Current ArrangementsInformation about the Coronavirus

12 May 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.

Since the 1 November the Ordinances have stipulated that on-campus degree-related operations at the university, including examinations, shall be suspended and changed to online teaching formats. Heidelberg University will continue this arrangement until further notice.

General Arrangements

Entry to university facilities is only permitted to those persons who do not manifest any of the grounds for exclusion defined in the Corona Ordinance of the State Government of Baden-Württemberg, such as the typical symptoms of an infection with the coronavirus. An indication of the applicable bans on entry and attendance should be posted in all entrances to university buildings and campus areas (Printable: DIN A5 to A3). 

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.).

Mandatory mask: Medical masks must be worn in university buildings, in the entrance areas and at all degree-related events taking place on campus. It is no longer permitted to wear home-made or other cloth masks, or similar protective covering of the mouth and nose. This rule applies, for the time being, until 14 February 2021. Employees are only exempted from wearing a medical mask at the workplace if they are alone in the room or if this is admissible in cases of multiple occupation on the basis of a coronavirus risk assessment.

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

On-campus degree-related activities, including examinations, remain suspended. If a lecture/class is absolutely necessary to guarantee successful and orderly academic progress and, at the same time, it cannot be replaced by the use of electronic information and communication technology or other distance learning formats, it is possible to apply for an exemption which, according to the Corona Ordinance, must be approved by the Rectorate. The exemption may be granted for the following formats: 

  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 submitting the application, the responsible persons confirm the absolute necessity of physical presence for an event, as well as the availability of an appropriate hygiene protocol and/or a coronavirus risk assessment, including rules for ventilation. Forms are available to apply for such an on-campus event. In the case of a series of lectures/classes, these may be listed in an overview appended to a single application.

Heidelberg University offers voluntary self-administered tests for coronavirus in the case of lectures and examinations with permission to take place on campus. This is in addition to the hygiene protocols and social distancing rules. Two types of test are available – either a rapid antigen test or a gargle test for coronavirus that has been developed as part of a study at the Center for Molecular Biology of Heidelberg University (ZMBH). The latter is intended to support measures to prevent the dissemination of the virus and of possible new mutants. 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.

In every lecture and class, also in the laboratory, it is mandatory to keep a distance of 1.5 metres from other people. Exceptions can only be allowed when going below the minimum distance is required for special reasons or adequate protection from infection is guaranteed by other protective measures. If deviation from the minimum distance is planned, this must be stated and reasons given in applications for an approved exemption for on-campus events.

Access to places for private study is only possible after prior registration.

It is mandatory to wear a mask for all degree-related activities and during lectures/classes and examinations. Medical masks must be worn for all on-campus appointments and events connected with study courses. It is likewise compulsory to wear a mask during on-campus events in the open air, with the exception of sports classes in the sports facilities.

Access to university buildings

Buildings and university institutes/facilities are currently only accessible for members and associates of the university and for 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

The grounds of the Botanical Garden are only open, provided that the City of Heidelberg has a stable 7-day incidence of under 50 infections. The glass houses remain closed. Sports facilities can be used for leisure and amateur sporting activities by members and associates of the university in the framework of applicable hygiene rules. The admissible group sizes are based on the provisions of the latest Corona Ordinance and subject to the incidence of infection. Sports facilities remain closed to the general public through to 16 May.

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

Currently no events may take place with the exception of necessary meetings of governing bodies. Accidental congregating and meeting-up in public is only permitted in order to maintain service operations, public safety and order, or social welfare.

All events require the preparing of a hygiene plan and collection of contact details. This applies, among other things, to approved lectures and seminars, practical classes and examinations, as well as to committee meetings of staff and student bodies, and any discussions in the context of work, official duties or business operations.

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 and on access and attendance bans.

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. They can use either rapid antigen tests or a new Covid-19 test procedure developed at the Center for Molecular Biology of Heidelberg University (ZMBH).

The coronavirus test of Heidelberg University is based on a sample derived from gargling a saline solution to obtain evidence of viral SARS-CoV-2 RNA. People can frequently be identified as early as two to three days after being infected, before they really become infectious. In addition, the virus can be identified long after the infection. Hence, the test is particularly well suited to being held in the context of a study, in order to discover the chains of infection and so stop the spread of the virus. Participation in the test is voluntary.

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.

Arrangements for work in a home office

*Update* With respect to coronavirus developments, the respective heads of institutes/facilities are asked to check whether, and in what form, working from home might be possible and feasible in their areas of responsibility. The respective supervisors decide directly whether staff can work from home and must notify the Human Resources Division on a special form. The University Computer Centre can give assistance in setting up the IT infrastructure (IT-Support: Tel. +49 6221 54-117). Temporary work from home can be revoked at any time, however, and can currently only be agreed to continue until 30 June 2021 at the latest. Detailed information is available on the website of the Human Resources Division.

Conferences, conventions and major university events

For the time being no events are permitted with the exception of necessary meetings of governing bodies.

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

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

The reading rooms of the University Library are open for members of the university. The usage options are oriented to the regulations of the latest version of the Corona Ordinance. The institute and department libraries will follow, depending on the area available for reading. Please consult the website of the respective library.

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. 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 @ 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.

Furthermore, students and staff members of Heidelberg University now have the opportunity to be tested regularly for SARS-CoV-2 in the context of a study. A new Covid-19 test procedure has been developed at the Center for Molecular Biology of Heidelberg University (ZMBH). It is based on a saline gargle sample and detection of viral SARS-CoV-2 RNA. With the test, infections can be recognised before symptoms appear. Participation in the test is voluntary. 

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.