Written by:Marc

Date : 15 March 2020 Categories : Blog

Update coronavirus

Update 19 June:

Over the past month, we have begun to partially resume our on-site teaching activities. Language tests are taking place again on site, and we started teaching individual and tailor-made language courses on location too.

This summer, we will also start teaching our open group courses at our location on the Nieuwegracht in Utrecht. This blog tells you which courses we will teach from July onwards on location. In September, we will continue this trend and start offering more classroom-based courses. On the course pages on the website, you can find out whether a course will be taught in the virtual classroom, on location, or both. Do you find it difficult to make a choice between the two options? In this blog, we will help you choose by explaining the differences between the virtual classroom and the traditional classroom.

Will you be following language classes on location? It is very important to us to provide you with a safe teaching environment. Here you can read about the coronavirus prevention measures we have taken to guarantee your safety.

Update 7 May:

During the press conference of May 6th, the government presented their plans for the gradual re-opening of Dutch society. Based on these plans, we are now looking forward to being able to re-start our classroom activities on location in a step-by-step way. At the same time, we want to bear in mind what Mark Rutte said during this press conference: ‘We will do this as soon as possible, but it is better to be safe now than to regret it later.’ We adhere to this approach. We will gradually resume our classroom activities, but if the government announces stricter measures, we will of course re-adjust our plans.

In the coming period we will start to offer classes on-location, beginning with:

  • Some of our individual (one-to-one) lessons.
  • Some of our tailor-made classes with a maximum of 4 participants.
  • All Dutch language tests for medics.
  • From 1 July we will then start to offer some of our open group Dutch courses on location. However, this offer will be limited because to ensure we maintain 1.5 meter distance, we can have a maximum of 8 students per group. As such, we will have reduced capacity. An overview and schedule of our July courses on location will be published shortly on our website.
  • Current courses will continue to be held in the virtual classroom.

In recent weeks, all of our classes have been given in the virtual classroom. Students and teachers have had positive experiences with this. Read here an interview with one of our students (in Dutch) and click here to watch a demo of the virtual classroom. Given how effective and successful our virtual classes have been, in the future we will continue to offer virtual teaching options in addition to our courses on location. You can read more information about the virtual classroom here.

Precautionary measures
For all activities that take place on location, we will act in accordance with NRTO guidance. We will ensure that 1.5 metre distance is maintained between students and Babel staff at all times, we will make sure hand gel and other hygiene products are available, we will clean extra well, we will place plastic screens where necessary, etc. We will also ensure that visitors/students’ routes within the Babel building are kept as short as possible.

Update 25 March:

During the past week, we have hosted all our group courses in the virtual classroom. In this uncertain time, we think it is important that you can start a language course without any worries. Next to the guarantee that we will continue our classes in the virtual classroom (if there are enough participants), we also offer you the possibility to make use of our flexible booking policy. Namely, you can reschedule the date of a course to another start date, if the course starts in the upcoming period (the week of 20 April). This is possible until 10 days in advance and will be free of charge.

Here you can find more information about our flexible booking policy.

Additionally, we would like to inform our current students that exams are also cancelled from now onwards. We will reschedule the exams, you will be informed about the new date by e-mail.

Update 19 March:

During the past days, we have been working hard to be able to host our classes in the virtual classroom. Yesterday we started with our first online classes in the virtual classroom. As long as the measures against the coronavirus are still in place, we will continue to host our classes in the virtual classroom. So don’t worry, you can still sign up for our courses that start late April.

Moreover, we offer you many opportunities to study online. Our e-learning courses are perfect if you prefer to study at home at your own pace. Here you can find an overview of all our e-learning courses.

Update 15 March:

In light of the coronavirus situation, the Dutch government today announced that primary and secondary schools and higher education institutes will be closed from Monday 16 March. Although Babel does not officially belong to these groups, we have also decided to put new measures in place:

The group courses that are normally held at Babel will continue online via virtual classrooms starting this week, for the period until (at least) 6 April. Individual courses will be taught via Skype, Google Hangouts or in the virtual classroom. Online classes will take place on the same days and times as the original classroom schedules, and, as far as possible, with the same teacher(s).

All classroom-based lessons on location at Babel are therefore cancelled, for at least 3 weeks. You will soon receive a link from your teacher by email with which you can access the online course. In this infographic you can find all the necessary information about the virtual classrooms.

Please note: most of our exams will not be cancelled and participants will be informed by email.

Our Service Desk remains available by telephone (030-2270008) and e-mail (info@babel.nl).

Courses that are planned to start in April will continue as scheduled (if there are enough participants). If the coronavirus has not yet been adequately contained at that time, these courses will also be offered online.

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