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Coronavirus: Information for students

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

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


On this page, a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) list for students will be created detailing the current measures being taken by the University of Göttingen with regard to the Coronavirus. By taking these precautions, the University plans to contribute to limiting the further spread of the virus and to protect the health and safety of all employees and students by taking preventive action. To this end, the University has set up a crisis management team, which is continuously monitoring the situation. Please understand that there is still much to be clarified at the moment. Preliminary information can be found in the following messages, which have also been sent to all students by email:
Dear Staff and members of the University, Dear teachers and students,

We have used the past few days to adjust to the new situation, and it is impressive to see how much everyone is committed to the common good. With the support of many colleagues from administration, the computer centre and the faculties, we are gradually succeeding in converting our operations from office-based at the University to digital. We are confident that we will overcome the challenges in the weeks ahead together with you, the staff, the lecturers and students, the committees, faculties and institutions.

Our students are, of course, especially close to our hearts. We see it as our most important duty to be able to offer as many classes as possible despite the current circumstances and to find ways to conduct exams, predominantly using virtual formats. For this reason, a working group under the leadership of the responsible vice president Professor Andrea D Bührmann, together with student representatives, representatives of the deans' offices and experts from the administration, started work yesterday with the aim of resuming - albeit limited - teaching activities as soon as possible.

The Krisenstab (crisis management team) of the University of Göttingen is working in close cooperation with the University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG), the City and the Göttingen Health Office as well as the Studentenwerk. It is headed by Vice Presidents Professor Norbert Lossau and Dr Valérie Schüller. Represented on the crisis management team are, among others, the HR Department, Teaching and Learning, Göttingen International, Facility Management, Chief Information Officer IT, the Data Protection Officer, Security and Environmental Protection, Occupational Health, and the Animal Welfare Officer. In addition, there are guests from the UMG, the City and health authorities as well as the student union. The crisis management team coordinates all relevant topics and meets once a week. For the daily work, the leadership of the crisis management team consults twice a day with the President of the University, Professor Reinhard Jahn, and other members of the Presidential Board are consulted as required.

The Presidential Board meets with its usual regularity, and in the meantime these meetings are held as video conferences, as are all meetings now without exception. Our committees - in particular the Senate and its commissions, Council of the Deans of Studies, the Board of Trustees and Foundation committees - are to follow shortly, as soon as the technical requirements have been met. Our digital services are being expanded and are also available to you (https://info.gwdg.de/dokuwiki/doku.php?id=en:services:mobile_working:videoconferencing_tools:start).

It is particularly important to ensure continuing medical care at the UMG, and here we are experiencing an unprecedented wave of helpfulness and solidarity, especially across the Göttingen Campus. Within hours, a network of research laboratories from the University, the UMG, the Max Planck Institutes and the German Primate Centre (DPZ) has been formed to support our central corona test laboratory in medical microbiology. These laboratories provide in-house production of critical components such as enzymes, equipment and molecular biological know-how. Researchers are offering their expertise and time to facilitate routine diagnostic measurements. This has allowed the capacity for testing to be expanded considerably to avoid bottlenecks in the anticipated rush for the test laboratories. There are also new cooperative initiatives to expand diagnostics and research into therapeutic approaches, in which scientists from the research laboratories are also participating.

The most urgent imperative of the hour is still to reduce personal contacts as far as possible in order to break the chain of infection. Unfortunately, we are still in the phase of exponential growth in the number of infections, and every day counts. If we restrict transmission today, this will have a major impact on the further course of the pandemic. The virus is mainly transmitted by droplet infection via the air, but also via objects (door handles etc.). The more that physical proximity to other people can be minimised, whether at University or in our personal life, the lower the risk of transmission. This will result in fewer seriously ill people needing medical help or even intensive medical care. Rules for appropriate behaviour as well as various future scenarios, which scientists of the Göttingen Campus have calculated, can be found on the homepage of the Campus at https://goettingen-campus.de/research/szenarien-covid-19.

