Current ArrangementsInformation about the Coronavirus

3 September 2021

Implementation of the Corona Ordinances at Heidelberg University

The following arrangements at Heidelberg University take account of the Corona Ordinance on Degree-related Operations and the Corona Ordinance of the State of Baden-Württemberg to protect against the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in their respective valid versions.

*Update* The current version of the Coronavirus Ordinance on Degree-related Operations issued by the State of Baden-Württemberg sets out reliable general conditions for its universities to resume work on campus on the basis of the “3G” rule – vaccinated, recovered or tested. The ordinance applies of Tuesday 24 August 2021. Heidelberg University will therefore offer as many on-campus lectures/classes as possible, but at the same time continue with online formats until further notice.

Coronavirus vaccination

The key to resuming academic activities on campus in the winter semester will be attaining as high a vaccination rate as possible. The university offers its staff members the opportunity to be inoculated against Covid-19 by the university medical service. Apart from going to a private doctor’s office, students can turn to the Rhine-Neckar Vaccination Centre, which performs vaccinations every day of the week from 8am to 8pm without prior appointment. In addition, there are regular decentralised services provided by mobile vaccination teams in Heidelberg and environs.

General Arrangements

Distance: The chief measures taken to protect against the spread of the coronavirus remain keeping the obligatory minimum distance of 1.5 meters from each other, which now applies as a general rule in all rooms, campus areas and places of circulation; buildings must be aired sufficiently and general hygiene rules observed (using sanitiser, washing hands etc.).

*Update* 3G obligation: The 3G obligation (the German abbreviation for tested, vaccinated, recovered) fundamentally applies to all attendees and active participants at on-campus classes, exams or other degree-related activities.  This involves the duty to present up-to-date negative test results, or evidence of vaccination or recovery. In addition, 3G is mandatory for other categories of on-campus activity, such as cultural events, extra lectures and information sessions. Detailed arrangements will be published here shortly.

Mandatory mask: Apart from the exceptions named under “Student Affairs and Teaching”, a medical mask must be worn in the university buildings and on open grounds, if it is not certain that a minimum distance of 1.5 meters from others can be kept. Home-made masks or a makeshift protection of mouth and nose are not admissible here. Employees can only refrain from wearing a medical mask at their workplace if they work alone in the room or if it has been approved for multiple use on the basis of a coronavirus risk assessment. In the case of lectures/classes, internal staff meetings and committee meetings, masks may be taken off at the participant’s seat, as long as the distance to others can definitely be kept. Presenters, too, do not need to wear a mask while they are talking as long as sufficient distance to the listeners is guaranteed.

Persons who are officially released from the compulsory mask on medical grounds and can produce a doctor’s certificate, may still enter the university buildings and attend events as long as the appropriate precautionary measures are observed, e.g. greater room ventilation, more distance between the seats involved and the allocation of places at the end of the row. Depending on the personal and spatial situation, these measures must be coordinated with the occupational safety department.

The university’s guide to occupational safety continues to apply to on-campus activities; it includes coronavirus hygiene rules and an aid to action on the topic of COVID-19. Consequently, it remains unchanged that the necessary measures for the respective venues and rooms are based on the risk assessments of the facilities. ) The latter must be regularly checked, updated and supplemented, particularly regarding forms of ventilation. In rooms without automatic ventilation, it is generally recommended to open windows every 15 minutes for five minutes, ideally with additional cross ventilation. The department of occupational safety is available for any queries.

Those responsible for holding the respective on-campus classes or events ensure that the valid protective measures contained in the guide are observed. In the event of tracing an infection it may be necessary to confirm this at short notice for the information of the public health authority.

Student affairs and teaching

In view of the 3G obligation now in place, it is no longer necessary to wear a mask during on-campus degree-related activities as long as participants can be relied on to keep a minimum distance of 1.5 meters from each other. Moreover, for on-campus examinations the requirement to wear a mask when seated has generally been relaxed. Presenters, lecturers or students need not keep their mask on while speaking as long as a sufficient distance to the listeners is guaranteed. Furthermore, no mask is required during sporting activities.

