• Coronavirus

    disinfectant dispenser
    © Universität Bielefeld

Current Updates

Calender week 44 / 2020

Update of 30.10.2020 for students - Bielefeld Coronavirus risk area: current information

Dear Students,

On Wednesday evening, the federal and state governments announced sweeping measures to contain the massive increase in the number of new COVID-19 infections here in Germany. Even though there are not currently new national or state regulations for universities, the Rectorate of Bielefeld University has once again revisited its plans for the Winter Semester, which just recently went into session. We remain confident that our hygiene and safety strategies are also suitable and sufficient for the current situation. In addition to this, our assessments indicate the expected number of students present on campus to be tenable. This opinion is also shared by the responsible authorities of the Bielefeld municipal government. We are therefore of the opinion that presence-based instruction will generally remain possible within the specified guidelines.

Some of you have signed up for courses in this current Winter Semester that are taught in person. You might been looking forward to learning together on site, and having the opportunity to interact in-person with your instructors and fellow students. However, in light of the current situation, and following the urgent calls to reduce social contact from Chancellor Angela Markel and the Minister Presidents of the federal states, we have recommended that instructors largely replace in-person teaching with digital offerings. Where appropriate, instructors could return to on-site teaching at a later date, if organizationally feasible. We are also asking for your understanding during this time, as some instructors may now in fact be rescheduling their courses on short notice. We regret this as much as you do. But each course held online is a contribution towards reducing direct contact. And, during this past Summer Semester, we already gained a good deal of experience with online formats, and we can now continue to build upon this. Student work stations, such as those in the University Library and the University Hall, remain available until further notice. The University Library will actually even be extending its opening hours starting next week.

Presence-based offerings from the university sports services, however, will not be able to be held, at least through the end of November. The Uni-Fit gym and swimming pool will also remain closed (with the exception of educational courses).

If you have signed up for a course that you no longer can or want to attend, then please make sure to cancel your registration with the respective instructor or deregister in eKVV. This is especially important for presence-based courses, as only a limited number of spaces are available due to current restrictions: by deregistering, you will enable another person to take your place.

During the times when you are present on campus, we again urge you to maintain social distancing, wear a face mask, observe hygiene rules, and register at work stations and in classrooms.

Important: you are not allowed on campus if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or test positive for it. If you have a positive COVID-19 test result and have previously attended an in-person course at the university, you must immediately inform your instructor and send an email notifying the university of your positive test result to coronavirus@uni-bielefeld.de. In the event of a positive test, you may only re-enter the campus after 14 days and only if you are symptom-free for two days.

If the situation continues to worsen, or if we are confronted with the fact that people on campus are getting infected despite our hygiene and safety measures, we will of course revisit our planning and revise it at short notice if needed.

We thank you for your understanding.

Stay healthy and well, and we hope you have a good start to this Winter Semester despite the restrictions.

Best regards,

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Gerhard Sagerer, Rector

Prof. Dr. Birgit Lütje-Klose, Vice-Rector for Education and Teaching

Update of 30.10.2020 for teaching staff - Bielefeld Coronavirus risk area: current information on teaching

Dear Instructors,

On Wednesday evening, the federal and state governments announced sweeping measures to contain the massive increase in the number of new COVID-19 infections here in Germany. Even though there are not currently new national or state regulations for universities, the Rectorate of Bielefeld University has once again revisited its plans for the Winter Semester, which just recently went into session. We remain confident that our hygiene and safety strategies are also suitable and sufficient for the current situation. In addition to this, our assessments indicate the expected number of students present on campus to be tenable. This opinion is also shared by the responsible authorities of the Bielefeld municipal government. We are therefore of the opinion that presence-based instruction will generally remain possible within the specified guidelines.

In light of the current situation, however, and with regard to the urgent calls to reduce social contact from Chancellor Angela Merkel and the Minister Presidents of the federal states, we are recommending that you switch from in-person teaching to digital instruction. If need be, you could return to presence-based instruction in the scheduled classrooms at a later date, if this is organizationally feasible. Every in-person course moved online helps to reduce contact. Many of you have already done this. We expect that those who have decided to continue offering on-site teaching in the current circumstances have good reasons to do so, or that the alternative online formats simply are not possible without jeopardizing teaching and learning objectives.

Student work stations, such as those in the University Library and the University Hall, remain available until further notice. The University Library will actually even be extending its opening hours starting next week.

Another important point: next week a new Organizational Degree will be issued that will bring together all of the current regulations in place at Bielefeld University. In connection to this, we will also provide you with guidance on how to handle having a student in a presence-based course who tests positive for COVID-19.

If the situation continues to worsen, or if we are confronted with the fact that people on campus are getting infected despite our hygiene and safety measures, we will of course revisit our planning and revise it at short notice if needed.

