Service and AdviceCoronavirus: FAQ about student affairs and teaching

16 February 2021

GENERAL ARRANGEMENTS

What do I have to watch out for when I enter university facilities or events?

You can only enter university facilities if you have none of the grounds for exclusion defined in the Corona Ordinance of the State of Baden-Württemberg, such as typical symptoms of an infection with the coronavirus.

The key steps to counter the spread of the coronavirus remain social distancing of 1.5 meters, which applies generally for all rooms, areas and places where people move around.

In addition to the obligatory social distancing, as of now a medical mask must be worn in the university buildings, in their entrance areas and in all degree-related events held on campus. Home-made or other cloth masks, or similar ways of protecting the mouth and nose, are no longer admissible here.

Furthermore, the Corona Ordinances require the university to record the contact details and period of presence of all visitors, users and participants at events (see also the next question).

Will my contact details be recorded when I visit university premises and attend events?

The Corona Ordinances require the university to collect the following details from all visitors, users and participants at events: first and last name, address, date and time of presence, and telephone number. The duty to record data has been expanded e.g. to the student portal, all advisory services and the use of learning and study areas that need to be reserved. In the case of regularly attending series of lectures, your contact details have to be recorded initially and thereafter for every single occasion.

This documentation is meant for tracing possible chains of infection and must be kept for four weeks. Then it has to be destroyed in conformity with privacy law (e.g. in data protection containers). In order to make it easier, there are now forms for collecting contact details, which visitors, users and participants will fill out at the respective event.

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.

DEGREE-RELATED ACTIVITIES

Extended standard length of study course

*Update* For all students enrolled in the 2020 summer semester or 2020/2021 winter semester, the standard length of their individual study courses will be extended by one semester. If they are enrolled in both semesters that will mean an extension by two semesters.

Winter semester 2020/21

On-campus degree-related activities, including examinations, will remain suspended until the end of the 2020/2021 winter semester. In certain cases, exemptions may be approved by the Rectorate until further notice.

Summer semester 2021

*Update* The 2021 summer semester is being planned as a digital semester. Please note that individual classes or examinations will possibly have to be attended in person.

How can I reach contact persons at present to ask questions about the topic of my study course?

The university administration offers you the full range of services in spite of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Service Portal is your first port of call for information and advisory services provided by the student administration staff and course advisers for German and international students.

You can phone the Service Portal from Monday to Thursday between 9am and 4pm and on Fridays between 9am and 1pm on +49 6221 54-5454 and by email at studium @ uni-heidelberg.de

For the protection of those seeking advice and of employees it is, however, necessary to reduce personal meetings and avoid waiting in line. Consequently, the Service Portal requests you to reduce personal visits and consultations to the absolutely essential and to make a prior appointment on +49 6221 54-20801.

Lectures, seminars and internships

How will lectures, seminars and practicals take place in the winter semester?

On-campus degree-related activities, including examinations, will remain suspended until the end of the 2020/2021 winter semester. In certain cases, exemptions may be approved by the Rectorate until further notice.

Can international students come to Heidelberg University?

Heidelberg University is an international university and explicitly invites students from Europe and the world to enrol in the 2020/21 winter semester. They should, however, respect applicable travel regulations.

What arrangements are there for risk groups?

Among the students and teachers are members of risk groups. Respecting the special working conditions, faculties/subjects will endeavour – when physical presence is possible again – to guarantee participation through hybrid offerings (digital/in-person) or facilities for online co-presence. 

What can I do if my internship is not possible, although required by the examination regulations?

*Update* Current circumstances are making it difficult to complete internships at home and abroad. On this issue, the Supplementary Examination Regulations allow the possibility of submitting proof of achievement in alternative examination formats that both meet the subject requirements and take account of the Corona Ordinance. Please talk to your academic advisor and/or your Examinations office about this.

Can laboratory practicals be held?

Laboratory practicals can be approved and held under certain conditions.

