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Coronavirus: FAQ for Staff

“Distancing“ – “Stay at home“ - "Flatten the Curve"

...we’re reading this everywhere. Even here. What can we, as a University, contribute? This:


Information for the University community on the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The University of Göttingen has set up a crisis management team under the leadership of Vice-Presidents Professor Norbert Lossau and Dr Valérie Schüller, which are in close contact with the crisis management teams of the city and the University Medical Center Göttingen. We are continuously monitoring the situation and will regularly update the information and FAQs on this page.

Please, also refer to the German page, read our coronavirus update emails or send an e-mail to cv-info@uni-goettingen.de.


HR issues

If there is a suspected case of infection, please ask either the public health department (Gesundheitsamt) or the occupational health service (Betriebsärztlichen Dienst) whether there is a personal risk of infection for you and how you should behave. Then inform your manager. Your manager will decide whether you are released from work and whether mobile working is possible. In either case, you will continue to receive your salary as previously.

(10.03.2020)

At present, annual leave that has already been approved can only be cancelled for critical business reasons because your work is urgently needed during this time. Your manager must provide a detailed justification to support any such request. Requests for the withdrawal of leave should only be made to the manager of the HR Department (personalorganisation@zvw.uni-goettingen.de). In the current circumstances, this responsibility is not handled by the administrators of the time management system.

The general arrangement of working from home does not replace or imply a recreational holiday. During the time of working from home, you work or are fundamentally available for work and therefore you carry out your work duties.

(26.03.2020)

Planned but not yet approved recreational holidays (especially during the Easter holidays) should also be taken as far as possible, in order to ensure and not compromise the effectiveness of the University when normal operations begin. An application should only be waived if working at home or your actual presence at the workplace is absolutely necessary. If you do not submit an application for annual leave, you should always be available for work and can be called upon at any time.

(26.03.2020)

The University has managed to make it possible for you to be released from work with remuneration for longer than is specified in the standard working contract. If you do not make your work available, a maximum of 10 working days' leave (based on a 5-day week) can be granted under the following conditions:

  • your child has not yet reached the age of twelve or your child is in need of care and
  • you cannot otherwise ensure the necessary care.

If the usual weekly work pattern is different from five working days, the proportion shall be increased or reduced accordingly.

This period of continued absence from work is intended to be an exception for employees who are unable to provide childcare by other means and at the same time are not able to work from home and cannot make their work available in some other way. A holiday taken or planned in connection with the forthcoming Easter holidays must be taken. If you did not plan any vacation during the Easter holidays before the Coronavirus crisis, because care was provided elsewhere, you can only be released from work with continued remuneration if you provide evidence and/or a corresponding justification that you must now take over the care yourself.

To obtain leave of absence to care for your child, please fill in the form on absence in connection with the coronavirus (“die Abwesenheit im Zusammenhang mit Corona” found at https://intern.uni-goettingen.de/services/Seiten/default.aspx#M).

In principle, you must apply for annual leave, time off in lieu or leave without pay after ten working days. For civil servants, the entitlement to leave is based on the Nds. special leave regulation.

(26.03.2020)

Please take advice either from the public health department (Gesundheitsamt) or the occupational health service (Betriebsärztlichen Dienst) about whether you have to go into quarantine. Please also find out about the guidelines of the Robert Koch Institute about managing personal contact. Then inform your manager. If quarantine is necessary or it is the only option due to your responsibilities as a carer, you will be released from work. Mobile working may be possible after consultation with your manager. Please also inform the HR Department.

(17.03.2020)

First of all, your manager must be informed immediately. In addition, the HR Department must also be informed using the form „Mitteilung über Abwesenheit im Zusammenhang mit Corona“ (notification of absence in connection with coronavirus). You can download this form from the Formular Center in the employee portal).
The University welcomes every effort by its employees to overcome the problems caused by the coronavirus crisis. When working abroad, however, there are arguments against mobile working due to certain aspects of social security law. Since you are not on a business trip abroad, you cannot simply resume work at your current location without constraints. In addition to the lack of technical or other requirements, the usual social insurance regulations still apply, even in this difficult period. In consultation with your manager, who will justify the necessity and the possibility of your activity in writing (by email to you), you could spend a maximum of 25% of your working time per month abroad doing mobile working. If you are unable to get a return flight to Germany after these days, please apply for annual leave (holiday), a leave of absence without pay or - if you are part of the system to record your working time - take time off in lieu.

Questions about work organisation

Teaching will be suspended with immediate effect. The start of lectures originally scheduled for 14.04.2020 will initially be postponed to 20.04.2020. The decision on a possible further postponement and the extension of the lecture period will depend on the further development of the coronavirus pandemic. The “O-Phasen” will be cancelled. It will be considered to what extent the most important introductory events can be caught up, in parallel with the start of the lecture period.

