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Message from The Executive Board of the University of Amsterdam to all students at the start of the academic year.

Dear students,

Your start to the academic year is not quite as it should have been, which would be on campus at a bustling university, surrounded by fellow students and lecturers. Instead, you are having to spend a lot of your time on a computer, facing a screen.

The University of Amsterdam (UvA) is doing everything within its power to have this go as smoothly as possible, with lecturers working hard to transform online teaching in new interactive ways and to support you as much as possible. However, we must admit that online teaching cannot fully substitute face-to-face contact. It is more difficult to get to know one another and stay connected, which has a significant impact.

Reading literature is not only something you do on your own, studying is also teamwork. It's more than listening to an online lecture: it involves consultation, discussion, advice and spending time together. This is all much more difficult online, which is something we are well aware of.

This has led us to make an appeal in Nieuwsuur, a current affairs television programme, this last Friday, asking the Outbreak Management Team to determine whether there are options available for safely providing more on-campus teaching. At the same time, we are aware that the number of cases among students is increasing. It is, therefore, very important that we follow the guidelines issued by the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) and we ask you to continue to doing this.

Until then, we will keep investing in new possibilities for online teaching, and focus on expanding the related support. We hope that this will be a temporary affair and that – in these trying times – you manage to find your way, to keep up with your studies and to establish and maintain the contacts that are so important to students.

The Executive Board of the University of Amsterdam,

Geert ten Dam

Karen Maex

Jan Lintsen