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Coronavirus

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© Universität Bielefeld

Current Updates

Calendar week 36 / 2021

Dear Students,

On Tuesday, the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia released a new Coronavirus Protection Ordinance, which will be in force starting tomorrow (Friday, August 19th) through the 17th of September. In light of the joint resolutions that emerged from the federal-state council last week, the new system is no longer based on incidence levels, but instead simply applies the “3G Rule” when the incidence rises to 35 and above (“3G” stands for “geimpft, genesen, getestet” in German – “vaccinated, recovered, tested” in English). In Bielefeld, the incidence is currently above this threshold. The Coronavirus Protection Ordinance no longer has explicit rules for institutions of higher learning. It is therefore difficult at the moment to say what impact these new regulations will have on our teaching operations and examinations. We will have wait to see what additional information the federal state government might yet provide.

As of today, though, one thing is certain: for all university events, especially for exams and courses that will take place as of tomorrow, the “3G rule” (“vaccinated, recovered, or tested”) will apply. For you as a student, this means that you will have to bring documentation of your fully vaccinated status, recovery, or a negative test result to attend an in-person exam or course. Without proof of vaccination, recovery, or a negative test result, you will not be allowed to participate in the exam or course. During this check, your identity may also be verified. Therefore, please also bring proof of identity (ID card, student ID card or passport).

With this procedure in place, you no longer have to wear a mask during an exam or course while seated. All of the other measures from our university hygiene concept remain in force until further notice.

If you are fully vaccinated, we ask that you use the digital vaccination certificate. If you were vaccinated abroad, please note that vaccinations not authorized for use in the European Union are not recognized: such individuals are considered unvaccinated and would need to bring a negative test result. This includes for example the “Sputnik V” (Russian Federation) and “CoronaVac” (China), which are not currently authorized for use in the EU.

More time will be needed for this check-in procedure, so please plan on arriving early to your exam or course.

We appreciate your understanding that we are not yet able to say exactly how these new regulations will impact planning for the Winter Semester. We will notify you as soon as possible once we have more guidance.

In public areas, you must still continue to wear a mask and maintain 1.5 meters of social distancing.

We would like to take the opportunity to repeat our call to action: please get yourself vaccinated to protect yourself and others.
 

Regards,
 

Professor Dr.-Ing. Gerhard Sagerer, Rector

Professorin Birgit Lütje-Klose, Vice-Rector for Education and Teaching

Dr. Stephan Becker, Chancellor

Dear Instructors,

On Tuesday, the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia released a new Coronavirus Protection Ordinance, which will be in force starting this Friday through the 17th of September. In light of the joint resolutions that emerged from the federal-state council last week, the new system is no longer based on incidence levels, but instead simply applies the “3G Rule” when the incidence rises to 35 and above (“3G” stands for “geimpft, genesen, getestet” in German – “vaccinated, recovered, tested” in English). In Bielefeld, the incidence is currently above this threshold. The Coronavirus Protection Ordinance no longer has explicit rules for institutions of higher learning. It is therefore difficult at the moment to say what impact these new regulations will have on our teaching operations and examinations. We will have wait to see what additional information the federal state government might yet provide. We expect to incorporate these changes in a revised Organizational Decree sometime next week.

As of today, though, one thing is certain: for all university events, especially for exams and courses that take place as of this Friday, the “3G” rule (“vaccinated, recovered, or tested”) will apply. For you as examiners and instructors, this means that you will have to check the documentation provided from your students as to their fully vaccinated, recovered, or negative test status (tests may not be more than 48 hours old). Students who do not provide such documentation of their vaccinated, recovered, or tested status are not allowed to participate in examinations or courses. Proof of identity (e.g. ID card) only needs to be checked on a random basis. With this procedure in place, students do not have to wear a mask when seated during a course or exam. All of the other measures from our university hygiene concept remain in force until further notice.

To verify digital vaccination records, you can use the RKI's CovPassCheck app, which you can download for free on your smartphone. More information is available at https://digitaler-impfnachweis-app.apps.public.bfarm.de/covpasscheck-app. You of course can also check evidence of being vaccinated, recovered, or tested by simple visual inspection of documents.

Unfortunately, this new rule does entail additional work for you. Please consider the time needed for this check in your planning, and let your students know about it.

We appreciate your understanding that we are not yet say exactly how these new regulations will impact planning for the Winter Semester. We will notify you as soon as possible once we have more guidance.
 

Regards,

Professor Dr.-Ing. Gerhard Sagerer, Rector

Professorin Birgit Lütje-Klose, Vice-Rector for Education and Teaching

Dr. Stephan Becker, Chancellor

Dear colleagues,

We hope that you have had, or perhaps are still having, a relaxing holiday and vacation time. A little time away from the everyday coronavirus-ridden (university) life is good for all of us. We are encouraged by the fact that vaccines are now widely available and that many employees and students have already taken advantage of the vaccination offer. We shall now return step by step to a normality that will probably differ from that before the coronavirus, but will finally bring us together again.

Based on what is now a broad immune protection of the population against Covid-19, politicians in Germany have taken far-reaching opening steps. This also gives us opportunities to readjust university operations. We have described the current regulations in a new organizational decree that is effective immediately. You can find it here: www.uni-bielefeld.de/corona-verfuegung.

Unfortunately, the English version will only be available next week.