Can excursions take place?

Excursions (e.g. fieldwork, student excavations) can be approved and held under certain conditions. During the journey and the excursion – all participants must wear a medical mask.

Which services are available for digital collaboration and teaching?

*Update* Many instruments for digital teaching methods have been made available in cooperation with the University Computing Centre. They include video and audio conferences, collaborative platforms, the new Moodle platform and a separate Moodle environment for digital examinations.

I am a teacher and would like to hold my class digitally. How does that work?

In principle, all members of the university engaged in teaching have access via their Uni-ID. All others to be associated with teaching in the 2020 summer semester can receive a Uni-ID for a semester as part of their teaching assignment (Lehrauftrag). In order to be granted a teaching assignment, please contact the Human Resources Division through your faculty.

With the motto “From academics for academics” the new Moodle platform offers all teaching staff an area with instructions, tips and overviews for designing online teaching, which is being continually expanded. Your ideas, suggestions and additions are welcome via digitale-lehre @ uni-heidelberg.de.

I am a teacher and would like to organise an on-campus practice teaching session. How does that work?

The holding of on-campus classes is currently only possible after approval by the Rectorate. The hygiene concept must be adhered to and a risk assessment for decentralised rooms must be prepared. A hygiene concept and a risk assessment are available for the centrally allocated rooms.

Examination and course requirements

Will examinations be conducted?

Examinations will be conducted with personal presence and in digital form.

In-person examinations will be held, after obtaining approval, in compliance with the relevant rules for protecting against infection and for occupational safety.  A hygiene plan and risk assessment will be available in each case.

The faculty or the persons responsible for the examination shall guarantee the compliance with applicable infection protection rules, compulsory documentation and respect for the requirements of the Coronavirus Ordinance.

Digital examinations may be conducted in the winter semester, on the basis of the Supplementary Examination Regulations of Heidelberg University (available in German).

*Update* The currently valid Supplementary Examinations Regulations (EPO) already allow for written online examinations via a learning platform (Moodle) and oral exams as video conferences.

How do I contact the examination offices?

Please consult the website of your own examinations office about ways of making contact or special contact addresses to which you can write. The examination offices are generally reachable by phone or email.

How can I submit exam papers and coursework?

Please submit all written exam and study assessment work exclusively in digital form as PDFs to the respective examinations office or teaching staff. 

I am a teacher and would like to conduct an examination. What new rules are there?

The university has extended the scope for conducting exams in the 2020 summer semester and 2021 winter semester. Possible options include extending deadlines, as well as using electronic means to hold oral exams and submit coursework. Details may be found in the Supplementary Examination Regulations (EPO).

*Update* An amendment to the State Higher Education Act (LHG) has taken effect that, for the first time, provides for online examinations and their special requirements (§§ 32a, 32b LHG). Regarding the holding of online examinations, please note the following:

  • Oral examinations may be held as video conferences. Please make sure that the technical equipment is stable and give the examinees the opportunity to test the digital facilities beforehand. Before signing up, students must be informed about the organisational conditions and the closing date for registering. Furthermore, it must be clearly announced before the examination at what point it will be discontinued in the event of a technical disorder and what consequences will then arise (e.g. will the exam just be interrupted or need to be repeated?). Making a recording of the examination is inadmissible. The students’ identity can be checked by their showing a photo or student identity card at the start of the exam.
  • Online video examinations that are not held on the university premises are voluntary and subject to the students’ agreement, i.e. a parallel offer of an on-campus examination must be kept ready, in order to give them a choice of options.
  • In view of the high amount of organisation needed, the legislator advises against written examinations with video supervision. As compared with “open book exams” (writing exam papers with resources to hand), they offer no advantage relative to securing against deception and legal, technical and staffing considerations prevent their being implemented appropriately at present. “Open book exams” can e.g. be organised in various ways via Moodle.
  • In order to take account of the great demand for alternative examination formats and to guarantee optimum technical stability, a special Moodle examination platform has also been set up at Heidelberg University.