Of course, solutions will be found so that students are not put at a disadvantage.
With immediate effect, all business trips, excursions and travel on behalf of the University will not be allowed, regardless of the destination, until further notice. In concrete terms, this means that new business trips will no longer be approved, and that business trips that have already been approved may no longer be taken. Should business trips be necessary in justified individual cases, they must be approved by the crisis management team (Krisenstabsleitung) of the University. Please submit a fully justified request to the HR Department.

If costs are incurred as a result of the cancellation of a business trip, a travel allowance will be reimbursed to the amount of the costs incurred for the preparation of the trip.
Even considering the current coronavirus crisis, you will of course continue to have control over what happens to your personal data, especially with regard to particularly sensitive health data. Nevertheless, the University as an employer is responsible for the well-being of all employees and must protect them from a possible infection. It is therefore essential that you send information of a positive coronavirus test directly to the University. Of course, this data will not be recorded in writing in the files, but will only be used to identify potential contacts. The data processing is based on Art. 6 para. 1 lit. c), d) and e) as well as Art. 9 para. 2 lit. b) and h) DSGVO and § 17 para. 1 no. 2, 3 and 4 NDSG. We treat the data as strictly confidential and delete it immediately after notification of the contact persons and any information to the health authorities, unless further storage is necessary for reasons of labour or social law.

In order to meet the best interests of the people concerned as well as our general duty of care, an infection must be reported either to the line manager or to a superior manager of the institution. Only these levels within the organizational unit are authorized to receive and exchange this information. In order to avoid duplication of data collection, an Excel table must be kept of the reports, which is subject to the deletion rules referred to above. The infected person must be questioned immediately about contacts with people at the University during the past two weeks. This data must also be collected for possible enquiries by the public health department and passed on at their request. In the information chain, the contact persons named or known from the point of view of management must then be informed (Art. 14 DSGVO). No general information of the entire institution is to be provided. The manager must inform the head of the crisis management team (Dr Valérie Schüller/Professor Norbert Lossau) and the head of the HR Department directly by email or telephone.

(22.03.2020)

No visitors should come until further notice. If there are requests for exceptions to be made in individual cases, these must be approved by the crisis management team of the University. Please submit a request including your justifications to Göttingen International (international@uni-goettingen.de) via your Dean’s Office.

(25.03.2020)

At the University of Göttingen you can work with two different services (Adobe Connect and DFNconf). Detailed information can be found on the pages of the Digital Teaching and Learning team.

As with influenza and other acute respiratory tract infections, following standard guidelines for coughing and sneezing, good hand hygiene and keeping a distance from anyone who is infectious (at least 2 metres) also protects against transmission of the new coronavirus. Shaking hands should be avoided. Please note this advice from our occupational health service: If you want to protect yourself against infection from corona viruses via hand-contact, thorough hand-washing is completely sufficient. The use of hand-sanitizers is not necessary. Since disinfectants and personal protective equipment - which are urgently needed in the care of sick people - are now in short supply worldwide, we strongly urge you not to use them inappropriately and unnecessarily. Hospitals and medical services urgently need these scarce resources to protect the people they have to care for and treat. At present, numerous tips and advice can be found in the media and on the Internet. How can you figure out which are the most useful ones? Our corporate health service recommends the Internet pages (only currently available in German) of the Robert Koch Institute and infektionsschutz.de of the Bundeszentrale für gesundheitliche Aufklärung. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization (WHO) both have websites which contains many tips in English, including:

  • wash your hands properly and frequently
  • maintain social distancing
  • avoid touching your eyes, nose, mouth
  • maintain good hygiene when coughing or sneezing
  • if you have fever, cough or difficulty breathing, seek medical advice early
  • Stay informed and follow advice from your healthcare provider

As this webpage has become so busy in the last few days, we have made the most important graphics available for local download:

At present, there is no lockdown in Lower Saxony or in the states directly bordering Thuringia, Saxony-Anhalt and Hesse. The University is therefore refraining from sending out certificates of employment. Rather, we would like to point out that you should always carry your employee ID card with you when you travel to work. It contains all the important information about your employment that might be of interest to the authorities. Should you nevertheless require a specific certificate, please contact your institution management directly. For the institutions: If you cannot guarantee issuing a certificate, please contact the HR Department (personalorganisation@zvw.uni-goettingen.de).

(26.03.2020)

We see ourselves as partners of the UMG and want to try to help where we can. If you, as a staff member at the University, see the opportunity to help at the UMG, we would be pleased to hear of your commitment and will support this within the scope of what is possible. Please discuss your request with your line manager first. Your line manager will be asked by the HR department to give a statement on whether you can work for the UMG and if so, how much time you can spare. If you agree, you will be seconded or partially seconded under labour or service law, so that you will not suffer any disadvantages under social security or accident law. You will therefore work for the UMG within the framework of your existing employment relationship with the University. For specific questions, please contact the HR department (personalorganisation@zvw.uni-goettingen.de).

(26.03.2020)




For general questions about protection against the virus and travel to the affected regions please see the following websites (in German):

Or in English:

The Bundeszentrale also offers a download of the most frequently asked questions about the novel coronavirus (in German):