Information on coronavirus

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to evolve at international and national levels. VIVES closely monitors the situation, always taking into account the advice of the government and in close consultation with KU Leuven. You will find the latest updates on this webpage.

More detailed travel info (04/01/2021)

I would like to give you some more detailed information about my email this morning. 

So anyone coming out of a red zone must present a negative PCR test at departure. This test may not be older than 72 hours. After that you are obliged to go into quarantine for 7 days and on day 7 you have to be tested again. If the second test is also negative, you can stop the quarantine. 

Only the second test (taken in Belgium) will be partially refundable (via Partena). New students (spring students) will soon receive an email from Partena (Belgian health insurance) to arrange their affiliation. Full year and autumn students do not have to do this anymore.

Don't forget to fill in the Passenger Locator Form. You will then receive a text message from the Belgian government with instructions on how and where to take a 2nd PCR-test. Follow these instructions carefully!

A few weeks ago I communicated that VIVES asks every student coming from an orange or red zone to go into quarantine for 10 days. We have slightly modified this rule. We adjust the duration of the quarantine to 7 days. So every student coming out of an orange or red zone has to go into quarantine for 7 days to prevent an outbreak in our residences. 

Important travel info (04/01/2021)

The Belgian authorities have recently amended the rules for entering Belgium. 

If you come from a red zone, you have to present a negative PCR test before departure. The test may not be older than 72 hours and after 7 days you have to be tested again in Belgium.

And don't forget to fill out the Passenger Locator Form!

https://travel.info-coronavirus.be/public-health-passenger-locator-form
 

Link to the website of the Belgian government:

https://diplomatie.belgium.be/en

Message from our managing director (08/12/2020)

On the advice of the experts (virologists, infectiologists,...), a meeting on the start of the second semester was held this week with those involved in higher education and the Minister of Education Ben Weyts. Even with the start of a vaccination programme at the beginning of January, the evolution of the incidence of COVID-19 and of the hospitalizations in the coming weeks must be followed very closely in order to avoid a third wave at all costs. The experts stress the specific role of student life in the evolution of the pandemic. This means that we must continue to adopt a very cautious approach in the organization of higher education.

With all the universities and universities of applied sciences, we are therefore opting for stability: we will remain in code red until the end of February '21.

This means that the second semester will also start with a low occupancy rate on campus. Theory lessons will continue to be offered mainly online. Practice, lab exercises, simulation education and skills training will be offered, by all courses and in all phases, on campus, with respect for all corona measures of course.                                                                                                                                              

For distance learning students, the examination center will remain open during this period.

If the situation evolves favorably, we hope to be able to flexibilize in March '21, each time for a stable period.

Furthermore, we would like to mention that for students in daytime education, in view of the optimization of the external and internal exam locations in code red, some exams may be postponed of hour and/or date in the January examination period. The examination schedule will be final on Friday, December 11th.  Please always consult the information on Toledo.

We would like to thank you again for your flexibility and for your continuous efforts. We would also like to wish you a lot of success in the coming study- and examination period. Keep in touch with each other and take good care of yourself and each other.

Important info for incoming exchange students - spring semester (07/12/2020)

VIVES has decided that all students coming from an orange or red zone have to go in quarantine for 10 days.

The entire map of Europe is as good as all orange or red. This means that almost every student first has to spend 10 days in quarantine.

In the first 10 days of February, we will therefore have no on-campus activities.

Which rules should you respect during your quarantine?

  • Avoid using public transport as soon as you arrive in Belgium.
  • The period of quarantine or self-isolation starts as soon as you arrive in Belgium.
  • Quarantine or self-isolation means that you stay indoors (including use of a garden or terrace) at a single address.
  • During your quarantine or self-isolation, contact with other people, including people in the same household, should be avoided as much as possible. Keep a distance of 1.5m at all times.
  • Towels, bed linen and eating or drinking utensils should not be shared with the other members of the same household and, where possible, the person in quarantine or self-isolation should use a separate toilet and bathroom.
  • The social distancing and hygiene measures do not apply during quarantine between you and the people you were travelling with.
  • Do not self-isolate at a location where people live at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 (e.g. people older than 65, people with a serious underlying medical condition such as severe heart, lung or kidney disease and people with decreased immunity).
  • Receiving visitors is not allowed during quarantine or self-isolation.
  • Working and going to school is not allowed. Teleworking and online learning is permitted.
  • Stay indoors during quarantine or self-isolation. You may only leave your home for the following essential trips and you must wear a (fabric) face mask:
    • Visiting your GP or for urgent medical care;
    • Purchasing basic necessities, such as food and medicines, but only if no one else can provide them;
    • Settling urgent legal/financial issues;
  • During quarantine or self-isolation, contact tracers should be able to reach you at all times and you must cooperate in listing your close contacts.

