Information provided by the university regarding the coronavirus pandemic

Current announcements of the Presidential Board

Letter of the President

Dear members of the university,
dear students, dear colleagues,

for a long time, we have not been able to fully experience our university as a place of personal encounters and conversations. We have come to realize how much we miss this personal exchange. All the more reason for us to look forward to a winter semester that will feature significantly more physical presence on campus.

In doing so, we are pursuing a path of increasing in-person attendance responsibly.

Responsible means that physical presence on campus in not only possible, but welcome. At the same time, we continue to treat each other with care. For this reason, a general mask mandate and social distancing requirements inside rooms and buildings will remain in place. Safe distances must also be maintained outdoors.

Because of these distancing requirements, we are not yet able to fully utilize our teaching and learning facilities. Nevertheless, compared to previous semesters, occupancy rates will increase considerably, allowing for more face-to-face lectures, seminars and courses. Despite this outlook, digital learning will remain a central part of studying during winter semester: larger events featuring more than 100 participants will regularly take place exclusively online.

Thanks to these measures, we will be able to maintain university operations, and teaching in particular, even if the pandemic was to worsen again in the coming months. We will no longer have to return to purely digital teaching operations. That’s a big win for all of us.

The 3G rule introduced in the current Coronavirus Ordinance of the state of Lower Saxony restricts access to events under certain conditions. It applies to universities as well. The rule takes effect when the state government declares a newly established warning level or the local authorities issue a general order stating that the infection incidence of 50 has been exceeded for several days. This means, specifically, that only vaccinated, recovered or negatively tested individuals will have access to lectures, seminars and courses attended by more than 25 people. All rooms affected by the 3G access restriction will be labelled with the appropriate capacity.

To implement this policy as smoothly as possible, the university is setting up central 3G registration points. Students can have their vaccination or convalescence status recorded there for the entire winter semester. Students who have just tested negative can also have their result recorded there for the duration of the test’s validity. The university thus meets its burden of proof – and protects the health of those involved in in-person teaching.

The experience of the past months has shown us that the available vaccines protect very well against severe coronavirus infections. The more people who are vaccinated, the more we can interact with ease. Of course, this also applies to campus life. As president of the university, I therefore urge all those who have not yet opted to be vaccinated: take advantage of the existing opportunities – protect yourself and help to finally conquer the pandemic. You can find further information on the winter semester 2021/22 on the central coronavirus-related webpages of the university. There, we also provide further explanations concerning the framework concept in the form of “frequently asked questions” (FAQ).

After these necessary notes on public health protections, I would like to leave you all with a message that is very close to my heart: Face-to-face encounters will return to the university. Step by step. Not initially with the intensity we would all like. But as early as the upcoming winter semester, you, dear students, will once again be able to meet on campus, exchange ideas and learn from each other. That is what sets a university apart, and you have had to do without for far too long.

In the past three semesters, you, dear instructors, together with the students, have managed to ensure the quality of studies and teaching even under particularly adverse conditions. This great achievement has produced many new digital teaching and learning formats. We will certainly benefit from this in the coming semester, when teaching can once again be designed in all its facets - whether in person, hybrid or digital.

You, too, dear staff in technical support and administration, have adapted extraordinarily well to the new work situation and kept our university running. You may now return to your workplaces as well. Please coordinate this process in your respective units. If there are workspace-related, organizational or personal aspects preventing you from returning, working from home remains an option, of course.

Together, we will take the path into this new phase of the pandemic, marked by much more personal interaction. I am very pleased to be able to shape this near future with you.

Yours,

Ralph Bruder
President

Information provided by the Presidential Board

Dear students,

We look forward to welcoming you back to Oldenburg soon.

Surely, you have taken note of the latest coronavirus ordinance issued by the state of Lower Saxony. This ordinance allows us and the schools to continue to plan for and pursue our concept of responsible in-person attendance.

