• Coronavirus

    © Universität Bielefeld

Current Updates

Update of 26.05.2020 for students: Updated information on studies and examinations

Dear students,

The coronavirus pandemic continues to severely restrict normal teaching and studying routines despite the initial easing of restrictions. Developments are still dynamic, requiring constant adjustments from the university. In addition, we are still faced with the challenge of ensuring that the current online semester is carried out in the best possible way. We are very aware of how much the special situation has affected you both privately and in your studies. Please rest assured, we are working hard to improve conditions for you—always within the framework of the current hygiene and safety regulations. The 2020/21 winter semester will certainly also not be an onsite semester as we were used to having before the pandemic. We assume that teaching will continue to take place predominantly in the form of online and ‘distance learning’ courses. Whether and to what extent onsite courses will then become possible, however, is currently completely open.

In the past few days, the Rectorate, the administration, and those responsible in the faculties have initiated further concrete measures and regulations. Today, as announced, we want to inform you about how things stand at present, especially with regard to carrying out teaching courses and examinations.

The following regulations and measures are particularly important for you as a student:

Lecture periods

  • The lecture period of the current semester will end regularly on 17 July 2020.
  • The lecture period of the winter semester 2020/21 will begin on 26 October. First semester students will start on November 2.  February 12, 2021 has been set as the end of the lecture period.

Teaching and examinations in the current summer semester

  • Until 30 September 2020, courses will be held exclusively online or in the form of ‘distance learning’. Oral examinations and written examinations for up to 25 persons can also be held digitally with the Zoom video conference system. Further digital solutions for larger examination cohorts are currently being examined. Your teachers will inform you accordingly with regard to courses and examinations if they have not already done so.
  • The only exception is practical courses that require special laboratory and work rooms and cannot be replaced by digital formats. These are above all laboratory internships, practical sports events, or artistic coaching. It goes without saying that all hygiene and infection prevention measures must be observed. Hygiene protection concepts have been and are being developed for this purpose with the respective departments and coordinated with the local health authority.

According to the regulations of the NRW State Ministry of Labour, Health, and Social Affairs, oral and written examinations that are not possible online may also be held onsite. Therefore, binding hygiene protection concepts have also been drawn up in coordination with the local health authority for holding oral and written examinations in person. Examinations with up to 5 persons can be held in central and also in decentralized seminar rooms of the faculties and institutions. Examinations with significantly more than 5 persons (medium examination format) can be held in designated lecture halls and centrally managed seminar rooms. A comprehensive hygiene protection concept for large examination formats is currently being developed with the local health authority. The university canteen [Mensa], the Lokschuppen concert hall, the sports hall, and the Stadthalle city concert hall are to be used for this purpose. Your teachers will keep you informed in a timely manner.

  • Work on Bachelor's/Master's degrees and research in laboratory teams is still possible.
  • On May 12, 2020, on the basis of the Corona Epidemic Higher Education Ordinance of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, the Rectorate issued the regulations for coping with the challenges posed by the coronavirus epidemic in study, teaching, and examinations. These were developed in consultation with the faculties in order to create legal bases—especially for the conversion to online formats. The Corona Order can be found here.
  • A ‘small’ student survey is currently being carried out to assess first experiences with the current online semester along with direct needs in this semester. Please complete the survey; your feedback is important. The regular general student survey will take place as usual at the beginning of the 2020/21 winter semester. This will also address experiences with the previous online semester.

Further Information

  • The individual standard period of study has been extended by one semester for all students enrolled in the 2020 summer semester. At Bielefeld University, this also applies to students on leave of absence.
  • In cases of exceptional hardship, students will be allowed to work at individual student workplaces in faculty rooms. If in need, please contact your teachers or the deans of studies. Registration is mandatory. Further possibilities of offering you workstations on campus are still being examined.
  • The library will continue to operate with limited opening hours only for lending and short catalogue searches. Interlibrary loans are possible. Important: Student workstations in the reading rooms are still not available.
  • For single-parent students taking their final exams, the Studierendensekretariat [Student Office] can issue a certificate for emergency care in childcare facilities. Here you can find more detailed information on the requirements.
  • For students in financial difficulties (e.g. due to loss of job, etc.) the Federal Minister of Education has launched a bridging aid in the form of an initially interest-free loan from the KfW Bank - see www.kfw.de/studienkredit-coronahilfe. In addition, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research has made emergency aid funds available to the student unions. These emergency aid funds are allocated as non-repayable support to students in particularly acute need in line with the funds’ usual regulations. Unfortunately, a starting date for applications has yet to be announced. To obtain support with living costs in these difficult times, you can also turn to the Social Fund of the AStA.