You can consult the map of the Belgian government here: Federal Public Service Foreign Affairs | (belgium.be)

The information you normally get on the welcome day will be collected on an online platform (more info will follow in January).

So the Welcome Day was cancelled and we also cancelled the cultural activities.

In addition, the first lessons (until the 10th February) will also be organised online.

Students who end their quarantine before the 10th February are likely to be able to attend classes on campus sooner.

You will receive more concrete info in January.

TRAVELS TO BELGIUM

All persons who are planning to travel to Belgium are required to fill in a Passenger Locator Form in the 48 hours before arrival in Belgium.

This online form, once completed, will be considered as condition for entry.

After submitting your Passenger Locator Form, you receive a text message with instructions about a quarantine and COVID test, you must follow these instructions closely.

Link to the Passenger Locator Form: Passenger Locator Form | Passenger Locator Form (info-coronavirus.be)

It is not clear to us what these instructions may contain. That is why we have introduced the rule that every student coming from an orange or red zone must be quarantined for 10 days.

So if, for example, you receive a text message saying that it is not necessary to go into quarantine, VIVES will ask you to do so anyway (in case you are coming from an orange or red zone).

And this for a period of 10 days. We have introduced this rule to avoid an outbreak in our student residences. We hope you will respect this decision!

VIVES does not require a COVID test but the Belgian government may require this (a possible instruction you will receive via a text message).

If this is the case, please let me know and I’ll help you to arrange a doctor’s appointment.

Is a refund of the COVID test possible?

Reimbursement is only possible if you are a member of a Belgian health insurance fund such as Partena.

In January, you will be contacted by Partena (= an independent and apolitical public (state) insurance provider) to arrange your affiliation. The Partena Insurance is free for EU-students.

TEACHING ACTIVITIES

At the moment there is code red for education in Belgium.

This means that only practical education (such as practical exercises, lab exercises, simulation education and skills training) are organized on campus. Theory classes are offered through distance learning as much as possible.

Follow the last updates on our website: Information on coronavirus | VIVES

But we are planning to resume face-to-face teaching activities as much as possible from the beginning of February. At the same time, we will be ready to run our study process remotely in case the situation becomes worse.

But this is, of course, subject to change as the situation remains very uncertain. I will send an update on a regular basis.

DAILY LIFE IN BELGIUM

Please take a look at the website of the Belgian government:

What are the current measures? | Coronavirus COVID-19 (info-coronavirus.be)

Update COVID-19 measure - message from our managing director (24/11/2020)

At the moment only distance learning is possible - except for some care trainings. From Monday 30 November 2020, all Flemish universities of applied sciences will switch to contact-free campuses (code red). Campus activities will be possible again to a very limited extent. 

In consultation with virologists, university colleges (VLHORA) and the Association of Flemish Students (VVS), the framework has been clarified for practices and campus moments in higher education. The complete interpretation of this code can be found here. This decision makes it possible to realize the educational objectives of the first semester.

In concrete terms, this means for VIVES University of Applied Sciences:

- Practical education (such as practical exercises, lab exercises, simulation education and skills training) is again possible on campus and this for all courses and all educational phases. The occupancy rate here is 1 to 1.

- Theory classes will continue to be offered through distance learning as much as possible. There is room for possible exceptions. The occupancy rate here is limited to 1 in 5. 

- Lessons with a sports component (such as the lessons in the educational bachelor secondary education: LO) need training in the sports halls on campus. At least the protocols of the respective professional sectors need to be followed. More explanation can be found in the pandemic matrix.

