• Coronavirus

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Current Updates

Update of 30.04.2020 for students - Reduced operations: updated regulations

Dear Students,

The Coronavirus pandemic continues to impose significant limitations on us, even as politicians have now decided to ease the first restrictions. The situation continues to evolve, requiring us at the university to continuously modify our response. We also face the challenge of finding solutions for the current summer semester (which has been moved online and began on April 20) in order to allow you to complete your studies this semester in the best way possible.

In the past weeks, we have become acquainted with the model of “reduced basic operations,” which went into effect with the Organisationsverfügung (Organizational Decree) on March 23. Since that time, we have revised existing university regulations based on the provisions of the Coronaschutzverordnung (Corona Protection Ordinance), the Corona-Epidemie-Hochschulverordnung (Corona Epidemic University Ordinance), and the  Allgemeinverfügung zur Durchführung von Lehr-und Praxisveranstaltungen sowie Prüfungen an den Hochschulen (General Ordinance for Conducting Teaching and Testing at Institutions of Higher Learning) of the Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia as well as the SARS-CoV-2-Arbeitsschutzstandard (SARS-CoV-2 Occupational Safety Standards) from the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs. These regulations can be found at www.uni-bielefeld.de/coronavirus.

Here is a short overview of the most important regulations pertaining to you:

  • University buildings remain closed to the public until further notice. The campus, however, is accessible to individuals whose presence is covered under the regulations for reduced basic operations, including permitted teaching and examination activities, as well as for students and researchers picking up or returning books to the library. This also applies to those who must be present on site to perform contractual obligations for the university, such as construction workers or suppliers.
  • On campus, a minimum of 1,5 meters distance between individuals must be strictly maintained. In areas of public traffic within university buildings (hallways, central university hall, staircases, restrooms, etc.), a protective mask covering your nose and mouth must be worn. This also applies for the public area of the library. Forming groups of more than two people should continue to be avoided.
  • Individuals with respiratory symptoms, fever, or loss of sense of smell or taste are not allowed on university premises (unless these symptoms have been otherwise cleared by a doctor).      
  • In-person events and gatherings continue to be prohibited. Courses and examinations are to be offered in distance learning formats to the greatest extent possible. Exceptions are possible for courses that cannot be held digitally (because they, for example, have to be done in certain settings, such as practical lab courses), and for parts of examinations – provided that safety provisions and hygiene regulations are upheld. Exceptions are reviewed on a case-by-case basis by Bielefeld University’s Occupational Safety, Health, and Environmental Protection Service (AGUS) as well as the Health Department of the City of Bielefeld and then approved by the chancellor of Bielefeld University.
  • The University Library remains open in reduced basic operation mode. Student work areas are not accessible.

The Organizational Decree also contains supplemental, updated regulations in full detail, including those relating to teaching and examination activities, travel, risk groups, and what to do in the event of infection.

Even as we continue to make progress in organizing university operations in the midst of this pandemic, we are fully aware that there are still a great many questions that remain unanswered – and new questions that arise on a daily basis. We therefore continue to ask for your patience and understanding. The Rectorate is working together with expert authorities and deans, along with the deans of studies and managers to find optimal answers to these questions as quickly as possible. We will continue to keep you informed – promptly and transparently – of new developments.

Please follow these regulations and act with due responsibility during this difficult time.

Take care, and stay healthy.

 

Regards,

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Gerhard Sagerer, Rector

Dr. Stephan Becker, Chancellor

Update of 30.04.2020 for staff - Reduced operations: updated regulations

Dear ladies and gentlemen, Dear colleagues,

The Coronavirus pandemic continues to impose significant limitations on us, even as politicians have now decided to ease the first restrictions. The situation continues to evolve, requiring us at the university to continuously modify our response. We also face the challenge of finding solutions for the current summer semester (which has been moved online and began on April 20) in order to allow you to complete your studies this semester in the best way possible. The same goes for you and your departments: regulations must be regularly reviewed and updated.

In the past weeks, we have become acquainted with the model of “reduced basic operations,” which went into effect with the Organisationsverfügung (Organizational Decree) on March 23. Since that time, we have revised existing university regulations based on the provisions of the Coronaschutzverordnung (Corona Protection Ordinance), the Corona-Epidemie-Hochschulverordnung (Corona Epidemic University Ordinance), and the  Allgemeinverfügung zur Durchführung von Lehr-und Praxisveranstaltungen sowie Prüfungen an den Hochschulen (General Ordinance for Conducting Teaching and Testing at Institutions of Higher Learning) of the Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia as well as the SARS-CoV-2-Arbeitsschutzstandard (SARS-CoV-2 Occupational Safety Standards) from the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs. These regulations can be found at www.uni-bielefeld.de/coronavirus.

