In publica commoda

Coronavirus: Messages to University staff


On this page we provide you with the information sent by e-mail to all staff. Please check this page regularly, as the situation may change at short notice and check our pages with an A-Z index of information for staff and teachers.


Please note
Please note the recent updates to these documents:

The University's current and updated version of its coronavirus regulations and the entries in the A-Z list below are based on the current regulatory framework provided by state law and additional general rulings issued by the City of Göttingen. Please note that the University’s guidelines and regulations were put in place to ensure the safest possible operation of the University for all staff and students. In addition, however, each individual is also obliged to behave in a certain way with regard to the regulations according to state law and, if applicable, rulings issued by the City of Göttingen. The current status of these regulations can be found further down in the A-Z-list under the entry REGULATIONS AND DECREES



Messages to staff


(English translation has been provided for informational purposes. In the unlikely event that the English and German versions allow different interpretations, the German version will be followed.)

Dear Staff and members of the University, Dear teachers and students,

The State and University Library Göttingen (SUB Göttingen) has already successfully implemented significant steps to support study, teaching and research even in this time of crisis. Many digital services have been maintained and expanded even after our locations were closed to the public and work has continued from home offices. Printed materials have been made accessible via the new "Scan & Deliver service" and an emergency lending service was introduced as a pilot project for lecturers.

The new regulations from the State of Lower Saxony of 17 April 2020 implicitly allow a further gradual opening and a letter from the Ministry of Science and Culture of Lower Saxony to the libraries explicitly refers to the possibility of opening the libraries.

The SUB Göttingen plans to implement this in three stages:

Stage 1:
Starting emergency lending for students. This can be implemented by re-opening the public entrance area of the central library as well as the corresponding areas in the respective divisional libraries, while ensuring to meet the requirements for hygiene and social distancing. These measures are currently being prepared. (Expected introduction 4 May 2020).

Stage 2:
Opening the Learning and Study Building (LSG): a way to regulate prioritisation of the workload is currently being coordinated with student representatives (expected opening with the prioritisation mentioned above: mid-May)

Stage 3:
Opening the Central Library and Divisional Libraries for working on-site ("Reading Rooms", time of opening cannot be determined at the moment)

Some dates cannot be specified further at present, since protection against infection must be guaranteed for users and employees of the SUB at all stages. Due to supply shortages, protective measures and the necessary reorganisation can often only be implemented with a delay, making it hard to specify dates. The opening of work spaces and learning areas on site will probably only be possible after measures have been put in place and must be planned closely within the existing legal framework for infection protection. In the SUB Central Library alone, we get up to 6,000 visits per day and over two million per year, making the SUB one of the most frequently visited institutions in Göttingen. Since it is not possible to rule out the chance of large groups of people meeting inside or outside the Central Library, the preparation of this stage involves a great deal of effort. At the same time, we are working continuously on the implementation of a gradual opening, for example for our divisional libraries, for which access can be better organised in accordance with requirements for hygiene and social distancing.

As always in these changing times, plans may need to be adapted to new regulations or developments. On our website, we will inform you about changes in our services.

We would like to inform our colleagues in the institute and seminar libraries that we would be pleased to advise you on all questions concerning the organisation of access to your libraries under the current conditions. The experts at SUB are also happy to provide advice on questions concerning the procurement and licensing of media. Sonja Meier (smeier@sub.uni-goettingen.de) as your primary contact will forward your questions and suggestions to the right places within the SUB if necessary. Of course you are also welcome to get in touch directly with the contacts that you already know.

Yours,

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

Dear Staff and members of the University,

there have been misunderstandings here and there regarding the University's plan for online and reduced presence (our mail from yesterday). The plan is merely a permission to relax the strict rules currently in force, provided that the general conditions described therein are adhered to. Although it is not written anywhere and cannot be deduced from the text, some people have understood the paper as an "order". The opposite is the case: this catalogue provides faculty members and researchers in particular with an extended framework for action, which they can fill out at their own discretion.