- Internships and other forms of workplace learning still follow the agreements of the sector.

- Examinations are preferably online but can also take place on campus (further details follow through the exam schedule). The occupancy rate is 1 in 2 (in classrooms smaller than or equal to 60) or 1 in 5 (in auditoriums with more than 60 places). For distance learning students, the exam center is open again and exams can also be taken via Proctor Exam. Safety regulations (concerning hand hygiene, disinfection of rooms, ventilation,...) are also strictly followed here.

- Safely organized quiet study places for a limited group of students are still possible on reservation via the study coach.

These new measures, which take effect as of Monday November the 30th are accompanied by the safety regulations: mouth mask duty, good hand hygiene and social distancing remain fundamental.

This week, concrete information from your training / study area will be provided. So be sure to keep an eye on your schedule.

This arrangement is subject to change until the end of the first semester. At the end of January we will check whether or not to extend the measures.

Update COVID-19 measures - message from our managing director. (03/11/2020)

Since Monday, a new lockdown has started with new rules for higher education.

For higher education, distance learning applies to everyone until the 30th of November 2020 (so no theoretical or practical lessons or evaluations on campus).

There is only one exception to this rule: in the nursing and midwifery programmes, practical training, skills training and work placements will remain possible on campus during this period. For work placements, the institutions follow the guidelines of the sector concerned. Arrangements are made with the trainers involved. Any planned evaluation moments will be digitally organised or postponed until after 30 November.

We look cautiously ahead to the 1st of December 2020:

From then on, it will be possible for everyone to return to the campus for practical lessons (practicals, etc.).

If necessary, theory lessons can be organised on campus for students from the first year.

Theory lessons from all other years will continue through distance learning until the end of the calendar year.

We would also like to inform you that for students who are unable to follow lessons, exams at home ... that there is a possibility to reserve a place on campus where it is still safe to work. You can contact your study counsellor for this.

The libraries remain open, but not in order to continue studying there. 

We hope that you will make every effort to avoid contacts until the 30th of November so that the chance of being able to restart in code red from the 1st of December is maximised.

We would like to thank you for your this and wish you a lot of strength and courage to keep up these measures.

Take good care! 

Update COVID-19 measures (29/10/2020)

Minister Ben Weyts has informed us that the stricter measures taken on Tuesday by the Flemish Government should also be brought forward for higher education.

Consequently, this means that on Friday 30/10 we will no longer be able to organize any educational activity (lessons or examinations) on campus. 

Overall everyone must limit social contacts in order to reduce the number of corona infections. This also has consequences for higher education.

The Flemish Government has decided to create a continuous virological 'time-out' from 31 October to 11 November 2020.

For VIVES University of Applied Sciences, this means that after the Autumn break, in the period from 9 to 11 November, we will not be able to have any lessons or exams on campus: all educational activities must be organized entirely online for all students (any planned evaluations will be postponed or will also be organized online). 

From Thursday the 12th of November we will then switch to code red, probably until the Christmas holidays:

- The classes of the second and third programme stages will be fully offered online, with the exception of practical training, such as practical exercises, lab exercises, simulation training,..... These can continue on campus.

- All classes for the first programme stage can continue to be offered at:

             Occupancy rate 1 out of 5 in auditoriums > 60 places

             Occupancy rate 1 in 2 in classrooms ≤ 60 places

             Occupancy rate 1 to 1 for practical lessons (practicals, exercises in PC rooms, lab exercises,...).

-  For now examinations can continue as planned (online or on campus), taking all safety measures and restrictions into account.

- Social student areas will be closed off with the exception of the (corona-proof) organisation of silent study places.

Update covid-19 measures: travelling (28/10/2020)

Autumn break starts on Saturday 31/10/2020 and I suppose some students would like to travel during this break.

That is why I would like to emphasize the current travel regulations.

Non-essential travel to a red zone is no longer prohibited but strongly discouraged.

Travelling in general is currently discouraged by the Belgian government.

Passenger Locator Form

You can find the mandatory return travel form here (Passenger Locator Form):

https://travel.info-coronavirus.be/public-health-passenger-locator-form

This must always be filled in if you are travelling to Belgium by plane or boat.

