• Coronavirus

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Current Updates

Calender week 42 / 2020

Update of 15.10.2020 for students - Important Information for the Start of the Semester

Dear Students,

We hope that you had a relaxing and enjoyable semester break despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The 2020/2021 Winter Semester will soon begin, and it is our hope that you will approach this new semester with confidence. We would like to welcome all students to Bielefeld University, especially our new students. We wish you all the best as you embark your studies.

As has been true since the beginning of the pandemic, there is still a great deal of uncertainty for our university community, especially given the recent rise in COVID-19 infections. At the same time, however, we now know more about the Coronavirus and based on this knowledge, we can now begin selectively reopening parts of the university.

In just a few days, the lecture period will begin. However, as has already been communicated, there will not be a full return to presence-based instruction. Most teaching must still take place online. This is especially true for large classes of over 50 people. That said, our goal is to enable as much on-site presence and interaction as is responsible and organizationally feasible for both students and staff. In addition to full online teaching, mixed formats that combine on-site presence and online instruction are also possible, especially for smaller and medium-sized classes. It is especially important that introductory events for first-semester students be held on-site, in person (these might also be open to second-semester students). Practice-oriented courses can also be held in-person (including lab courses, art workshops, and other practice-based courses such as teaching and research seminars for Master’s students, in-depth methodological courses for Bachelor’s students, hands-on material-based courses, debate seminars, and, as applicable, preparatory and accompanying seminars for students doing internship semesters). University faculties and responsible administrative units have been hard at work– and will continue their efforts – to plan and organize these hybrid teaching offerings. The courses offered this Winter Semester can be found in the eKVV, which also includes information about whether the course will be offered in person or online. You can also get more information from each of your instructors.

Today we would like to provide you with information about with the current rules and regulations for the 2020/2021 Winter Semester. First things first: the lecture period begins on October 26th, and first-semester students start on November 2nd.  The lecture period ends on February 12th, 2021.

Essential information and rules for this semester are outlined below:

