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Date: Mar 23, 2020

Information on the coronavirus

The University of Bonn informs its members continuously about the current situation regarding the new coronavirus Sars-CoV-2. With massive measures, the federal government, the Länder and local authorities try to slow down the spread of the virus and to protect the population, especially the specific risk groups. Far-reaching measures have been taken at the University of Bonn to contribute to this effort.

 

A message from the Rector

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Rector Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Michael Hoch addresses the impact of the coronavirus on the University of Bonn in a message to all University members. Recorded on March 17, 2020 by uni-bonn.tv.

 

General information on the coronavirus

Contact ban from March 23, 2020
The state government has issued a far-reaching contact ban for North Rhine-Westphalia. Meetings and gatherings of more than two persons in public are prohibited. Excluded are families and people living together. The use of local public transport remains permitted. In public, keep a distance of at least 1.5 metres from other people and reduce contact to a minimum.
How do you recognize an infection?
Like other respiratory pathogens, infection with the novel coronavirus can lead to symptoms such as coughing, rhinitis, sore throat and fever. Some patients also suffer from diarrhea. In some patients, the virus can take a more severe course, leading to respiratory problems and pneumonia. Deaths have so far occurred mainly in elderly patients and/or persons who suffered from underlying chronic diseases. 
How can we protect ourselves?
To prevent infection in particular, the standard hygiene measures are recommended:
  • More frequent hand washing: thoroughly with soap and water for about 30 seconds.
  • Cough hygiene: Cough only in the crook of your arm.
  • Keep a distance of about 1.5 to 2 meters from the sick person.
  • Reduce contact with other people to a minimum.
What can I do if I suffer from symptoms of illness?
1) Persons who have had personal contact (regardless of travel) with a person in whom the novel coronavirus has been detected in the laboratory should contact the public health authority immediately, regardless of symptoms. 
 
2) Persons who have been in a risk area designated by the Robert Koch Institute should - regardless of symptoms - avoid unnecessary contact and stay at home if possible. If acute symptoms occur, they should seek medical advice by telephone and refer to the trip.
 
3) Travellers from regions where COVID-19 cases occur, but which are not risk areas, and who develop fever, cough or shortness of breath within 14 days of return from the trip, should call for medical advice by telephone and refer to the trip. If possible, they should stay at home.
If you travel to Bonn
As far as you are not travelling to Bonn from a risk area, there is nothing special to consider. It is advisable to observe general rules of hygiene (see above).
 
Persons returning from risk areas are not allowed to enter university premises until 14 days after entry. Employees can make use of home office regulations (see below).
 

University operations

The current situation makes it necessary to minimize personal contacts. Many of the University's employees are now working in "home office". They remain available by telephone and e-mail. 
University administration 
We ask to refrain from visiting units of the University administration, as it has largely been converted to home office structures. Employees remain available - usually from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. - under the known contact information by telephone and e-mail. If possible, documents should not be sent to the University administration by mail, but by e-mail. Originals can be submitted later, if necassary.
 
This applies in particular to personnel requests from the University branches, which should be sent as a scan to the respective functional mailbox with the written approval of the budget managers. Details can be found in Circular 21/2020.
Facilities closed
All University premises will be closed to the public until further notice. Employees will continue to have access. In special cases (e.g. examinations) individual arrangements can be made (contact: Department 4.1).
 
Bonn University and State Library (ULB) and the decentralized libraries are closed. Literature of the ULB can be further obtained via the search portal bonnus. A large part of the holdings is available online as full text. The loan period for borrowed media is automatically extended until April 27, 2020. 
 
University sports,the University museums and the Botanical gardens will also remain closed until further notice.
University gastronomy
The university gastronomy of the Studierendenwerk Bonn has been discontinued. Only the "venusberg bistro" at the University Hospital Bonn (for UKB staff and students of the University of Bonn with ID) and the cafeleven, Nassestraße, remain open and serve a reduced to-go offer.
No public events
Until further notice, all public events in North Rhine-Westphalia are cancelled.
 
 

Study and teaching

 
Advice and registration 
The Student Secretariat and the Central Student Advisory Office are closed to the public. It is still possible to contact them by e-mail and telephone. Counselling services continue to be offered through these channels.
 
Registration for the summer semester 2020 can only be made in writing (by post). Registration documents can also be deposited in the mailboxes at Regina-Pacis-Weg 3 and Poppelsdorfer Allee 49. The required documents can be submitted as copies certified by public bodies. The registration form and further information can be found on the website of the Student Secretariat.
Exams
All examinations in the area of responsibility of the university were cancelled and postponed. They should be made up as soon as possible. The faculties will be provided with timely information to help the examination boards, in consultation with the respective examiners, to enable alternative forms of examination and to deal with deadlines laid down in the examination regulations. In special cases it is possible to conduct examinations in a form that does not require personal contact between examiners and candidates. This requires the explicit consent of both parties, which must be recorded in writing before the examination.
 
Teaching is interrupted
Ongoing courses such as lectures, seminars or lab courses are generally interrupted if they cannot be continued online. 
 
Teachers are requested to extend the deadlines for submission of homework if necessary. Internal training courses, seminars and courses are also affected by the interruption - as long as they cannot be continued online. Students can find up-to-date information on BASIS, eCampus and the faculties' websites.
Lecture period begins later
The state of North Rhine-Westphalia, in agreement with the state's universities, has decreed that the lecture period will not begin until Monday, 20 April 2020. Lectures at our University will therefore also not begin until this date. The end of the lecture period remains unchanged, July 17, 2020. Digital courses can begin earlier. In particular, we would like to make use of digitally supported "home learning". The University’s  teaching and learning platform eCampus provides a good basis.
 