Here is a short overview of the most important regulations pertaining to you:

  • University buildings remain closed to the public until further notice. The campus, however, is accessible to individuals whose presence is covered under the regulations for reduced basic operations, including permitted teaching and examination activities, as well as for students and researchers picking up or returning books to the library. This also applies to those who must be present on site to perform contractual obligations for the university, such as construction workers or suppliers.
  • On campus, a minimum of 1,5 meters distance between individuals must be strictly maintained. In areas of public traffic within university buildings (hallways, central university hall, staircases, restrooms, etc.), a protective mask covering your nose and mouth must be worn. This also applies for the public area of the library. Forming groups of more than two people should continue to be avoided.
  • Individuals with respiratory symptoms, fever, or loss of sense of smell or taste are not allowed on university premises (unless these symptoms have been otherwise cleared by a doctor).     
  • In-person events and gatherings continue to be prohibited. Courses and examinations are to be offered in distance learning formats to the greatest extent possible. Exceptions are possible for courses that cannot be held digitally (because they, for example, have to be done in certain settings, such as practical lab courses), and for parts of examinations – provided that safety provisions and hygiene regulations are upheld. Exceptions are reviewed on a case-by-case basis by Bielefeld University’s Occupational Safety, Health, and Environmental Protection Service (AGUS) as well as the Health Department of the City of Bielefeld and then approved by the chancellor of Bielefeld University. Committee meetings must be held online. Work meetings/conferences should be done digitally or by telephone.
  • The University Library remains open in reduced basic operation mode.
  • In general, researchers should work from home. There are workplaces, however, for which home office is not fully possible (e.g. labs). Presence on site should still be reduced to a minimum, and regulations pertaining to workplace design must be observed.
  • Technicians and administrators are to work from home to the extent possible until further notice. Update: on a case-by-case basis, employees may arrange with their supervisor to work at their normal university workplace if this is desired due to particularities of the employee’s home situation. The responsible supervisor must then organize on-site presence of staff members so that prolonged periods of personal contact among employees are kept to an absolute minimum.
  • The move to trust-based, flexible working hours has been extended through August 31, 2020.   

The Organizational Decree also contains supplemental, updated regulations in full detail, including information on risk groups, on what to do in case of infection, travel, workplace design, and dealing with meetings/conferences.

Even as we continue to make progress in organizing university operations in the midst of this pandemic, we are fully aware that there are still a great many questions that remain unanswered – and new questions that arise on a daily basis. We therefore continue to ask for your patience and understanding. The Rectorate is working together with expert authorities and deans, along with the deans of studies and managers to find optimal answers to these questions as quickly as possible. We will continue to keep you informed – promptly and transparently – of new developments.

Please follow these regulations and act with due responsibility during this difficult time. We will continue to rely on you all to help us meet the many challenges of this pandemic with creative solutions.

Take care, and stay healthy.

 

Regards,

Dr. Stephan Becker, Chancellor

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Gerhard Sagerer, Rector


Downloads

Regulations for operating Bielefeld University in reduced basic mode

Organizational decision of 23.03.2020

Updated and extended on 28.04.2020, valid on 02.05.2020

In response to developments in the spread of the coronavirus, Bielefeld University has been operating in reduced basic mode since Monday, 23 April 2020. The idea is to take the most far-reaching measures possible to reduce the risk of transmission while simultaneously ensuring that the university can continue to operate on a necessary level. The present decree summarizes some of the existing regulations contingency plan) once again while supplementing them with the occupational safety standards of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. All measures pursue the goal of protecting the health of employees, teachers, researchers, and students by interrupting the chains of infection.

Basically, and independently from the following contingency plan, the following applies:

  1. A minimum distance of 1.5 m must always be maintained between persons. In the university buildings, a mask covering the mouth and nose is to be worn in all public areas and in areas where the minimum distance cannot be maintained.
  2. Persons with respiratory symptoms (unless diagnosed by a doctor as, for example, a cold) or fever should not be present on the university campus in general.

Complete Organizational desicion


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)