  • Building access is still restricted. Three entrances to the Main University Building (main entrance C01, south-UMV and West P0) are open, as well as one entrance in Building X (the side entrance by the security station). What’s new is that starting on the first day of the lecture period (October 26th), students and guest auditors no longer need to sign in at the building entrances. We have changed the registration process so that you register in the places where you will be staying for longer periods of time, such as in seminar rooms, lecture halls, study areas, the library, the cafeteria, or other public gathering areas. To register, you will need to scan a QR-Code using a smartphone, tablet, or laptop. The necessary equipment for this in the various learning and recreational settings of the university buildings is currently being put into place. The library and the cafeteria have their own registration procedures.
  • As a general rule, a face mask must continue to be worn while on the university campus. Places where wearing a face mask is not required will be indicated accordingly.
  • Those with respiratory symptoms or fever are not allowed on university campus (unless the cause of these symptoms has otherwise been cleared by a doctor).
  • Students or individuals returning from risk areas (as defined by the Robert Koch Institute) or areas for which a Corona-related travel advisory has been issued by the Federal Foreign Office of Germany are not allowed on campus for the two weeks following their return. An exception to this rule exists if you can provide a negative Coronavirus test within 5 days of your return.
  • For lectures, seminars, and other practice-based courses offered in presence, the number of seats in lecture halls and seminar rooms has been significantly reduced in order to maintain social distancing. Hygiene measures must be followed: https://www.uni-bielefeld.de/coronavirus/sicherheitskonzepte. When registering, students have to provide their name and seat location, which is information that will allow health authorities to perform contact tracing in case of an infection. For this reason, please do not rearrange or move tables and chairs in seminar rooms! It is important to understand that registration is not about taking attendance. To register, a QR code is scanned at the entrance to the lecture hall or at the seats themselves using a smartphone, tablet, or laptop. The person organizing the course or event will take care of registration for participants who do not have a smartphone, or for external guests. More information is available at https://www.uni-bielefeld.de/anwesenheit.
  • As a general rule, oral and written examinations for the 2020/2021 Winter Semester can be completed online or in presence, provided that there is sufficient capacity in the testing room for social distancing and that hygiene measures are observed. The faculties and instructors will determine the type of testing and make this information available to students in an appropriate manner. External rooms will also be rented for the examination period at the end of the Winter Semester (February – April) to increase capacity. More information on this will be provided at a later date.
  • Research for Bachelor’s/Master’s theses or other research projects in laboratory working groups can be conducted on site.
  • Due to limited room capacities, it might be the case that some students will not get a spot in presence-based courses or examinations. If you are registered but cannot attend the course in person, please contact your instructor or unregister in eKvv so as to allow other students to take your place.
  • Students who cannot attend courses in person due to pre-existing medical conditions are to be offered alternative formats for both their courses and exams. If this applies to you, please get in touch with your instructor to make arrangements.
  • Service centers, such as the Infodesk (Infopunkt), Student Advising and Counselling (ZSB), the International Office (IO), the Bielefeld IT Service Center (BITS), and the various faculty examination offices have reopened to a certain extent. Instructors are also allowed to offer their office hours in person. Please contact your instructor or service center and make an appointment (in most cases you can do this digitally using the appointment function in ekvv). No appointment is needed at the Infodesk. You can also always contact the service centers online or by phone. More information can be found on the service centers’ websites.
  • On October 1st, the University Library significantly increased the number of available workspaces. In addition to this, library opening hours were also extended. More information is available at https://blog.ub.uni-bielefeld.de/?p=10991. For the beginning of the Winter Semester, opening hours are currently being prepared to be extended to 8pm (Monday–Friday). Weekend opening hours are also being planned, probably beginning from December 1st.
  • Student workspaces (study stations) are again available for studying and working on campus,  especially on the bridges and in the gallery of the University Hall, as well as in a few seminar rooms and the library. The faculties also have each set up dedicated rooms for studying and working. Please contact your instructors or the dean of studies with questions. Please do not move or rearrange the tables and chairs. You must register to use the workspaces in the library and in the faculties. An overview of all learning venues at the university is available here: https://www.uni-bielefeld.de/lernorte/.
  • Many faculties have developed a Peer-Mentoring Program (under the motto “students helping students”) to provide support to first-semester students. Information about this program is made available during introductory events for first-semester students and on the faculty homepages. Please contact your faculty if you’re interested.
  • Students and doctoral researchers with family responsibilities in particular have been severely impacted by the pandemic. This is why Bielefeld University is providing (doctoral)students who have children with referrals for babysitting and financial assistance for the 2020/2021 Winter Semester. If this applies to you and you need support, please see https://www.uni-bielefeld.de/verwaltung/dezernat-p-o/familie/babysittingportal/index.xml for more information.
  • Social contact with fellow students is an essential part of your studies. This is currently a challenge, but we want to encourage you to keep on being creative. Contact your departmental student representative committee or another group at the university and get to know (new) people. Or, take advantage of the wide range university sports offerings. First-semester students (but not only) can find tips and information on getting involved on the main page of the “Start your Studies” website (www.uni-bielefeld.de/studienstart). You can also follow us on social media to get regular updates and exciting news from all around the university, as well as network with fellow students.

Despite these selective reopenings, the situation at the university remains a challenge. Depending on how the pandemic develops, it cannot be ruled out that changes to these policies might have to be made. The government of North Rhine-Westphalia might also issue new regulations that could impact our operations.

We want to emphasize this important point: The goal behind all of our planning has been to enable you to study within the constraints of Corona pandemic. At the same time, we must ensure the safety and health of our students and staff. And we, together, have to do everything in our power to stop the spread of the virus. Only if everyone follows the rules will we be able to continue opening up the university. This applies, in particular, to wearing a face mask, observing social distancing, regularly disinfecting your hands, and accurately registering when on campus. We are calling upon you to do your part. The progress we collectively make as a university community must not be jeopardized by the behavior of individuals.

We thank you very much for your cooperation.

Despite all these challenges, we wish you successful and productive semester ahead. We will keep you updated on all further measures and regulations. Stay healthy and well, and be optimistic!

