Cold in the exam tents? ‘It was too hot in fact’

Earlier this semester, students were bothered by noise and cold during their exams. Was it really that bad and what’s going to happen in the winter? “There are earplugs.”

Beeld Adrian van den Eerenbeemt

It was cold in the examination tents, student representatives said during the last TSB School Council. And there was a lot of noise. Many students were already afraid of that when it became known that tents were being put up on campus. They can be used for exams during the coronavirus crisis, but at what price? “Ella Verheijen of Active TSB wanted to know: “It was already cold now, how does that work in the winter?”

Strangely enough, the university has a very different picture. It was in fact too hot in the tents. “Invigilators or hostesses were not addressed regarding the temperature being too low,” says press spokesperson Tineke Bennema. The few official complaints that did come in were about the temperature being too high.

There is a lot of heating, so the tents are at the right temperature at 07:45. The university aims at 22 to 23 degrees during the day, also in the winter months. “That’s not too hot and not too cold,” says Bennema. The temperature can differ slightly in some places. Double canvas is used for the insulation, but that cannot match the thick walls of the university buildings.

It probably will not get warmer in the tents; the temperature will be lowered rather than increased. “With two hundred people in a room, you can never make it comfortable for everyone,” Bennema says, “but because we were often told that it is too hot, we can lower the standard temperature during the day by a degree or two.

We can lower the temperature during the day by a degree or two

Press spokesperson Tineke Bennema

The university has heard little about excessive noise levels. There are indeed trains running through the Warandebos, but decibel meters in the tents measured 45–50 dB. “That is seen as limited noise, such as a refrigerator that switches on or a car that passes by.”

It is well known that the heaters come on when the temperature drops too far, that creates noise. Certain shoes can also cause noise disturbance. “We can instruct invigilators not to put on heels. But we can’t ask that of students.”

The university has taken as many measures as possible to combat excessive noise levels, says Bennema. For example, the roof canvas is under pressure, so that no flapping or rattling sounds can be heard in the wind. The heaters also have low rotational speeds, to minimize the humming noise. And tent two is placed as far away from the railway track as possible.

If you need more peace and quiet, you can get earplugs. These are located at the desk in the central hall. During the last exam period, these were hardly used, says Bennema. “Very few students have asked the invigilators for earplugs or at the reception desk.”

That is not surprising: students were not actively made aware of the possibility and may not have known earplugs were available. That seems to be the tip for the winter examinations: are there any problems? Address an invigilator. “We can then see what we can do about it.”

Translated by Language Center, Riet Bettonviel

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