Ghent University tightens corona policy

foto Christophe Vander Eecken
foto Christophe Vander Eecken

Rector Rik Van de Walle informs Ghent University members about the implications of the more stringent government measures to delay the further spread of the coronavirus covid-19.

The message below will be sent to all Ghent University members on March 18, 2020.

Dear Ghent University members,

Last night the government, on the advice of scientific experts, announced more stringent measures in an effort to slow down the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19 as much as possible. Those measures came into effect at 12 noon today.

In this message we clarify the implications for the staff and students of Ghent University.

Research activities within the context of a bachelor or master thesis, which require a physical presence on Ghent University premises, have to be stopped immediately.

Students are no longer allowed access to Ghent University buildings, even when they are accompanied by a Ghent University staff member.  With the exception of students who, as part of their education, are engaged in the care of humans and animals

We emphasize that telework remains the norm for all staff members and all activities. Only a few exceptions are permitted:

  • Activities that are essential with regard to safety and biosafety
  • Activities that are essential with regard to the protection of and care for humans and animals
  • Streaming or recording classes (in designated classrooms, by appointment), to the extent it is impossible to do this from home
  • Crucial experiments which require a physical presence on the Ghent University premises

Moreover, the above activities can only take place on condition that the principle of social distancing (i.e. keeping away from each other, minimally 1.5 meters) can be applied with absolute strictness. This is of the utmost importance and no exceptions are permitted. It is up to the supervisors and persons in charge to assess the feasibility of social distancing, in the strictest sense of the word, and of the observance of all relevant guidelines. 

In addition, research laboratories can only be used if the following additional conditions are met:

  • Only minimal staff needed to keep the lab functioning in a safe way, is present
  • Researchers are not allowed to request the presence of additional persons
  • Researchers can only access the laboratories after consulting their supervisors

Every member of the Ghent University-staff, who is responsible for research activities, is duty-bound to assess how quickly each of the research activities can be stopped in a safe manner. If the discontinuation of the activities cannot be realized quickly (that is, in a 24 hour timeframe), an action plan for the shutting-down has to be drawn up. The plan determines the actions necessary to put a halt to the activities in a safe manner, if so requested,  and the time this will take. This plan has to be submitted to the Rector at

For all teaching-related questions, see the page with teaching advice. 

Ghent University -staff granted service exemption, are expected to diligently keep track of all relevant Ghent University communication (group mails, corona-webpage , mails of supervisors, etc.).

These measures remain in force up to and including 19 April 2020 and are part of the corona crisis management in the spring of 2020.

With cordial greetings,

Rik Van de Walle