For the time being, an exemption to conduct examinations in personal presence can be applied for and must be granted by the Rectorate according to the Corona Ordinance.

What should be noted if students cannot arrive in time, or at all, for an on-campus examination for reasons connected with the pandemic?

If students cannot make it back from abroad for an on-campus examination, the problem must be examined individually in the light of the examination rules, e.g. there may be a generous interpretation of the right to withdraw or an alternative examination may be offered as compensation for disadvantage. Ideally, the dates and formats of examinations will be announced in good time to allow for compliance with entry and quarantine regulations.

Where can examinations be conducted?

Examinations can be conducted in the examination centres set up for this purpose or in the institutes’ own premises after taking precautions against the spread of the coronavirus. There must be a hygiene plan and a risk assessment; furthermore, attendance lists must be kept and duly retained. You will find all important information on the pages of the examination centres.

What should I do if I suddenly have symptoms on the day of the examination?

There is an immediate prohibition of entering and taking the examination. Consequently you must immediately notify the examiner/Examination Board that you wish to withdraw from the examination. Then you must present a doctor’s certificate without delay. The Examination Board will decide on the basis of the evidence and circumstances of the individual case whether the withdrawal is granted.

What must I do if I suddenly feel ill during the examination?

Entering and taking the examination is prohibited. You must immediately notify the examiner/Examination Board that you wish to withdraw from the examination. Then you must present a doctor’s certificate without delay. The Examination Board will decide on the basis of the evidence and circumstances of the individual case whether the withdrawal is granted.

What do I do if, before the examination or on the day of the examination I feel that I am not up to the strain of the present coronavirus situation and my ability to perform is reduced?

Here too it is possible to withdraw from the examination. The withdrawal must then be notified without delay to the examiner/Examination Board. A doctor’s certificate must likewise be presented. The Examination Board will decide on the basis of the evidence and circumstances of the individual case whether the withdrawal is granted.

In addition, please take note of the recommendation for action for students who contract COVID-19, or are suspected of being infected with it.

Questions specific to teacher training

To answer all questions specific to teacher training, the Heidelberg School of Education (HSE) has set up a special page that contains all official information and is regularly updated. Please consult this website for updates on the information below.

Further information on this topic can also be found on the FAQ page of the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Education.

Orientation placement (BOP1) in the Lehramt option during the pandemic

According to information from the Ministry of Education, it is currently possible to complete the orientation placement at Baden-Württemberg schools; registration is taking place as usual via the ministry’s portal. In addition, the Ministry of Education has compiled frequently asked questions about school operations in a FAQ page. In the case of school closures or an interruption of the placement due to the pandemic, substitute coursework will be available; the schools will give details about this to those concerned. If this does not happen, students are kindly asked to make direct contact with the responsible staff person at the Heidelberg School of Education at bop1 @ heiedu.uni-heidelberg.de. It will also be possible to catch up the placement at a later date.

Registration, deregistration and leave of absence

What registration deadlines apply for the 2020/21 winter semester?

Registration deadlines for the 2020 winter semester can be found on the Student Affairs websites under registration deadlines.

How can I register, deregister or apply for leave of absence?

Applications may be submitted in writing. Further information can be found on the study pages.

On its website the International Study Centre has posted up-to-date information about the DSH (German language exam for university access) and the admission exams for pre-programme studies.

I am enrolled in a programme of scientific continuing education. Where can I find further information?

The general measures and arrangements also apply for scientific continuing education. The colleagues there will give additional information and name people to approach if you have more specific questions.

How can I pay my re-enrolment or tuition fees?

Please transfer your student payments (semester contribution, tuition fees) to the bank account below, if you have not arranged a direct debit mandate.