This does not need to be filled in if you travel by another means of transport and stay in Belgium for less than 48 hours or if you return by another means of transport after a stay abroad of less than 48 hours.

Travel conditions

Be sure to check the map of below mentioned webpage to find out what the conditions are when you return to Belgium.

https://diplomatie.belgium.be/en

These are the possibilities :

A COVID test and a quarantine are mandatory;

A COVID test and a quarantine are recommended;

A COVID test and a quarantine are not mandatory on return to Belgium.

Update covid-19 measures (19/10/2020)

As you may know, the Belgian government has decided on some new restrictions to prevent the coronavirus from spreading. Please read these restrictions carefully. The police are handing out fines (€250) to anyone who doesn’t respect the rules!

As of today the following measures are enforced:

  • All restaurants and bars are closed. This also goes for the student restaurant on campus. Take away options are still possible (e.g. sandwich bar on campus).
  • Every individual is allowed to have 1 close contact (someone they hug, kiss, with whom they don’t respect social distancing). With every other contact you should always respect a distance of 1,5m and you should be wearing your mask.
  • You are still only allowed to convene with four people at once (while wearing a mask and respecting the 1,5m distance)
  • Alcohol will not be sold after 20:00.
  • Night shops (and other shops) will be closed at 22:00.
  • You are no longer allowed outside (in public places) after midnight unless it’s for a medical emergency, your job etc. If the police catch you out and about after midnight you will be fined.

Today we are expecting some more changes regarding the organization of our education and school. This week we are also expecting additional information about sports, leisure activities (hobbies), events, etc. Should anything else change, I’ll keep you posted!

The statistics are really bad so we have to act now and we have to stick together!

Since yesterday teleworking is the standard so if you want to see someone from the administrative staff, please make an appointment by email. 

COVID-19 measures - message from the managing director (15/10/2020)

The resurgence of the corona virus is prompting VIVES University of Applied Sciences to take new measures to prevent further spreading. Even though the number of infections at our university has been small since the start of the academic year, we feel it is our duty to change gears at the moment.

That is why we will be switching to Code Orange as of Wednesday 21 October 2020, this brings about a number of more stringent measures. We will reduce the number of trips on and to our campuses and limit the occupancy of our largest spaces. At the same time, as long as it is safe to do so, we want to continue to focus as much as possible on our on-campus classes in small groups. We know how important it is that students can continue to see each other and their teachers and continue to take classes on our campuses. That's why safety comes first in each of our measures, but the social and emotional well-being of our students and staff is also our top priority.                                                       

Which additional measures will be taken when switching to Code Orange?

  • In the auditoriums (where 150 or more people can sit), the occupancy will be reduced to 1 out of 5 (for the other classrooms, nothing changes as we already complied with code orange);
  • the presence of non-essential third parties on campus will be limited. If necessary, this will be done with due consideration of the necessary health and safety measures;
  • only those research activities that require the presence of the researcher(s) on campus will still be allowed take place on campus;
  • registrations will happen digitally (via enrollment.vives.be) or by appointment;
  • student activities before, between and after classes are no longer allowed on campus;
  • a face mask is required at all times. You are only allowed to take off your mask when you are eating or drinking, and only if you can do so at a distance of one and a half meters from others. As soon as you stop eating or drinking, your mask should immediately be put on again.

The complete overview of pandemic scenarios can be found here.

We would like to remind you that the social distancing rule of one and a half meters applies both inside and outside the buildings. Gatherings with more than four people are no longer allowed anywhere on the campuses.

We know how difficult this is, dear students. Your time as a student is supposed to be a moment of freedom, taking opportunities, getting to know a lot of new people and discovering a lot of new things. It's a bit more difficult right now, and we understand just how frustrating that is. But: by putting the brakes on for a while now, we will be able to return more quickly to a situation in which infections decrease. That's why we’re asking you: let's do this together now.

Take care of yourself and each other! 