With warm regards,

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Gerhard Sagerer, Rector

Dr. Stephan Becker, Chancelleor

Prof. Dr. Birgit Lütje-Klose, Vice-Rector for Education and Teaching

Update of 15.10.2020 for teaching staff - Important Information for the Start of the Semester

Dear Instructors,

The 2020/2021 Winter Semester will soon begin, and this semester too will be significantly impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic. We hope and trust that you will nevertheless approach this new semester with confidence. It is thanks to your deep commitment, your creativity, and your dedication that many formats and solutions were already created during the Summer Semester, and can be used going forward. In the last Organizational Decree from September 1st, all employees were already informed of the current regulations governing general service operations (www.uni-bielefeld.de/coronavirus).

Today we would like to update you about the current regulations regarding teaching and examinations for the 2020/2021 Winter Semester.
As you already know, there will not be a full return to presence-based university operations during the 2020/2021 Winter Semester. Teaching must continue to take place largely online. This is especially true for large classes of over 50 people. That said, our goal is to enable as much on-site presence and interaction as is responsible and organizationally feasible for both students and staff. The university faculties and responsible administrative units have been hard at work– and will continue their efforts – to plan and organize these hybrid learning offerings based on the guiding principles that were already sent to you (www.uni-bielefeld.de/themen/coronavirus/studium-und-lehre/2020-07-15_Eckpunkte-Lehr-und-Prufungsbetrieb-WiSe.pdf).

The following rules and regulations are currently in place:

  • As always, scheduled educational courses for the Winter Semester must be submitted and posted to eKVV, Bielefeld University’s online course catalogue. There you must also indicate whether the course will be held in presence, online, or as a combination of both. Posting all courses to eKVV (including those held in internal faculty rooms) is particularly important this semester because contact tracing can only be ensured for listed courses. If you have questions, please get in touch with your eKVV contact person.
  • In special cases, scheduled courses can be postponed to the semester break. It is also possible to hold courses on Saturday.
  • For lectures, seminars, and other practice-based courses offered in presence, the number of seats in lecture halls and seminar rooms has been significantly reduced in order to maintain social distancing. Hygiene measures must be followed: https://www.uni-bielefeld.de/coronavirus/sicherheitskonzepte. Please remind students that tables and chairs cannot be moved, and please make sure to watch out for this yourself.
  • Students have to register at each individual course by providing their name and seat. This will enable health authorities to perform contact tracking if necessary. Instructors must also register, but do not need to indicate a seat. A pre-requisite for registration is that the course is listed in eKVV. To register, a QR code is scanned at the entrance to the lecture hall or at the seats themselves using a smartphone, tablet, or laptop. The person organizing the course or event will take care of registration for participants who do not have a smartphone, or for external guests. More information is available at https://www.uni-bielefeld.de/anwesenheit.
  • For online courses, the online formats and tools that were developed and introduced during the Summer Semester can be used. More information on these tools is available here. Support for didactic issues is available here.
  • Research for Bachelor’s/Master’s theses or other research projects in laboratory working groups can once again be conducted on site.
  • As a general rule, oral and written examinations for the 2020/2021 Winter Semester can be completed online or in presence, provided that there is sufficient capacity in the testing room for social distancing and that hygiene measures are observed. For written examinations to be completed in presence, the plan is to continue the enrollment and registration procedure for written exams that was already established during the Summer Semester (participant lists in eKVV), i.e. with individually assigned places and without a QR code. For the examination period at the end of the 2020/2021 Winter Semester (February–April), external rooms will also be rented. More information on this will be provided at a later date. For online exams, the online formats that have already been developed are available, namely for open-book and closed-book formats in the exam Moodle, using Zoom and a computer lock (safe exam browser) as needed.
  • Students who cannot attend courses/exams in person due to relevant pre-existing health conditions are to be offered alternatives formats, such as streaming, distance learning, or digital exams.
  • Students can continue to submit their assignments for course credit by email or via “Lernraum”. For theses, an email with a digital file of the final thesis (which matches the printed version) must be sent to the responsible examination office as well as to the examiners.
  • Service centers, such as the Infodesk (Infopunkt), Student Advising and Counselling (ZSB), the International Office (IO), the Bielefeld IT Service Center (BITS), and the various faculty examination offices have reopened to a certain extent. You can also always contact the service centers online or by phone. More information can be found on the service centers’ websites. In addition to digital formats, instructors can also offer in-person office hours. In the interest of ensuring traceability if an infection should occur, please have your students make an appointment in advance – ideally using the appointment function in eKVV.
  • On October 1st, the University Library significantly increased the number of available workspaces. In addition to this, library opening hours were also extended. More information is available at https://blog.ub.uni-bielefeld.de/?p=10991. For the beginning of the Winter Semester, opening hours are currently being prepared to be extended to 8pm (Monday–Friday). Weekend opening hours are also being planned, probably beginning from December 1st.
  • Student workspaces (study stations) are again available for studying and working on campus, especially on the bridges and in the gallery of the University Hall, as well as in a few seminar rooms and the library. The faculties also have each set up dedicated rooms for studying and working. An overview of all learning venues at the university is available here: https://www.uni-bielefeld.de/lernorte/
  • Students, doctoral researchers, and instructors with family responsibilities in particular have been severely impacted by the pandemic. This is why Bielefeld University is providing referrals for babysitting during the 2020/2021 Winter Semester. If this applies to you and you need support, please see https://www.uni-bielefeld.de/babysitting. Financial support is available for instructors with a high teaching load and family responsibilities, as well as early career researchers with family duties. Funding has been made available by the respective faculties and Rectorate to relieve this burden, upon request, by hiring support staff or receiving supplementary teaching assignments.

