After suspending Assessment Centres in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, EPSO is expecting to resume Assessment Centres again from September 2020.
While this is positive news and greatly welcomed by candidates who's competition progress has been on hold for months, this announcement has raised a number of questions concerning how EPSO Assessment Centres will be coordinated in the current climate to ensure the health and safety of candidates and staff.
Let's take a look at the additional measure EPSO has put in place...
- The number of candidates that will be allowed to participate in an Assessment Centre on any given day has been reduced by half. This most likely means that each competition's Assessment Centre phase will last longer than previously experienced.
- Arrival and registration on exam day will be deliberately staggered. Arrive on time at the time slot allocated to you in your invitation - don't be late, but also don't be too early to avoid crowding or unnecessary "lingering" at the entrance/reception.
- Candidates will be required to wear a facemask at all times. Removing your mask during a test may result in being asked to leave the premises and excluded from the competition. So keep those facemasks on as this requirement will be strictly enforced.
- Facemasks will be provided by EPSO at reception on arrival. You will get two masks - one to use in the morning and one for after lunch.
- You'll be expected to keep a physical distance of 1.5 meters from each other and abide by any floor markings to ensure safe distances. This also means that allocated seating arrangements cannot be modified in any way.
- Hand disinfectant dispensers will be available throughout the EPSO premises - including test rooms. You'll be asked to use it each time you enter and leave the test room.
- To reduce your movements and level of interaction, you'll be limited to using the same testing room and rest area, and will not be able to meet and mingle with candidates and Selection Board members from other competitions.
- The number of chairs in rest areas will be limited and you will be asked to ONLY USE the one allocated to you (sticker on the chair will indicate your candidate number).
- Pay attention to posters indicating safety measures in the EPSO building and make sure to respect them.
As usually is the case, your ID will be checked by security personnel when entering the building. Then an EPSO staff member will register you and provide you with all necessary information for your Assessment Centre tests. You will receive a daily schedule indicating your test room and rest area.
For your and other's safety...
- Cleaning: EPSO is increasing the frequency of cleaning and disinfection of the premises - including surfaces in the testing rooms, rest areas and infrastructure in general.
- Water/Drinks: to reduce the potential for contamination bottles, cups and glasses will NOT be provided - therefore, don't forget to BRING your own water/drink in a plastic bottle or water container. Water fountains for refills are available, but you must disinfect your hands before and after use.
- Catering: Coffee and snack vending machines are available at the cafeteria on the 2nd floor, however, this is NOT a resting area and you'll be required to go back to your designated rest area or test room immediately after buying drinks or snacks.
- Feeling Sick: If you are feeling unwell or are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms before or on the day of your EPSO Assessment Centre DO NOT turn up at the premises. Contact EPSO immediately via phone or email to arrange an alternative test date - note that conditions do apply. If symptoms appear while you are at the EPSO Assessment Centre stop participating in the tests immediately and leave the premises. Again inform EPSO via phone or email to make alternative arrangements.
- Before You Travel To Brussels: The virus situation is unpredictable and changes can occur at any time. In light of this, before travelling to Brussels, you will HAVE TO consult the website of the Belgian national authorities, which will indicate if your country of origin is subject to restrictions in Brussels - if it is, cancel your travel plans and inform EPSO immediately via phone or email to make alternative arrangements.
Travel restrictions and quarantine requirements still present a big problem and major hurdle for many candidates based outside of Belgium and EPSO will need to be responsive to that.
It is difficult to tell at this stage how things will play out exactly since the situation is still unfolding and circumstances can change very quickly and unpredictably.
While EPSO seems to be making every effort to push forward with the progress of delayed competitions it is also vital that you stay vigilant and keep your eyes on your EPSO account so you can quickly adapt to changes in requirements and regulations in these unprecedented times.