Covid-19 approach - message from the managing director, Joris Hindryckx (16/09/2020)

The new academic year is fast approaching and therefore we would like to inform you about some practical guidelines within VIVES University of Applied Sciences in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Flemish Minister of Education Ben Weyts, the Flemish Interuniversity Council (VLIR) and the Flemish Council of Universities of Applied Sciences (VLHORA), in consultation with the GEES, have agreed on a framework for the organisation of the academic year 2020-2021. This academic year, we will work with different pandemic levels, striving for a feasible balance between educational activities on campus or in the professional field and distance learning. We can start the academic year in code 'yellow with great vigilance'.

We are pleased that colleges and universities can start 'reasonably normal' and we want to keep it that way. That is why we would like to ask you to respect social distancing wherever possible this year. Anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19 or who has tested positive will stay at home and, if necessary, can look for an alternative form of education in consultation with the head of the programme / the ombuds. As a matter of mutual concern, you can report a positive test immediately via the attached link. Both internal reports and reports from the contact research call centre will always be handled with discretion. The prevention advisor will consult the occupational physician so that we can take appropriate measures.

If you belong to a high-risk group, you can apply for a special status via your student counsellor. Via this status you can, in consultation with the head of the programme and/or your ombudsperson, make use of a number of education and examination facilities.

You are currently required to wear a face mask in all classrooms, both during and between classes, and when you move around our buildings. This is not necessary during breaks in the open air or during sports activities. The teacher can only take off their mask during class if more than one and a half metres physical distance can be guaranteed. If you are carpooling with a fellow student who is not a part your social bubble, you are better off wearing a mask during the ride.

Everyone will be able to experience contact education during code 'yellow' on campus, but not at the same time. We pay particular attention to first-year students and graduate programmes. This will manifest itself in blended education, a mix of online and on-campus education.

In classrooms where theory lessons are given, one chair should be left empty between each student. The places where you may sit are always marked with a yellow dot. The other tables and seats must therefore remain free. Practical and computer lessons can take place as in normal circumstances, i.e. with the entire class group. It is very important to maintain good hygiene. That is why disinfectant and disinfecting wipes are provided in each classroom, so that you can disinfect your table yourself. Please note that this disinfectant is not meant to be used on computer equipment, screens and plexiglass screens, as this may cause damage. In some classes materials will have to be exchanged, but it is not always possible to disinfect everything. That is why we also ask you to wash and disinfect your hands regularly. We provide pumps with disinfectant gel in various places in all buildings. There are also certain classes, the content of which is adjusted so that they can take place safely. If wearing a mask is no longer required in theory classes, it would still be compulsory to wear a mask at all times during practical and computer classes.

The ventilation systems of our buildings are set up according to the latest guidelines, so that the spread of the corona virus through ventilation can be avoided. We would like to ask you to open the doors and windows as much as possible or to place them in a tilted position. This is also possible, for example, during breaks or between classes.

You will find the system of the yellow dots everywhere and in every campus: in the classrooms, in the library, in the student restaurants, in the social zones... So you can only sit down where there is a yellow dot.

Of course you can eat and drink on campus. This means that the restaurants, sandwich bars, takeaways, water fountains, Starbucks and other vending machines are available for you this academic year. In the restaurants you have to follow a few additional guidelines: there are separate entrances and exits, disinfect your hands on entry, follow the directional arrows on the way to your table, register your presence by scanning the QR-code on the table with your smartphone, only pay with a bank card and only sit where there is a yellow dot. Your mask may only be removed when you are sitting down. As in the classrooms, there will be disinfectant and disinfectant wipes so that you can disinfect your own spot. Or download the app 'B by Sodexo' to place and pay for your order in advance and pick it up later at one of the collection points.

If you are going on an internship, you will have to comply with the rules of that sector and of the internship placement. If you are going abroad temporarily, you must respect the safety and travel conditions of the countries concerned and of the foreign partners. Further information can be obtained via our International Office. If you return from a red or orange zone, you will be asked to complete the Passenger Locator Form and to respect the government's guidelines on quarantine and corona testing.

Although the exam period is still a couple of months away, we can say that exams and the bachelor thesis presentations will likely take place on our campuses. We will also work with the yellow dot system during examinations and we will provide plexiglass screens where necessary.

The new academic year will be different, but at the same time we hope - thanks to all these measures - that together we will be able to overcome the virus and go back to a more ‘normal’ situation as soon as possible. Nevertheless, we would like nothing more than for the new academic year to be safe, healthy and successful for you. That is what we are going for together, and we would like to thank you now for your commitment and perseverance.