Depending on how the pandemic develops, it cannot be ruled out that adjustments to these policies might have to be made. The government of North Rhine-Westphalia might also issue new regulations that could impact our operations.

We want to emphasize this important point: The goal behind all of our planning has been to enable our community to study and teach within the constraints of Corona pandemic. At the same time, we must ensure the safety and health of our students and staff. And we, together, have to do everything in our power to stop the spread of the virus. Only if everyone follows the rules will we be able to continue opening up the university. This applies, in particular, to wearing a face mask, observing social distancing, regularly disinfecting your hands, and accurately registering when on campus. Please remind your students to do their part. The social aspect of student life continues to be severely limited. Encourage your students to take advantage of the offerings from departmental student representative committees, or to meet up with fellow classmates in their private time to the extent that this is possible. In the portal for first-semester students, there is a link titled that provides a list of opportunities for getting to know others (www.uni-bielefeld.de/start-ins-studium).

Despite these challenges, we wish you a successful semester and thank you again for your cooperation and commitment. We can all be proud of how our university community has responded to provide effective teaching during these difficult times, thus ensuring that thousands of students can carry on with their studies.

We will keep you updated on all further measures and regulations.

The regulations currently in place are available here: www.uni-bielefeld.de/coronavirus 

Stay healthy and well, and be optimistic!

With warm regards,

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Gerhard Sagerer, Rector

Dr. Stephan Becker, Chancellor

Prof. Dr. Birgit Lütje-Klose, Vice-Rector for Education and Teaching

Update of 15.10.2020 for employees - Mandatory registration when entering the university buildings

Dear Colleagues and Staff Members,

Our work together remains dominated by a high degree of uncertainty, especially given the rising number of COVID-19 cases. At the same time, however, we now know more about the Coronavirus and based on this knowledge, we can now begin selectively reopening parts of the university. The experience we have gained will also make it possible to make adjustments to our policies.

One of these such changes is now the registration procedure when entering the university. What’s new is that starting on the first day of the lecture period (October 26th), students and guest auditors no longer need to sign in at the building entrances. We have changed the registration process so that you register in the places where you will be staying for longer periods of time, such as in seminar rooms, lecture halls, study areas, the library, the cafeteria, or other public gathering areas. To register, you will need to scan a QR-Code using a smartphone, tablet, or laptop. The necessary equipment for this in the various learning and recreational settings of the university buildings is currently being put into place. The library and the cafeteria have their own registration procedures. If an infected student is present on the university campus, this registration policy will enable the health authorities to perform much more precise contact tracing.

For you, nothing will change for the time being. Staff members must continue to register when coming to campus, but only once a day. In addition to the scanners for the UniCard, there are now QR codes at the entrances, which can also be used for registration. For the rare cases in which an individual does not have a UniCard or a smartphone, access sheets are also available, and these can be submitted in the letterboxes provided. Until further notice, only three entrances are open in the Main University Building (main entrance C01, south-UMV, and West P0) as well as one entrance at Building X (side entrance by the security station).

