decisions about social activities and visiting busy places. Keep to the guidelines by not meeting in groups and by keeping a distance of 1.5 metres from each other (there are exceptions for families).

What should I do if the press or media contact me?
To avoid confusion and false reports, all questions must at all times be referred to the press office on +31 6 512 25 196). Our press colleagues have the latest information and are in close contact with the NHL Stenden crisis team.

What hygiene measures is NHL Stenden taking?
The general hygiene measures set by the RIVM <link to hygiene measures> are important in preventing the spread of the coronavirus. Within this institution, we adhere to this measure.

I see people wearing face masks. Is this necessary?
In the Netherlands, we recommend face masks for medical and healthcare staff. In addition, from 1 June passengers on public transport are required to wear non-medical face masks. Some people do opt to wear face masks outside or in shops. Bear in mind that this is a measure people take to try and protect themselves. It does not mean the person wearing the mask is sick.

Will NHL Stenden be suspending the Binding Study Recommendation?
The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science has advised universities of applied sciences to postpone giving binding study advice (BSA) until the next academic year. NHL Stenden will follow this advice once it has been confirmed. It will then apply to students who started their studies on 1 September 2019. The situation for other students (for instance, those who had already received an extension) will be considered on an individual basis.

Are our international campuses closed?
Yes, our international campuses are closed on request of local authorities. All campuses continue to provide education online.

The date of closure per location are as follows:

  • Qatar – closed at the beginning of March until further notice
  • Thailand – closed as of Tuesday 17 March until further notice
  • Bali – closed Wednesday 18 March until further notice
  • South Africa – closed Wednesday 18 March until further notice

All locations are continuing to provide online education.

Will NHL Stenden continue to be closed ?
Yes. NHL Stenden has decided to continue to provide online education. This will continue for as long as restrictions apply. The focus is therefore on online education and we will look into a gradual relaxation of the measures for certain groups (see question 1 above).

Should the Dutch government relax the measures in the meantime, then we will look into what forms of education and testing can take place at our locations again whilst still adhering to the relevant

Is there still public transport?
Bus services are still running although both buses and trains are running only on a special basic timetable. Check 9292.nl/en for the latest travel information before you start your journey. Only travel by bus if it really necessary. The Dutch Minister of Health, Welfare and Sport, Mr de Jonge has indicated that if you are invited to carry out a test at your university of applied sciences, that you may use public transport. The door at the front of the bus will remain closed and you are required to board at the back. The normal timetable will be resumed as of 1 June but passengers will be required to wear a non-medical face mask. If you are not wearing a face mask, you could be fined. The measure has been implemented as it is not possible to maintain a distance of 1.5 metres in public transport.

I’m not using my public transport card (OV) much now because of the coronavirus. Have provisions been made?
The measures in place for combatting the coronavirus mean that universities and universities of applied sciences are providing education remotely, which means students are hardly using their student travel product (OV). As a form of compensation for students, eligibility for the card has been extended by three months. The additional three months will be automatically added once the original expiry date is passed.

Source: Ministry of Education, full message (the information on the Ministry’s website is unfortunately only available in Dutch)  

Topic 2: Buildings/facilities that are open/closed and for who

Is the university of applied sciences closed?
Until 15 June, the buildings will not be accessible unless you have received a personal invitation from your study programme. Only staff working in business-critical processes and with permission from their supervisor may work in the school buildings (this applies to Leeuwarden and Emmen only).

I still have belongings in one of the buildings. Can I quickly come and get them?
You may ask for permission to enter a building in consultation with your supervisor. Your supervisor will then contact the Service Desk. The Service Desk will then notify you of when you are allowed to collect your belongings.

If the buildings are remaining open, then I can still get in as a student, right?
No. The buildings in Emmen and Leeuwarden have only very restricted access for those members of staff with special permission. You will only be admitted to a building if you have received a personal invitation from your study programme.

I have an appointment with a student counsellor. Can this still take place?
All appointments with student counsellors will take place by phone or via skype. Our student counsellors will contact students to make arrangements. Naturally, new appointments by phone or skype can also be arranged.

Are the libraries open?
The physical libraries are closed. All books currently on loan have been automatically renewed until 1 June and no fines will of course be issued for this period. Other online services are being continued in as far as possible. If you have any questions on the matter, please email library@nhlstenden.com or get in touch with the information specialist for your academy or study programme. Their contact details can be found at https://bibliotheek.nhlstenden.com/over-de-bibliotheek/informatiespecialisten-opleidingen/.
The library is currently providing free access to MIT Press Direct e-books covering key subject areas such as social sciences, design, education, finance and art. The e-books will be available until 31 May 2020. See https://intranet.nhlstenden.com/news/temporary-access-ebooks-mit-press-direct for more information.

My supervisor has asked me to work at the school. What facilities will be open and when?

  • All canteen and coffee facilities are closed until further notice.
  • Coffee and vending machines are operating as normal.
  • Wannee and Stones restaurants are closed until further notice.
  • The front entrances to Wannee and Stones are closed.
  • The Campus Hotel closed on Friday 13 March at 12 noon. Contact is being made with guests who had reserved a room. They will be reimbursed.

 

Will the Wannee (Leeuwarden) and Stones (Emmen) restaurants and the Campus Hotel (Leeuwarden) remain open?
No. The restaurants and the hotel will be closed until further notice.

Is Student Info still open?
Student info can be reached by phone from 9am to 4.30pm each day. All planned appointments will take place by phone. You can contact Student Info on 058 244 1155 or at studentinfo@nhlstenden.com.

Topic 3 Students and staff abroad

As of the evening of Tuesday 17 March, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs advises only travelling abroad if absolutely essential. This advice applies to travel from the Netherlands to all countries. If you are currently studying abroad, we urge you to return to the Netherlands as soon as possible.

We had previously decided to call back students from risk areas but as this latest advice applies to travel from the Netherlands to all countries, we are urging all students and staff studying or working abroad to return to the Netherlands. The Dutch national government has produced information on repatriation. If you decide to stay, it is at your own risk. Please read the FAQ below.

If you have read the information below and you still need assistance or you have additional questions, please email studentinfo@nhlstenden.com.

1a. Should students and staff currently overseas return to the Netherlands?
We urge you to return to the Netherlands as soon as possible. As of the evening of Tuesday 17 March, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs advises only travelling abroad if absolutely essential. This advice applies to travel from the Netherlands to all countries. If you are currently studying abroad, we urge you to return to the Netherlands as soon as possible. If you decide to stay, it is at your own risk

1b. Do I have to inform NHL Stenden that I am returning to the Netherlands?
All Grand Tour students and outgoing exchage students (module period 3) have meanwhile informed our Team International Mobility when they will return back and/or if they have returned back to the Netherlands, or in some cases to their home country.

Exchange students and students following an internship abroad should send us their travel plans as soon as possible using this online form: Travel Form early return Outgoing Exchange or Internship.

Please also send your travel details to your study programme/personal coach.

1c. What should I do if local measures of the country I am in do not allow me to return to the Netherlands (or my home country)?
Please contact your travel insurance company or your local embassy to ask for assistance. You can also contact us on studentinfo@nhlstenden.com.

Do all EU students need to return to the Netherlands or to their home country within the EU?
You are the best judge of this and it does of course depend on where you are and where you want to go. You must always follow the guidelines issued by the country you are in. If you have any questions, contact studentinfo@nhlstenden.com.

