Current ArrangementsMeasures of the university for protection against the coronavirus

26 November 2021

Implementation of the Corona Ordinances at Heidelberg University

*Update* Access to the premises of Heidelberg University is only admissible with a valid 3G certificate (vaccinated, recovered, tested).

*Update* Student affairs and teaching:
As of Monday 29 November 2021, the 2G rule applies in all on-campus lectures/classes; the 3G rule only remains in examinations and practical classes. Verification will be done as a full-scale check. At the same time, the university is extending the free test opportunities for students until Christmas.

*Update* University staff can use the free tests at university centres twice a week. 

The following arrangements at Heidelberg University take account of the Coronavirus Ordinance on Degree-Related Operations as well as the Coronavirus Ordinance of the State of Baden-Württemberg against the spread of the virus SARS-CoV-2 in their latest versions. Currently, the State of Baden-Württemberg is classified as being at the Alarm Level II.

The current Coronavirus Ordinances are meant to set out reliable general conditions for the winter semester to take place with personal attendance on campus on the basis of the 2G rule – vaccinated or recovered – and the 3G rule – vaccinated, recovered or tested. Heidelberg University will fundamentally hold its lectures and classes on campus and flank them with online teaching formats, hybrid teaching offers, the digital supply of materials relevant to examinations and the like in order to ensure the participation of all students.

Student affairs and teaching

*Update* The 2021/2022 winter semester continues to generally take place on campus. However, due to the tense infection situation and the current announcement of Alarm Level II, as of Monday 29 November 2021, the 2G rule applies to all on-campus lectures/classes inside the buildings, as well as to the use of student study places outside the university libraries. This means that only those showing a valid vaccination or recovery certificate can attend classes in person. Only in the case of examinations and practical classes (e.g. lab practicals) that absolutely require personal attendance, will the 3G rule continue to apply, i.e. a showing valid test certificate (rapid antigen test 24h, PCR test 48h) is possible. The 3G rule applies to teachers and other persons with an active role in classes and examinations.

*Update* Likewise as of 29 November 2021, there will be a full-scale check on 2G and 3G certificates in all on-campus classes/lectures/exams. These checks may take place either outside the building or directly in front of the classroom/hall. In some room the university will organize this check centrally from Monday to Friday in the usual opening hours. In all other rooms and buildings the teachers or faculties are responsible for this and will document the check on certification on a short form sheet. It is no longer possible to merely conduct random checks.

*Update* Access to the university libraries and archives is subject to the 3G rule, with non-immunised students having to show a negative antigen or PCR test certificate (3G), and external non-immunised library users having to show a PCR test certificate (called 3G+) on entering. No 3G+ rule applies for collecting and returning media in libraries and archives.

3G rule for university premises

*Update* As of now, access to the university is only permitted for those persons able to show a valid 3G certificate. The new version of the Federal Infection Protection Act stipulates this also for university staff.

The management of facilities and institutes are on principle responsible for upholding the 3G rule in their area of responsibility. Staff who cannot produce a valid 2G certificate must show a valid negative test result for every day of work on campus. Only test certificates from public or university test centres are admissible (rapid antigen test 24h, PCR test 48h).

Coronavirus vaccination

The key to resuming academic activities on campus in the winter semester, and returning to the familiar university procedures continues to be attaining as high a vaccination rate as possible of all concerned. At present, doctor’s offices are the most important ports of call for vaccination against Covid-19. Many general practitioners are offering booster immunisation. Furthermore, there are regular decentralised services provided by mobile vaccination teams in Heidelberg and environs. Heidelberg University will offer more vaccination opportunities for its members and particularly for the students as soon as possible.

Arrangements For Lectures/Classes And Events

Alarm Level II entails, besides the new 2G rules for degree-related activities, the introduction of the 2G+ rule for those attending cultural events, information sessions and extra lectures. The most important rules prevailing at the moment for on-campus events focus on the 2G or 3G certification, observing the minimum distance, wearing a mandatory mask and gaining required approval from the Rectorate. These are explained in a simplified graphic overview with further explanations.

Distance

It is possible to abstain from observing the minimum distance at university events if this is necessary for service operations or for conducting the event, as long as a mask is worn the whole time. Nevertheless, in general, keeping a distance will continue to be an essential measure to prevent the spread of the coronavirus for all rooms and areas used to move around, such as corridors and stairs.

Mandatory Mask

There is a fundamental obligation to wear a medical mask on the university’s external grounds and inside all rooms. If the minimum distance of 1.5 meters away from other persons can be reliably kept, exceptions can be made from the mask mandate, including in the following cases:

  • in the open air,
  • for presenters while they are speaking,
  • at the workplace if the room is used by only one person or is approved for appropriate multiple use without a mask on the basis of a coronavirus risk assessment,
  • at internal staff meetings and committee meetings (masks need then only be worn until participants are seated),
  • when the minimum distance is not kept outside the sporting activity (e.g. in the changing room); during the sporting activity, regardless of the distance, there is no need to wear a mask.