To answer your questions, here are some clarifications:

Teaching:
The plan makes it clear that teaching should in principle be offered digitally. In addition, a framework is provided which enables the faculties to conduct attendance courses and examinations under the conditions described if necessary. The faculties are therefore responsible for deciding which courses or examinations they want to hold afterwards, and they must also take care of the organisation. This also means, of course, that if the basic conditions for an exam in this form are not given (e.g. division of larger groups into several rooms, switching to larger lecture halls or other rooms, disinfectants, etc.), this examination may not be held. As also made clear, you are assured of logistical and technical support from the Department of studies and teaching (SL) and the facility management (GM).

If a faculty conducts an examination in this form in attendance, it is then of course binding and the usual rules apply. The only exception to which we feel obliged out of our special responsibility is that persons who are healthy but belong to a coronavirus risk group obliged to take part on presentation of medical proof. Individual cases of hardship and compensation for disadvantages must, of course, continue to be taken into account in accordance with the general regulations.

Research:
Here, too, a framework is provided for research laboratories to operate on a restricted basis. These rules are similar to those at other institutes on the Göttingen Campus and should allow you to restart at least part of your experimental work. Of course, it is up to each group leader to decide whether and in what form he/she wants to do so.

Further details concerning your function as a manager will be announced in a separate circular mail.

We hope that many questions have been answered with these clarifications. Otherwise, we will be happy to provide further information and explanations.

Yours

Prof. Dr. Reinhard Jahn, President
Dr. Valérie Schüller, Vice President for Finance and Human Resources


Dear Staff and members of the University,
Dear teachers,

The Presidential Board of the University of Göttingen has decided to start teaching and examination activities in the summer semester on Monday, 20 April 2020, initially mainly in digital form – i.e. without attendance. This is in line with the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs, which last week called for a uniform start of the semester throughout Germany.

At the same time, we are preparing for a reduced presence in teaching, research and administration. To this end, we have drawn up a catalogue of measures which will become valid with this publication and replace the previously applicable rules (online at www.uni-goettingen.de/en/621808.html). The document corresponds to the current status of protection against CoV-2 infections. It has been coordinated with the University Medical Center Göttingen and will be updated as required.

Of course, not all teaching formats are suitable for digitisation, but we expect to be able to offer about 80 percent of the courses digitally in the summer semester 2020. At the same time, we are aware that digital teaching, learning and testing poses considerable challenges for some. We therefore support the teachers with a central service team (www.uni-goettingen.de/en/115044.html) and also rely on the exchange of information among ourselves.

In a parallel e-mail we ask all students to register – if they have not already done so – via the usual registration systems (StudIP, ZESS courses via FlexNow etc) for the courses they wish to attend in the summer semester 2020. They will then be informed in the coming week whether and how the respective courses will take place.

We ask all teachers to be prepared to provide students with the most important information about their courses in StudIP. You will receive further information on this in the coming days.

With the start of teaching on April 20, we will also resume examination activities. However, examinations in attendance can only be held if they correspond to the catalogue of measures available online (see above). There must be at least 14 days between announcement and the performance of an examination or course work. The faculties are responsible for the organisation and notification. Please note that there are deviating regulations in the Staatsexamen study programmes, which have been communicated accordingly by the Faculty of Law and the Faculty of Medicine.

Despite the great challenges posed by the Corona Pandemic, we will try to make the semester as smooth as possible. The Presidential Board would like to thank the faculties, the administration, the lecturers and last but not least the student representatives. Over the past few weeks, they have worked with impressive commitment and enormous energy on solutions that can be implemented at short notice. This is especially true for the working group headed by Vice President Professor Andrea D. Bührmann, who prepared the start of the semester. Nevertheless, we will still have to make some improvements and improvise in the coming weeks, and it will require patience and mutual consideration to solve the problems amicably.

A lot is still unclear at the moment. For example, we are currently examining under what conditions we can make centralized and decentralized learning and work spaces available again. Please be patient for a little while longer and continue to obtain regular information via our central Corona info pages (www.uni-goettingen.de/en/621808.html) and our social media channels, where we post current information promptly.

