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Can face masks be made obligatory in university buildings?

Yes, they can. As of October 19 you must wear a face mask in any TU/e building when you are moving from A to B. TU/e is counting on everyone's cooperation but if even after being warned people do not adhere to the new rule, the Executive Board is empowered to impose sanctions.

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photo Bart van Overbeeke

For now, this does not seem necessary. A short tour of the campus Monday - mainly of the buildings - reveals that everyone is already observing the new rule. Corine Spoor, program manager corona, tells us that the new measure was announced to all students and employees last week Thursday October 15th by way of the newsletter from the Executive Board. "Besides this, posters are currently being put up in every logical place,” says Spoor.

So it can hardly have escaped the notice of employees and students. Still, anyone who despite all this is walking around without a face mask will, says Spoor, first be kindly reminded to put on a mask. Active enforcement will follow, however, if people refuse. “We are working on the positive assumption that all employees, students and third parties will observe the prevailing measures in order that our physical education and research can continue in a safe and responsible manner. Everyone is entitled to call another person to account for their conduct and for not acting in accordance with a measure, for example, sticking to the 1m 50 distance or wearing a face mask.”  

Sanctions

In addition, extra corona coaches and security hosts are being deployed (temporarily) to enforce the measures. "And where people are unwilling to change their behavior and persist in refusing to wear a face mask while moving from A to B, action will be taken,” says Spoor. “Where the 1m50 rule and/or the obligation to wear a face mask is not followed, the Executive Board or a building supervisor appointed by the Board is entitled under the TU/e regulation 'Use of university buildings, grounds and other facilities' to impose sanctions. For example, by issuing a official warning or by refusing entry to the building for a defined period.”

In many place face masks are advised but not mandatory. Why has the university chosen the latter option? “TU/e, like the rest of higher education, is still in the privileged position of being exempt from the recent stricter measures,” says Spoor. “Wherever it can, the Executive Board is keen to take appropriate measures to ensure that a full lockdown is avoided, so that education and research can continue as far as is possible within the prevailing measures.”

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