The other buildings will now also be equipped with scanners and/or QR codes, thus eliminating the need for daily decentralized recording of presence by supervisors in all areas. A note for management staff: if an infection occurs, the public health department will perform contact tracing and may also contact the supervisor(s) of the infected individual. Depending on the circumstances, supervisors should then be able to determine at short notice who from their area was on site and, for example, took part in ordered official meetings, assemblies and events. The health authorities will need the names and telephone numbers of coworkers.

Guests and employees from external companies no longer need to register at the entrance areas. It is now the responsibility of the host and/or contractor to record their guests’ presence on campus by documenting their contact information (name, telephone number, email address, and time/date present). We recommend that you put this contact information in your calendar so that you can quickly reference it if needed.

A bit of background is in order here: Bielefeld University is responsible for documenting the presence of individuals in its facilities. The University must therefore be able to provide information on short notice to public health authorities about who was present or nearby at the same time as the infected person. These individuals may need to be informed of or contacted regarding this potential exposure. Contact among employees is more manageable than contact among students, and can usually be traced back to the individual. The registration procedure for entering university buildings is necessary in the event that the university or sub-areas within the university  becomes a hot spot  and there is an increased and simultaneous occurrence of cases of infection. Although we consider this unlikely, if this did occur, we would have to quickly be able to provide the health authorities with information about who has been in which buildings during a certain time frame.

Important: Staff members are required to register. By registering and entering university buildings, you consent to the processing of your data. The registration procedure has been verified in accordance with data protection laws. The data privacy policy and building access form can be downloaded here at www.uni-bielefeld.de/registrierung-corona. More specific information on contact tracking will be available in the next organisational decree.

The goal behind all of our efforts is to facilitate research, teaching, studying, and working within the constraints of the Coronavirus pandemic. At the same time, we must ensure the safety and health of our students and staff. And we, together, have to do everything in our power to stop the spread of the virus. Only if everyone follows the rules will we be able to continue opening up the university. This applies, in particular, to wearing a face mask, observing social distancing, regularly disinfecting your hands, and accurately registering when on campus. We are asking you to do your part. We are calling upon all members of the university community to do their part. The progress we make together cannot be jeopardized by the behavior of individuals.

We thank you very much for your cooperation.

Despite all these challenges, we wish you successful start to the semester ahead. We will keep you updated on all further measures and regulations. Stay healthy and well, and be optimistic!

The regulations currently in place are available here: www.uni-bielefeld.de/coronavirus.

Stay healthy and well.

Best regards,

Dr. Stephan Becker, Chancellor

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Gerhard Sagerer, Rector


Downloads

Regulations for university operation during the coronavirus pandemic at Bielefeld University

Organizational decision of 23.03.2020

Updated version of 31.08.020, valid from 01.09.2020

The university is currently still in a ‘university operation during the coronavirus pandemic’. From 01.09.2020, it will gradually be opened up further while still complying with the measures and regulations in force to prevent infection chains. This organizational decree has been updated on the basis of the Coronavirus Protection Ordinance of 12.08.2020 and the SARS-CoV-2 Occupational Safety and Health Regulations (SARS-CoV-2 ASR) of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs of 10.08.2020, and it summarizes the current measures.

All measures continue to pursue the goal of ensuring the health of technical and administrative staff, teachers, researchers, and students by interrupting the chains of infection.

In principle, and independently from the following contingency plan, the following still applies:

  1. In principle, a minimum distance of 1.5 m must be maintained between persons. In the university buildings, a mouth-and-nose covering must be worn in all public areas and in all areas in which the minimum distance cannot be maintained.
  2. Persons with respiratory symptoms (unless diagnosed medically as having another cause) or fever are principally not allowed to stay on the university campus.

Complete organizational decision

 


Additional information

General information and links

Tips for hygiene
Interview with Prof. Dr. med. Claudia Hornberg

What do we know about the coronavirus and how to avoid transmissions?

Interview with Prof. Dr. med. Claudia Hornberg, Professor of Environment and Health and founding dean of the Medical Faculty OWL

Prof. Dr. med. Claudia Hornberg
Prof. Dr. med. Claudia Hornberg

Ms Hornberg, what’s so special about the coronavirus and how dangerous is an infection?