Do non-EU students have to return to the Netherlands or to their home country?
Different rules apply for non-EU students. Please contact studentinfo@nhlstenden.com. Please also see question FAQ 5 below “I heard that an entry ban has been established for the Netherlands. Can I enter the country?”

I would like to return to the Netherlands, but I can’t.
4a I do not have Dutch nationality and I don’t have a Dutch residence permit and/or temporary residence permit (mvv)

Info travel ban EU + contact studentinfo@nhlstenden.com as well as your personal study coach. Meanwhile continue online studies as much as possible. See also FAQ 5 below “I heard that an entry ban has been established for the Netherlands. Can I enter the country?”

The Dutch government has provided an overview in English.

4b I am a Dutch national or a holder of a Dutch residence permit or a temporary residence permit (mvv)

For students and staff of NHL Stenden currently stranded abroad (and other Dutch nationals stranded abroad), the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs advises the following:

  • Get in touch with airlines that fly to the Netherlands or Europe (or tour operators as applicable)
  • Use the flights available or flights that soon become available · If you are having difficulty arranging departure in the short term, register with the information service set up by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs if you have not done so already. You can also register per group. The embassy will then know you are in the country and will let you know about, for instance, possible extra flights being offered by airlines.
  • If departure in the short term is not possible, make sure you can stay safe. If this is a problem, contact the embassy on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs 24/7 line +31 247 247 247
  • If you have any other questions for the embassy, you can use the 24/7 number.

I heard that an entry ban has been established for the Netherlands. Can I enter the country?

As of Thursday 19 March 2020, 18:00 hours, the entry conditions for persons travelling into the Netherlands have been tightened. As a consequence, people not falling under one of the exceptional categories cannot enter the Netherlands. This restriction applies in principle, for a period of 30 days as of 19 March. The measure does not apply to:

  • holders of a temporary residence permit (mvv) or a Dutch residence permit, regardless of the residence purpose
  • third-country nationals, holding a residence permit of a Schengen or EU member state
  • holders of a long-stay visa

The national government has provided an overview in English.

  • I would like to (or have to) return back to my home country (not being the NL), is this possible?
  • First check travel restrictions (quarantine in your home country, etc)
  • Inform your study coach and module coordinator, make arrangements how you will continue your online studies
  • Stay enrolled at NHL Stenden as this is very important for your student visa status
  • Bear in mind that should you like to return to the NL at a later stage, travel might still be restricted (i.e. travel ban and/or no flights)

I am experiencing additional costs due to my early return to the Netherlands. Will these costs be reimbursed?
If your early return from your stay abroad means you incur additional costs, bear the following in mind: a. Keep all receipts, tickets and other proofs of payment of costs incurred.
b. Claim the costs back from your own travel or cancellation insurance.
c. Contact studentinfo@nhlstenden.com if your travel or cancellation insurance rejects your claim. Include all receipts and proof of rejection from your insurance company in your email.
d. NHL Stenden will look into if and how they can compensate part of those costs not covered by your insurance.

If you need help or have any questions, email studentinfo@nhlstenden.com.

I don’t have a place to stay when I get back to the Netherlands. What should I do?
Students that had to return to the Netherlands who have no accommodation to return to should contact their Academy’s contact person. We are looking for solutions to support these students.

Will you be sending a plane to bring students back?
No, we are not organising the return of all staff and students centrally. Try to use your own flight ticket to arrange a return flight. Please also see the information shared under FAQ4 in this section

What will happen if I decide to stay abroad at my own risk?
If you decide to stay abroad despite NHL Stenden’s urgent request for you to return to the Netherlands, you should bear the following in mind:

  • Keep an eye on what the local authorities are saying in the country you are in.
  • Investigate if the local situation is safe. You can find the latest information on The Netherlands Worldwide. Make sure you stay enrolled for your studies at NHL Stenden and continue your studies online as much as possible to prevent study delays.
  • Return to the Netherlands, or your home country, at a later date may not be possible. Check the latest information on The Netherlands Worldwide https://www.netherlandsworldwide.nl/.

Will my study be delayed because I have now to go home from my study abroad experience?

  • Grand Tour: If you are enrolled in a Grand Tour Minor (MP3), our Grand Tour locations in collaboration with the involved academies, will continue to offer you online education and/or substitute assignments. You should have received information about this. If this is not the case, please contact the module coordinator at the Grand Tour location you were studying, and/or the Executive Dean. If you were planning to go on a Grand Tour in period 4, an online alternative will be provided so that there will be no delay in the duration of your studies. You will receive further information from the Grand Tour location where you are registered. More information can be found in topic 5, ‘Grand Tour’ of this Q&A.
  • Outgoing Exchange: Nearly all our partner universities continue to offer their educational programme online. We advise you to stay connected and finish your exchange programme online while back in your home country
  • Internship: It really depends on your individual situation to what extent your study will be delayed in the case of early termination of your internship. Please contact your placement coach and/or study coach to discuss the impact and the options available for you.

Is NHL Stenden keeping in touch with students and staff abroad?
Yes, there has been (and still is) regular contact with them. Students abroad received an email on Tuesday 17 March urging them to return to the Netherlands. They have also received support from colleagues from our International Mobility Team. Furthermore, students are advised to get in touch with the contact person for their study programme.

Topic 4: International students in the Netherlands

Is there additional care for international students?

You are more than welcome to join our Corona platform for international students.

We hope that this platform will give our international students another way of getting in touch with fellow students, sharing mutual concerns, and also practical tips and support. Furthermore, colleagues from our International Office are available to answer specific questions related to your situation, for instance with regard to housing, travel (including travelling back home), safety and well-being or any other topics you may raise. We might not have all the answers, but we will do our utmost to help you get the answers and information you need. Stay in touch with us!

On request, we can organise online meetings, during which we can elaborate on the decisions we have taken as a university of applied sciences, and how these decisions will affect you as an international student. There will also be an opportunity to ask questions via the chat.

I am an international student in the Netherlands and I want to go back home. Can I?

We completely understand that you want to go home being away from your family. First of all it should of course be possible to travel back to your home country and you would need to check the regulations in your home country if you are allowed to enter the country i.e.. quarantine measures that might apply to you. If you do go home we strongly urge you to stay enrolled here at NHL Stenden and continue your studies online. Like this your study will be least impacted.

The flowcharts below show you what steps you need to take before you return. The flowcharts are different for students from within Europe and students from outside Europe.

Students can call Student Info on +31 58 244 1155 (open daily from 9am to 4.30pm) to ask for further support on this matter. You can also email your questions to studentinfo@nhlstenden.com.

2a. I am currently in my home country (or about to return to my home country). What will happen, after 1 June if normal classes start again and I am not able to come back to the Netherlands as a result of travel restrictions?

It is not clear what will happen after the 1 June, and if NHL Stenden will be able to provide regular classes again. If you cannot be here to join the regular classes physically you will need to get in touch with your module coordinator and your study coach to inform them about your situation. If there are alternatives, and what these alternatives could be, is up to your study programme and will also depend on your personal situation and overall study progress. Unfortunately, no guarantees can be given at the moment as everything is still uncertain.

What are the consequences for my residence permit if I do not meet my study requirements?