During the academic year, we will provide regular updates on our COVID-19 approach.

Good luck in this academic year.

Information for incoming exchange students (21/08/2020)

TRAVELS TO BELGIUM

From the 1st of August, all persons who are planning to travel to Belgium are required to fill in a Passenger Locator Form in the 48 hours before arrival in Belgium. This online form, once completed, will be considered as condition for entry.

Link to the form: https://travel.info-coronavirus.be/public-health-passenger-locator-form

In Belgium we work with colour codes to indicate which measures apply to which travellers. There are 3 types of zones (RED - ORANGE - GREEN). The color codes do not apply to transit zones. 

RED: Mandatory quarantine and test on arrival. 

ORANGE: Quarantine and test are recommended on arrival.

! Important note ! VIVES has decided that also students coming from an orange zone have to go in quarantine for 2 weeks. 

GREEN: There are no restrictions. 

You can find an overview of the different zones on this website: https://diplomatie.belgium.be/en (under the title 'you are returning from ...'). Please note that the list on the website may change on a daily basis.

All non-essential travels from countries who are not part of the EU or Schengen area are prohibited. This travel restriction do not apply to third-country nationals who are in possession of a residence card or D-visa (such as students). 

If you come from an orange or red zone, we advise you to arrive 2 weeks before the welcome day to go into quarantine. If arriving earlier isn't possible, please inform the international office ([email protected]) and we will look together for a solution. 

Which rules should I respect during my quarantine or self-isolation?

TEACHING ACTIVITIES

We are planning to resume face-to-face teaching activities as much as possible from the beginning of autumn semester. At the same time, we will be ready to run our study process remotely in case the situation becomes worse.

We will start autumn semester as planned on the 14th of September in Kortrijk and on the 15th of September in Brugge. 

DAILY LIFE IN BELGIUM 

PUBLIC TRANSPORT

  • If you are using public transport (bus, tram or train), wear a face mask covering your mouth and nose.

SHOPS

  • You must wear a face mask in all shops. This is mandatory.
  • All shops are open. Go shopping alone and do not take longer than 30 minutes.

PUBS AND RESTAURANTS

  • Pubs and restaurants are open until 1:00 a.m.
  • It's best to make a reservation.
  • You can go to bars or restaurants only with you family (or the people you live with) and your 5 stable contacts. 
  • Stay seated at the table.
  • You must wear a face mask. This is mandatory. If you are sitting down at a table, you do not need to wear a face mask.
  • You must leave your contact details.

SOCIAL CONTACT

  • Each family (or anyone living together with others) may meet up with a maximum of 5 people. These must always be the same people. 
  • If you can respect the distance of 1.5 meters, then you can do activities with a maximum of 10 people, for example walking or cycling. 

SPORTS AND LEISURE

  • All locations have reopened, e.g. libraries, theme parks, indoor playgrounds and casinos.
  • You must wear a face mask. This is mandatory in the following places: shops and shopping malls, shopping streets, crowded places, public buildings, markets, public transport, libraries, cinemas, museums, theatres, concert halls, conference halls, auditoria, fairgrounds, religious buildings. 
  • You need to give your contact info when you go to wellness centres, sports lessons in a club, swimming pools, casinos, party and reception rooms. 

What is not yet allowed?

  • Discotheques or night clubs are not yet allowed to reopen.
  • Big events (such as festivals) are not allowed.

Preventive measures

What can you do yourself to prevent the spread of the coronavirus (and other diseases such as flu)?

  1. Be sure to wash your hands regularly and thoroughly (40 to 60 sec.) with soap and water.
  2. Do you have to cough? Put it in a paper handkerchief or in the inside of your elbow.
  3. Use paper handkerchiefs when sneezing or sniffing and throw them away in a lockable bin.
  4. Avoid giving hands. Greet each other with a wave or elbow.
  5. Be sure to stay home when you are sick. Don't go to work or school.
  6. Avoid close contact with sick people yourself.
  7. Try to be careful not to touch your face with your hands as much as possible.

More information