Yours,

Reinhard Jahn (President)
Norbert Lossau (Vice President for Digital Transformation and Infrastructure)
Valérie Schüller (Vice President for Finance and Human Resources)

Dear Students,

Please find below the regulations for dealing with examinations in the coming weeks:

All examinations (whether in person or not) will initially be suspended until 20 April 2020 in accordance with the following explanations:

a) For all tests where you have to attend in person (including doctoral exams for PhD), this means that the test will not take place. It is not necessary to deregister if you are already registered.
b) For exams where you don’t attend in person (e.g. termpaper, BA/MA-theses), this means that all current processing periods are initially extended by the period of suspension:

current due date 16/03 -> new due date 20/04
current due date 17/03 -> new due date 21/04
current due date 18/03 -> new due date 22/04
(=new due date = current due date +35 days)

You also have the option of remotely withdrawing from all current examinations. The examination attempt is then considered as not taken. However, an active withdrawal is not necessary as the University will register the non-submission as a withdrawal without any disadvantages to you.

You have the possibility to continue working on current examinations and to hand in your work. The submission in digital form is sufficient in this case. Please refrain in particular from submitting written copies if you do not have the opportunity to send directly from your home (exception: the Faculty of Law will publish a separate regulation on this on its homepage in the coming days).

c) Even in the event of illness, no certificates or similar evidence of incapacity for examination are required for the duration of the suspension. Please avoid visiting a doctor's office for this reason alone.

d) The University will also disregard any delays in the course of your studies that may arise as a result of the current crisis situation if deadlines stipulated by examination regulations are missed (e.g. the availability of certain credits at a certain point in the course of studies). There is no disadvantage to you in this respect.

e) Please note: different regulations may apply to courses of study leading to state examinations (especially medicine, dentistry and law). Please refer to the websites of the respective deans’ offices/examination offices for information.

If necessary, the faculties will offer to conduct oral examinations for individual areas by means of video and audio transmission. Participation in this would be voluntary. You will be informed about this separately. Please avoid making individual enquiries.

In addition, we are striving to be able to offer catch-up opportunities in a timely manner in the summer semester for examinations that have now been suspended. These might be additional examination dates or examinations with alternative (online) examination formats. This depends in particular on how the coronavirus epidemic develops during this period. Please understand that it is currently not possible to make concrete statements about this.

For further questions, including those concerning enrolment and reregistration, solutions will be developed in the coming days. In addition, a (virtual) working group will be set up together with student representatives and some deans of studies under the leadership of Professor Bührmann as the responsible vice president.

With kind regards,

Reinhard Jahn (President)
Andrea D Bührmann (Vice President for Teaching, Learning and Equal Opportunities)

Dear Students,

Today we are contacting you again to inform you about the latest developments in the Coronavirus pandemic that will affect us all. In view of the significant increase in COVID-19 cases since Friday, the crisis management team has carried out a new assessment of the situation (together with the UMG board of directors and working in coordination with the Göttingen health department). It has become clear to us that massive restrictions in social contact ("social distancing") are the only way to break the chains of infection more severely and to stop the exponential growth of the infection - that is, to slow down the spread of the virus as much as possible. We have decided on further measures that will cause significant cuts in university life.

In fact, today we would like to ask you that each and every one of you make a contribution by reducing social contacts. Not only by avoiding the University and libraries if possible, but also in your private life. This applies to all kinds of events, including parties. It is not only about protecting yourself, but also about minimising the risk for other students who belong to the risk group and, above all, giving the health system time to care for all the more affected people, which, to be clear, can save lives.

For examinations and homework, we will ask the faculties and examination offices to be as accommodating as possible. We will contact you as soon as possible regarding concrete regulations for examinations and homework, once we have coordinated with the Deans of Studies of your faculties and student representatives. For all outstanding questions, which we will clarify step-by-step with you and for you, the following always applies: you should not suffer any disadvantages brought about by the current situation. In every case, our goal is to achieve the best possible result for you.

University services that require people to attend in person will be kept to a minimum. Libraries will be closed from tomorrow. Whether an emergency lending service will be set up will be considered. The refectories and cafeterias will initially offer a service that is geared to the particular requirements of the situation: contact reduction, ensuring distance and hygiene. This decision will be reviewed daily and closely coordinated with the public health department and the city of Göttingen, who are striving to set uniform regulations for canteens, dining halls and cafeterias in public institutions and companies.