Education is being offered online. In addition, NHL Stenden is doing its utmost to limit any negative consequences for your studies as much as possible. Should you be worried, please contact your study coach/contact person to discuss your concerns and explore possibilities to reduce any possible study delay. At the moment the IND has not indicated that they will become more lenient despite the current situation. That’s why we strongly advise all our students to stay enrolled and continue your online studies.

I have returned home because of the coronavirus and want to deregister from the university of applied sciences but I’m not sure of the consequences. What are the consequences?

It’s good that you are home. We strongly advise you to follow your online education we are providing as a university of applied sciences. If you are experiencing challenges to continue your education online discuss these with your study coach and/or contact one of our student counsellors via Student Info on +31 58 244 1155.

If you do decide to deregister temporarily, you will not be able to follow your education online and there will be a delay in your study duration. Please note: if you are no longer registered, your study permit will also be cancelled and this may affect your residence permit.

I am an international student in the Netherlands and would like to see a doctor. Where can I go?

In the Netherlands, you must consult a family doctor before a hospital examination is possible (with the exception of emergency admissions).

For students in Emmen and Leeuwarden, more information about healthcare can be found below, including useful phone numbers of General Practitioners in the area:

  • If you need medical care in Leeuwarden
  • If you need medical care in Emmen

I am feeling socially isolated having to stay home all the time without having my friends and family nearby. What can I do?

We realise it must be hard for you to be away from your families and loved ones, especially in times like these. It is a difficult and challenging time for all of us. Our first priorities are your health and wellbeing, and your study progress.

Regarding your social wellbeing there might be some options for you to explore and get (re-)connected:

  • First and foremost, continue your studies, and stay in touch with your fellow students
  • Check out our Corona Platform International Students, to let us know what support you need and what we can do to help you
  • Central Perk, the NHL Stenden community for all students, are now also available online, check the link: Central Perk community online
  • Join the Erasmus Student Network (ESN) via facebook https://nl-nl.facebook.com/esn/
  • Bewegingscentrum (BCL) have some instruction movies available online: Youtube BCL
  • There are a variety of other apps available and online content on Youtube
  • If you are a member at a gym or other club, they too may continue their activities online
  • Join expat communities online
  • Join the online network ‘welcome to the north’, and ‘northern times’. see the links below: https://www.facebook.com/explorethenorth
    https://www.facebook.com/pg/NorthernTimes.nl/community/
  • Get in touch with your study coach or one of our student counsellors (you can make an appointment via student info +31 58 244 1155) and discuss your concerns and challenges you are facing.

Topic 5: Grand Tour

Are our International Campuses closed?
Yes, our international campuses are closed on request of local authorities. All locations are providing online education to their Grand Tour students. The dates of closure per location are as follows:

  • Qatar – closed March until further notice
  • Thailand – closed as of Tuesday 17 March until further notice
  • Bali – closed Wednesday 18 March until further notice
  • South Africa – closed Wednesday 18 March until further notice

What happened with the Grand Tour programme offered during module period 3?
All our international campuses have now closed and as such no more classes are being offered in the buildings. All educational activities for our Grand Tour students are now offered online. All Grand Tour students have meanwhile returned to the Netherlands or to their home country and are being asked to finish the remaining weeks of their Grand Tour programme online, including online testing.

What about my study abroad for module period 4? Can I go on Grand Tour?
Since our International campuses remain closed until further notice and due to the many travel restrictions imposed by many countries in the world it has been decided that joining the Grand Tour programme at our Grand Tour locations, during module period 4 will not be possible. Instead, the Grand Tour programmes for module period 4 will be offered online.

An email was sent to all Grand Tour students on Wednesday 25 March. Below is an excerpt from this email. If you are supposed to go on Grand Tour for MP4 but have not received this email, please contact our colleagues at grandtour@nhlstenden.com

Due to the measures of the Corona virus and the medium term perspective of the situation abroad and in the Netherlands, your educational activities for NHL Stenden and the Grand Tour program (in MP4) at our Grand Tour locations in South Africa, Qatar, Bali and Thailand will be offered via online education. Your remain enrolled in the minors you have registered for. It is not possible to switch to a different minor. Colleagues at our Grand Tour locations, in close collaboration with the involved programmes are working on an online educational programme. Our colleagues at our Grand Tour locations will share more detailed information about your online Grand Tour programme.

I’ve heard that I don’t have to pay the Grand Tour costs for MP4. Is that correct?
Yes, this is correct. The Corona measures also have a financial effect for you. We would like to inform you that it has been decided that your Grand Tour costs for MP4 will be refunded. The costs of MP3 won’t be reimbursed. Our main goal is to manage this process as fast as we can to prevent any kind of (extra) financial challenges for you as a student. All Grand Tour students were asked to share their bank details with our colleagues from our International Mobility office. When details have been shared with us before the requested deadline (see e-mail, sent 25 March) we expect to be able to have processed all the refunds for MP4 before Friday 3 April 2020.

What about my Grand Tour programme for Semester 1 in the next academic year? At this stage the future remains uncertain. We are hopeful that by the beginning of next academic year we are able to offer regular educational activities again and that study abroad will be possible again. All Grand Tour students that are currently enrolled for one or two modules during semester 1 are being informed by our colleagues from our International Mobility office. A first pre-departure meeting was hosted online on the 24th of March offering our Grand Tour students the opportunity to ask their questions about the current situation and the required preparation. Whenever a new decision has been made, Grand Tour students will be informed immediately.

What will happen with my outgoing Exchange programme in semester 1 of the next academic year?
At this point, we’re not sure what the future will bring. We hope that we will be able to pick up our normal educational activities at the start of the next academic year and the studying abroad will be possible again. It all depends on the local policy of the country where the university is located as well as the university’s own policy. Each country will apply and adhere to their own set of measures. The International Mobility Team is currently assessing the situation for the various partner universities so as to get as clear a picture as possible as to what can be expected. We will do all we can to ensure that students are informed as soon as possible about whether or not their outgoing exchange programme will take place.

Topic 6: Erasmus+ grant (exchanges & internships)

Am I still entitled to an Erasmus+ grant?

There are a number of scenarios:

  • a) 1. Online lessons during closure of the host institution
  • If the student follows the online lessons in the host country or home country, this is considered to be a continuation of the period abroad and has no effect on the Erasmus+ grant.
  • Continuation of traineeship in home country
  • If the student can continue the traineeship for the company abroad in the home country, this is considered to be a continuation of the period abroad and has no effect on the Erasmus+ grant.
  • b) Early termination of stay abroad (study or traineeship)
  • In the case of early termination of the period abroad due to force majeure (coronavirus), the student is entitled to keep the first payment of 70% of the granted Erasmus+ grant.
  • c) Interrupted stay abroad (study or traineeship)
  • In the case of interruption of the period abroad due to force majeure (Corona virus) and if the student can continue the period abroad after the interruption, then the two periods will be handled separately: the first part will be treated as a case of Early termination (2b), the second part will be treated as an entirely new Erasmus+ application and grant.
  • d) No changes (study or traineeship)
  • If your traineeship or study is continuing as usual, you should follow the instructions you received before departure.

In all cases: all students must make sure that they gather proof with dates and information from the host institution / organization with measures regarding the current situation. Also keep proof of your travel arrangements (tickets).