Study or internships abroad
In principle, travel is currently considerably more difficult. The University advises against starting semesters abroad in regions classified as risk areas. Before leaving, students should inform themselves whether their host university is in one of the current risk areas. Students who still want to leave the country should definitely contact their host university beforehand.
 
ERASMUS students who are already in one of the places or regions classified as risk areas and who wish to cancel their stay, will not have any disadvantages to their funding. To answer questions regarding an Erasmus or PROMOS scholarship, please contact the International Outbound Mobility team.
 
Returnees from risk areas may not enter University premises or take part in University events in the first 14 days after their arrival and should inform their department accordingly.
 
Questions regarding student exchanges, especially those of students who are currently still abroad, should be sent to the e-mail address [Email protection active, please enable JavaScript.].
 
 

Information for employees

Exemption in case of quarantine
Employees who return after a stay in a risk area with symptoms of illness or who have been in contact with a person who has tested positive for coronavirus are not allowed to enter the university for a period of 14 days. They shall be released from the obligation to perform work during this period.
Home Office
Home office is generally possible in consultation with your supervisors, unless there are urgent operational reasons to consider. Written applications to the Human Resources Division are not required for approval. If no personal data are processed, the use of private end devices is possible; in this case, employees must ensure data security. When working from home, regular working hours are generally expected.
Working time regulations
For the time being, a system based on confidential working hours will be introduced for the central administration, in so far as the departments organise the presence of employees on their own responsibility in such a way as to ensure that operations are maintained and necessary work is carried out. In addition, no presence is required on site to the extent of normal working hours.
 
The departments support each other with personnel, provided that this is possible according to the nature of the respective tasks or with reasonable instruction. Anyone who no longer has any tasks and is no longer needed can go home in consultation with their superiors, but can be asked to return to work at any time if necessary. As far as possible, equal treatment of employees must be ensured.
Care of children and relatives in need of care
If childcare should become absolutely necessary due to the closure of schools and other institutions, in consultation with their supervisors employees can work from home or apply flexible working hours (e.g. working in the early evening). If these options are not available, time compensation can be provided in the form of flexible working time/flexible working hours or overtime reduction, or remaining vacation days for the years 2018/2019 can be taken. The same applies in the event that relatives in need of care have to be looked after.
 
If this is not sufficient, employees can stay away from their workplace for a period of 5 working days without loss of salary in accordance with § 616 BGB. This only applies if there are no alternative childcare options (e.g. by spouse, neighbourhood). Care by grandparents should be avoided, as older people are considerably endangered by the virus and their health should be particularly protected. We would like to point out that you can apply for special leave or leave of absence from work without continued payment of remuneration. Such applications should be submitted in electronic form to the relevant human resource departments. Supervisors must be informed in advance.
 
It is also possible to apply for a paid leave of absence for childcare via your statutory health insurance companies in accordance with § 45 Para. 2 SGB V upon presentation of an appropriate medical certificate. According to these provisions, employees are entitled to sick pay if, according to a medical certificate, it is necessary for them to be absent from work to supervise, care for or nurse their sick and injured child (under the age of 12 or disabled and dependent on assistance), and if no other person living in their household can supervise, care for or nurse the child. 
 
In each calendar year, entitlement exists for each child for a maximum of 10 working days, and for single parents for a maximum of 20 working days.
 
For civil servants, the above regulations apply accordingly. 
Persons with previous illnesses
The Robert Koch Institute confirms that persons with pre-existing health conditions are at a higher risk of a severe course of the disease when infected with SARS-CoV-2. Among these are the following:
  • diseases of the heart (e.g. coronary heart disease)  
  • the lungs (e.g. asthma, chronic bronchitis)  
  • the liver (chronic liver diseases) 
  • diabetes mellitus (diabetes disease) 
  • cancer
  • diseases of the immune system (e.g. due to a disease associated with an immune deficiency or due to taking drugs that weaken the immune system, such as cortisone).
This particularly vulnerable group of people should be actively offered the option to work from home by their supervisors if possible. Such applications by employees are to be approved as a matter of principle.
 
If working from home is not possible, person-to-person contact is to be minimised by flexible working hours (e.g. working in the early evening).
 
If this option does not exist either, time compensation can be provided in the form of flexible working hours/flexible working hours or overtime reduction, or any remaining leave for the years 2018/2019 can be taken.
 
If all options are exhausted, the University will grant permission to the responsible supervisors to grant leave of absence for an initial period of 14 working days for reasons of welfare. Any such persons must be reported to the relevant human resource division.
 
Parking facilities
Until further notice, employees who arrive by private car instead of public transport can park without a parking permit in the university parking areas.
Business trips
Business trips will not be authorised until further notice. Business trip approvals that have already granted will be revoked if the trip has not yet commenced. Invoices for already booked events, flights, hotels etc. must be cancelled immediately. If the trip cannot be cancelled, expenses can be reimbursed via a regular travel expense report.
 
The exchange with cooperation partners in risk areas should take place via other means of communication such as telephone, video or web conferences.
 
Business abroad
Employees of the University who are currently abroad can contact the Welcome Center of the University of Bonn in the International Office for further questions, especially regarding whether, when and how to return to Germany. Please contact [Email protection active, please enable JavaScript.].

Further information

 
Hotline of the city of Bonn
The public health department of the city of Bonn has established a hotline for the corona virus. It can be reached Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. by calling 0228 775351 and 0228 775352.
 
Important links
 

State authorities

 

Specialist institutions 

 
University institutions
Circulars of the University of Bonn (only accessible within the university)
 

Status: March 23, 2020

 

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