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COVID-19/coronavirus: Current measures of the University of Wuppertal

In a letter dated March 16th, 2020 the president and chancellor of the University of Wuppertal (BUW) informed about the current state of affairs regarding the management of the coronavirus crisis. In the meantime, the situation has worsened once again, so that more far-reaching measures have now been introduced for some of the points addressed.

In order to give the members of the BUW a brief overview of all the main provisions currently in force, we have summarised them below in the form of an FAQ list with further links.

At a glance

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What is the status of the spread of the coronavirus? (current since 18th March)

The situation is very dynamic. On 11th March the World Health Organisation declared the spread of the virus a "pandemic". In Germany, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) is continuously monitoring the situation. Since 17th March, the RKI has assessed the risk for the population in Germany as "high overall".

Please inform yourself there about the current status: Robert-Koch-Institut.

What are the operational restrictions to reduce social contacts? (as of 19th March)

In order to reduce the risk of infection from public traffic, students are no longer allowed to enter the BUW buildings after 19th March (for exceptions see below). The university management also asks students to avoid the university grounds for their own protection and that of the public.

The libraries were closed. Employees are to work in the home office as a regular place of work from 19th March onwards (see below). Wherever possible, processes are to be offered electronically. All public events are prohibited until 19th April. Teaching and examinations are suspended until then.

Who is not allowed to enter the campus for 14 days? (currently from 19th March)

Persons who have been in contact with an infected person must maintain a 14-day- quarantine in coordination with the public health department. According to the recommendations of the RKI, travellers who have stayed in designated risk areas should avoid contact with other people for up to 14 days after returning home.

In accordance with the decree of the Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Affairs of North Rhine-Westphalia of 15th March, they are not allowed to enter the buildings of the BUW during this period.

How does BUW keep you informed about developments?

The BUW monitors the situation and, if necessary, informs all members via the homepage and / or by circular mail or social media and additionally via the usual house communications. Please check these communication channels regularly (currently daily if possible), even when you are at home.

Operation

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Why are students not allowed to enter the BUW buildings? (currently from 19th March)

In order to break the chain of infection, a general ban on access to the BUW buildings, including the university libraries, the computer pools and all study and work rooms, will apply to all students from 19th March. This measure will protect students and employees from infection and will help to contain the further spread of the virus.

What about the lecture operation? (current since 15th March)

The Ministry of Culture and Science has moved the start of the lecture period to 20th April. Consequently, all block seminars, further education and sports courses as well as other (teaching) events must be cancelled with immediate effect. The lecture period ends on 17th July as planned.

What about examinations? (current since 17th March)

All on-site examinations are cancelled with effect from 17th March. In due course, the respective examinations will either be made up for or replaced by suitable alternative formats. The faculties are asked to extend the deadlines for final papers and term papers if necessary.

For hardship cases, especially for "last" oral exams* with which the degree can be achieved, the responsible offices of the faculties are responsible, in the case of state exams the state examination offices. For very special cases which are not covered by these responsibilities and which require individual regulation, a special advisory office is set up (contact: prüfungen-corona{at}uni-wuppertal.de).  

*Exceptionally permitted special examinations in cases of hardship as well as the submission of final exams and homework will be granted an exception to the ban on admission for students.

Further questions and answers on the examination process can be found at https://www.zpa.uni-wuppertal.de/de/faq-corona.html.

Who can students turn to if they suffer adverse consequences from the package of measures?

The BUW strives to minimise any adverse consequences that may arise for students. Students who suffer significant individual negative consequences from the Corona crisis can take advantage of the information and counselling services provided by Department 3, the Central Student Advisory Service (ZSB) and the International Center. The BUW strives to find individually appropriate solutions.

What other areas of campus life are affected? (currently since 18th March)

The university libraries have been closed to the public since 17th March, and employees can be contacted digitally. The university sports programme is suspended until 24th April.

All catering facilities of the Hochschulsozialwerk have been closed since 18th March. All advisory services can be accessed digitally. Please check the respective websites in the coming days.