If you have incurred additional costs for extra flight tickets due to the coronavirus and your insurance company will not repay the extra costs, we can try to recover the costs via Erasmus+. In order to request your extra costs we need the following documents (please send them to erasmus@nhlstenden.com):

  • a letter from your insurance company in which they reject your claim for extra additional costs
  • proof of the extra costs
  • statement from you mentioning why the costs are extra (preferable includes a budget overview)
  • Statement of host institution / organization that the mobility has been cancelled

This also applies to approved mobilities that have been cancelled, due to the coronavirus, by your host organisation before your departure date.

Please note that there are no guarantees that Erasmus+ will repay the extra additional costs, we can only submit a request.

Topic 7: Information from the Immigration service: visas, travel ban, residence permit

  • I heard that an entry ban was established for the Netherlands. Can I enter?

As of Thursday 10 March 2020, 18:00 hours, the entry conditions for persons travelling into the Netherlands have been tightened. As a consequence, people not falling under one of the exceptions cannot enter The Netherlands. In principle, this applies for 30 days. The measure does not apply to:

  • holders of an authorisation for temporary stay (mvv) or a Dutch residence permit, regardless of the residence purpose;
  • third-country nationals, holding a residence permit of a Schengen or EU member state;
  • holders of a residence permit on the basis of long-term residence status.

*An mvv is a regular provisional residence permit

The national government has made an overview of these measures. 

I need a visa, can I still apply for one with the IND?

No, you cannot. The IND postpones all non-essential consular services. At least until 6 April 2020, no temporary stay permits (mvv) and short-stay visa will be issued. There will be no exception for students.

*An mvv is a regular provisional residence permit

I have collected my mvv and I cannot travel now. Can my mvv be extended?

If necessary, the embassies, as soon as they have started rendering services again, may extend the validity of the mvv. In due course, this may be taken up with the relevant embassy directly.

*An mvv is a regular provisional residence permit

I have a valid residence permit, I am currently abroad and cannot return to the Will my residence permit be evoked now?

In cases like these, when, under normal circumstances, the residence permit would be evoked, the IND will provide custom solutions, dependent on the circumstances.

My residence permit has expired and I cannot leave the Netherlands now. What will happen?

If possible, apply for an extension. If this is not possible, the student may request a return decision at the counter. With this return decision, the student is granted an extra 28 days to leave the country. Appointments at the counter may be made as usual, please take into account limited services at the IND counters or call 088 - 043 0430 (Mon-Fri 9am-5pm). The IND is currently harder to reach by telephone. 

My residence permit document is ready, can I collect it?
Until further notice, no residence documents may be collected at the IND counters unless it concerns a first residence permit. The IND will contact you to schedule an appointment. Source: ind.nl/en

Topic 8: Future students – prospective students

Will the registration date for future students be upheld?
No, the registration date will be postponed from 1 May to 1 June.

The registration and selection procedures were at full speed when this crisis unfolded. The procedures will continue as much as possible, but cannot always be followed as usual. Moreover, secondary education and vocational students are possibly busier focusing on the current situation than on which study to take up in September. In order to give potential students more time, the registration date has been postponed to 1 June.

Source: COVID-19 approach higher education, Ministry of Education, Culture and Science

The registration date was postponed, what does this mean for the selection period?
Studies that apply a selection period have extended this too. Please check with the relevant study programme for more information. For students who are not from the EER, different registration possibilities already apply.

If you have any other questions about choosing a course or, for instance, about how the university of applied sciences is going to organise Open Days, then…
Check out the Q&A that has been made especially for prospective students.

What’s happening with the Open Days?
The Open Days will also take place online in as far as possible.

The cancellation of the onsite Open Days and the fact that school-leavers are still in the middle of choosing their course mean that there is a need for an, inevitably online, alternative. Which is why we are organizing Webinar Open Days in the upcoming weeks. Visit our event page for an overview of upcoming events.

We’ve put together a programme in which prospective students can talk to staff and students and get all their questions answered.

Topic 9: Communication

How will the university of applied sciences keep students and staff up to date?

We are doing our best to share the latest developments as quickly as possible. If it is urgent, we will send an email to your NHL Stenden account so keep checking your mail. We are also posting the latest developments on intranet, blackboard and internet. This may not always be as quick as we would like, but it is essential that we work with accuracy.

We have also started organising short webinars for the following target groups:

  1. Students: Wednesday afternoons from 4pm to 5pm.
  2. Staff: Tuesday afternoons from 4pm to 5pm (frequency depends on needs and developments)
  3. Teachers and students wanting help with online education

The webinars take place via Microsoft Office Teams. During the webinar, a number of people, including the Executive Board) will lead the discussion while others ask their questions using the chat tool. The links next to the groups in the list above will take you to webinars that have already taken place and been recorded so you can listen to them again.

Watch out for fake news and phishing mails. If in doubt, check with your study programme or supervisor.

Will you be informing the professional field of developments?

An email has been sent by the various academies to inform all internship places and businesses of the situation.

Is there a schedule for the webinars providing help in online education?

The schedule is on the intranet.

There will be several webinars provided each week for teachers who require help in providing online education, covering subjects such as Blackboard and Microsoft Teams. Check out the schedule.

If you have a particular question, you can request a personal explanation at a time that suits you best. Request a personal explanation here

Topic 10: Online education and testing

 Do you have questions about online testing?
Check our dedicated Q&A for online testing. Please note that there are Q&As for specific target groups.

If you are a student, click here: https://www.nhlstenden.com/en/online-education/q-and-a/students

If you are a teacher, click here: https://www.nhlstenden.com/en/online-education/q-and-a/teacher

Am I now on holiday now that the school is closed? Or will we have online lessons?
You are not on holiday. Our principle is to ensure teaching and testing continue in as far as is possible. Assignments, presentations, assessments and tests with open questions will talk place where possible using Blackboard. We will be using the exam app Quayn for examinations in combination with Proctorexam for exam surveillance. Look out for messages on email, intranet and blackboard. Your study programme will provide you with more information.

Where can I find information on how to give online education?
You can find more information on organising online education on our website, including practical information, instruction videos, and manuals for using Microsoft Teams and Blackboard.

Where can I find information of following online education?
You can find more information on following online education and how to prepare for it on our website, including practical information, instruction videos, and manuals for using Microsoft Teams and Blackboard.

I need help in providing online education
There will be several webinars provided each week for teachers who require help in providing online education, covering subjects such as Blackboard and Microsoft Teams. Check out the schedule.

I need help in following online education
Information for students is available at https://www.nhlstenden.com/online-onderwijs/aan-de-slag-studenten. If you have a particular question, you can request a personal explanation at a time that suits you best. Request a personal explanation here

How can we help students doing their practical research with a professor of applied sciences so that they do not face a delay in study duration? Online education is tricky when you’re doing practical research.
This topic applies to most practical education and research. Bearing in mind the learning outcomes that need to be attained, it may be that some can be adapted for online. If this is not possible, we need to look into rescheduling, postponing or another solution.

Will testing now be online? How?
Yes, testing will take place online unless you are one of the few covered by the conditions of ‘Measures after 15 June’. You will then receive a personal invitation to sit a test on campus.

