01. February 2021

Exceptions for On-Site Examinations and Courses Exceptions for On-Site Examinations and Courses

State of NRW updates regulations

The first examination period of the winter semester traditionally starts in early February. This year, however, the pandemic is turning the usual routines upside down. While on-site examinations are the standard for times when there is no coronavirus, almost everything is taking place digitally this semester. Exceptions may apply, however, under certain circumstances.

Laboratory activities may, under certain circumstances, be carried out in on-site attendance as an examination preparation measure.
Laboratory activities may, under certain circumstances, be carried out in on-site attendance as an examination preparation measure. © (Symbol image/ Volker Lannert - Universität Bonn)

“The winter semester continues to confront us with the major challenge of rigorously protecting the members of our university against coronavirus infection while at the same time allowing students to achieve progress in their studies,” explained Prof. Dr. Karin Holm-Müller, Vice Rector for Teaching and Learning at the University of Bonn. “It therefore makes a great deal of sense to permit exceptions in certain situations that allow on-site formats to be used in accordance with strict hygiene and infection protection rules. Students might otherwise be placed at a significant disadvantage if their period of study were lengthened by one or two semesters.”

Courses, preparatory measures for examinations and examinations that can be held digitally must still be held digitally, regardless of the exceptions. A course may only be held on-site if not holding the course on-site or postponing it would create serious disadvantages for the students. This could be the case if special facilities, equipment or other conditions are required to hold the course (e.g. laboratories, workspaces, dissection or treatment courses in the field of medicine) and postponing the course could lengthen the period of study by a semester.

Exceptions also exist for examinations and preparatory measures for examinations. They may only be held on-site if there are legal or practical reasons why they cannot be postponed or postponement would be unreasonable for the student. With regard to postponement, it must be determined whether the examination or preparatory measure cannot be completed on-site on time or during the current semester due to administrative reasons (such as staff or room availability). In addition, it must also be determined, for example, whether lab work for a preparatory examination measure cannot be interrupted without losing results that have already been achieved. Instructors must justify everything in written requests.

“The pandemic will continue to affect our lives,” stated Prof. Dr. Karin Holm-Müller. “The exceptions, however, allow us to avoid unreasonable hardship for students and minimize the negative effects on their course of studies.”
 

The detailed rules for on-site examinations and on-site courses during the lockdown period (January 25, 2021 to February 14, 2021) are provided in Circular 12/2020. More information is also available on the coronavirus pages of the University website.

Further information:
Coronavirus Protection Ordinance of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia (CoronaSchVO NRW)
General Order by the North Rhine-Westphalia Ministry of Labor, Health and Social Affairs

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