We now have a much better overview of the consequences we need to draw for university operations in the face of the pandemic. Nonetheless, much still remains to be done. We thank you very much for your patience and your openness towards the new online formats. Despite all the challenges, we wish you a good lecture period in this special semester. We shall inform you about all further measures and regulations in a timely manner.

Stay healthy!

 

With best regards

 

Prof. Dr-Ing. Gerhard Sagerer, Rector

Dr Stephan Becker, Chancellor

Prof. Dr Birgit Lütje-Klose, Vice-rector for Studies and Teaching

Update of 26.05.2020 for teachers: Updated information on teaching and examinations

Dear teachers,

The coronavirus pandemic continues to severely restrict normal teaching routines despite the initial easing of restrictions. Developments are still dynamic, requiring constant adjustments from the university. In addition, we—and above all you as teachers—still face the challenge of organizing and carrying out the current online semester in the best possible way for all concerned. At the same time, we have to start planning for the coming winter semester 2020/21—even though we have yet to receive any decisions or clear signals from the state government.

In the past few days, the Rectorate, the administration, and those responsible in the faculties have initiated further concrete measures and regulations. Today, as announced, we want to inform you about how things stand at present, especially with regard to carrying out teaching courses and examinations.

Lecture periods

  • The lecture period for the summer semester 2020 began on April 20, 2020 and will end on July 17, 2020.
  • The State Ministry of Culture and Science has responded to the request of the universities and agreed to postpone the start of the lecture period for the winter semester 2020/2021 until November 2 for all first semester students and until October 26 for all other students. The end of the lecture period has been set at 12 February 2021.

Teaching and examinations in the current summer semester

  • The summer semester remains (almost exclusively) an online semester. Until 30 September 2020, courses will be held exclusively online or in the form of ‘distance learning’. Oral examinations and written examinations for up to 25 persons can also be held digitally with the Zoom video conference system. Further digital solutions for larger examination cohorts are currently being examined.
  • The only exception is practical courses that require special laboratory and work rooms and cannot be replaced by digital formats. These are above all laboratory internships, practical sports events, or artistic coaching. It goes without saying that all hygiene and infection prevention measures must be observed. Hygiene protection concepts have been and are being developed for this purpose with the respective departments and coordinated with the local health authority.
  • According to the regulations of the NRW State Ministry of Labour, Health, and Social Affairs, oral and written examinations that are not possible online may also be held onsite. Therefore, binding hygiene protection concepts have also been drawn up in coordination with the local health authority for holding oral and written examinations in person. Examinations with up to 5 persons can be held in central and also in decentralized seminar rooms of the faculties and institutions. Examinations with significantly more than 5 persons (medium examination format) can be held in designated lecture halls and centrally managed seminar rooms.
  • In order to use centrally administered classrooms, you must register via the central room allocation system. Please contact your Dean of Studies or ekvv representative. Registrations will be collected and coordinated there before being forwarded to the central room allocation office.

A comprehensive hygiene protection concept for large examination formats is currently being developed with the local health authority. The university canteen [Mensa], the Lokschuppen concert hall, the sports hall, and the Stadthalle city concert hall are to be used for this purpose. Further information will follow.