As tests for the majority of our students currently cannot physically take place in our buildings, these will be given digitally. We will be using a number of online test systems and applications such as Blackboard, Quayn, Mobius and Teams. Examinations will mainly be done in Quayn while other tests such as assignments, presentations, assessments and tests with open questions will take place using Blackboard, Mobius or Teams.

It is of course also important that you take your exams under the proper conditions so that your exam results are legally valid. This is why, in combination with Quayn, we will also use the programme Proctorexam, enabling us to provide remote exam invigilation.

Will all tests take place online?
You should expect that the tests you have registered for will take place where possible. You will have received more information on Friday 27 March. NB, you will only have received more information if you had enrolled for a test. Bear in mind that a test may be rescheduled. If you have enrolled for a test and it is rescheduled, you will be notified by email by Toetslogistiek. You may also receive additional information from your study programme.

I’ve signed up for tests that will be given online but I’m working from abroad. I see now that I will have to do a test at night because the tests are scheduled in Dutch time. Can this be changed?
Unfortunately, we can’t change this. We understand it may be very annoying that the tests aren’t at a more normal time for you. The decision was taken to keep to Dutch time.

How can I securely share large documents?
If you would like to share a large document with others, such as a video you have recorded, you can use SURFfilesender. It enables you to send large files securely and with encryption providing added security. For more information, check the website.

Topic 11: Education: delay in study duration, tests, tuition fees, etc.

Do I still need to register for tests?
You still have to register for tests. You will only receive an invitation to join a test if you have registered for it. And you will only be informed of any time or date changes if you have registered for a test.

 Delays in study duration and their effects
The corona crisis demands clear measures and solutions for education, particularly when it comes to testing. Our aim is to make sure teaching and testing continue as far as is possible so as to prevent, or at least minimise, any delay in your studies.

In Topic 10, questions 2 and 3 provide more information on testing. If you have any other questions, you can contact your programme’s examination committee.

Please note: If the duration of your study is delayed as a result of the coronavirus, you should document this well (collect proof). Procedural arrangements for the study programmes will be announced as soon as possible.

How can I prevent a delay in the duration of my studies?
Our advice is to keep studying!

To prevent a delay in study duration, it’s important that you continue to study. Try to set realistic goals and plan your time. Meet up with other students to go through the material and/or get in touch with your study coach or student counsellor if you need extra help. Check out this link for more tips: We are working hard to set up remote learning as well as we can. We also ask you to show a little understanding for our teachers who are having to become incredibly familiar with online education incredibly fast. If you have any questions on how best to study or revise for a test, you can of course also contact your teacher.

As the university of applied sciences is closed, do I still have to pay tuition fees?
Yes, you still have to pay tuition fees. The buildings are closed but we are providing education and testing online in as far as possible. Your course has already informed you about online lessons or will do so very shortly.

Will NHL Stenden be suspending the Binding Study Recommendation?
The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science has advised universities of applied sciences to postpone giving binding advice (BSA) until the next academic year. It applies to students who started their studies on 1 September 2019. The situation for other students (for instance, those who had already received an extension) will be considered on an individual basis.

I need to attain 60 credits this year otherwise I can’t move on to my next academic year. Because of the coronavirus, I’m facing a delay in my studies which means I’ll miss out on a whole year of my next course.
The coronavirus means we are facing complicated issues that have a huge impact on our daily lives. This is one of them. Our university of applied sciences is doing all it can to minimise any delays in study duration but we cannot completely prevent it, particularly for the following cases:

  • Students that want to progress from vocational education to higher professional education
  • Students that want to continue from higher professional education to university
  • Students that want to continue from a bachelor at a university of applied sciences to a master’s

A number of parties are involved in handling this issue, including the National Association of Universities of Applied Sciences and the Minister of education. The subject is under discussion and we will inform you as soon as we know more.

When will I get my study recommendation and what’s the situation with re-enrolment?
Due to the corona situation, study recommendations will not be issued this year. Fulltime students who started their course in 2019 will receive their study recommendation in the summer of 2021. Students that started in February 2020 will receive their recommendation before February 2022.

If you do not attain the required number of credits this year, you can re-enrol as normal next year. You do not have to submit a request to your study programme’s exam committee.

Topic 12: Internships and work

Can I still do my internship?
You should follow the instructions issued by the institution or company where you work. If it remains open, you can continue your internship. Of course, it is important that you do not have any health issues yourself. In this way, we work together to stop the spread of the coronavirus as much as possible.

If you can no longer do your internship, please contact your internship supervisor.

If you internship is in the health care sector, other guidelines may apply. Please contact your study programme or internship supervisor. It is understandable if a student wishes to notify the health care or educational institute that they would like to stop their internship for personal reasons. If this is the case, please contact your study programme/internship supervisor.

Will there still be site visits for internships and final projects?
It is important that you follow the guidelines issued by the company or institution where you are doing your internship or final project. If the visit is not essential, we recommend carrying it out via Skype. This is because the RIVM have asked that we minimise physical contact.

What can I do if my internship is cancelled or partly cancelled?
Academies have received a memo indicating the best course of action in this situation. Study programmes can use this memo to assess how the practical elements that have been cancelled as a result of the coronavirus measures can best be substituted.

I’m doing an internship but have underlying health problems. I heard that risk groups should avoid using public transport. I use the bus to get to my internship. What should I do now?
Generally speaking, internships can continue in consultation with the business or institution where you are doing your internship. In your particular case, we recommend you contact your internship supervisor to discuss the matter.

I’m doing an internship but have underlying health problems. I heard that risk groups should avoid large groups. Should I stop my internship?
 Generally speaking, internships can continue in consultation with the business or institution where you are doing your internship. In your particular case, we recommend you contact your internship supervisor to discuss the matter.

As I can’t do my internship, I’m not being paid and so I can’t pay my rent anymore. Do you know if there is some kind of regulation in place to help me as a student?
We are getting lots of questions on this matter and we are well aware of the impact and consequences for you. The Dutch Cabinet has set up emergency measures so you can look into your eligibility for these.

On a national level, we are talking to OCW about which emergency measures will be put in place for education and students. As soon as we know more, we will let you know.

My internship has been stopped or postponed because of the coronavirus. How do I cancel my for public transport compensation for students abroad or my grant for students living away from home? Source: Duo https://duo.nl/particulier/footer/contact/

Public transport compensation for students abroad

  • Stop your public transport compensation in Mijn DUO . Indicate if you want a weekday or a weekend subscription. You will get a student travel product from 1 April.
  • Do you want a student travel product for March? Please send an email to ovsk@duo.nl. State in your email which subscription you want: a weekday or a weekend subscription. Your public transport compensation for March will then be cancelled. You will have to pay it back in April.
  • Has your public transport compensation not yet started? Then you don’t have to do anything. The public transport compensation will be cancelled automatically.

Grant for students living away from home
Did you live away from home because of your work placement? And are you now moving back in with your parent(s)? Then change your living situation in Mijn DUO.

As an EU student, I won’t be able to meet the 56 hours requirement due to the coronavirus. What should I do?
You have to prove it’s because of circumstances beyond your control. For this, you need a statement from your employer. The statement has to say that you are not allowed to work or have to work less, due to the coronavirus. It also has to include the period concerned.

56 hours requirement: DUO assumes that every student that has worked an average of 56 hours or more per month during the period of control has the status of a migrant employee and has therefore rightly received student finance during the period in question. This is in line with the Aliens Act Implementation Guide.