On-campus degree-related activities at the university, including examinations, remain restricted. The following urgently necessary types of lecture/class may be approved in order to guarantee successful and orderly academic progress:

  1. Practical courses, in particular those requiring special laboratory or working areas including university sports grounds, notably laboratory practicals, practical training elements involving contact with patients while maintaining the requirements of the clinics and teaching hospitals, dissection courses and courses with mainly practical and artistic teaching components.
  2. Exams, especially final exams
  3. Access and admission procedures
  4. Selected classes for new students
  5. Classes prescribed for the final year of the degree and directly related to preparing for the finals (e.g. final-year colloquia and exam preparation courses)

When making the application, those responsible for the class will confirm the submission of the relevant prerequisites and an appropriate hygiene plan or coronavirus risk assessment including regular airing of the rooms during events inside the building. Applications must likewise be filed in order to hold classes/events at which the minimum distance will not be reached, initially using an adapted version of the form for practical classes. Here it is necessary to note the procedure for presenting the necessary test confirmations or alternative evidence, as well as the rapid test before the event, if appropriate. A special form will be made available soon. An overview can be added as an attachment to an individual application in the case of lecture series. 

In the case of on-campus lectures and examinations, Heidelberg University offers self-administered rapid antigen tests for coronavirus to its students. This is in addition to the hygiene protocols and social distancing rules. It aims to detect asymptomatic carriers of the virus as well as individuals who have not yet developed symptoms, so as to interrupt possible infection chains early on. The required number of test kits can be ordered on the application form for conducting a lecture/class or an examination.

*Update* Access to study places, both inside and in the open, can still only be made by prior application, respecting the 3G obligation and keeping to the distancing rules. In outside areas, however, it is no longer necessary to wear a mask. 

Access to university buildings

Buildings and university institutes/facilities open to all members and associates of the university. In addition, access is permitted to the following groups of persons:

  • Scientific or academic cooperation partners of university members
  • Patients and test persons in scientific studies
  • Members of partner institutions and their visiting researchers
  • Service providers needed to maintain university operations
  • Employees of the university hospital, university construction office and the student services organisation (Studierendenwerk) 
  • Tenants of the university, in order to reach their rented premises
  • Delivery personnel and/or contractors employed by the university, the university construction office and university hospital, or by tenants of the university
  • Applicants in connection with employment interviews
  • External members of university governing bodies coming to attend meetings
  • Employees of other authorities (e.g. Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts, auditor office, accident insurance, regional authority in Baden-Württemberg, City of Heidelberg etc.) in connection with their professional duties
  • Formally invited guests of the university
  • Employees and invited guests of the constituted student representative body
  • Associates and members of other institutions for purposes of work or study
  • Visitors for the purpose of attending admissible events according to the State Coronavirus Ordinance or by decision of the Rectorate

The greenhouses at the Botanical Garden are closed. The sports grounds can be used in the framework of the hygiene protocols for contact-free leisure and amateur sport. University sport is also on offer again under certain conditions.

Since 19 October 2020, the law has provided that, as a general rule, university buildings may only be used for university purposes. External users may only hire them with the approval of the Rectorate.

Meetings And Events

Besides the approved lectures/classes, the already permitted committee meetings and the in-person events required for university operations, it is now possible to hold cultural events, extra lectures and information sessions again (see corresponding paragraph below). By analogy with the additional lectures/classes, the Coronavirus Ordinance stipulates observing the “3G” principle here too (“tested, vaccinated, recovered”) if it is not possible to keep to the minimum distance. This means that before the class, it is compulsory to present proof of a 24-hour negative test, vaccination or recovery. At the same time, however, this comes with higher upper limits to the number of participants.

As evidence of a negative test, participants can, at the start of the class, show e.g. a test confirmation from a public testing centre that is not more than 24 hours old. Alternatively, the teacher can appoint someone to offer a rapid test to be carried out directly before the class starts under the supervision of a person familiar with the testing process. The supervisor can certify the test result. The instructions from the Social Affairs Ministry on producing tests as evidence must be observed and the State form used to certify the test results. The certificate will apply for the 24 hours following the test for other university classes and events.

All classes/lectures require a hygiene protocol, a collection of contact details and respect for the distancing arrangement.