We know that "social distancing" is a massively drastic measure for many of you. We can only appeal to you all to adhere strictly to this concept in the interest of the community. This means: avoid being close to another person by ensuring a distance of two metres. Cancel all celebrations, parties, meetings in houses, social gatherings among yourselves. If possible, reduce meetings of several people in one room or apply appropriate rules of keeping a distance from each other. Travel only when unavoidable, and be especially careful if you have to use public transport. Bundle your purchases to keep the time spent in shops as short as possible.

We are all equally affected and will overcome the crisis together. By pooling our ideas, we will be able to creatively shape what will certainly be a difficult time. To this end, a working group will be set up at short notice together with your representatives and some of the Deans of Studies, under the leadership of Professor Bührmann as the responsible Vice-President, for which we will rely on your input. We will do the same at the UMG together with our Dean of Studies, Professor Trümper.

Yours faithfully,

Reinhard Jahn, President of the University


and

Wolfgang Brück, Chair of the Board UMG

Stay informed

For questions, we can be reached on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/georgiaaugusta/), on Twitter @uniGoettingen und on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/unigoettingen/). In addition, you will also find posts at Jodel on the channel @unigö, which are marked with "✔Uni Göttingen". We are also available for your questions in these chats.

The AStA also offers up-to-date information via Telegram (https://t.me/astaunigoe)

How can you help?

For everyone who does not belong to a risk group, the AStA has prepared a form which you can use to help people in your home or the neighbourhood who should stay at home to avoid risks. You can find this form in the AStA's Telegram channel.

Date: 16. März 2020

Dear Students,

As you all know, the coronavirus pandemic is now having a significant impact on public life, and the University is not exempt.

First of all: the risk of a serious to life-threatening disease caused by the CoV-2 virus is very low, especially for young and healthy people. In contrast to many other viral diseases, children and adolescents are infected just as often, but only rarely fall ill. Even pregnant women are not particularly at risk. However, there are – and at the present time it is not yet possible to say exactly how frequent this will be – in a few cases, serious and life-threatening consequences of the illness, some of which require weeks of intensive medical care. This particularly affects people with pre-existing conditions and older people. This is where the difficulty lies: even at the University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG), a centre of medical excellence, the capacities for such care are limited. The aim of the measures described below is therefore to slow down the spread of the virus as much as possible. This is to keep the number of serious cases occurring simultaneously as low as possible so that the capacity of our intensive care unit is sufficient for care. These measures must now be implemented in order to interrupt the potential chains of infection, even though there are only a few confirmed cases of infection in the district of Göttingen to date (as of 13 March 2020).

The University Management has therefore made a number of decisions working in close cooperation with the UMG, the City of Göttingen and the state of Lower Saxony. As you probably know, the daycare centres and schools will be closed from Monday onwards. The same applies to teaching at our University. However, the University will not be closed completely: research operations and administration will be maintained until further notice, as long as this is reasonable and proportionate.

Suspension of teaching and postponement of the start of lectures
Teaching will be suspended with immediate effect. The start of lectures originally scheduled for 14 April 2020 will initially be postponed to 20 April 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 you are not put at a disadvantage.

Examinations and tests
Examinations where you have to attend in person will be suspended with immediate effect. We are working on arrangements to see how we can resume examination services under the current circumstances and are coordinating the specific procedure with the faculties in a timely manner.
Here too of course, solutions will be found to ensure that you are not put at a disadvantage.

Libraries and learning and study buildings
The use of the University libraries will cease on Monday, 16 March 2020. The SUB in the Central Campus will introduce an extended lending service in the course of the coming week. For the other libraries, a lending operation will also be considered. Appropriate information will be provided as soon as possible.

Please also note the SUB's information on access to electronic journals, databases and e-books https://www.sub.uni-goettingen.de/en/news/details/access-electronic-journals-databases-and-ebooks-from-home/SUB

The Learning and Study building (LSG) as well as internship and laboratory rooms will also be closed from Monday, 16 March 2020.

Excursions
With immediate effect, excursions and travel on behalf of the University will not be allowed, regardless of the destination, until further notice.

Events
For the time being, there are no events taking place at the University. Exceptions to this rule are the committees and other meetings necessary for the operation of the University. For these meetings we will provide recommendations for running them as soon as possible, but we ask you to take measures to minimize contact, e.g. by choosing larger rooms or by using telephone or video conferencing technology.

