Studying Successfully during the Pandemic
Everything You Need to Know about Studying during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Information about Studying during the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic is set to continue over the coming weeks and months, affecting all aspects of our lives including your studies. The University of Bonn prioritizes the safety of its members, but is also doing everything in its power to enable students to continue with their studies. This website provides all the necessary information to enable students to deal with a volatile situation and progress in their studies.


Although the COVID-19 pandemic has exerted a considerable impact on the teaching operations of the University, the considerable efforts of all involved has meant that teaching could be resumed quickly. A number of different regulations have been issued during the course of the pandemic; we should like to provide an overview of the rules currently in force.

The view from the rear of a lecture hall. A camera is shown in the foreground, the display of which shows a member of the teaching staff. The background shows a blurred image of students seen from behind and a teacher standing in front of a whiteboard.
© Universität Bonn/Volker Lannert


At the moment, it is not possible to say how summer semester 2021 will be taught. A large proportion of courses will be taught online, at least in the early stages of the semester.

The current strict rules governing on-site teaching and examinations are to remain in place until Pentecost, subject to further extension. The approval procedures for conducting on-site teaching and/or examinations thus will remain mandatory. The Rectorate will be making an updated report on the situation at an appropriate point in time further into the summer semester of 2021 in view of amendments to the Coronavirus Protection Ordinance and General Order based on virus statistics, providing prompt information on any potential changes.

The current COVID-19 regulations and the General Order from the Ministry of Work, Health and Social Affairs contain hygiene rules establishing the safe conduct of courses and examinations conducted on-site, in order to enable their realization in this form at universities in NRW.

Any courses or examinations to be held on-site on the basis of these regulations require approval from the Rectorate. The Rectorate has decided that courses, examination preparation sessions and examinations themselves should assume a digital form wherever possible. Details regarding the exceptions to this rule are provided on the University Intranet in circulars 12/2021 und 09/2021. University members can access the Intranet via Bonnet or VPN tunnel.

Completion of the forthcoming summer semester will require the use of online-supported teaching forms. The University of Bonn uses the online teaching and learning platform eCampus to provide access to teaching materials (texts, tasks, etc.) and permit digitally-supported home-learning. Further information about your courses is provided in BASIS, the University electronic course catalog and on the websites of the individual faculties. Teaching staff can link courses registered in BASIS with an eCampus course. Students who have registered for a course in BASIS are usually also automatically registered in the respective eCampus course. They will receive notification once this has been performed. Students interested in participating in courses which are not subject to a registration procedure should contact the teacher of the relevant course.

Teaching staff will contact students by email; please check your University of Bonn email account regularly or set an automatic forwarding service to your personal email account to facilitate communication. Instructions are provided on the HRZ support page.

The University has equipped lecture halls with technology to enable hybrid teaching formats in order to compensate for the participation restrictions to which on-site attendance is subject. Last winter semester, teaching performed on-site was made available online via livestream with integrated whiteboard notes. It is not yet clear whether this hybrid teaching form will be provided in the forthcoming summer semester.

The University of Bonn has purchased a large number of Zoom licenses to enable live digital teaching. Zoom can be used with established software such as Adobe Connect and DFNconf. This enables interactive teaching in courses with a large number of participants. Assistance in the use of Zoom in University teaching is provided on a dedicated web page on e-Campus; alternatively you can contact the University of Bonn ZOOM support via email.

The University of Bonn accords the highest priority to comprehensive data protection during ZOOM sessions. To this end, we have made a number of adjustments to the system functions to ensure that they satisfy our standards. The University of Bonn Data Protection Officer has issued recommendations to ensure data-protection compliant use of this software. These recommendations are subject to continuous update and adjustment to the current version of the service. This enables us to reduce the IT security and data protection risks associated with the use of Zoom. We maintain ongoing consultation with the federal and state authorities and other universities and institutions of higher education in order to develop alternative solutions for the future.

As many on-site events and services will not be conducted in their usual format in this semester, the University is offering new students a range of online services:

Starting Your Studies Portal

The “Starting Your Studies” online portal provides first-semester students with a wide range of information about university life and the city of Bonn, and the steps they need to take in order to make a well-structured and independent transition to university life.

Welcoming First-Semester Students

The University of Bonn has organized a series of events designed to welcome first-semester students to the University. The exigencies of the COVID-19 pandemic means that this year’s welcome events will be conducted online. All information about the format of these events is provided in the online portal.

