Coronavirus testOn-campus examinations

Information about participation

For approved on-campus examinations which are strictly necessary for continuing or completing a degree course, Heidelberg University is offering an additional measure besides the required hygiene routines and mandatory distancing arrangements. In the context of a study, a corona gargling test is now available that was developed at the Center for Molecular Biology of Heidelberg University (ZMBH). It aims to support the measures against the spread of the virus and possible new mutants in order to detect asymptomatic carriers of the virus and persons who have not yet developed symptoms, and to interrupt possible infection chains early on. For this purpose, the lecturers can order test kits for participants in examinations. The test kits will then be evaluated for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 viruses in the experimental test station that the ZMBH has set up with the virology division in its area of virological diagnostics.

With the test, infections can be identified before symptoms arise. Participation in the test is voluntary. Whether a student takes part in the study or not will in no way impact negatively on their academic results.

The samples can be analysed within eight hours with the aid of a robotic platform and isothermal nucleic acid evidence. In order to enable the testing of participants in the examinations it is necessary to sign up for the event; the teachers or supervisors will be sent an appropriate number of test kits. Those wishing to be tested must register their kit online, thereby indicating their consent to participating in the study, which is pseudonymised. Contact details will be encrypted so that the test takes place anonymously. Participants can carry out the test kit to obtain the gargling sample at home, if possible straight after getting up in the morning before breakfast or cleaning their teeth. The samples will be collected and taken to the test station for evaluation. That very evening or during the next day, the results will be available and can be accessed online with the aid of an individual number (the pseudonym). Positive test results will be reported to the health authority, which will decrypt the contact details for contact tracing.

By decision of the Rectorate, the costs for the coronavirus test in the context of the on-campus lectures/classes and examinations will be covered from the central budget.

If a participant tests positive for SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, the organisers of the events (examinations and practical classes) are instructed to find a pragmatic solution, in consultation with the faculty concerned, so that the student is not disadvantaged.

Procedure

The university has planned the organisation of on-campus examinations in such a way that contracting Covid-19 during an examination is highly unlikely. The hygiene plan comprises, amongst other things, rules for social distancing and airing the rooms, along with regulated access. Anyone with typical symptoms is prohibited from entering, in accordance with the State Corona Ordinance. The offer of voluntary testing is primarily intended to minimise the risk of spreading the disease – this may arise through increased mobility when students travel to Heidelberg in the examination phase, e.g. from different parts of Germany, and then go back again.

So that the participants and supervisors can be tested they must be supplied with test kits.

STEP ONE – approval of the examination and procurement of the test kits

When applying for an on-campus examination, the organisers will note the number of participants and name a person to fetch the test kits and, if necessary, return excessive kits. When the on-campus examination has been approved, the participants can take part in the coronavirus test. The organisers of on-campus examinations that have already been approved will be contacted. Test kits corresponding to the number of students attending the examination will be handed out in bags from Monday to Friday, 9–11am, at INF 324, 4th floor, room 409. At the same time, the organisers will receive a collection box to collect the sample tubes. Non-used test kits should be taken back to the same address (between 8am and 5pm).

STEP TWO – distributing the test kits and individual implementation

The organisers of the examination can distribute the test kits to the students a few days before the examination, if that is practicable. The students will then take the gargling sample in the morning before the examination. These samples can be collected in a collection box at the examination. Alternatively, or in addition, test kits may be distributed shortly before the beginning or at the end of the examinations. In this case, the gargling sample should be taken at home and the test tube then posted in one of the two sample letterboxes (see below).

STEP THREE – registering and taking the gargling sample

The participants must register their test with the enclosed access code, which must be kept in order to access the result online. The test is anonymous. Please note the short directions (below) for taking the gargling sample.

STEP FOUR – handing in the sample tubes

Examinees can deal with the small tube used for the test as follows:

  1. Deposit it in the collection box on hand at the examination. The organisers will take the collected sample tubes back to the test station at INF 324, 4th floor (from 9-5pm, leaving the box on the table).
  2. Alternatively, the participants themselves can take their sample tubes to two sample letter boxes, emptied several times a day from Monday to Friday:
    – Old Town: entrance area of University Library, Plöck 107-109
    – Im Neuenheimer Feld: entrance area of Theoretikum, INF305 (near the Unishop)

The test samples submitted will be analysed on three days a week: Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Samples delivered on Tuesday will be analysed on Wednesday and those delivered on Thursday will be analysed on Friday. 

The test results will be available about eight hours after the sample has reached the test laboratory. If the samples are submitted by 10 am on the morning of one of the three days set aside for analysis the results can be accessed the same day.

STEP FIVE – accessing the results

The test result will be accessible via an access code enclosed in the test kit.

STEP SIX – contact tracing

Positive tests will be validated by a certified PCR test and reported to the public health authority according to the statutory requirement to notify it so that it can begin tracing contacts. To support the health authority it is recommended that persons who have tested positive turn to the university’s central team for COVID-19 reporting. There they will receive confidential advice and support: meldung.corona@uni-heidelberg.de