Data Collection

The Corona Ordinances oblige the university to collect the following contact details from all visitors, users and participants at events: first and last name, address, date and time of presence and telephone numbers. The obligation to collect data applies to all events, particularly lectures, examinations and admission sessions, the use of libraries or other university facilities with degree-related operations, booking and using practice, study and work rooms requiring reservation, entering cafeterias and conveniences with visitor traffic, along with visiting the student portal and other advisory and administrative services. In the case of lecture series, it is necessary to collect contact details for every single event and on every occasion. This documentation is meant for tracking down possible infection chains (‘contact tracing’) and must be kept for four weeks. It must then be destroyed as appropriate under privacy law (e.g. in appropriate data protection containers or through deletion).

The recording of contact details will, wherever possible, be carried out digitally via scanning a QR code when entering the premises. Every user, visitor or participant at an event is obliged, on entering a room with electronic contact data collection, to carry an electronic device with a scan function, e.g. a smartphone, using it to scan the QR code and enter their aforementioned contact details in the relevant fields. In these rooms there will be no additional paper-based data collection. In centrally organised rooms with fixed seating, the QR code scanning will take place at the participant’s seat. Further alternatives to electronic data collection are in preparation.

Only when circumstances do not permit the electronic collection of contact details will there be recourse to a paper-based collection. For this purpose forms have been prepared for collecting these details that can be filled out by the respective institute/facility in the (changeable) first part and then printed in sufficient quantities. The second part should then be filled out by the visitors, users and participants at the respective event.

The paper forms for collecting contact details are supplemented by a data protection statement, which must be on display. The same applies to electronic data collection; here this data protection statement is located online above the interface for entering contact details. These arrangements are summarised and set out in a guide to collecting contact details.

Tracing infections

The university is offering employees who do not work exclusively from home two free coronavirus tests per week to administer themselves. This test opportunity is also available for students attending approved on-campus classes.

If the public health authority requests information to trace infections, the university will undertake a central coordination of the necessary contact details and contact situations in the rooms. The institutes/facilities and faculties are available to provide support for sudden queries and forwarding contact information. The health authority will inform the contact persons affected. In the case of contact persons in RKI Category II, a central office in the university may also do this. 

Contact tracing will be facilitated if people keep “personal contact diaries” and voluntarily make them available in the case of an infection. In addition, the university recommends the use of the Corona Warning App distributed by the federal government.

Further important information

Arrangements for work in a home office

Heidelberg University is returning step-by-step to on-campus operations in all areas in view of the still low incidence figures in Heidelberg and the surrounding area, and also taking account of the university’s now tried-and-tested coronavirus measures and the steadily rising availability of vaccine for staff members.

In the exceptional cases justified for personal or organisational reasons, it is possible to apply to continue working in a temporary home office up to the beginning of lectures in the winter semester. Applications go to supervisors on a special form. Supervisors will decide directly on whether to grant the applications and the head of the institute/facility will collect them all and inform the Human Resources Division of the university administration. Accordingly, temporary home office work can only be agreed until 17 October 2021 at the latest and can be revoked at any time. After that, the familiar possibilities of applying for telework will still prevail. The University Computing Centre can be helpful in setting up the IT infrastructure (IT Support: Tel. +49 6221 54-117). Every procedure will apply subject to the provisions of the respective Coronavirus Ordinances. Detailed information is available on the webpage of the Human Resources Division.

Cultural events, extra lectures and information sessions

Cultural events, talks and information sessions, along with course offerings for university purposes, are admissible again. This is, however, subject to collecting contact details and respecting a hygiene protocol and provisions of the Coronavirus Ordinance regarding maximum numbers and room capacity, mandatory mask and the “GGG” obligation. Prior approval by the Rectorate is no longer necessary.

Cultural events, information sessions, talks or course offerings for non-university purposes may likewise be held again, but they need to be approved by the Rectorate. Appropriate applications may be sent to the university administration’s Legal Department for checking and forwarding to the Rectorate. The same applies to applications by third parties to hold events in university premises, e.g. when halls are rented out.

Contact: dezernat1@uni-heidelberg.de 

Central information service in the university administration

Besides the familiar communication channels, the university administration has set up a Corona Service Portal for researchers and staff. It replies to questions and concerns in the context of the corona challenges or refers them to the internal contact persons responsible.