We thank you for your understanding.

Stay healthy and well.

 

Best regards,

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Gerhard Sagerer, Rector

Prof. Dr. Birgit Lütje-Klose, Vice-Rector for Education and Teaching

Update of 30.10.2020 for employees - Bielefeld Coronavirus risk area: current information

Dear Colleagues,

On Wednesday evening, the federal and state governments announced sweeping measures to contain the massive increase in the number of new COVID-19 infections here in Germany. Even though there are not currently new governmental regulations for universities, the Rectorate of Bielefeld University has once again revisited its plans for the Winter Semester, which just recently went into session.

We remain confident that our hygiene and safety strategies for teaching, studying, research, and work are suitable and sufficient for the current situation. This opinion is also shared by the responsible authorities of the Bielefeld municipal government. The decisions from last week thus remain in place. Presence-based instruction will generally remain possible within the specified guidelines. Work stations for students, such as those located in the University Library and the University Hall, will too remain available. We also want to ensure that necessary research activities can take place on site.

The message from Chancellor Angela Merkel and the Minister Presidents of the federal states was clear: wherever possible, employers should allow their employees to work from Home Office. This is something we already successfully put into place for the university earlier this year. The situation now, however, is different: we do not again want to cut back on the studying, teaching, and research offerings on campus. This is why we have decided that employees in university support services who are absolutely necessary to maintain current teaching and research operations will not move to Home Office. The decision regarding which employees this pertains to will be defined by the supervisors in the areas involved. For everyone else, we recommend that you work from Home Office through the end of November. We know that many of you would like to continue doing your work on the university campus, and we also consider this to be viable, in principle. Excluded from working on campus, however, are individuals at an increased risk for complications from COVID-19 as well as those who are pregnant.

Important: you are not allowed on campus if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or test positive for it. If you have a positive COVID-19 test result, you must immediately inform your supervisor and send an email notifying the university of your positive test result to coronavirus@uni-bielefeld.de. In the event of a positive test, you may only re-enter the campus after 14 days and only if you are symptom-free for two days.

Presence-based offerings from the university sports services will not be able to be held, at least through the end of November. The Uni-Fit gym and swimming pool will also remain closed (with the exception of educational courses).

Business trips should be avoided unless absolutely necessary.

For the time being, no events outside of the teaching and examination schedule may take place until November 30. This also applies to scientific conferences and similar events in attendance.

In the coming weeks, a new Organizational Decree will be issued that brings together the current regulations in place at Bielefeld University.

An important note for supervisors: currently, there are more and more restrictions being put in place at daycare centers and at schools. As a result, some staff members are once again being confronted with care responsibilities. We kindly ask you to consider these challenges for parents when scheduling work and approach the situation with understanding. Trust-based working hours offers a great degree of flexibility, and we ask that you take advantage of this. If you have any questions, please get in touch with the human resources department.

If the situation continues to worsen, or if we are confronted with the fact that people on campus are getting infected despite our hygiene and safety measures, we will of course revisit our planning and revise it at short notice if needed.

During the times when you are present on campus, we again urge you to maintain social distancing, wear a face mask and observe hygiene rules.

We thank you for your understanding.

Stay healthy and well.

Best regards,

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Gerhard Sagerer, Rector

Dr. Stephan Becker, Chancellor


Downloads

Regulations for university operations during the Corona pandemic at Bielefeld University

Organizational decree of 23.03.2020

Updated version of 30.10.20, valid from 06.11.2020

The university is still in a ‘university operation during the coronavirus pandemic’. This organizational decree has been updated on the basis of the Coronavirus Protection Ordinance of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia dated 05.11.2020, and it summarizes the current measures at Bielefeld University.

All measures continue to pursue the goal of ensuring the health of students, teachers, researchers, and technical and administrative staff by interrupting the chains of infection.

In principle, and independently from the following contingency plan, the following still applies:

The university is still in a ‘university operation during the coronavirus pandemic’. This organizational decree has been updated on the basis of the Coronavirus Protection Ordinance of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia dated 05.11.2020, and it summarizes the current measures at Bielefeld University.

All measures continue to pursue the goal of ensuring the health of students, teachers, researchers, and technical and administrative staff by interrupting the chains of infection.

In principle, and independently from the following contingency plan, the following still applies:

  • In principle, a minimum distance of 1.5 m must be maintained between persons
  • Irrespective of compliance with the minimum distance, there is a principle obligation to wear a mouth-and-nose covering in all university buildings (exceptions are: in employees’ offices and other workplaces of as long as the minimum distance is observed, persons with a medical certificate exempting them from wearing a mask, practical sports events, laboratory work, music lessons). Teachers are exempt from this obligation during their lessons provided they respect the minimum distance and ensure compliance with this. Until further notice, a mouth-and-nose covering must be worn at all student workplaces (library, university hall, gallery and bridges, seminar rooms). This also applies to outdoor courses with more than 25 persons.
  • Persons with respiratory symptoms (unless diagnosed medically as having another cause) or fever are principally not allowed to stay on the university campus.