See https://duo.nl/particulier/footer/contact/index.jsp

Topic 13: Financial effects - update 18 June

I no longer have an income and as a consequence I cannot pay my rent. What should I do?
Students and Former students may find themselves in financial trouble because of a lack of income, while costs continue as usual. DUO is working hard to help students and former students and will exercise maximum leniency. Students may use the borrowing possibilities, and if they do not yet receive the maximum loan, they may apply for an enhancement of their loan, even with retroactive effect to the start of the academic year. Furthermore, students may apply for tuition credit, via mijnDUO. Should this still be insufficient, students may contact DUO for any further possibilities.

Source: Covid-19 aanpak hoger onderwijs, OCW

You can request more information on your rights as an employee through the Dutch Student Union (https://dutchstudentunion.nl). You can also ask your student counsellor for advice.

As my internship was cancelled, I will not receive an internship allowance and so I can no longer pay my rent. Do you know if there is some kind of regulation in place to help me as a student?
We get this question a lot and we are aware of the impact and consequences. Emergency measures have now been put in place by the government, so please check if you are eligible for those.
On a national level, we are discussing what emergency measures are needed for education/students with the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. We will keep you updated.

I’m facing a delay in my studies. What are the financial consequences? – update 18 June
A delay in study duration is unavoidable in some cases, especially if your internship or final assignment has been cancelled. DUO is offering some forms of compensation for students due to graduate, such as compensation of 3 months tuition fees for students graduating between September 2020 and 1 February 2021.

International students and students not registered with DUO need to submit a claim for this compensation themselves. Students who are registered with DUO, do not need to do anything.

Students not yet ready to graduate may only claim an additional loan and may possibly be eligible for a 3-month extension to their student travel product (https://www.duo.nl/particulier/measures-coronavirus/money-travel-studies-and-repayments.jsp).

If you are a fulltime or dual study student facing a delay in your study duration because you were or are sick, cared for a sick family member, or because you have children who were unable to go to school for a longer period, you may be eligible for financial support from the NHL Stenden fund. Ask your student counsellor for more information.

Delays in study duration for non-EU students: the conditions regarding residence permits has been changed. Instead of having to attain 50% of the credits, 25-50% is sufficient this year. Students will receive an email on the subject. If you are unable to attain 25% of the credits due to exceptional personal circumstances other than due to the coronavirus, please contact a student counsellor.

Now that the university of applied sciences has closed its doors, do I still owe tuition  fees?
Yes, the tuition fees are still due. The university of applied sciences may be closed but teaching and tests will continue in so far as possible online. Your study has already informed you in this respect or will inform you shortly.

My return to the Netherlands is costing me a lot. Where can I get financial help?
On Monday 23 March, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Dutch Association of Insurers, the Dutch Association of Travel Agents and Tour Operators and various other partners in the travel industry launched a scheme for stranded Dutch travellers abroad [https://www.bijzonderebijstandbuitenland.nl].

Financial aid
The three parties have earmarked up to 10 million euro for the Special Assistance Abroad scheme. In principle, travellers themselves will contribute 300 euro for their return from other parts of Europe and 900 euro from countries outside Europe. Countries bordering on Europe are: Albania, Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Egypt, Georgia, Iceland, Libya, Liechtenstein, Morocco, Moldavia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Norway, Ukraine, Russia, Serbia, Tunisia, and Turkey.

For more information, visit: https://www.rijksoverheid.nl/actueel/nieuws/2020/03/23/krachtenbundeling-voor-gestrande-nederlandse-reizigers

Topic 14: Information for staff

Can I ask the Executive Board a question?

Of course! There are different ways of asking your question:

  • You could take part in one of the online webinars for staff. Sign up via this link
  • You could ask you director to pass your question on to the meeting with the Executive Board
  • You could send your question to coronavirus@nhlstenden.com so that it is then passed on to the crisis team, which the Executive Board are part of

And of course, you can email the members of the Executive Board directly. As these are busy times, it may of course take a little time before you receive an answer.

The corona crisis has meant that there is a lot of work for our department. We could do with some help. Has something been set up?

Yes, we have set up a system within the university of applied sciences. See the text below.

We see that the corona crisis has caused a shift in our work. Both academies and support services are seeing a lot of extra work, for instance in setting up online education and testing, yet work has diminished in other areas of the organisation. How great would it be if we could connect colleagues who are willing and able to help with colleagues who have extra work and could use some help? HRM launched a platform on 1 April to do just this. Colleagues who are willing and able to help can, in consultation with their supervisor, respond directly to a work assignment. Would you like to know more or place an assignment, check out the page on verbinding vraag en aanbod van werk.

How can we work together online?
More information can be found on intranet under ‘Working from home.’

Will construction continue?
The buildings in Leeuwarden and Emmen will remain open for staff so construction can also continue. This does however also depend on the guidelines set by the building company.

Will contracted activities continue?
We recommend that contracted activities are postponed or carried out by phone or skype where possible. Contracted activities outside the buildings have also been put on hold until after 1 June. Should the government relax the measures in the meantime, then we will look into what forms of education and testing can take place at our locations again whilst still adhering to the relevant guidelines.   

Will the planned NVAO reviews still take place?
No. NVAO reviews have been postponed until further notice.

Now the lessons and tests have been cancelled, will we have to work through the summer holidays?
We want the lessons and tests to continue in as far as is possible in order to prevent delays in study duration. We cannot yet predict what the effects will be but for now, there is no indication that we will have to work through the summer holidays.

I have an appointment with the company physician. Will it still take place?
Yes. Your appointment will still take place but by phone.

All Arbo Unie locations will be closed until at least 6 April and their employees are also working from home. This means appointments will be by phone. Staff with appointments with the Arbo Unie will be contacted by our absenteeism desk.

Can I reserve a room through schedules?
No. You cannot reserve a room.

  • There will be no educational activities on location until 1 June. This text can also be seen in the student and teacher timetables (timetables have been frozen).
  • It is not currently possible to reserve a room. Requests for room reservations in April or May etc. are also not possible.

As soon as the situation regarding educational activities and reserving rooms becomes clearer, we will of course let you know.

Can I change something in my timetable for 1 June?
No, you cannot change your timetable.

At the moment, timetabling is not accepting any requests for lesson changes and will not until NHL Stenden makes a statement on the matter.

I don’t really have that much to do at home. If I consult with my supervisor, can I take leave? Or maybe compensate overtime?
You can take leave in consultation with your supervisor. We do ask you to keep a track of these hours however. We also ask you to be available for should we need your help, so please make sure you can be reached easily. Check your mail and keep your phone switched on.

Please note that we assume everyone is working from home. Substitute tasks will be given to those who are unable to carry out their regular work – there are a number of areas in the organisation that very much need help.

I don’t really have much to do at home but I want to be useful. How?
It’s great that you’re so committed. We have set up a supply and demand site for work. Check the website for possible assignments.

I’d like to do volunteer work. Is that ok?
‘With each other, for each other.’ That’s the catchline these days, weeks, months. This means we are getting lots of questions from staff wanting to do their bit as a volunteer. Staff from our Academies of Social Studies and Healthcare have already been exempted from tasks to that they can help where they can in the healthcare branch. Wonderful initiatives.