Telephone availability on 06221 54 19191
Mon to Thurs      8am to 4pm
Friday                   8am to 3pm
service.corona@uni-heidelberg.de

Research activities

Here the general legal conditions apply around the issues of occupational safety and hygiene, as well as access and attendance arrangements.

Research activity in laboratory areas

As of 1 August 2020, those involved in pure research activities in laboratory areas may deviate from the 1.5 meters distancing rule, as long as the researchers stay in the same groups of up to four and wearing mouth-and-nose protection. Another precondition for so doing is observing the hygiene requirements of the Corona Ordinance in the facilities, particularly ensuring adequate fresh air. The general legal conditions regarding occupational safety and hygiene remain applicable, along with access and participation arrangements. Exceptions from the obligatory distancing are not possible if it is inadmissible to wear a medical mask for reasons of occupational safety.

University Library

University libraries are open again. The opportunities for use are oriented to the conditions of the latest Coronavirus Ordinance and the local situation. Please consult the websites of the respective libraries for future special arrangements.

All digital offerings of the University Library continue to be available as usual. The enhanced digital offerings are being maintained in order to limit library visits only to those that are strictly necessary. The document delivery service HEDD (Heidelberg Electronic Document Delivery) is also still on offer for students of Heidelberg University. The same applies to ordering books from the holdings of the University Library for members of the university with postal delivery to their homes. In addition, the library has enormously expanded its collection of e-books for students and teachers. Many publishing houses are supporting Heidelberg University during the coronavirus pandemic by activating additional or so far unlicensed content.

University Archive

The University Archive has been open to the public again since 16 March 2021. Access requirements and opening hours are based on the provisions of the latest Corona Ordinance.

Digital services

The University Computing Centre has compiled the currently available digital services on a website and more are to be added as fast as possible.

Business Trips

Business trips within Germany are possible. Please check, however, whether they can be postponed or replaced by digital formats and events. The institutes/facilities decide themselves whether to approve a business trip. Legal provisions at the local level and during the trip must be observed. If university events – of whatever kind – are held outside the campus, they are subject to the hygiene and distancing rules of the current Coronavirus Ordinance of the State of Baden-Württemberg, unless there are stricter requirements at the local level, in which case the latter will apply.

Business trips to European countries and other international destinations are usually only possible on condition that the Federal Foreign Office has not announced a travel warning. In that case the above-mentioned rules for trips in Germany will apply in the same way. This applies to students, doctoral candidates, employees and researchers, as well as visiting scholars.

Returning from abroad

Entering or returning to Germany is subject to the Ordinance of the Ministry of Social Affairs on quarantine regulations (Corona Ordinance EQ) in the applicable version.

The supervisors of employees who have to self-isolate at home under the Ordinance will notify the Human Resources Division about the quarantine ordered by the public authority and likewise when the employees return to work.

Cases of suspicion and recommendations for behaviour

What should we do if a member of the university presents typical coronavirus symptoms, tests positive or is classified as a contact person?

The university has drawn up recommendations for action by administrative employees, supervisors and executive staff, students and lecturers. In the event of an infection within the university, a central team is also available to advise and support those affected.

The questions of whether there are grounds for suspicion and testing for coronavirus infection is required must be clarified with the Rhine-Neckar District Health Authority. An overview prepared by the public health authority will also assist you in first assessing your own risk of infection. Everyone is urgently recommended not to go to a doctor’s office or emergency room without a prior arrangement. By dialling 06221 522-1881 people can obtain answers and advice on issues like symptoms and incubation time, or on how to protect themselves from infection. The telephone hotline is available on weekdays from 7.30am to 6pm and on the weekend from 9am to 4pm . Contact via email is possible at impfen @ rhein-neckar-kreis.de. Outside these times adults should ring the new infection emergency room on 06221 56-8626. The emergency room of the Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine is responsible for questions concerning children and young people. It can be reached by calling 06221 56-4823.

What can every individual do?

All members of Heidelberg University are required to follow the hygiene rules as issued, for example, by the Federal Centre for Health Education for educational institutions. By way of precautionary health protection, please be careful to observe the rules for good hand hygiene and coughing and sneezing etiquette, and keep your distance to other people. Rooms must be aired appropriately. Follow the guidelines for social distancing adopted by the Federal and State Governments.