COVID-19 Rapid Testing Pilot at HTH Campus Amsterdam

The Dutch government is funding research at different universities and higher education institutes to explore more practical education possibilities in the long term. So, what's in it for the students?

Testing for COVID-19 alongside the national vaccination programme is part of the Dutch government’s strategy in overcoming the pandemic. This pilot is a Ministry of Education, Culture, and Science (MinOCW) initiative that initially focuses on practical education in the Amsterdam region. The pilot aims to get insights into the possibility of again offering physical education safely. Another aim is to see how rapid testing can contribute to the most "normal" possible start of the new academic year in September.

This pilot will address practical matters such as students’ willingness to be tested and logistics involved in facilitating a test street. Additionally, the schools are also collaborating to gain scientific insights into the use of rapid tests.

On Thursday the 25th of March, Rapid Testing Pilot facilities will open at the VU University Amsterdam (VU), the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (HvA), the ROC of Amsterdam-Flevoland (ROCvAF), and the Hotelschool The Hague, Campus Amsterdam (HTH). Each university was represented by a student, a member of the board, a teacher, and a member of the research team.

Why we are participating?

Ultimately the research should help determine how rapid testing for the COVID-19 virus can contribute to a safe return to more on-campus education as of the next academic year. That is something we wholeheartedly look forward to as soon as possible.

Students and teachers already following location-based education are the first to receive their invitation to participate in the pilot. The research consists of two parts: a survey to determine how willing people are to participate in rapid testing, and the second part is rapid testing. Participants schedule two appointments per week, and test results should be available within 30 minutes. Participation in both parts is by invitation and voluntary.

Hotelschool The Hague had no hesitation in taking part in this valuable programme, as it closely aligns with our pragmatic nature and yes-minded mentality. If we can contribute to research that benefits our students and the educational industry on a national scale, then, of course, we will do it. Besides playing an active role in the solution, we hope that this research will also contribute valuable information to the hospitality industry’s revival.

What’s in it for you?

Removing the uncertainty of being contagious through rapid testing can decrease anxiety and give us peace of mind. If you receive an invitation to participate, the short-term benefit is that you can quickly find out if you are healthy or not. Your participation can help contain the virus and prevent others within the HTH community from being infected. It is a comforting thought for both students and instructors.

In the long-term, you will be contributing to finding out how education can safely return to on-campus activities on a larger scale. You may even help the hospitality industry gain insight on how to responsibly re-open their establishments.

The Rapid Testing Pilot facility will operate at HTH Amsterdam Campus from March and run until mid-August. We expect a capacity of about 850 tests per week, and the first research results will be shared with the Ministry by June.

** Photo credits to Peter Valckx