The idea is that staff are temporarily exempted from some of their normal work in order to be able to do volunteer work. Staff may not receive expenses or compensation for travel or accommodation costs. If this is the case, it should be reported to hrm@nhlstenden.com as it may have financial and fiscal consequences.

Staff who would like to volunteer can work in hospitals, healthcare institutions or the like. Their employment and salary will continue as normal. There may be more risks concerning illness and invalidity but possible consequences are covered by normal protocol. If a member of staff becomes sick while doing volunteer work, they should report in sick to their supervisor.

Will we continue to receive commuting allowance?
Even though our staff are currently not commuting, we as a university of applied sciences are continuing to pay the commuting allowance. After all, everyone is doing their best for our university of applied sciences and that means costs are also being incurred. This decision was taken based on our role as a good employer and for certain legal reasons.

An employee satisfaction survey was going to be held in April/May this year. Will it still take place?
Due to the developments of the coronavirus, the Executive Board has decided that the employee satisfaction survey will be postponed. We do expect the survey to take place this year, but at a later date. As soon as the survey has been rescheduled, we will let you know.

Topic 15: Working from home for staff

I understand that as a member of staff, I should work from home. Is that right?
As previously stated, we assume that everyone will continue to work as usual. Of course, this unusual situation demands a certain amount of flexibility from both staff and employer so as to make satisfactory arrangements.

In principle, everyone is working from home. If a member of staff needs to be onsite so as to ensure business-critical processes can continue, then the member of staff will work at the university of applied sciences. A list of business-critical processes has been drawn up along with the minimal staffing needed for these processes.

Guidelines for working from home:

  • If you do not have the necessary tools for working from home, contact your supervisor.
  • When working from home, the start page should be used to gain access to applications. Personal packages should not be used for security reasons.
  • Be particularly aware of possible phishing emails.
  • Make sure your telephone number is included in your email signature.

On the page ‘fit and healthy working from home’,  we share various tips and useful information on making working from home as pleasant as possible.

I need a footstool/laptop/my ergonomic keyboard/documents in order to be able to work well from home. How can I arrange this?
Most of us will be working from home for the coming period of time. NHL Stenden is offering various ways of making this as comfortable as possible.

  • NHL Stenden Staff will receive an extra €200 netto with their April salary. This can be spent in whatever way you feel best to upgrade your home office. You can choose how to spend the money but here are a few ideas:
  • An ergonomic mouse or keyboard
  • A monitor so that you can work on a large screen
  • A laptop stand so that your screen is at the right height
  • A headset with microphone or a webcam to make remote communication easier
  • A footstool so that you can sit comfortably
  • If you need a laptop, screen or office chair for your home office, ask your team leader. They can be delivered to your home while supplies last.
  • If you were already using specially adapted tools at the office in line with the Working Conditions Act, such as an adapted chair or ergonomic keyboard, then you should submit a request to serviceplein@nhlstenden.com to have these delivered to your home. Please state what the tools are and where they can be found (location and room number).

An exception to the above are our desks. These cannot be delivered to your home.

I’m really happy with the €200 for improving my workplace at home. How is this being financed?
The €200 netto you’ll receive is part of the so-called Work-related Expenses Scheme that all employers in the Netherlands can use. The scheme means a certain percentage of our total salary costs can be given out tax free. This money can be used in a number of ways, for instance the Christmas hamper, the Team Day and the bicycle scheme.

Each October, we look to see what fiscal possibilities there still are within the Work-related Expenses Scheme. If possible, then each member of staff at NHL Stenden receives part of their year-end bonus tax free. The corona crisis is making this year an uncertain one, including in terms of our expenditure of the Work-related Expenses Scheme, so it is difficult to now say anything about the possibility of an additional tax-free year-end payment for 2020.

I would like to work from home but can’t. Do I need to take leave?

If you cannot work from home because you have no or too few tasks to carry out:
Discuss if it is possible to bring forward projects, activities, tasks, etc (for instance from the annual plan for 2020 ). If there is no work for you to do from home, report to your supervisor. HRM is responsible for drawing up an overview of requests from within the organisation for additional support or work to be carried out during this period.

If you cannot work from home because you are caring for small children or sick children:
Caring for the children takes priority. Staff who would normally work in the school buildings must now work from home. It may mean that you need to shift your working hours.

Staff in the situations given above are not obliged to take leave. In these current exceptional circumstances, there is also no need to take care leave. We trust that people will do the right thing and, in particular, use their common sense.

On the page ‘fit and healthy working from home’ we share various tips and useful information on making working from home as pleasant as possible.

I have to work from home but I’m having difficulty combining work and home commitments. Who can help me?
Fantastic work is already being done so as to be able to provide teaching online in so far as possible. Working completely from home is a change for all of us with us having balance work/home/healthcare/routines and/or with a lack of interaction. We all have our own ways of handling the new situation. If you are having difficulties, you can talk to:

  • Colleagues
  • Your supervisor
  • Your HRM advisor or personnel officer
  • Coaches

The following experienced coaches are available:

You can make appointments by email, app or sms. The appointment itself can be by phone, video call or via Microsoft Teams, as preferred. If you need more than just a sounding board, then we can refer you as appropriate to an internal or external coach from Livvit.

 I don’t have an internet connection at home so I can’t work from home. What should I do?
These exceptional circumstances have meant we have asked everyone to work from home. We want to help ensure that the coronavirus does not spread any further. If you are unable to work from home because you do not have an internet connection, then we ask you to arrange one as soon as possible. At NHL Stenden, we offer staff an internet allowance of 150 euro a year. This can be claimed through Yourforce as soon as it is back up and running.

How can I work online safely at home?
Many of us will be working from home in the coming period and it is important to be extra vigilant in terms of digital security. This applies not only to working on an NHL Stenden laptop, but also when working on your own computer, laptop or tablet. Please pay particular attention to the following:

  • Make sure your virus scanner and other security software is up to date.
  • Only use applications available through start.nhlstenden.com
  • Set up access security for logging in to your private laptop, computer or tablet. This could for instance be a password or pin.
  • Make sure you are using a safe wifi connection. Refer to the guidelines for your modem or router for instructions on how to secure your wireless network.
  • Save important documents on OneDrive and SharePoint.
  • Make sure you “lock” your computer when you leave your work desk.
  • Cyber criminals are abusing the corona crisis. Be particularly aware of phishing mail.

By bearing the points in mind, we can all contribute to keeping our system safe and protecting confidential information. If you have any questions, please contact Privacy & Security on privacy-en-security@nhlstenden.com or +31 (0)58 251 1516.

I can’t manage to work from home. I’d like to work at school and I’ve heard that the buildings in Leeuwarden and Emmen are open. Can I work there?
No. In principle, everyone is working from home. Only those with permission from their supervisor may work in the building. Please sign in at reception when you enter the building and sign out when you leave.

Topic 15: Illness

When should I stay home?
If you show symptoms of a cold or flu, have difficulty breathing and/or have a temperature, you must stay at home or work from home.

The situation regarding the coronavirus changes daily, so we ask you to use your common sense and if you are unsure, to take those precautions necessary for your personal situation.