The International Office of the University of Bonn provides extensive information on residence permits, financial support, contact persons and social activities tailored to the needs of international students and international doctoral students on a designated web page.

Opening of University buildingsThe opening hours of student-relevant areas of the main building and of the AVZ III building will be extended as of March 22, 2021. The new hours will be 8 am to 6 pm. The main building can only be accessed via the following entrances: Tor Arkadenhof, the entrance at the Acquisitions section and the entrance to the corridor of the cafeteria and the entrance to the Etscheidhof with access to Lecture hall 1.The opening hours of decentrally administered buildings are to be set by the respective responsible managing directors or other managers.

Following consultation with the course teacher, the examination board can stipulate that the completion of certain study achievements can be substituted for an attendance requirement as the prerequisite for admittance to examinations. Please contact the person responsible for your course to establish the valid regulations. If the examination regulations stipulate compulsory attendance for a course, this requirement also applies if the course is held online. Course teachers can require that their students register at each session using their real names or a pseudonym which has been communicated to them in advance to enable them to verify the attendance requirement. Teachers do not like addressing blank screens and will usually ask their students to activate their camera. You are not obliged to activate your camera, but we would ask you to consider this option, as it facilitates a profitable exchange between students and teachers and contributes to a constructive atmosphere in the seminar. Students concerned about their privacy can generate virtual background pictures as a method of protecting their privacy.

The Federal Government COVID-19 Warning App

We recommend that students make use of the COVID-19 warning app provided by the German Federal Government. This enables you to find out whether you are at increased risk of developing an infection and at the same time, protect others.

A view into the main auditorium from the stage. A number of tables spaced apart in the main auditorium at which students are sitting, waiting to start their examination.
© Universität Bonn/Volker Lannert


The University of Bonn has implemented a number of measures designed to permit the holding of university examinations. Online-supported written examinations, term papers in lieu of written examinations and (in exceptional cases) on-site written examinations are currently being deployed in order to ensure that students can continue to sit examinations.


The Rectorate has issued a handout outlining the regulations issued to ensure student safety before, during and after an examination. Please comply with all the specifications to ensure the best possible level of protection for yourself and others.

Between 02/15/2021 and 04/09/2021 on weekdays from 7 am to 9 pm, students of the University of Bonn can make use of the USL large reading room in the Main Library to sit online examinations. Advance booking of a place is necessary. Bookings are to be made via the USL booking system at least 48 hours prior to the start of the examination. The booking made will be displayed in the reservation table immediately. This ensures that students can reserve a place for the desired examination time. Students require a library ID card to register for and use the service. Please consult the announcement from the USL for further information.

Students can borrow iPads (for use at home or in the USL) from the USL to enable them to sit online examinations. Please note that we do not recommend using these devices for examinations taken in the eCampus-Test format. The University of Bonn provides 40 iPads for use by students from the University of Bonn. They can be obtained from the MNL Branch Library. Please consult the announcement from the USL for further information.

The University has collected all the current regulations pertaining to the conduct of online examinations in the new “Teaching Digitally” portal on eCampus. Although aimed predominantly at members of the teaching staff, this page provides students with all the relevant documents, guidelines and regulations relating to the conduct of online examinations. For example, the portal provides further information about the aids which are permitted for use in examinations and the recommended procedure for online examinations.

Technical difficulties experienced during online-supported examinations can result in considerable disadvantage to those suffering their consequences. In response, the University authorities have granted examination candidates extensive rights to withdraw from examinations. You can withdraw from a written examination up to the point of its submission. This withdrawal will not be counted as an unsuccessful attempt.

If a candidate is able to demonstrate that they are unable to sit a module examination in its intended form on grounds for which they are not responsible and which have developed in conjunction with the Coronavirus-SARS-Cov-2 pandemic - in particular due to an increased risk of a serious case of COVID-19 following an infection on the grounds of pre-existing conditions (requires a medical certificate) - and that they are suffering especial hardship as a result, the examination board can approve a written application to sit the examination in a different (but adequate) form. A case of especial hardship results in particular if the situation which the student is able to demonstrate prevents the immediate completion of their studies (which would otherwise be possible) or that their studies would be delayed by a semester.

Students completing their final thesis in winter semester 2020/21 and/or summer semester 2021, will be granted 14-day extension to their deadline. The deadline will end on the 14th day of this extension at the time originally determined for the original deadline. If no time was established for submission of the thesis, it can be handed in by midnight of the 14th day of the extension.