We wish you all a successful semester. Take good care of yourself and others!

Yours

Professor Reinhard Jahn, President

Professor Norbert Lossau, Vice President for Digital Transformation and Infrastructure

Dr Valérie Schüller, Vice President for Finance and Human Resources

An English translation has been provided for informational purposes. In the unlikely event that the English and German versions allow different interpretations, the German version will be followed.

Dear Staff and members of the University,
Dear teachers,

The Data Protection Officer and the Information Security Officer, together with the Data Protection and Information Security Manager, have prepared a handout about aspects of data protection and information security when mobile working, especially during the coronavirus period, which we urgently request you to observe and apply.

We have published this handout as a PDF (in german) and as an accessible reading version on the website https://www.uni-goettingen.de/en/623412.html. This page also contains further links to resources that will support you in your mobile work.

The handout offers assistance for the comprehensive use of digital technologies as currently required. The technical services available via the GWDG for videoconferencing, chat, storage, etc. have been identified with regard to their areas of application, especially with regard to sensitive data that in particular needs to be protected, and are linked to recommendations or clear regulations. Please ensure compliance with data protection rules, especially for sensitive data that must be protected, including personal data, during mobile working. Do not make any compromises in the area of information security.

Yours,

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

An English translation has been provided for informational purposes. In the unlikely event that the English and German versions allow different interpretations, the German version will be followed.

Dear Staff and members of the University,

The federal and state governments made further decisions over the weekend on how to deal with the progressing coronavirus crisis. For this reason, issues regarding labour law have to be reassessed. All of these matters are also available for reading on the FAQ webpages of the University on the subject of Coronavirus (https://www.uni-goettingen.de/cv-info).

Withdrawal of already approved leave / taking up planned holidays, including during the Easter holidays
We are receiving numerous enquiries about whether holiday leave, which has already been approved, can be cancelled. Although we understand why this might be requested, at present a cancellation can only be approved if there is a critical business reason, ie if the work duties of the employees are urgently needed during this time. Your manager must provide a detailed justification to support any such request. Requests for 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. Of course, you can apply for recreational leave during this time as usual. We understand, of course, that in times when you cannot travel or can only travel under difficult circumstances, a vacation is less attractive. Unfortunately, at the moment no one can say for sure how long these restrictions will apply - it is not impossible that they will remain in place until the summer or longer. If everyone postpones their holiday until we are able to travel freely again, we will be in serious difficulties. In particular, when we start up teaching and research again, every single person will be urgently needed.

Time off work to care for children
The precondition for a leave of absence from work with continued payment of remuneration for the care of your child, when you are not available for work, is that

  • 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.

Taking into account the current legal position, the Presidential Board of the University - in accordance with the University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) - has decided to ensure that for these cases salary or wages will continue to be paid for a maximum of ten working days. 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 en working days.

Certificate of employment in the case of a state or federal lockdown:
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 Human Resources Department.

Temporary work at the University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG):
As you may have already seen, the University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) is currently already looking for additional staff to be prepared for any eventuality. We see ourselves as partners of the UMG and will 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.

Information handling regarding a confirmed coronavirus infection:
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 comply with 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 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.

Yours,

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


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 ( target="_blank">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 (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)

This e-mail is intended in particular for researchers and managers of research and experimental laboratories at the University. The UMG makes its own arrangements.

Dear Colleagues,

In view of the increased risk of COVID-19 transmission, there is an urgent need to limit contact between individuals as much as possible ("Social distancing"): this is the only way to slow down the exponentially increasing spread of the infection. This clearly has consequences for laboratory research and any research activities requiring access to Göttingen University facilities must be reduced as quickly as possible. We ask you to initiate and implement plans to limit research on campus to critical activities carried out by a limited number of personnel designated for these tasks.

Research that is essential for understanding and reducing the risk of COVID-19 should be continued. In addition, we ask that only those research activities be continued on campus that are absolutely necessary to maintain critical research assets for progress in the long-term. We ask that this reduction be implemented with immediate effect.

