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Christian Renken
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Dahna Noosten
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Kirsten Weingart
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Ammerländer Heerstraße 138
26129 Oldenburg

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Carl von Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg
Stabsstelle Arbeitssicherheit
Ammerländer Heerstr. 114-118
26129 Oldenburg

Information on the coronavirus for members of the university

Please understand that there is still much to be clarified at this time. We are therefore updating and amending this page continuously.

Letter of the President to the members of the University

March 20, 2020

Dear members of the University of Oldenburg,

Just a few weeks ago, most of us probably would not have imagined how profoundly the corona pandemic would influence our lives as well as those of the people close to us. Now we are aware of the gravity of the situation, as unreal as it may still seem: The wave of infection will reach all parts of Germany and therefore also members of and other people affiliated with the University of Oldenburg. And it is clear that there is only one way to hinder the virus from spreading much further too quickly: We all must reduce all interpersonal contacts to the absolute necessary minimum – as hard as that may be.

Our first step as a university was to suspend all lectures, courses, and seminars requiring personal attendance in order to avoid direct contact between teaching staff and students on campus. This means a drastic measure for all those affected by it and naturally leads to insecurity.

As of today, the university will now also interrupt its research and dial the administrative activity on campus down to the minimum. Both these measures represent more painful restraint of the usual life and interaction within our university.

From the home office, we try to comply with our tasks and get the upcoming work done. This comprises an effort to be able to largely expand the university’s online teaching for you, our students. Parts of our researchers can continue their excellent work outside of campus. The experimental disciplines are most constricted as they rely on the use of their laboratories and special equipment, which is bitter.

Not a single one of us has ever experienced such a drastic and sudden cut to our familiar academic routine. In the face of the current drama, a lot of the technicalities usually preoccupying us seem to fade.

As a trained physician, I put great trust in the health care in Oldenburg and in the whole country. I am glad that already young physicians trained at the University of Oldenburg play their part in this.

For you, the university’s employees, the current measures mean a lot of challenges. Many of you have to reorganise childcare as long as nurseries, kindergartens and schools remain closed. We may not yet have answers to all of the questions that bother you, even though many colleagues have been working at that intensely for weeks. Please remember: As members of public service we are a privileged part of our society. Our jobs and salaries are guaranteed. Please show humane and practical solidarity with those in a less fortunate position.

For you, our students, the current restrictions are serious – in relation to your studies as well as to your subsistence, with ceasing options to earn something on the side. You can be sure that we do everything we can to offer you the best studies and studying experience possible under these circumstances. This is my promise to you. At the same time I ask for your understanding and patience in case things do not yet run as quickly or smoothly as we would like them to. We are working on it.

My wish to all of us is that we may get through these difficult times in the best possible way. The university’s Presidential Chair does its part. Please join us in this effort!

Yours,

Prof. Dr. Dr. Hans Michael Piper, President

I. Current situation at the University of Oldenburg

Teaching in the spring-summer semester from 20 April, 2020

Last updated: April, 6

Lectures will resume on April 20, one week later than originally planned. The university assumes that no classroom teaching can take place in the coming semester. The aim is to enable students to successfully complete as many courses as possible. Students should not experience any problems with the standard length of study (“Regelstudienzeit”) if they are unable to complete any or all of the courses scheduled for the summer semester.

Examination proceedings in the spring-summer semester from April 20, 2020

Last updated: April, 6

  • In the summer semester, the University will use alternative forms of examination rather than standard in-person written or oral exams. This also applies retroactively to winter semester exams which could not be completed in March. Furthermore, the Presidential Chair is currently working on the legal basis for online oral exams.
  • The University will also organize in-person exams that cannot be postponed even during the University’s reduced operations – observing, of course, all required hygiene measures. An exam cannot be postponed if and when all other requirements for the completion of the degree have been met and no more courses need to be taken. In other words, exams that cannot be postponed are the last exams that a student must take. To register and organize in-person exams, students should get in touch with the Academic Examinations Office.

Academic Examinations Office

 

Further reduction of the operations of the University of Oldenburg (hereafter "emergency operations")

Last updated: March 23, 2020

Since Friday, 20 March 2020, the university has been in so-called emergency operations. The campus and all buildings are basically closed and should , if possible, no longer be entered.

This provision excludes

  • those functions (persons) whose presence on site is considered essential by the heads of the organizational units (superiors) for the functioning and performance of the University of Oldenburg,
  • functions (persons) designated as systemically relevant, or
  • persons for whom appropriate exceptions are granted.

As few individuals as possible should be present at the same time in a confined space (e.g. hallway, office). If necessary, the heads of the organizational units/superiors coordinate their employees’ presence in the workplace.

