Rector Carel Stolker of Leiden University twittered an urgent appeal to all students: don't hold any house parties and avoid pubs and bars. His message didn't quite go viral but it did hit a nerve. It was retweeted 275 times. His appeal touches on the worry that young people are indifferent about the virus; they seem less at risk. But the problem is that they can pass on the virus to others. What's more, young people are proving less invulnerable that was first thought.
Stop and think
Health institute RIVM has no corona advice specially for student houses, but students are advised to stop and think about their behavior. For now, no meetings in your house, no birthday parties, and so on. “They should not gather in large numbers in their communal rooms and spaces,” says spokesperson Coen Berends of RIVM. “And no physical contact, as far as that can be enforced. Above all, everyone needs to pay attention to their personal hygiene.” Perhaps give the kitchen a thoroughly good clean for once? “That wouldn't do any harm in most student houses,” Berends knows, “but it is more important that you wash your hands and two people shouldn't drink out of the same mug.”
Always stop and think, that's the message. For example, RIVM earlier advised against holding any gatherings of more than a hundred people. “But, of course, fifty people in a little cafe, packed in like sardines, isn't okay either.” The cafes have now been closed but the country isn't entirely in lockdown. And shops are still open. “We aren't saying that every individual has to be in quarantine,” says Berends.
Everyone knows why students are not allowed to visit the campus for the time being. So you can work out for yourself what is and isn't sensible.
Thinking of going to live with your parents during this period of personal isolation? Whether or not that is possible is going to depend on their health and age as well as on the situation in your student house. Like to go visit your boyfriend or girlfriend? Better not, but if you do go, you'd do better to stay a couple of weeks.