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.

Further General Arrangements

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.

Access to university buildings

The buildings and university institutes/facilities are open as usual to all members and associates of the university, in particular to students. In addition, access is permitted to the following groups of persons, provided they can show a valid 2G or 3G certificate:

  • 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 Botanical Garden is currently not accessible to members of the public on the basis of the Coronavirus Ordinance. 

University buildings may only be used for university purposes. Applications for exceptions in the case of rental to an external user (cultural events, information sessions, extra lectures and courses for non-university purposes) is only possible with the approval of the Rectorate (Contact: dezernat1@uni-heidelberg.de).

Test Certificates

As proof of a negative test a rapid test certificate from a public test centre may be used, provided it is not older than 24 hours before the beginning of the class or event. Certificates of negative PCR tests are valid for 48 hours.

In addition, the university is providing two test centres of its own, open from Monday to Friday, 8 am to 4 pm:

  • Campus Old Town: Inner courtyard of the New University 
  • Campus Im Neuenheimer Feld: Square in front of the central canteen

*Update* For students, cost-free tests are available here until and including 23 December 2021. Staff can be tested here twice a week. Before the test staff IDs (e.g. service card) and student IDs will be checked. Also presenting a filled-out test certificate form would simplify the procedure. The antigen rapid tests will be carried out by the staff or students themselves, under supervision. The result will be available about 15 minutes later. A negative test result will be certified in writing and will be valid across the whole premises and to attend all university on-site lectures/events for the next 24 hours. Staff are not permitted to count the time taken for the test as work time.

Other quality test certificates can be obtained e.g. from the public testing centres of the City of Heidelberg. To fulfil the 3G obligation, it is no longer permitted for institutes, facilities or the organisers of events run by the university and other bodies to issue certificates.

In addition, students who have been vaccinated with other vaccines than those admitted in Germany by the Paul Ehrlich Institute, i.e. particularly international students, can avail themselves of continued cost-free testing financed by the federal government until at least 31 December 2021 at many public test centres in Heidelberg.

Data Collection

In the context of “presence documentation”, the Corona Ordinances oblige the university to collect the following contact details from all visitors and users of university buildings and grounds, as well as the attendees 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 for 

  • on-campus lectures/classes and events and other on-campus formats for degree-related activity, with lecture series requiring data processing to be carried out on each individual occasion,
  • use of libraries and archives with the exception of collecting and returning media,
  • use of student study places, including outside the libraries.

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.

*Update* The overviews of staff 3G checks to be collected by the respective executive staff member must be kept for 6 months, at all times inaccessible to non-authorised persons and thereafter destroyed in conformity with data protection requirements.

Tracing infections

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. Since early November 2021, close contact persons who need to be traced have generally been informed by the infected persons themselves. The health authorities only do this now in high-priority cases.

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

*Update* Following the latest version of the Federal Infection Protection Act, Heidelberg University is extending the possibility of temporary home office work. Nonetheless, the university remains unchanged in full on-campus operation in research and teaching, and this will continue.

All work from home is subject to the precondition that activities in research and teaching continue to be guaranteed on campus, and that the administration, all services and the usual communication is available. Work areas calling for a direct contact to advice-seekers, and hence requiring physical presence, are generally excluded from the option of a home office. Work from home is, however, basically possible when assignment packages can be formed that do not necessarily have to be dealt with at the university workplace. The responsible executive staff will then decide independently, in consultation with the employees concerned, on the possibility and organisation of a home office, and will document this in an appropriate way.

Temporary home office work can therefore only be agreed up to 19 March 2022 at the latest and can be revoked at any time. After that, the familiar possibilities of applying for telework will still apply. 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.

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.

University Library

Using university libraries is oriented to the above 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. All members of the university may order media from the University Library for postal delivery (the cost of postage being covered by the person placing the order). 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

*Update* The University Archive is open to the public. Access to the university archive is subject to the 3G rule, with non-immunised students having to show a negative antigen or PCR test certificate (3G), and non-immunised external users having to show a PCR test certificate. The 3G obligation does not apply to collecting and returning media.

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 close 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.

Contact: 
Phone: 06221 54-19191
E-Mail: service.corona@uni-heidelberg.de 

The question of whether there are suspicious symptoms in the case of a close personal contact, which would then require isolation, has to be answered in the individual case and, if doubt remains, clarified with the competent health authority. The Federal Centre for Health Education (BZgA) and the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) offer assistance with estimating the risk of infection and giving orientation regarding possible additional rules of behaviour. Since early November 2021, it has been generally up to the infected persons themselves to inform potentially close contact persons. The health authority does this only in situations with high transmission potential and if the course of the disease is likely to prove difficult for infected persons.

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 10am to 2pm. 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.