Once the closure takes effect, all employees of the university should, wherever possible, work predominantly from home (“home office”). Please note the recently communicated regulations laid out in the draft “Employment Agreement on Alternative Workplaces during the Corona Crisis” (“Entwurf zur Dienstvereinbarung zu Arbeitsplatzalternativen während der Zeit der Coronakrise”).

Please use your laptop or – after consulting with your superior – take your work PC along with any necessary accessories. Please note: The use of private devices to access the university’s IT infrastructure has to be authorized by the IT Services. Further information will be provided by the IT Services.

Moving your place of work to your home, you are still obliged to work, unless ordered otherwise. It is expected that you can be reached by telephone during your normal working hours and that you are on call to carry out important work at the university. Please check your e-mails regularly and tend to them if necessary (e.g. via webmail, https://w.uol.de). Please also keep yourself informed about current developments on the university’s website (via the homepage uol.de).

If you are not designated to work on site at the university and your work cannot be carried out from home, you may be released from your duties after consulting with your superior. Nevertheless, you remain under obligation to be available by telephone during your normal working hours and to be on call to perform important work at the university. You are to inform yourself regularly about current developments at the university and check your e-mails. You may be notified by e-mail and via the website when business as usual resumes.

Previously approved vacation (including during Easter break) or other types of leave of absence remain valid.

Payroll accounting is maintained at all times.

Please note the following provisions regarding building operations and opening hours:

  • Building operations: Ventilation systems are either turned off or continue to run at the lowest level. Ventilation of computer rooms remains in operation. The digestor exhaust air systems are operated at the lowest level. Please switch off digestors not required locally and close all windows.
  • Facility management services: 08:00 AM - 04:00 PM, available by telephone at service points, if required
  • Central mailroom (Tel.: -2539): 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM - For stamping of urgent mail, mail delivery or mail pickup; mail is not distributed by the central mailroom and distribution must therefore be handled internally by the organizational units
  • Central telephone switchboard: Service restricted
  • Building access: Only possible via electronic chip or by borrowing the key from the service point
  • IT Service desk: Available Monday through Thursday from 09:00 AM - 3:30 PM and Friday from 09:00 AM - 12:00 PM by telephone at -5555 (restricted) and at servicedesk@uol.de
  • Central library at Haarentor campus (Uhlhornsweg): No entry with the exception of BIS employees who maintain services (for further information see BIS website)
  • Departmental library at Wechloy campus: Closed
  • Underground parking deck at Uhlhornsweg: Closed
  • Multi-story parking deck at A55: Closed
  • Sports facilities: Closed

Botanical garden: Closed

In conjunction with the emergency operation of the university, the following additional measures are to be adopted, some of which are already being implemented:

  • All lectures, courses, and seminars requiring personal attendance are suspended.
  • All examinations at least partially requiring personal attendance are suspended (whether oral exams may be administered online is currently being reviewed).
  • All conferences, workshops, or any other public events at the University of Oldenburg are suspended (on campus and in other locations).
  • Due to the emergency operations, committee and other work meetings are now also affected. These should be avoided, if possible, or only involve a few people.
  • International business trips are not permitted; previous approvals are revoked. Only well-founded, indispensable business travel may be approved.
  • Within Germany, only indispensable business travel, ideally avoiding public transportation, should be approved.

Mobile work: Employment Agreement ("Dienstvereinbarung")

Last updated: March 17, 2020

The Presidential Chair and the Staff Council have agreed upon the draft of a temporary Employment Agreement on alternative workplaces during the corona crisis. Subject to the approval of the Staff Council, the agreement will be concluded at short notice. The regulations laid out in the draft become effective immediately.

The agreement, including all relevant forms, is available on the administration portal (Personnel Service/Mobile Work).

The Employment Agreement authorizes superiors to permit individual employees to work remotely. In order to maintain the functionality and performance of the University of Oldenburg, superiors are also given the option to order individual employees to work remotely. However, it is required that the nature of an employee's job allows for mobile work to be carried out and that all necessary work equipment is available. Please coordinate requests for mobile work with your superiors.

Agreement on alternative workplaces during the Corona crisis (German)

Request for mobile work (German)

Teaching operations until April 20, 2020

Last updated: March 16, 2020

  • All courses, lectures, and seminars requiring personal attendance at the university are to be cancelled. At the moment, this pertains in particular to block events (such as block seminars, laboratory internships and field trips). Pending approval by officials tasked with supervising professional and orientation internships, such activities are to be put on halt as well.
  • As far as possible, consultation hours are recommended to be held by phone or using other means of communication.