Canteens and cafeterias
The crisis management team is working in close coordination with the management of the Studentenwerk, the City and the UMG, to ensure that the cafeterias and dining halls find some kind of an arrangement in a timely manner. The goal is to maintain a basic supply and to minimize the risk of infection. Canteens and cafeterias (with the exception of HAWK cafeterias) will remain open for the time being and have taken various measures to take account of this special situation.

Sports
The sports facilities will be closed from Monday, 16. March 2020.

We are aware that these decisions will present you with great challenges and that you will have many questions. We therefore ask you to visit our website www.uni-goettingen.de/en/622779.html on a regular basis. This page is always kept up-to-date by us.

Yours faithfully,

Reinhard Jahn
President

Dear Students,

The number of cases of Covid19 infection in Germany has continued to rise in the recent days. To date, no case of illness has been confirmed in Göttingen. It is therefore all the more important for the University to contribute to containing the further spread of the coronavirus as far as possible through targeted information and appropriate measures, and in particular to protect the health and safety of all staff and students of the University through responsible and preventive action. For this reason, the University has set up a Krisenstab (crisis management team) to consider appropriate decisions and recommendations.

Website on the coronavirus

The University of Göttingen has also set up its own website on the subject at www.uni-goettingen.de/en/621808.html. In addition to general advice on hygiene and behaviour in English and German and a constantly updated FAQ list, you will also find relevant information on travel and excursions abroad, about visitors from abroad and further links. Please understand that there is still much that needs to be clarified. The site is being continuously updated and added to. The University is in close contact with the City and the University Medical Center Göttingen.

Events at the University of Göttingen

Because major events in particular can help to spread the virus more quickly and make it impossible to trace chains of infection, the University's crisis management team has decided to suspend all major events at Göttingen University with external participants until Easter. This will initially affect events with a minimum size of about 1000 participants, such as the Information Days for prospective students planned for 9 and 10 March 2020.

Please be assured that for the University, which is potentially more affected by the high degree of mobility and internationality than other institutions, the protection of its staff, students, families and visitors is our top priority.

The crisis management team will decide on smaller events and workshops with external participants on a case-by-case basis after an individual risk assessment, based on the criteria for risk assessments of major events published by the Robert Koch Institute (www.rki.de/DE/Content/InfAZ/N/Neuartiges_Coronavirus/Risiko_Grossveranstaltungen.html). All organisers are therefore asked to thoroughly assess their events accordingly and to send their own assessment by email to the crisis management team: cv-info@uni-goettingen.de.

Regarding guests from risk and neighbouring areas, a case-by-case assessment applies, depending on the area and duration of the planned stay. We ask you to check each individual’s participation in larger conferences and meetings and to consider whether it is really necessary at that time. Please also consider the possibility of telephone or video conferences.

Internal events and courses are currently not affected by this decision, and committee meetings may continue to take place for the time-being.

Travel and excursions from or returning to risk areas/neighbouring areas

Excursions and business trips to risk areas (as per the list of the Robert Koch Institut), cannot currently be approved. Please check before you start a trip that your destination has not been declared a risk area at short notice.

InternationalStudents travelling from risk areas (www.rki.de/DE/Content/InfAZ/N/Neuartiges_Coronavirus/Risikogebiete.html) are requested to stay away from the University for 14 days after their arrival and, if necessary, to contact their respective institute, department or examination office by telephone or email. If you have any questions, please contact the Göttingen International Office by email (international.study@uni-goettingen.de) or by phone (+49 551 39 27775).

If you have spent time in a risk area or a neighbouring area, whether for personal reasons or for study purposes, or if you have had contact with people who have spent time in risk areas, we ask you to voluntarily minimise personal contact, if possible, in consideration of your fellow human beings and fellow students.

All students are asked to keep a close eye on their own health. If you notice signs of a possible infection, please contact the public health department at 0800 0117722 (Mon-Fri 8-22, Sat 8-18). If you suspect that you are suffering from Coronavirus, please do not seek medical treatment in person in medical practices or clinics without prior notice. The telephone number 116 117 is available for advice and to make an appointment with a doctor in your area.

Please also take into account that, at this time, infection risks could come from people from any part of the world and people from all parts of the world are among those affected. Being cautious, implementing simple measures of protection regarding behaviour and mutual support, but not at the exclusion of our fellow human beings, will help to contain this disease.