Questions regarding specific research activities should be addressed to the deans' offices or faculty managers. Professors, staff, postdocs and doctoral students are asked to work remotely if possible. If presence in the laboratory is essential, you and your co-workers must, without fail, adhere to the measures of "social distancing" and personal protection. Please note that health and safety regulations are still valid and are absolutely mandatory. We ask that meetings in person be avoided if possible and, if they have to take place, that they be held in suitably large rooms with a limit on the number of people.

The deans' offices and institutes should immediately take the necessary steps. In addition, all visits of external scientists to research institutions should be cancelled for the foreseeable future. We ask for your understanding that we are currently unable to enter into any contractual obligations (whether remunerated or unremunerated) for the next semester.

Critical activities are those that are necessary to maintain the essential functioning of the laboratory, such as:

  • Care of animals, plants and unique or expensive cell cultures or biological samples
  • Preservation of unique reagents and other unique or expensive materials
  • Maintenance of equipment (e.g. liquid nitrogen and liquid helium systems and shared computing clusters) that cannot be maintained remotely or closed without significant cost or consequences for the research effort


We are aware of the many difficulties and significant disruption that these limitations will bring. We will therefore work with you to ensure that you, your students and your research team are able to continue working productively from home. We encourage you to focus on research activities that can be completed remotely (e.g. writing manuscripts, papers and proposals, analysing data, performing calculations and developing calculation or analysis methods). The salaries of your staff, PhD students and postdocs will continue as usual.

Please check the following points carefully, which are necessary for smooth running during this phase of restriction of research work:

  • Provide the Dean's Office and the heads of the institutes with lists of your staff needed to maintain essential functions. Include back-up personnel so that essential activities can continue in the event that an essential person becomes ill.
  • Collect contact information for you, your students, PhD students, postdocs and staff involved in research activities and share it within your group.
  • If you conduct animal research, provide lists of essential personnel or animal care plans.
  • Plan the essential activities in such a way that a minimum number of laboratory staff is present at any one time. For safety reasons, laboratory work must not be carried out by one person alone even in this situation.
  • Restrict all external collaboration or visits to your laboratory.
  • Research involving human participants should be temporarily suspended on campus.
  • Other research should either be postponed or the possibilities of electronic media and video conferencing should be considered.


As said, this applies to all research activities that are not directly related to the COVID-19 epidemic or that are necessary to ensure healthcare. We thank you in advance for your efforts to support our community in this extraordinary situation.

Yours,

Reinhard Jahn (President)
Ulf Diederichsen (Vice President Research)


Dear Staff of the University,

Building on from the general information we provided this morning, we would like to take the opportunity to inform you about some important aspects with regard to labour law concerning this special situation.

The Presidential Board's instruction that work should now no longer be carried out at the workplace is to be understood in terms of labour law as meaning that the place of work is to be moved to your home. In concrete terms, this means that you are still obliged to work if you are required to do so. It is therefore generally expected that you can be reached by telephone. In addition, you are - as far as possible - obliged to check your emails (e.g. via the GWDG website: https://email.gwdg.de) and to deal with them if necessary. If it is not practical for your workplace to be based at home, you are basically released after consultation with your manager. However, the obligation remains to be available by telephone and to be called up at any time to carry out important work for the University. In addition, you must also keep yourself informed about current developments at the University.

You will be informed by email and via the website when the normal working process is resumed and you need to be present in the office again.

For time spent working from home, the working time is not to be recorded in ESS. Please do not make individual time bookings! The recording is done centrally in the HR Department to match the amount of each individual’s planned working time. If corrective bookings/adjustments are required for individuals (e.g. mandatory weekend/night work, required overtime beyond the agreed working time), managers must inform the HR Department (email: personalorganisation@zvw.uni-goettingen.de) accordingly. In this case, the information is also recorded centrally after verification.

