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    Returning to Belgium

    We are halfway through the summer. The August exams are approaching. Some of you might have enjoyed or might still be enjoying a well-deserved holiday abroad. In the meantime, we are faced with a resurgence of the corona virus covid-19. In order to prevent the virus from spreading, strict government measures apply with regard to departure to and return from abroad. We ask each of you to comply with these regulations. It is necessary that each one of us takes his or her responsibility and follows up the measures in order to ensure that the virus is contained. This way we can hopefully start next academic year in slightly better circumstances...

    Foreign Affairs chose to work with colour codes: red, orange and green. Non-essential - and therefore also tourist - travel to red zones is not allowed by the government. Travelling to orange zones is strongly discouraged. You can find the zones on the website https://diplomatie.belgium.be/en, which is regularly updated.

    When returning to Belgium after a stay abroad, a number of important measures apply:

    On the instruction of the federal government, as from 1 August it is compulsory to fill in the Passenger Locator Form at least 48 hours before returning to Belgium, regardless of the region you have travelled to (red, orange, green) or the method of transport (plane, train, bus, car, motorbike, bike).

    Furthermore, depending on the zone from which you are returning, the following applies:

    - Red zone: An official travel ban applies to red zones. Anyone returning from these areas is required by the government to spend 14 days in quarantine and take a test. During this time, you must not come to the VUB campuses. You are not allowed to come to campus to take an exam during such a quarantine. However, it is possible to take exams online. If your test is positive you will receive a sickness certificate; if it is negative you will receive a quarantine statement.

    - Orange zone: When you return, the government asks you to go into quarantine for 14 days and contact your doctor for a test. If you have an important exam on campus, the VUB will ask returning students to contact their family doctor to assess the risk of attending the exam. If the doctor deems it necessary, we ask that students strictly adhere to the home quarantine and/or have themselves tested. If a test is positive you will receive a sickness certificate; otherwise you will receive a quarantine statement.

    - Green zone: You can return without further ado and take part in exams on campus.

    - Consult the rules to be respected during quarantine on the info-coronavirus website. Preferably, you can spend the quarantine in the vicinity of relatives or others who can support you, for example by providing meals. Are you considering a quarantine in your VUB housing dorm room? If so, be sure to contact the VUB student housing service in advance.

    If you are obliged to self-quarantine and will therefore be absent from an on-campus exam, you must report to your faculty. The aforementioned quarantine certificate is a medical certificate issued by a general practitioner and is considered to be a proof of force majeure. In this case, you may ask for the exam to be rescheduled or for an online alternative - please note that, as in case of illness, there is no certainty that an alternative or rescheduled exam will be possible. All information can be found here.

    We realise that quarantine upon return from abroad is not a pleasant situation, but in the interests of your health and that of your loved ones, your fellow students, the VUB staff and in particular of all vulnerable groups, we ask all VUB students to comply strictly with these government measures. VUB expects its students to behave with a sense of responsibility, with respect for others and for their environment, and to demonstrate self-discipline in doing so. We are counting on you!