The overly rapid easing of restrictions and the surging Delta variant are taking their toll: the Netherlands now has more than ten thousand new corona infections per day. The House of Representatives even returned from its summer recess to debate policy this past Wednesday. It is now clear that testing prior to gaining entry (Testen voor Toegang) is not watertight and thousands of students have been infected at parties – despite having taken all the prescribed measures. Eindhoven has not been spared, with the virus spreading at a number of parties.
What will happen to Introweek? This is now the question on everybody's lips. As yet, the ministry has provided no clarity on the wider situation. More news is expected on August 13th. In the meantime TU/e has prepared for a number of scenarios. But there is little the study and student associations can do in the way of making preparations.
“A great deal is still unclear. Naturally we are hoping to hear better news from the government as we approach Intro, so that we can get back to organizing cool parties every night without corona restrictions, and can introduce first-years to Demos and student life,” says Anneke Theunissen, president of Demos. Deputy president of the Eindhoven Student Corps, Imke Bloemen, echoes Theunissen's words. “There is a great deal of uncertainty, but we have prepared for a range of scenarios. Our hope, of course, is that a great deal can happen physically, and that we'll need to resort to few if any online events.” Cursor also made enquiries with other associations, but unfortunately received no answers in time.
Importance of a good Introweek
The alarm was raised some time ago by Education and Student Affairs (ESA), the organizers of Introweek. For last year's first-year students they have now organized a new Introduction Week scheduled for October 7, 8 and 9. This event will put ‘socializing’ center stage because this is what these second-years, as they now are, have missed out on entirely over the past year due to all their online lectures. The fear now is that the new cohort of first-years will also be denied this aspect of student life. ESA has already reserved places for first-years who have to miss the August Intro, perhaps due to a period of quarantine; they are warmly invited to attend October's ‘Introplus’. Provided Introplus can be held, which is by no means certain.