Current ArrangementsMeasures of the university for the protection against the coronavirus

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Information about the coronavirus in German

11 October 2021

Implementation of the Corona Ordinances at Heidelberg University

The 2021/2022 winter semester will see a general return to work on campus.

The 3G rule (vaccinated, recovered, tested) will apply in degree-related activities.

It is no longer necessary to apply to the Rectorate for approval of lectures/classes attended in person.

The following arrangements at Heidelberg University take account of the Corona Ordinance on Degree-related Operations and the Coronavirus Ordinance of the State of Baden-Württemberg to protect against the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in their respective valid versions. Currently, the State of Baden-Württemberg is classified as being at the Basic Stage, according to the ordinances.

*Update* 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 3G – vaccinated, recovered or tested. Even at the Warning Stage and Alarm Stage no more restrictions of degree-related activities, research or administrative operations are planned. Heidelberg University will fundamentally hold its lectures and classes on campus, and online teaching formats will only be continues as a supplement.

Coronavirus vaccination

The key to resuming academic activities on campus in the winter semester, and returning to the familiar university procedures, will be attaining as high a vaccination rate as possible of all concerned. Since 1 October 2021, doctors‘ offices have been the most important ports of call for vaccination against Covid-19. In addition, the university offers its staff members the opportunity to be inoculated against Covid-19 by the university medical service. Furthermore, there are regular decentralised services provided by mobile vaccination teams in Heidelberg and environs.

Arrangements For Lectures/Classes And Events

The most important rules for on-campus classes and events at the university, specifically the 3G certification, keeping the minimum distance, wearing the mandatory mask and gaining approval from the Rectorate, have been collated in a simplified overview and are explained below. 

3G Certification

*Update* The 3G rule (vaccinated, recovered, tested) applies in principle for attending on-campus degree-related activities. This means that attending these events involves presenting proof of vaccination, recovery or a negative test. That applies to all participants, i.e. to all those present at a class or event on campus, such as students, teachers and other active participants in the room. At present, those responsible for the class or event conduct a comprehensive check prior to admission, yet a mode of conducting centrally organized random checks during the event is currently in preparation.

In principle, a 3G obligation also applies to examinations. However, keeping to the minimum distance or wearing a mask the whole time may suffice to waive the need to check on 3G compliance.

The use of student study places and access to libraries is also subject to the 3G rule. There is no 3G check on collecting and returning media in libraries. 

Furthermore, the 3G obligation applies to on-campus cultural events, extra lectures and information sessions, e.g. the university’s Ruperto Carola lecture series or inaugural lectures, as well as to renting rooms to third parties and general indoor sporting activities run by the university.

By contrast, there will be no 3G check for events taking place within routine work and service operations in research and administration, nor for committee-type meetings (such as project meetings, staff meetings, Faculty Council meetings). In keeping with the Coronavirus Ordinance, university or non-university staff do not have to present 3G certification.

Distance

*Update* In future it will be 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,
  • at lectures/classes (masks need then only be worn until participants are seated),
  • 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.

Despite a lack of the minimum distance, there is no obligation to wear a mask at examinations as long as all participants, i.e. also the examiners, show proof of 3G compliance.

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

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 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 evidence of a negative test, participants can, at the start of the class, present e.g. a rapid 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. As evidence of a negative test, participants can present e.g. a rapid test certificate from a public testing centre that is not more than 24 hours old. Certificates of negative PCR tests are valid for 48 hours. 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.

The university offers those of its staff who do not work exclusively in a home office the opportunity of two cost-free coronavirus self-tests a week.

*Update* In the first weeks of the lecture period (until 30 November) there will be a cost-free testing offer with antigen rapid tests for students at two testing centres,  Monday to Friday, 8am until 4pm:

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

The antigen rapid tests will be carried out by the students themselves, under supervision. The result will be available 15 minutes later. A negative test result will be certified in writing and will be valid to attend all university on-site lectures/events for the next 24 hours.

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

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 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.

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. 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

Since 1 July, Heidelberg University has been 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. 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. Temporary home office work can only be agreed until 24 November 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.

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. 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 is open to the public. Access requirements and opening hours are based on the above 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.