The Presidential Board is currently reviewing opportunities offered by the ordinance regarding moderate increases in occupancy rates in lecture halls and course rooms. Starting in mid-September, you will be able to check the directory in Stud.IP for more information on what is being planned for your degree programme.

But even outside of lectures and courses, we will see significantly more physical presence on campus during winter semester than in any of the three past semesters - whether it is meeting in study groups, having lunch together, visiting the library, or simply getting together with your fellow students.

We look forward to working with you to create a more vibrant, yet responsible campus experience. Further informtion will follow soon.

Kind regards,

Verena Pietzner

Vice President for Instruction and International Affairs

Information provided by the Presidential Board

Dear students,

In the past few weeks, all schools have been working intensively on the winter semester policy and have coordinated these efforts with the Presidential Board. In today's email, I would like to inform you about the current status.

The policy’s cornerstones are distancing and hygiene rules that will continue to apply in the winter semester. Despite the increased number of vaccinated persons, adhering to these rules is essential for ensuring that no clusters of infection emerge at the University. In order to comply with the rules, the number of seats in classrooms has been reduced, just like in the past semester. This means that not all classrooms are suitable for in-person instruction. However, you can use these rooms as study/work spaces and book them on Stud.IP! This will enable you to meet in small groups at the university to study together.

Working and studying individually

Ten central classrooms with a total of seventy seats will be available as study spaces for students. Of these, three rooms have computers that can be used by eighteen people. As in the winter semester 2020/2021, you can book these rooms through the office hours function on Stud.IP („Platzbuchung“). Each room has an account on Stud.IP, which allows you to see the available time slots. You can book "office hours" there, just like when you sign up for regular office hours with your instructors.

There are also twenty study desks for students in cafeterias in the Haarentor foyer and in Wechloy. These are supervised by security personnel. Registration takes place on site and students do not have to sign up in advance. These desks are available during the regular cafeteria hours.

Starting on 10 June 2021, the opening hours of both library locations have been extended. The Central Library is open Mondays through Fridays from 8 am to 9 pm for up to 400 people. The Wechloy Departmental Library is open Mondays through Fridays from 9 am to 2 pm for a maximum of 30 people. To avoid overbooking and to provide you with a convenient overview of available desks, the occupancy rate of the library at the Haarentor location can be tracked on the BIS homepage. In addition to individual desks, the library offers forty-two study cubicles as individual work spaces, which can be reserved via email: . There is no face covering requirement in the study cubicles.

Instruction Policies

As explained in the last email, the schools and departments have different levels of flexibility in organizing courses. Small courses can be held completely in-person in redesigned rooms, lectures should take place predominantly online (synchronously or asynchronously). For courses with an in-between number of students, instructors can use both alternating (blended) scenarios and hybrid models where such approaches are possible and make sense pedagogically. For courses with several groups (e.g., labs or discussions sections in lectures), the option for meeting solely online or face-to-face should be offered where possible. For courses requiring rooms with special equipment (e.g., workshops, studios or laboratories), alternating models should be used.

In general, the schools will prioritize courses for face-to-face instruction as follows:

  1. Practice-based courses, e.g., sport, arts, laboratory courses, language, practice sections
  2. Courses for first and third semester students
  3. Courses for students in advanced semesters (at the end of the degree program), space permitting

You will be informed by your schools about the respective planning status.

I would like to conclude my email with an appeal: Do come back to Oldenburg. There will be significantly more in-person courses than in the past two semesters, even though this certainly will not always be possible for each course that you hope for. However, all schools make great efforts to enable in-person teaching. We look forward to welcoming you back to the University in the winter semester.

Together with the deans of students I send you my best regards.

Sincerely,

Prof. Dr. Verena Pietzner
Vice President for Instruction and International Affairs

FAQ - questions and answers

The FAQ in English are currently being updated. An overview of the coronavirus-related protective measures can be found in the current "Letter of the President" and the framework concept for the winter semester 2021/2022.

(09/15/2021)