Can the BUW still be reached by mail? (currently since 18 March)

Despite the current situation, BUW's postal service continues to operate. All incoming and outgoing mail is delivered and dispatched as usual. The departments are requested to observe appropriate presence rules.

Work organisation, labour law, home office

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What is the agreement on the home office in the corona crisis? (current since 18th March)

On 18th March, the university management, in agreement with the staff councils, decided that the home office should be the regular place of work for all BUW employees - both for scientific and artistic staff as well as for technical and administrative staff - as far as possible from 19th March onwards.

The recording of working time in the flexitime system will be suspended. This regulation applies until further notice and can be extended or restricted at any time. The university management will find individually appropriate solutions for those cases in which work in the home office or on-call service has negative consequences.

For further information, please refer to the Newsletter No. 25.

Further information for executives

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Which hygienic precautions should I take? (current since 28th February)

To prevent the spread of infectious diseases, advise your team on appropriate respiratory and hand hygiene (see below). As usual, make sure that employees who are unable to work recover at home and do not appear sick at work.

How do I prepare for sick leave? (current since 28th February)

Identify key elements in work processes and provide substitution rules in these areas so that the absence of a person due to illness does not endanger or impair the functioning of the entire organizational unit.

How do I prepare for a possible closure? (current since 28th February)

Should your area require assistance in the event of closure, please inform the department 5 immediately, pointing out whether the area is sensitive or dangerous.

How do I ensure the flow of information in my area? (current since 28th February)

The BUW informs its members on given occasions via the homepage and / or e-mail or social media. Please make your team members aware of this. If necessary, please ask for alternative means of communication and maintain appropriate contact lists if necessary.

International guests

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What applies to international students? (current since 18th March)

The European Union closed its external borders for 30 days on 17th March. Entry from non-EU countries is therefore not possible without urgent reason. Persons who have entered from risk areas are not allowed to enter the campus for 14 days (in accordance with the decree of the Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Affairs of North Rhine-Westphalia of 15th March).

The International Center is in direct personal contact with all international students who come from designated risk areas and are expected on campus. Those affected are requested to wait until later before they start their stay at the university.

What applies to guests from risk areas? (currently since 18th March)

The European Union closed its external borders for 30 days on 17th March. Entry from non-EU countries is therefore not possible without urgent reason. Until further notice, no guests arriving from one of the designated risk areas may be received on campus. This applies regardless of their national origin and follows from the decree of the Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Affairs of North Rhine-Westphalia of 15th March.

BUW members expecting visitors from such regions are asked to contact the guests and cancel their stay. The International Center (see above) takes care of the communication with international students.

Protection against infection

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Which hygienic precautions can I take to protect myself? (current since 28th February)

Ensure good personal hygiene, especially regular and thorough hand washing (at least 30 seconds). Airing the room several times a day reduces the number of viruses in the room and provides a higher humidity, which is good for the mucous membranes of the mouth and nose.

It is advisable to develop more protective habits: for example, pressing elevator buttons with the knuckle of your hand instead of your fingertip.

What precautions should I take in social interaction?

According to the Chancellor's appeal of 12th March, social contacts should be avoided wherever possible in order to stem the spread of the infection. The decree of the Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Affairs of North Rhine-Westphalia of 15th March restricts social life.

Keep your distance from the person you are meeting in everyday life. Agree to refrain from shaking hands for the time being. Avoid crowded waiting areas. Ensure regular and adequate hand hygiene and proper coughing and sneezing etiquette.

What should I do to protect others?

Pay attention to the coughing and sneezing etiquette: turn away from those present, do not cough in your hand, but cover your mouth and nose and cough into the crook of your arm if possible. Dispose of used tissues quickly.

In case of suspicion

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What are the symptoms?

Please contact the RKI for further information.

What should I do if I think I am ill?

Wherever there are suspected cases of coronavirus infection, the public health department must be informed immediately. In addition, the university administration also asks for the appropriate information so that further "contact persons" can be found as soon as possible.

Experience has shown that the municipal health authorities currently react with a delay due to congestion. Students should report suspected infections at: stud-corona{at}uni-wuppertal.de; staff members can use the e-mail address: infodez41{at}uni-wuppertal.de.