Flemish higher education working on ‘Code Black’

Flemish universities are making preparations for a possible Code Black.  Under Code Black corona restrictions in higher education would be even more stringent than under the present Code Red.

Under Code Black all practices and lab exercises will be staged online.  Under Code Red these were able to go ahead with students attending on campus. First year students that enjoyed exemptions under Code Red and were able to attend some lessons on campus too will have to switch to distance learning online.  Code Black could be imposed till 30 November at least.

Dirk Smits, director research and education at the Odisee university in Brussels: “At the minute we don’t have the capacity to organise practices on campus.  We will try to make good lost ground in practice starting December and we are looking at how we can now bring forward theory teaching for the time being.  If practice lessons aren’t possible in December, the whole matter will need to be reviewed. This also goes for the exams in January when practice subjects are evaluated.”

If practice lessons can’t be resumed in December, the academic year or the length of study may be extended because students won’t be able to take exams for practice lessons.

“We hope to finalise a plan for the next few months.  We have decided to at least stick with Code Red until the end of February, never mind what the government decides. This will give us some balance amid the fluctuations in the epidemic and the certainty we need in order to arrange things. We are seeking a framework that can provide some stability, e.g. when can practice resume?  That is important for us.”

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