17. December 2020

Effects of the coronavirus pandemic on on-site teaching and on-site examinations Effects of the coronavirus pandemic on on-site teaching and on-site examinations

Stricter requirements for university operations in North Rhine-Westphalia have been in effect since December 16.

The new version of the North Rhine-Westphalia Ordinance on the Protection Against New Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 Infections (CoronaSchVO NRW) amends the provisions for on-site classes and examinations during the period from December 16, 2020 to January 10, 2021 in order to protect students and instructors.

Empty lecture hall.
Empty lecture hall. - Stricter rules have been in place since December 16. © (Universität Bonn/ Volker Lannert)
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With the aim of keeping students and instructors safe, the CoronaSchVO NRW and Allgemeinverfügung impose new and considerably stricter provisions for holding onsite courses and on-site examinations.

On-site courses are prohibited during the period indicated. In contrast to the previous provisions, this applies to all events, not just lectures. That means lab courses, field trips, exercises, etc. are also included. However, there are exceptions to the rule: preparatory measures for examinations, e.g. when related to a bachelor’s or master’s thesis, may be held as on-site events where these cannot be deferred beyond January 10, 2021 due to legal or actual reasons or where a deferral would be unreasonable for the relevant students. Another condition which must be met is that the preparatory measures must take place on site as special facilities and equipment are required (e.g. laboratories, work rooms,recording studios as well as, for the arts, correpetition, rehearsals, one-to-one art lessons and work in ateliers and studios). Practical training elements, e.g. the practical year when becoming a physician, can be held on site.

On-site examinations are also prohibited until January 10, 2021 and will be deferred to the end of this period or later. Examination boards will announce whether alternative forms of examination are available for on-site examinations that are scheduled for the period from December 16, 2020 to January 10, 2021. If no alternatives are found and the restrictions under the CoronaSchVO NRW continue to apply after January 10, 2021, on-site examinations will be offered as permitted by law to at least those students for whom a further deferral would be unreasonable (e.g. examinations that conclude their studies).

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