Transition to code red

Update 30/10/2020:

The government announced the following (quote from a message to the Flemish Interuniversity Council (VLIR), the Flemish Colleges Council (VLHORA) and the Flemish Association of Students (VVS)):
  • From Friday evening 30 October until Monday 30 November, only distance learning is allowed in higher education. There is only one exception to this rule: in the nursing, midwifery, medicine, dentistry and physical therapy programmes (including advanced courses), practice classes, skills training and internships remain possible.
  • For internships, the institutions follow the guidelines of the sector concerned. They make agreements with the employers concerned for the period from 30 October to 30 November.
  • Any planned evaluation moments will be postponed or digitally organized until 30 November. 
  • From Tuesday 1 December, higher education will continue in code red. From then on, contact education will be possible for first-year students and during practice classes.


All study and work locations, Study-OO's and libraries will be closed until the 30th of November. Ghent University will continue to provide study and work locations for students who do not have suitable space at home to study or to take online classes. Students who wish to use one of these locations can send a motivated request to .

As of 26 October 2020, Ghent University will switch to code red.

Ghent University has decided to take this step in order to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus in society, and to protect the health and safety of its students and staff.

As laid down in the pandemic matrix for Flemish universities, code red entails a maximal transition to distance teaching. Please note that this does not mean that teaching activities will grind to a complete stop. On the contrary, we are doing everything in our power to safeguard our students’ study progress. Teaching activities in large and small groups will be replaced by distance teaching. Practicals that are essential to attaining a course unit’s final competencies/learning outcomes will continue to take place on campus, albeit in observance of heightened safety measures.

What does this mean concretely?

Lectures and education in large groups

  • These teaching activities can no longer take place on campus. Lecturers make the transition to online teaching, either by teaching from home or in an empty lecture hall on campus. Ghent University has adequate technical equipment to support its lecturers.
  • We focus on online interaction with students, and an adherence to the regular timetables.
  • Online classes preferably take no longer than 1 hour or 1h15 minutes. If necessary, a second class block can start after a break. Please note that students have pointed out that taking classes online is much more intense than taking classes on campus.
  • It is by no means our intention to replace teaching activities with pure self-study or simply uploading lecture recordings.
  • Lecturers are encouraged to open discussion platforms on Ufora so that students can discuss the teaching content amongst each other.
  • We ask that lecturers no longer in need of their lecture hall or classroom, report this to the faculty schedulers. That way, the newly available rooms can be used for other purposes. If capture agents were used in the newly available rooms, the recording must be cancelled using the Opencast Planner.
  • In AY 20-21 all teaching activities (particularly all lectures) are streamed and recorded.

Teaching in small groups and group work

  • Teaching activities in small groups and group work in the context of a lecture can no longer take place on campus. Exercises or practicals in which essential competencies are acquired, and for which an online alternative is impossible, can take place on campus.


Practicals, tutorials, and (lab) exercises that are essential to attaining a course unit’s final competencies/learning outcomes can take place on campus. Groups groups must consist of no more than max. 50 students.

Practicals are subject to the following safety measures:

  • For all other study programmes the number of on-campus contact hours will be limited by focusing on essential competencies in combination with interactive online teaching. The number, frequency and duration of practicals must be limited wherever possible.
  • Mouth caps are no alternative for physical distancing. 
  • Students are not allowed to physically work together with the same object, on the same experiment, test set-up, … . They are assigned (sub)tasks which they can perform by themselves. Only if sharing specific equipment is crucial to attaining essential competencies a rotation system can be set up. In such cases, the equipment is disinfected between users and after every use.
  • Practicals must not exceed a maximum duration of 4 hours (this equals the max. continuous wear time of a mouth cap).

Please contact in case the above guidelines are unclear, or in case further support is needed.

Bachelor and master theses

  • Research activities can continue. The impact on Bachelor’s and Master’s theses due to disrupted data gathering, experiments or source consulting is kept to an absolute minimum.
  • The above activities are considered to be research activities. Students observe the guidelines that apply to research and researchers.
  • In case of e.g. disrupted data gathering, students and supervisors look for alternatives together.

Work placement

  • Work placement can continue in observance of the host company’s safety measures. A work placement can e.g. also be organized as a type of teleworking. Alternative work placement assignments are possible only if the study programme competencies are not compromised.


The original timing of Bachelor’s and Master’s theses, of practicals and work placements must be respected to the utmost extent. Study delay must be avoided.

In the context of quality assurance and pursuing a coherent education policy, it is important for Study Programme Committees to keep an overview of the organisation of teaching activities.


Study and work places

  • The study and work places remain accessible for students to study and take online classes.
  • The locations formerly reserved as Study OOs will be converted into study and work places and reassigned to specific faculties. First-year students working in study groups supervised by Study Coaches will remain welcome there as well.
  • Observance of the rules and regulations will be tightly supervised.
  • From mid-November onwards, a registration system will be introduced.

First Term Continuous Assessment and January Exams

  • On-campus exams will be scheduled based on a 1/5 occupancy rate in exam rooms, and in observance of strict safety protocols for students and invigilators.
  • Continuous assessment can continue to take place on campus respecting a 1/5 occupancy rate in exam rooms, and in observance of strict safety protocols for students and invigilators, and/or in practicals rooms provided that the safety measures for practicals are strictly observed.

Excursions, trips, events

  • Day trips, excursions, events and student travelling cannot take place while we find ourselves in code red unless they are essential to attaining the course unit’s final competencies/learning outcomes and there are no available alternatives.
  • Please contact in case the above guidelines are unclear, or in case further support is needed.

Services to students

  • We realize that these exceptional circumstances are causing students to have a difficult time during this academic year. We want to continue to offer them our support. The website Feeling good at Ghent University contains several warm initiatives, both at and in the immediate surroundings of Ghent University. We want to make sure that students know which way to turn no matter how small or ‘innocent’ their issue may seem. That way, we hope that our students will not be at a loss when they need help. 
  • Services for students, both at faculty level as well as at university level (tutorial services such as study (track) counselling , libraries, the Student Counselling Office, the Registrar’s Office, Social Services, …) remain accessible, albeit online wherever possible.

Questions? Comments?

For students:

  • Do you still have questions? , and we will help you. 
  • For specific questions about your course, you can always contact the student representatives. They are the best point of contact for any questions, queries, feedback or help when things go wrong.
    In this list you will find details about the chair of your study programme committee (a professor) and also the student representatives from last academic year. This list will be updated as soon as the new student representatives are appointed.

For lecturers: