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Law department facilitates online teaching for those who fear corona

The Faculty of Law will provide online teaching options for people who would rather not come to the university because of corona. 

They had initially only planned to provide online teaching for lectures that consisted of more than 75 students. All other education would be in person, in an effort to spare lecturers.

The change isn’t part of a general rule at the university, says UG spokesperson Anja Hulshof. ‘Each faculty gets to decide for itself what works for them within the framework of the rules set by the government.’ Some faculties have decided that every lecture with more than 75 students will be online in its entirety, while others let 75 students into the room with the rest watching a live stream.

‘We don’t want to be too strict’, says law faculty dean Wilbert Kolkman. ‘In-person education is the norm. But we can always make an exception if there’s a good reason for it.’ 

Flu

This goes for both lecturers and students. Kolkman says ‘a few’ of the more than three hundred lecturers at the faculty have said they’d like to have the opportunity to teach online. Students might not be able to attend lectures because they have the flu.

But the dean warns that lecturers can’t make use of the rule willy nilly. ‘It’s not like everyone is just free to choose whether they’ll be teaching in person or online.’ Someone who’s been fully vaccinated but suffers from asthma and would therefore prefer not to teach a small seminar can go to management to find a solution, says Kolkman. ‘We need to figure out what works for whom.’

The same goes for students. Even though Kolkman says students’ willingness to get vaccinated is ‘really, really high’, not everyone is fully vaccinated, and there are some who can’t because of a medical indication. ‘We’ll obviously make accommodations for them.’ But these are exceptions, he says.

Ventilation

These exceptions mean extra work for lecturers, especially those who teach seminars. But, says Kolkman, polycams have been installed in all classrooms, which show the students on screen, allowing them to see what’s happening in the room. Lecturers can also put all the absent students into a single online group. ‘But that’s up to the lecturers themselves’, says the dean.

Kolkman says the ventilation at the law faculty is up to code. An inspection showed that all the rooms the faculty uses have mechanical ventilation. All except two: the rooms under the arches at the Harmony building. But lecturers open all the windows when teaching, and CO2 alarms have been installed. ‘If they go off, we’ll evacuate the room.’

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