Holidays that have already been approved (including during the Easter holidays) or other exemptions remain valid and are therefore recorded by the system. If you do not take a planned holiday, please inform the HR Department (email: personalorganisation@zvw.uni-goettingen.de) via your manager before you do not take it, giving the reasons or providing evidence. The leave will then be credited. As already explained, you will then be obliged to work if your manager requires you to do so.

The payroll accounting is ensured at all times. However, payslips cannot currently be printed. This will be done as soon as the University has resumed normal operations.

With kind regards,


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

Dear staff and members of the University,

Today we are contacting you again to inform you about the latest developments in the Corona pandemic that will affect us all. In view of the significant increase in COVID-19 cases since Friday, the crisis team has carried out a new assessment of the situation (together with the UMG board of directors and in coordination with the Göttingen health department). It has become clear to us that massive restrictions on social contacts ("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.

Please use today, Monday, to specify the work that absolutely necessarily needs to be done on site.

From Tuesday, March 17th at the latest, all employees of the university should work exclusively from home as far as possible. Wherever possible and safe, the university management asks for the use of private (computer) equipment as well, since it is not possible to supply all persons with official (computer) equipment.

Even before, we ask all managers, in consultation with their employees, to send particularly endangered persons home immediately, unless they can be classified as essential personnel (CP=critical person). The same applies to people who have brought their children to work. All parent-child rooms will be closed. For CP among the particularly endangered persons, we ask that special precautions be taken to ensure that the necessary hygiene and distance regulations are observed without any exception.

Information and assistance for persons with a higher risk of a serious COVID-19 disease course can be found on the pages of the Robert Koch Institute https://www.rki.de/DE/Content/InfAZ/N/Neuartiges_Coronavirus/Risikogruppen.html?nn=13490888

Whether at the university, in home office or in private: please reduce social contacts. This applies to all kinds of events and meetings. It is not only about protecting yourself, but also about minimizing the risk for other people who belong to the risk groups and above all about giving the health system - and here especially our colleagues in the UMG - time to care for all people who are more affected. This can save lives!

We know that "social distancing" is a massively drastic measure for you. We appeal to you all to adhere strictly to this concept in the interest of the community. This means: Avoid being close to another person who is less than two metres away. Cancel all celebrations, meetings in houses or social gatherings. If possible, reduce meetings of several people in one room or apply appropriate distance rules. Travel only when it is unavoidable and be especially careful when using public transport. Bundle your purchases to keep your stay in shops short.

We are all equally affected and will overcome the crisis together.


Yours


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

Dear Staff and 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).

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 14.04.2020 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.


Virtual teaching

With the suspension of teaching and the postponement of the start of lectures, the question about possibilities for virtual teaching has come up in many ways. We assume that this will play an increasingly important role. The Service for Digital Teaching and Learning is currently compiling an overview of the various tools available for virtual teaching and their possible applications. This will be expanded and updated as soon as possible and will include links to instructions for the individual tools.

As the current overload of DFN video conferencing systems shows, the situation now places enormous demands on the technical infrastructure. We are therefore trying to develop solutions that can cope with a large number of users and at the same time meet the needs of teachers and students as far as possible. An important factor is to equalize and distribute the load as evenly as possible. We would therefore ask you to use the coming days and weeks to check which form of virtual teaching would be suitable for you and to inform yourself about the current possibilities (https://www.uni-goettingen.de/en/622774.html).


Examinations and tests

Examinations where students 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 students are not put at a disadvantage.


Libraries and learning and study buildings

The use of the University libraries will cease on Monday, 16.03.2020. 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/)

The Learning and Study building (LSG) as well as internship and laboratory rooms will also be closed from Monday, 16.03.2020.


Business trips and excursions

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.


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.


IT infrastructure and telephone services

We are working in close coordination with the GWDG and the IT service providers for respective areas of the University (student IT, central administration, SUB, UMG) to ensure sufficient IT supply. We assume that the external network bandwidth is sufficient. Individual services (e.g. VPN) will be strengthened as far as is possible. Please check the necessity of a service for yourself before you use it. With regards to telephone services, additional services will be provided, e.g. to conduct telephone conferences. Handouts for these and other areas will be made available as soon as possible via the information website.


