City of Utrecht Letter from mayor to students

Letter sent on August 12, 2020

Dear students,

In just a few weeks, a new academic year will begin. We would like to extend a warm welcome to all of you. Welcome back, and welcome to Utrecht. For some of you, this is the start of something new. A new study programme, a new city, or perhaps a new place to live. Others have been studying here for a while and they already know the city quite well. But for all of you, the last year turned out to be different than expected. The coming academic year will also be strongly affected by the coronavirus, which is still highly active worldwide, including in the Netherlands.

We understand that you are looking forward to seeing your friends again, meeting your new classmates and discovering the city. You can and you will, but in a different way than before. These extraordinary times call for extraordinary responsibilities, including yours.

The number of COVID-19 infections in Utrecht is on the rise again. The increase is particularly evident in your age group, according to the Municipal Health Service (GGD). You, too, can become seriously ill, infect others and suffer serious long-term consequences from the virus. We must work together to limit the further spread, for yourself as much as for others.

Because of this, the Dutch administration decided to impose extra conditions on the period of orientation to Utrecht city and university. All activities on location of student associations are cancelled. Only associations for studies, educational institutions and student sport associations can organise small-scale activities about sports or educational issues, under the condition that the activities take place between 06.00 and 22.00, that participants will not drink alcohol, and that permission has been given.

Your orientation is not the same as usual because of the coronavirus and we regret that. This is a difficult time, and the measures you all face are far from enjoyable. However, they have helped reduce the number of infections for a long time. Now that infections are on the rise again, it is even more important that we adhere to all measures. Therefore, we ask you to please adhere to the following rules.

  • Keep 1.5 metres distance from other people—both indoors and outdoors.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly.
  • When travelling by public transport, wear a face mask.
  • Avoid crowded places; do not sit close together in cafés and on terraces, do not picnic in crowded parks; and do not dance when going out.
  • If you go to a terrace, café or restaurant, leave your name and contact details with the establishment.
  • If you have any symptoms, no matter how mild, stay home! Get tested by the GGD. To make an appointment for testing, call 0800 1202.
  • If you test positive, follow the quarantine regulations.
  • Please cooperate with the GGD if they call you about source and contact tracing.
  • Have you been on vacation in an area where code orange was in force? Go into quarantine for two weeks.

Only together we can get the corona virus under control. Despite these extraordinary circumstances, we wish you a great start of the new academic year. We are counting on you!

Yours sincerely,

Peter dan Oudsten, Mayor of the Municipality of Utrecht
Anton Pijpers, President Utrecht University
Jan Bogerd, Chair of Utrecht University of Applied Sciences

Letter sent on April 23, 2020

As the mayor of all students in Utrecht, I want to say a few words to you. Because these are strange and difficult times. You haven't been to university or college for weeks, you haven't played football or volleyball at your club, you can't go to the cafe or study society with friends. Some of you don't have a side job anymore and unfortunately there is no festival to look forward to this summer.

You used to plan your studies between your other activities, so to speak, but now you are mainly at home. Fortunately, you are creative, even now, in keeping in touch with each other. You help each other to make life more cheerful and fun. With online pub quizzes, watching Netflix and virtual get-togethers together. In terms of side jobs you see new, virtual, possibilities. That support for each other and creativity is something I appreciate enormously. You also like to see one other ‘live’. Sure, you already know it, but I will say it again: always maintain a distance of 1.5 metres and do not meet in a group outside. After all, even if you are roommates, you don't form a household. Also make wise choices in your house. A party with visitors can be seen as a gathering and is unfortunately not allowed. It is what it is.

Dear Utrechters,
For weeks now, we have been living in special circumstances that demand a great deal from you. For the sake of our health and that of others, we persevere and are strong. So that we can exit this bizarre time step by step.
I wish you all the best and thank you for your understanding and patience. Together, we are Utrecht. Also now. Especially now.

Yours sincerely,
Mayor and aldermen of Utrecht

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