  • Work on Bachelor's/Master's degrees and research in laboratory teams are to be permitted in accordance with the regulations for research work. However, this will also require a supplementary risk assessment from the laboratory managers.
  • On May 12, 2020, on the basis of the Corona Epidemic Higher Education Ordinance of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, the Rectorate issued the attached regulations for coping with the challenges posed by the coronavirus epidemic in study, teaching, and examinations. These were developed in consultation with the faculties in order to create legal bases—especially for the conversion to online formats. They also contain regulations on examination procedures and on applications/enrolment, flexibilizations of regulations on the transition from Bachelor to Master, and regulations on the necessary requirements for attending follow-up modules or courses. Further details can be found in the regulations
  • A ‘small’ student survey is currently being carried out to assess students’ first experiences in the current online semester along with their direct needs. The regular general student survey will take place as usual at the beginning of the 2020/21 winter semester. This will also address experiences with the previous online semester.
  • A ‘small’ teacher survey is currently being prepared in order to gather information on initial experiences and needs in the current semester. A large survey and in-depth interviews are planned at the end of the semester in order to look back on the experiences gained and draw conclusions for future semesters and digital teaching as a whole.

Teaching and examinations in the winter semester 2020/21

  • The winter semester 2020/21 will also not take the form of the onsite semesters we were used to before the pandemic. Teachers can therefore plan and offer the digital course and examination formats already planned and implemented for the current semester along with other courses in the coming semester in this form. Exceptions and regulations for carrying out onsite courses in the winter semester, especially for students in their first semester, will cooperatively developed.

Employment law information for teachers

  • All forms of ‘distance learning’ continue to be possible: teachers can use mixed forms of online, text work, zoom small groups, and self-study. To reduce group sizes, courses can be duplicated and credited separately in accordance with the Teaching Responsibilities Ordinance (LVV). The crediting of teaching formats is, moreover, currently analogous to that for classroom teaching otherwise provided to the same extent.
  • To support digital teaching formats, it is possible to increase the number of working hours of already employed assistant staff at short notice or to hire new assistant staff. For these short-term requirements, the usual period of four weeks to the 1st or 15th of a month does not apply. Please contact the administrative management of your faculties and institutions to obtain advice and support if you wish to hire or increase the number of staff.
  • For teachers whose fixed-term employment contracts run between 1 March and 30 September 2020, the maximum fixed-term contract period is being extended by six months (in line with WissZeitVG). The principal 6-year period before or after a doctorate is then being changed to a qualification period of 6.5 years.

Specific information for students to know

  • The individual standard period of study has been extended by one semester for all students enrolled in the 2020 summer semester. At Bielefeld University, this also applies to students on leave of absence. For all students studying ‘Rechtswissenschaft mit Abschluss erste Prüfung’ [law with a first examination], the 2020 summer semester will also not be taken into account when calculating the Freiversuchsfrist [free attempt period].
  • In cases of exceptional hardship, students will be allowed to work at individual student workplaces in faculty rooms. If in need, please contact your teachers or the deans of studies. Registration is mandatory. Further possibilities are still being examined.
  • The library will continue to operate with limited opening hours only for lending and short catalogue searches. Interlibrary loans are possible. Student workstations in the reading rooms are still not available.
  • For single-parent students taking their final exams, the Studierendensekretariat [Student Office] can issue a certificate for emergency care in childcare facilities. Here you can find more detailed information on the requirements.
  • For students in financial difficulties (e.g. due to loss of job, etc.) the Federal Minister of Education has launched a bridging aid in the form of an initially interest-free loan from the KfW Bank—see www.kfw.de/studienkredit-coronahilfe. In addition, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research has made emergency aid funds available to the student unions. These emergency aid funds are allocated as non-repayable support to students in particularly acute need in line with the funds’ usual regulations. Unfortunately, a starting date for applications has yet to be announced. If students ask you for advice, you can also refer them to the Social Fund of the AStA.

We now have a much better overview of the consequences we need to draw for university operations in the face of the pandemic. Nonetheless, much still remains to be done. We thank you very much for your commitment, but we do ask you to continue to be patient.

 Despite all the challenges, we wish you a continued good lecture period in this special semester and we shall inform you about all further measures and regulations in a timely manner.

Stay healthy!

 

With best regards

 

Prof. Dr-Ing. Gerhard Sagerer, Rector

Dr Stephan Becker, Chancellor

Prof. Dr Birgit Lütje-Klose, Vice-rector for Studies and Teaching

 


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)