Rotterdam educational institutions launch rapid testing pilot
The COVID-19 pandemic has a significant impact on education. Physical education is severely restricted. Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR), Hogeschool Rotterdam (HR), Albeda and scientists from Erasmus Medical Centre (EMC) will work together on the pilot; 'Rapid testing in education' from 1 March to 10 May. The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW) is closely involved and supports the educational institutions in this initiative. With this pilot, Rotterdam students and teachers' will have a common interest to return to in-person education. Nationwide, several pilots are being monitored.
"With this, we want to study whether large-scale in-person education activities can be facilitated again, and in what way. This pilot allows students to test themselves at home and offers them an important role in the process. We will start the pilot on 1 March," says Ed Brinksma, Chairman of the Board of Governors of Erasmus University Rotterdam.
Scaling up physical education through rapid testing
Confirming negative test results can make education safer and reduce the risk during travel to and from the educational location. In this way, this pilot serves individual interests (such as the student), institutional interests (the educational institution), and wider collective interests of limiting the virus's spread as much as possible. Should home testing by students turn out to be reliable and effective, it could result in all students (not only those from vulnerable groups) having the possibility to attend more in-person examinations and educational activities. Subsequently, further scaling up of physical education becomes a possibility also.
"Many young people are having a hard time during this pandemic. They would love to receive education and study on location again," says Ron Bormans, chairman of the Board of Governors of Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences. ''If we can allow more educational activities to take place in our buildings thanks to home testing, that will be a major morale booster for students."
Size and duration
The number of students within this pilot (approximately 1500) is divided among the three educational institutions (500 EUR students, 500 college students and 500 Albeda students). This will make it possible to compare the different groups of students. It also creates a broader pool of experts for the implementation and analysis of the results. In principle, these students will be tested three times during the pilot period, namely from 1 March to 10 May.
"Rapid tests can help in the early detection of COVID 19, especially in the mbo. By utilising rapid tests, the possibilities for our students to attend in-person education can be expanded beyond what is currently possible. In addition, the quick tests contribute to the safety of our students, teachers and support staff", says Ron Kooren, chairman of the Albeda Executive Board.