We summarize, in shortened form, the most important rules here:

  • Taking into account the 3G rule, we are returning predominantly to onsite teaching. However, its implementation still has its limits in this winter semester due to the available spatial resources. We do not yet consider it justifiable to use the lecture halls and seminar rooms to the extent that we did before the pandemic. We intend to return to regular teaching in the summer semester of 2022. Teachers will receive more information in a separate email.
  • The university buildings are basically open again. Opening hours from the time before the coronavirus apply—also for the University library. Registration at the entrances is no longer necessary. Workstations for students are available again in the university hall and in some central and decentralized seminar rooms.
  • As before, academics can decide whether they want to work onsite or in a home environment. A roughly half-time presence onsite is envisaged for technical and administrative staff. As an important infection control measure, offices will, if possible, still be used by only one person at a time. If the presence of more than one person is operationally necessary, this is also possible as long as protective measures are observed.
  • Individual service and advice centres (e.g., the Infopunkt, the ZSB, the Student Office, or the examination offices) are once again available with personal service on campus.
  • Masks are still mandatory in the public circulation areas of the university buildings. At least a surgical mask must be worn. Exceptions to the mask requirement are described in the organizational decree. As before, social distancing must be maintained (1.5 metres).
  • The university continues to offer staff two coronavirus rapid tests per week free of charge. The current procedure (one rapid test per week in the campus test centre and one rapid test for self-administration at home) will be maintained up to the end of September. From October onwards—when tests will no longer be free of charge in the test centres—the plan is to hand out rapid tests to staff exclusively for self-administration at home. Testing via the test centre will then be possible only as a citizen’s test that staff will have to pay for themselves.
  • The new Coronavirus Protection Ordinance of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia sets only one limit on events. When there is an incidence of 35 or more, organizers of indoor events must ensure, among other things, that participants are either vaccinated, have recovered, or can present a currently negative coronavirus test. Events at Bielefeld University include, for example, teaching and practical courses, examinations, excursions, committee meetings, conferences and congresses, cultural events, or receptions. They do not include working meetings within academia and administration such as service meetings, further training events, as well as appointment and recruitment procedures. As before, these are to be held digitally as a matter of priority. Please refer to the organizational decree for the specific regulations. For the control of 3G (especially for courses), the university is currently examining how it can be supported organizationally and/or technically.

At this point, another appeal: If there are no medical contraindications, then you should get vaccinated for your own protection and that of your fellow human beings. You can still do this, for example, at the vaccination centre of the city of Bielefeld until 18 September. Bielefeld University and the city of Bielefeld will also be providing a mobile vaccination service on campus on 28 and 30 September. Finally, you can also get vaccinated at any time by your family doctor.

We hope you feel confident with the new regulations, and that you will join us in looking forward to taking the next step towards normalcy and a return to campus.

Stay healthy.

 

With kind regards,
 

Dr. Stephan Becker, Chancellor

Professor Dr.-Ing. Gerhard Sagerer, Rector


The most important current regulations:

  • The university is fully open again, also for the general public. Registration at the entrances is no longer necessary
  • In the buildings and on the campus: maintain a social distance of 1.5m. Masks are compulsory in the public circulation areas in the buildings.
  • In the winter semester 2021/202, teaching and examinations will take place predominantly onsite while taking the 3G rule into account. Large-scale lectures and seminars will continue to be held primarily digitally or in hybrid form.
  • In the University library (UB), Main University Hall, and other places in the university, workstations can once more be used on a large scale (but only by students of Bielefeld University). A booking is still necessary in the UB.
  • Individual service and advice centres (e.g., the Infopunkt, the Central Student Advisory Service, the Student Office, or the examination offices) are once again available with a personal service on campus. Please refer to the respective websites for opening hours and conditions of use.
  • Information on library use can be found here: https://www.ub.uni-bielefeld.de/ub/coronavirus

Regulations for University Operations at Bielefeld University during the Coronavirus Pandemic

Download

Complete Organisational Decision (PDF), updated 08.09.2021

Organizational decree dated 23 March 2020

Updated version dated 7 September 2021, in force from 9 September 2021

Bielefeld University continues to be operating in the mode of “University Pandemic Operations.” The regulations of this Organizational Decree have been updated in accordance with applicable legal provisions and apply to all employees in teaching and research, as well as technical services and administration who are in a position of employment by the university (pay-scale salaried employees, civil servants, auxiliary staff, instructors).

This Organizational Degree has been updated on the basis of the Infection Control Act of the federal government of Germany, the Coronavirus Protection Ordinance of the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia from 17 August 2021 in its currently valid version from 2 September 2021; the SARS-CoV-2 Occupational Health and Safety Ordinance from 1 September 2021 (draft bill) that has been in force since 10 September 2021; the SARS-CoV-2 Occupational Protection Regulations dated 7 May 2021; the Coronavirus Ordinance on Travel Entry from 12 May 2021 in the consolidated version from 30 July 2021; the Ordinance governing Exemptions to COVID-19 Protection Measures from 8 May 2021 and the Corona Testing and Quarantine Ordinance of North Rhine-Westphalia dated 8 April 2021 in its currently valid version from 2 September 2021. This Organizational Decree summarizes the current measures in place at Bielefeld University.

All measures continue to pursue the goal of effectively targeting and limiting the risk of infection, thus safeguarding the health of all members of the university community.

-> Complete Organisational Decision (current version)


Additional information

General information and links

Tips for hygiene

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.

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)


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