BANK TRANSFER 
Baden-Württembergische Bank, Stuttgart
IBAN: DE28 6005 0101 0004 9617 81
SWIFT/BIC: SOLADEST600
(BLZ 600 501 01 Kto. 4961781)
Purpose: Enrolment no. and surname, first name 

How and when can I get my student ID card and my Uni ID?

Your student ID card and Uni ID will be sent to you by post. In exceptional cases the Uni ID can be conveyed by other means that are legally safe. Approach the student administration about that.

Where can I validate my student ID card now?

The validation machines are accessible during regular opening hours. The validation machines in the building Seminarstraße 2 (Carolinum) are located on the ground floor, left in front of the service portal.

How can we currently obtain the discharge note from the University Library needed for the confirmation of deregistration?

Students can currently send in their applications for deregistration to the Student Administration without the discharge note from the University Library. The Student Administration staff will ask the University Library directly to grant the discharge.

I have been officially deregistered, what must I do?

Please call the Infotelefon +49 6221 54-5454 to tell the Student Administration or International Office if you wish to continue your studies. 

Study abroad and ERASMUS

Is study abroad still possible as part of my degree course?

In the 2020/2021 winter semester and the 2021 summer semester, exchange programmes will take place unless they have been or will be cancelled by the partner institutions. Current announcements on exchange programmes for the 2021/22 academic year are published on the website of the International Relations Division.

However, all students are urgently advised to follow the travel advice of the Federal Foreign Office. If you have doubts or inquiries please approach the coordinator of your exchange programme in the International Relations Division. Furthermore, we strongly recommend that, before their study abroad, all Heidelberg students register with ELEFAND (electronic list of Germans abroad), which is a precautionary list kept by the Federal Foreign Office for use in the event of a crisis.

What should I do if I have to terminate my Erasmus studies?

We need (by email) a certificate of attendance from the host university and a written statement, detailing why the Erasmus studies cannot be continued in a reasonable manner. The Erasmus scholarship will only be granted for the period of physical stay in the host country for study purposes.

Can I also continue the semester online from home?

If the host university offers this possibility, yes. The attendance certificate is evidence of the whole duration of your study period at the host university, if applicable including online periods. The Erasmus scholarship will only be granted for the period of physical stay in the host country for study purposes.

University Library, institute and departmental libraries

Can the services of the University Library be used again?

*Update* The University Library must remain closed to the public until 7 March. It is possible to borrow/return media requested in advance subject to compliance with the hygiene and distancing rules set out in the current Corona Ordinance. Borrowing at both locations – Altstadt and Im Neuenheimer Feld – is possible from Monday to Friday from 10am to 6pm.

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. Many publishing houses are supporting Heidelberg University during the coronavirus pandemic by activating additional or so far unlicensed content.

Social care services and funding

To whom can I turn with questions about financing my studies, paying my rent or if I have psychological problems?

The student services organisation (Studierendenwerk) Heidelberg offers advice and support on all questions relative to the coronavirus crisis regarding student grants (BAföG) and financing your studies. It is responsible for issues connected to accommodation and leases in student residences of the Studierendenwerk. Its services also include assistance with psychological problems or emotional stress.

Social engagement

I would like to offer my help. As a student, how can I contribute to coping with the present coronavirus crisis?

The Heidelberg Medical Faculty is currently coordinating the deployment of volunteers. In demand are medical students or people with nursing or paramedic training. The procedure is being coordinated by the Office of the Dean of Studies, and the contact persons are  Abra.Tsolenyanu @ med.uni-heidelberg.de and Florian.Schuhmacher @ med.uni-heidelberg.de.

Students with previous health-care experience can register on the website “match4healthcare”. Across the country, this online tool will refer them to hospitals, health authorities and many other institutions. It also covers the Medical Faculty Mannheim (UMM) and its teaching hospitals.

Students without previous health-care experience can consult the websites of the City of Heidelberg and the City of Mannheim, which have posted a compilation of numerous initiatives supporting volunteers in offering their assistance.