Coronaviruses were first identified in the mid-1960s and can infect not only humans but also various animals such as birds and mammals. It is assumed that the precursors of the novel coronavirus come from animals in the wild.

The current illnesses are caused by a new type of corona virus, with the official name "SARS-CoV-2". The respiratory disease it causes is called COVID-19.

As with other respiratory pathogens, an infection with the novel coronavirus can lead to symptoms such as coughing, a runny nose, a sore throat, and fever—just like a common cold. In patients with pre-existing conditions, the virus can take a more serious course with, for example, breathing difficulties or pneumonia. Up to now, most of the patients who have died were already suffering from chronic diseases. Currently, the proportion of deaths in which the virus has been confirmed by laboratory tests is about two percent. However, this only includes data on patients who have been treated in hospital.

How is the virus transmitted?

As far as we currently know, the coronavirus is transmitted from person to person. The main transmission route is droplet infection. This can be directly person to person via the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract or also indirectly via the hands that are then brought into contact with the mucous membranes of the mouth and nose or the lining of the eyes.  Transmission is also possible if only mild or unspecific signs of disease are present. Novel coronaviruses have also been found in stool samples of some infected individuals. However, we do not yet know conclusively whether it can also be transmitted this way.

How can you personally protect yourself against an infection?

In terms of preventive health protection, it is important to adhere to the same hygiene measures that also protect against influenza (flu) infection. These are as follows:  

  • Do not shake hands
  • Regularly carry out good hand hygiene (wash your hands thoroughly with sufficient water and soap several times a day)
  • Avoid touching your face with your hands
  • Observe the coughing and sneezing etiquette (e.g. cough and sneeze into the crook of your arm, use disposable handkerchiefs)
  • if possible, keep at least 1-2 meters away from anybody who is coughing and/or sneezing.

What should people do if they are worried that they have been infected?

First of all, they need a medical examination to determine whether the suspicion of coronavirus is justified. This requires the presence of at least one of the following two constellations:

  • Acute symptoms (fever, cough, a runny nose, a sore throat, and/or infection-related breathing difficulties) or unspecific general symptoms AND contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus.
  • Acute symptoms (fever, cough, a runny nose, a sore throat, and/or infection-related breathing difficulties) AND having been in a risk area (www.rki.de/covid-19-risikogebiete and www.rki.de/covid-19-fallzahlen) within the last 14 days before the start of the illness.

If you suspect that you might have caught the disease, contact a doctor by telephone. Tell the doctor that you suspect that you have become infected with the new coronavirus (and, if appropriate, where you have travelled home from) and discuss what you should do next by telephone before going to a doctor's practice.

Why is there a quarantine recommendation for people who have been in risk areas or who have had clearly documented contact with sick people?

The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) estimates that people who have been in a coronavirus risk area or have had contact with a COVID-19 infected person in the previous 14 days are potentially infected or sick. Persons who have stayed in a risk area designated by the RKI should - even if they have no signs of illness— avoid unnecessary contact with other persons.

The aim of quarantine measures is to interrupt chains of infection and to slow down the spread of the virus as much as possible. This should provide time to find out more about the virus and treatment options, identify risk groups, prepare protective measures, and maintain treatment capacity in the clinics.

Additional links with general information

Hotline city of Bielefeld

(Supplement dated 09.03.2020)

0521 51-2000: The hotline of the city of Bielefeld can be reached under this number from Friday, 6 March, for all questions concerning the corona virus. From Monday to Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., municipal employees* will provide general information and advice on prevention. Outside service hours, the service point of the Kassenärztliche Vereinigung (Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians) is available at 116117. Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

Hotline Evangelisches Klinikum Bethel

(Supplement dated 03.03.2020)

Concerned citizens should please follow the nationally established structures and contact their family doctor or the public health department by telephone. A "telephone hotline" has also been set up at Evangelisches Klinikum Bethel (EvKB) for justified suspicions: Tel. 0521 772-77777. It is attainable from 8 to 16 o'clock.

Source: Evangelisches Klinikum Bethel (in German)