Technical building infrastructures

Building management has drawn up individual emergency plans to ensure the operation of all central systems for research, teaching and administration even in the event of the unavailability of some staff (electricity, heating, air-handling, etc.).


Sports

The sports facilities will be closed from Monday, 16.03.2020.


Emergency plans

The University shall endeavour to ensure that the University's research and administrative operations can be maintained and shall draw up or update its contingency plans for this purpose.


Closure of kindergartens and schools

If you are unable to provide care in any other way, you can work from home in consultation with your responsible manager and if mobile-working is not possible, you will be released from work with salary. Details can be found in our FAQs.


Mobile working

Mobile working can and should be used in the current situation as a preventative measure to ensure separation between groups of employees and thus prevent simultaneous infection. If you have specific questions, please contact the HR department.

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 https://www.uni-goettingen.de/en/621808.html on a regular basis. This page is always kept up-to-date by us.


Yours faithfully,

Reinhard Jahn
President

The number of cases of Covid-19 infection in Germany has continued to rise in recent days. The University of Göttingen has therefore set up a Krisenstab (crisis management team) under the leadership of Vice-Presidents Professor Norbert Lossau and Dr Valérie Schüller, which will be 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 at www.uni-goettingen.de/cv-info (German and English).

This week, the crisis management team has mainly been concerned with the University’s own events as well as business trips to risk areas/affected areas and made the following decisions:


Events of the University of Göttingen

All major events of the University of Göttingen with external participants will be cancelled until Easter. This applies to events with 1,000 or more participants, such as the Information Days for prospective students planned for 9 and 10 March 2020. We are aware that such cancellations at short notice will cause inconvenience to all participants. Please understand that the protection of staff, students, relatives and guests is a top priority for the University and that we are potentially more affected than some other institutions due to the high degree of mobility and internationality.

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, which will be prepared using the criteria for risk assessments of major events published by the Robert Koch Institut (www.rki.de/DE/Content/InfAZ/N/Neuartiges_Coronavirus/Risiko_Grossveranstaltungen.html). We ask all organisers to thoroughly assess their own events accordingly and to send the assessment by email to the crisis management team: cv-info@uni-goettingen.de.

With regard to events in which the University of Göttingen is a co-organiser, we ask you to discuss the current situation with your cooperation partners and to weigh up possible risks for your participants in a responsible manner. Here too the crisis management team can provide advice and support in cases of doubt.

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


Business trips to risk areas/neighbouring areas

Business trips and excursions to risk areas according to the list of the Robert Koch Institute are not yet subject to approval (see email of 27 February 2020). Please check before you start a trip that your destination has not been declared a risk area at short notice.

Those returning from risk areas should, following consultation with their managers, work from home for 14 days (if it is practical to do their work) and stay away from the workplace during this time. If it is not possible to carry out their duties from home, they should be given 14 days' leave of absence in consultation with their managers. In both cases, those returning are entitled to a salary.

Those returning from neighbouring areas should also, after consultation with their managers, work from home for 14 days (if it is practical to do their work) and stay away from the workplace during this time. If it is not possible to carry out their duties from home, they should be given 14 days' leave of absence in consultation with their managers. Again, in both cases, those returning are entitled to a salary.

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

At www.uni-goettingen.de/cv-info you will find, in addition to the decisions of the crisis management team, general information on hygiene and behaviour as well as links to the relevant public institutions and authorities. Please understand that there is still much to be clarified. We are continually updating and adding to the site and will also inform you by email if there is any important new information.

Due to the spread of coronavirus (2019-nCoV), the University of Göttingen has set up a webpage for that subject

www.uni-goettingen.de/cv-info

(Information currently in German, page in English to follow next week)

Please note, that until further notice, no permits for business trips to the regions designated as risk areas by the Robert Koch Institute will be issued. Risk areas: https://www.rki.de/DE/Content/InfAZ/N/Neuartiges_Coronavirus/Risikogebiete.html?nn=13490888