Can students and staff who have been abroad come to school?
From 15 June, we will gradually start to invite students and staff to the university of applied sciences. These could be students in vulnerable situations who were, for instance, unable to participate in online education and testing, students who were due to graduate at the end of the year, students who need to take a national exam or carry out practicals that can only take place offline. Please note! If you do not have a personal invitation to come to the campus, then you will be refused admittance.

In general, the following applies:
If you have flu or cold symptoms, are short of breath and/or have a temperature, then you must stay at home or work from home.

In addition, there is a standard guideline for students and staff concerning what they should do if they have symptoms of the virus and what preventative measures should be taken. This is in line with the policy issued by the RIVM. You can find this policy on https://www.rivm.nl/coronavirus/covid-19/vragen-antwoorden#Vragen

What action should be taken if a student or member of staff reports in sick and suspects they have the coronavirus?
People infected with the coronavirus have a fever and respiratory symptoms, such as a cough and shortness of breath. If this is the case, they should phone their GP. When a doctor receives a report of a patient suffering from the virus symptoms and the GP suspects the coronavirus, a protocol for action is implemented.

Staff or students reporting sick
Even in these exceptional circumstances, if you are sick you must follow normal procedures. Despite the situation, we assume that you will be continuing to work or study. If you are sick, follow the usual procedure and notify your study programme’s examination committee. Or, for member of staff, report sick to your supervisor.

Can students from infected areas study or do an internship in the Netherlands?
This is a difficult matter as there are various aspects to bear in mind:
 

Travel/country of departure – Students in infected areas must adhere to the measures in place locally. Follow the advice of the country you are currently in.
Travel/country of arrival – If you may travel in the country you are in, then you should look into what the advice is for travelling to the country you want to go to. And what the advice is once you are there.
Health – How do you feel? Have you been in contact with anyone infected with the coronavirus? If you have any symptoms such as a cold, breathing difficulty and/or a fever, then you must stay or work at home.

Businesses/institutions – Consult with the university of applied sciences, business or institution where you will study or do your internship. What is the situation there? The NHL Stenden buildings will be closed to students from 16 March and educational activities have been cancelled.

Unfortunately, there is no use in testing students for the virus on arrival in the Netherlands. If someone is infected, there is insufficient virus in their body for first few days. This is why tests for the virus are only done once someone shows symptoms.

For up-to-date travel advice, visit the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website. The RIVM is also looking into specific advice for particular regions.

My housemate has returned from an area infected by the coronavirus and has health problems. Should I now stay at home too?
You need to follow the current guidelines issued by the RIVM. Keep a close eye on your own state of health and follow the hygiene measures. If your housemate’s symptoms become so severe that the GGD decides to test them, then you should stay home to await the results.

I am at a higher risk because of other health problems (asthma, COPD, diabetes etc.). What should I do?
Follow the basic hygiene measures and keep clear of sick people. We recommend you contact a study advisor from your study programme for personal advice.

If you become unwell, particularly if you have a temperature and/or respiratory problems, you must contact your doctor. For more information, refer to the advice issued by the RIVM.

I am an international student in the Netherlands and would like to see a doctor. Where can I go?
Compared to other European countries, the Dutch people are conservative with medication. Relatively few patent medicines can be bought without a doctor’s prescription. Unless the doctor prescribes something, most Dutch people prefer to use their own natural remedies. Doctors often treat their patients with advice rather than medication. In general, you may be told more often than you are accustomed to, “go home and rest and give your body time to heal itself”.

In the Netherlands, you must consult a family doctor before a hospital examination is possible (with the exception of emergency admissions).

For students in Emmen and Leeuwarden, more information can be found below:

  • If you need medical care in Leeuwarden
  • If you need medical care in Emmen

Topic 16: Events and travel

Will graduation ceremonies still take place?
Individual graduation ceremonies may possibly take place. Discuss this with your study programme. Collective graduation ceremonies are cancelled/postponed. For more information, contact your study programme.

Can we still travel abroad?
As of the evening of Tuesday 17 March, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs advises only travelling abroad if absolutely essential. This advice applies to travel from the Netherlands to all countries. NHL Stenden is following this advice and has urged all students and staffs currently abroad to return to the Netherlands immediately.

Can events still take place?
All events have been cancelled. This applies to events planned on and before 1 September at all our locations in the Netherlands. Event organisers should inform their guests themselves. There is a news item on the website that can be referenced in cancellation messages. We are currently looking into what we can organise online and information on the matter will be issued through the study programme.

What if a trip is cancelled but it is insured?
That depends on the trip, so we have drawn up a flowchart to guide you through the process of cancelling an insured business or study trip.  Open the flowchart. If you have any further questions on the matter, please contact Finance & Control on studentinfo@nhlstenden.com.

Topic 17: Other

I rent a space in one of the NHL Stenden buildings. Does my business/institution have to close too?
The buildings are closed to students as of Monday 16 March. Our staff will be working from home as much as possible. The buildings will have only a skeleton staff. Where possible, we ask for you to work from home. If you have any questions, please call 088 9917000.

What will happen to my account if it is due to expire in the next few weeks?
Staff accounts due to expire during the closed period will be automatically extended. If you have any questions, please contact serviceplein@nhlstenden.com.

Is the NSS still taking place?
Due to the corona crisis, the Dutch Minister of Education, Culture and Science has decided to cancel the National Student Survey (NSE) for 2020. This means that for the second year running, we will not be surveying our students. The focus now lies fully on the NSE for 2021. Preparations are already underway and we plan to launch the survey in January 2021, so that we can then pick up the normal cycle again.

Further information can be found on the Studiekeuze 123 website set up by the NSE. Unfortunately, the information is only available in Dutch.

Who can I contact if I’m feeling uneasy or worried – update 18 June
If you are feeling uneasy, lethargic, pessimistic or anxious, or you are worried about your lifestyle, contact your student counsellor or you doctor for advice. If you’d rather ask for advice online and anonymously, you can use one of the self-help modules offered by Mirro to get that little bit more support you may need.

If you are feeling lonely or isolated because of the corona crisis
Even with the relaxation of the measures in place during this intelligent lockdown, life is still nothing like it was before the corona crisis. It is still difficult to meet up with family and friends, and situations in which you naturally meet people, such as on café terraces, at sports clubs or nights out, are still limited. This can create a sense of isolation and loneliness and feel very oppressive.
It is therefore very important that you stay in touch with your study programme. Try to follow the online courses as much as possible and initiate online social contact, such as in the ‘Central Perk’ online community.
Do not lock yourself away but find things to do outside the home and stay active, for instance by going for walks with someone. Check out this link (https://newuniversity.sharepoint.com/sites/student-welfare) for tips on staying mentally and physically healthy.

Worrying
Having few distractions means you have more time for worrying. If you are prone to worry, it can eat away at you and lead to even more inactivity and lethargy. What you then need to pick up an activity that will give you energy. Play sport, do something creative, go outside. What do you enjoy doing and what do you need to do so that you can do this activity during the pandemic? Try to involve others.
Worrying can be such a problem that you need to do something about it, so find out about relaxation techniques such as breathing exercises, mindfulness and yoga. The aim is to quieten your thoughts. You can find tips and links on https://newuniversity.sharepoint.com/sites/student-welfare as wells as Mirro’s online self-help modules on worrying, stress and sleeping problems. You can also find lots of information and tips on www.sochicken.nl.

Questions and answers for prospect students