Students completing a term paper, project report, seminar paper or a comparable text in winter semester 2020/21 and/or summer semester 2021, for which a multi-week completion period with a specific submission date has been specified, will be granted a 14-day extension.

In deviation from § 7 para. 4 sentence 1 of the Ordinance on overcoming coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 epidemic related challenges (Corona-Epidemie-Hochschulverordnung), students who have sat but failed to pass an examination in summer semester 2020 or winter semester 2020/21 will be granted an additional repeat attempt. This applies to every examination sat in the semesters specified, but once only. Sentence 1 does not apply to examinations which have been declared to have been the subject of misconduct. Candidates enrolled in a teaching master's degree program who have sat an examination within the scope of a practical semester but have failed to pass it will, in deviation to sentence 1 and § 7 para. 4 sentence 1 and 3 of the Corona-Epidemie-Hochschulverordnung, be granted the opportunity to revise both components of the examination within a period of four weeks.


Abstand/ Distance


Händehygiene/ Hand Hygiene


Alltagsmasken/ Community Masks


Lüften/ Ventilation

Hygiene Requirements

Even if on-site teaching and examinations are currently organized in exceptional cases only, situations can arise - for example during an on-site examination covered by the exceptions - which require the on-campus presence of a student. Should you be required to attend campus, please familiarize yourself with the regulations relating to on-campus behavior issued by the State of NRW and the City of Bonn.

A student is disinfecting their hands at a disinfection station placed in front of an entrance to a university building. Two further students wearing masks are walking towards the building whilst maintaining a distance from each other.
© Universität Bonn/ Volker Lannert


lease note that the rules governing all on-site courses and examinations conducted at the University of Bonn require that participants wear a medical face mask (without breathing valve). The University of Bonn will provide medical face masks (surgical masks) for the individual sessions. When on the outside areas of a University campus, please make sure that you wear a mask at times when it proves impossible to maintain the prescribed safety distance from others. Such situations may also be subject to separate regulations issued by the City of Bonn, which require citizens to wear a mask on public open spaces and streets in the town.

Keep the mask with which you have been issued and wear it on your journey home and then dispose of it in the domestic waste. If you would prefer not to wear the used mask on your journey home, please dispose of it in the waste bins marked for used masks only.

A distance of 1.5 meters must be maintained to all persons in University of Bonn buildings. All rooms have been prepared to facilitate such social distancing practices; you will find stickers on your seats providing the corresponding information.

Please maintain social distancing (1.5 m) from others on outside areas of the University campuses - for example when lining up at entrances.

Disinfectant dispensers have been set up in front of all entrances to University buildings to facilitate entry. Please apply disinfectant to your hands before entering University buildings. We recommend that you wash your hands with soap and water at regular intervals.

All seminar rooms and lecture halls allow for sufficient airing. This will be performed either automatically using a ventilation system or by manually by opening windows and doors. Information about good ventilation practice will be displayed at the entrance to every room. The room must be thoroughly aired every 30 minutes during a break of approx. five minutes (ideally through cross-ventilation, i.e. opening opposite windows and doors; otherwise through impact ventilation, i.e. opening all windows). Impact ventilation time: 10 minutes in summer, 5 minutes in spring/fall, 3 minutes in winter (outside temperature < 6 °C).

Persons arriving from so-called “areas of variant of concern” as identified by the Robert Koch Institute are required to notify the health authorities of their arrival and enter quarantine immediately for a period of ten days (with day one being the day they left the “area of variant of concern”). These persons are required to take a COVID-19 test before or upon entering Germany and repeat such a test after five days. Quarantine can be ended early by those persons presenting a second negative test result.

Persons entering Germany from all other countries considered risk areas by the Robert Koch Institute must submit to a COVID-19 test (within 48 hours prior or immediately subsequent to arrival in Germany). Should these persons not take a test, they will be required to quarantine. Quarantine may only be cut short by submission of a negative test result. There are some exceptions to this rule. Those taking a PCR test instead of a rapid test must remain in quarantine until receiving a negative test result. All arrivals in the state of NRW are subject to a digital registration requirement. All the necessary information about this is available on the NRW state website.

Auch an dieser Stelle bitten wir Sie, sich mit der Handreichung für Studierende vertraut zu machen. Sie regelt die konkreten Abläufe von Präsenzprüfungen.

Questions and Answers

We constantly receive questions about studying during the pandemic. Please address specific questions regarding your degree program to your degree program manager or the relevant Examination Office.