Complete organizational decision

 


Additional information

General information and links

Tips for hygiene
Interview with Prof. Dr. med. Claudia Hornberg

What do we know about the coronavirus and how to avoid transmissions?

Interview with Prof. Dr. med. Claudia Hornberg, Professor of Environment and Health and founding dean of the Medical Faculty OWL

Prof. Dr. med. Claudia Hornberg
Prof. Dr. med. Claudia Hornberg

Ms Hornberg, what’s so special about the coronavirus and how dangerous is an infection?

Coronaviruses were first identified in the mid-1960s and can infect not only humans but also various animals such as birds and mammals. It is assumed that the precursors of the novel coronavirus come from animals in the wild.

The current illnesses are caused by a new type of corona virus, with the official name "SARS-CoV-2". The respiratory disease it causes is called COVID-19.

As with other respiratory pathogens, an infection with the novel coronavirus can lead to symptoms such as coughing, a runny nose, a sore throat, and fever—just like a common cold. In patients with pre-existing conditions, the virus can take a more serious course with, for example, breathing difficulties or pneumonia. Up to now, most of the patients who have died were already suffering from chronic diseases. Currently, the proportion of deaths in which the virus has been confirmed by laboratory tests is about two percent. However, this only includes data on patients who have been treated in hospital.

How is the virus transmitted?

As far as we currently know, the coronavirus is transmitted from person to person. The main transmission route is droplet infection. This can be directly person to person via the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract or also indirectly via the hands that are then brought into contact with the mucous membranes of the mouth and nose or the lining of the eyes.  Transmission is also possible if only mild or unspecific signs of disease are present. Novel coronaviruses have also been found in stool samples of some infected individuals. However, we do not yet know conclusively whether it can also be transmitted this way.

How can you personally protect yourself against an infection?

In terms of preventive health protection, it is important to adhere to the same hygiene measures that also protect against influenza (flu) infection. These are as follows:  

  • Do not shake hands
  • Regularly carry out good hand hygiene (wash your hands thoroughly with sufficient water and soap several times a day)
  • Avoid touching your face with your hands
  • Observe the coughing and sneezing etiquette (e.g. cough and sneeze into the crook of your arm, use disposable handkerchiefs)
  • if possible, keep at least 1-2 meters away from anybody who is coughing and/or sneezing.

What should people do if they are worried that they have been infected?

First of all, they need a medical examination to determine whether the suspicion of coronavirus is justified. This requires the presence of at least one of the following two constellations:

  • Acute symptoms (fever, cough, a runny nose, a sore throat, and/or infection-related breathing difficulties) or unspecific general symptoms AND contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus.
  • Acute symptoms (fever, cough, a runny nose, a sore throat, and/or infection-related breathing difficulties) AND having been in a risk area (www.rki.de/covid-19-risikogebiete and www.rki.de/covid-19-fallzahlen) within the last 14 days before the start of the illness.

If you suspect that you might have caught the disease, contact a doctor by telephone. Tell the doctor that you suspect that you have become infected with the new coronavirus (and, if appropriate, where you have travelled home from) and discuss what you should do next by telephone before going to a doctor's practice.

Why is there a quarantine recommendation for people who have been in risk areas or who have had clearly documented contact with sick people?

The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) estimates that people who have been in a coronavirus risk area or have had contact with a COVID-19 infected person in the previous 14 days are potentially infected or sick. Persons who have stayed in a risk area designated by the RKI should - even if they have no signs of illness— avoid unnecessary contact with other persons.

The aim of quarantine measures is to interrupt chains of infection and to slow down the spread of the virus as much as possible. This should provide time to find out more about the virus and treatment options, identify risk groups, prepare protective measures, and maintain treatment capacity in the clinics.

Additional links with general information

Hotline city of Bielefeld

(Supplement dated 09.03.2020)

0521 51-2000: The hotline of the city of Bielefeld can be reached under this number from Friday, 6 March, for all questions concerning the corona virus. From Monday to Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., municipal employees* will provide general information and advice on prevention. Outside service hours, the service point of the Kassenärztliche Vereinigung (Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians) is available at 116117. Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

Hotline Evangelisches Klinikum Bethel

(Supplement dated 03.03.2020)

Concerned citizens should please follow the nationally established structures and contact their family doctor or the public health department by telephone. A "telephone hotline" has also been set up at Evangelisches Klinikum Bethel (EvKB) for justified suspicions: Tel. 0521 772-77777. It is attainable from 8 to 16 o'clock.

Source: Evangelisches Klinikum Bethel (in German)