Students can sit online examinations in the USL reading room in Adenauerallee, where they can use the stable Internet connection. Examination candidates can reserve a place in the reading room 48 hours before the date on which their examination is to take place. The workplaces reserved for this purpose are fitted with electricity sockets; nevertheless, we recommend that you charge your laptop fully beforehand. Please consult the announcement from the USL for further information.

The University provides 40 iPads for students who do not have sufficient technical resources to complete online-supported written examinations. They can be obtained from the MNL Branch Library. Please consult the announcement on the USL homepage.

Following consultation with the course teacher, the examination board can stipulate that the completion of certain study achievements can be substituted for an attendance requirement as the prerequisite for admittance to examinations. Please contact the person responsible for your course to establish the valid regulations. If the examination regulations stipulate compulsory attendance for a course, this requirement also applies if the course is held online. Course teachers can require that their students register at each session using their real names or a pseudonym which has been communicated to them in advance to enable them to verify the attendance requirement.

Teachers do not like addressing blank screens and will usually ask their students to activate their camera. You are not obliged to activate your camera, but we would ask you to consider this option, as it facilitates a profitable exchange between students and teachers and contributes to a constructive atmosphere in the seminar. You may have the option of using pictures as virtual background on Zoom and in this way protect your privacy.

The results of the student survey are published on the web pages of the Center for Evaluation and Methodology of the University of Bonn.

All important information about BAföG during the Coronavirus pandemic is provided on the dedicated web pages of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. BAföG recipients should not experience disadvantage due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The General Students’ Committee (AStA) at the University of Bonn has adapted the criteria for receiving interest-free loans from the Student Assistance Fund to the exigencies of the current situation and provides quick, uncomplicated help for students who are currently experiencing financial difficulties. Further information is available on the General Students’ Committee (AStA) homepage and the announcement from May 7.

The University of Bonn has used the online teaching and learning platform eCampus for a number of years. Members of the teaching staff can link the courses which they have registered in BASIS (the digital course catalog) with courses in eCampus, so that they are identical on each platform. Students already registered for the course have been informed of their acceptance in the eCampus courses via email. Should you have failed to receive the corresponding information, please contact the person responsible for the module.

Information about the course, course materials and the requirements for participation is provided on the relevant course page in eCampus.

No, students are not required to sit such an examination. However, you are not entitled to sit an on-site examination. The University has taken the decision to provide online-supported examinations to enable you to continue your studies. Should you experience technical problems at any time during the examination, you can withdraw from the examination.

Subject-specific information about your study schedules is provided on the website of your degree program.

The representative for students with disabilities, Marion Becker, has summarized all the support measures for students with disabilities on her homepage “Support Services for Students with a Disability”. It lists all the contact information for further advice and support (please note: we are unable to provide a link due to the relaunch of the web page).

Should students find it impossible to participate in online teaching, they have the right to a semester on leave (see § 15 Enrollment Regulations - Einschreibungsordnung). Students can apply for a semester on leave at the Student Registry. They will be required to state reasons. Students on leave are not able to sit examinations, with the exception that they can repeat failed examinations or course assessments or other work requisite to admission for a course resulting from a semester abroad which they spend on leave, or due to the need to perform childcare or care for a close dependent relative. Precise information about these exceptions is provided in § 15 para. 2 of the Enrollment Regulations (Einschreibungsordnung).

Please consult the Office for Family Services regarding any questions pertaining to the combination of family responsibilities and university studies. Its staff is happy to provide advice and support relating to this issue in these challenging times.

The University provides a range of tools to this end. Please make use of any fora on eCampus, set up by the member of staff teaching the course and in which you may be able to exercise certain rights.

All members of the University of Bonn, including international students can use the “Rosetta Stone interactive language learning program”, for which the University of Bonn has a campus license. They can also engage in a language exchange (tandem) organized by the Language Learning Center (SLZ). The General Students’ Committee (AStA) also runs its own language learning exchange program. The Goethe Institute website also provides information about the topic “practicing German free-of-charge”. The Deutsche Welle also provides materials on its website. A more interactive method of learning German is to attend the “Sprachcafé International” (an international language exchange cafe) organized by the General Students’ Committee (AStA). This is open to all students.

Further Information about COVID-19

Main Page

Return to the main page, from where you can navigate to a range of subpages.

Information for Teaching Staff

Members of the teaching staff will find the most important regulations applicable to university teaching during the pandemic here.

Important Documents

All the important documents relevant to university operations during the pandemic are available here.

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