Working with the university's schools and departments, the Presidential Chair is developing solutions to compensate for teaching activities which have to be postponed or cancelled due current regulations. For students at the School of Medicine and Health Sciences engaged in clinical internships and research projects, separate solutions will be developed and communicated by the school.

Examination proceedings until April 20, 2020

Last updated: March 16, 2020

  • Exams requiring personal attendance at the university (such as tests, written and oral exams) are to be postponed. One exception to this rule are exams which, if not taken until the end of April, would prevent students from graduating - as in the case of final exams to be undertaken by students of teaching who intend to apply for their school traineeship ("Referendariat") in April. Those students are requested to contact their individual examiners.
  • Deadlines for bachelor and master theses may be extended by four weeks upon informal request via email to the Academic Examinations Office.
  • Forms of examination not requiring personal attendance at the university (such as papers, essays, portfolios) are to be submitted via Stud.IP, email or by mail within applicable deadlines. Examiners are asked to be accommodating if students - particularly students with children - request deadline extensions.

University library: Notes for use

The central library on the Haarentor campus and the departmental library on the Wechloy campus will be closed for public use presumably until and including April 19, 2020.

Central services for study, teaching and research – depending on the personnel situation of the library – will be maintained.

Please visit the page linked below regularly. There you will find the latest information regarding our services.

More information

The University Sports Centre has suspended all services

Last updated: March 16, 2020

The University Sports Centre has suspended its services until and including April 19:

  • The university pool is closed - this also applies to external groups. Only requisite exams may still be held.
  • All university sports courses are cancelled, as are open gym slots and workshops.
  • All sports facilities  are closed until April 19, including the artificial turf, grass, basketball, and beach volleyball courts in Wechloy.  This policy corresponds to that of the City of Oldenburg and its sports clubs.
  • All rentals of badminton or artificial turf courts are suspended, as are previously booked time slots. This also applies to rentrals by external groups and subscriptions.
  • The Fitness and Health Centre is closed. Previously arranged appointments for orientations are cancelled.

More information

II. Information for students

General notes

I need psychological support in this situation. Where can I get help?

If you are a student of the university or the Jade University of Applied Sciences, please contact the staff of the Psychological Counselling Service (PBS) for help with any personal and study-related difficulties.

Psychological Counselling Service (German)

Emergency numbers for crisis situations (German)

Labor law-related information for working students

The University Information Office (HIB) has compiled important information on labor law for working students.

Current information HIB (German)

Reduced university operations (emergency operations)

Closure of the University Library

  • Both the central library at the Haarentor campus and the departmental library at the Wechloy campus are closed for public use.
  • Please refer to the corresponding page of the library to find out about the services still offered:

More information

 

I have not yet validated my CampusCard. Where and when can I do this?

The CampusCard can be validated Monday to Friday from 8 am to 4 pm using the machines in the cafeteria foyer.
The foyer is freely accessible during these times.

Cafeteria foyer Haarentor campus

CampusCard as semester ticket

Until further notice, the CampusCard validated for fall-winter semester 2019/20 in conjunction with a certificate of enrolment for spring-summer semester 2020 and an official photo ID is accepted as a semester ticket - including state-wide usage aross Lower Saxony. Students can print out a certificate of enrolment via Stud.IP.

FAQ list by the Studentenwerk

The Studentenwerk Oldenburg (students services organization) provides information about the coronavirus and answers any possible questions:

https://www.studentenwerk-oldenburg.de/de/corona-faq/1475-coronavirus-fragen-und-antworten.html

Teaching in the spring-summer semester from 20 April, 2020

Will classroom teaching take place in the summer semester?

The university assumes that no classroom teaching can take place in the coming semester. The aim is to enable students to successfully complete as many courses as possible. Students should not experience any problems with the standard length of study (“Regelstudienzeit”) if they are unable to complete any or all of the courses scheduled for the summer semester.

Deadline extension until 30 September 2020 for providing proof of required modules for students who have been provisionally admitted to the Master’s programme.

Students who have been provisionally admitted to a Master's programme in the 2019/20 winter semester but, due to the suspension of the examinations, are unable to demonstrate by the 31 March 2020 deadline that they have completed the modules required in the admission notice can continue their studies in the second semester of the Master programme in the 2020 summer semester but must provide proof of the completed modules by 30 September 2020.

Deadline for providing evidence of a Bachelor's degree upon provisional admission to a Master's program extended until September 30, 2020

In accordance with today's decision by the Presidential Chair, students provisionally admitted into a Master's program during winter semester 2019/20 who are not able to present their Bachelor's degree by March 31, 2020 due to the suspension of examinations may continue their second semester studies during summer semester 2020. Those students must complete and provide evidence of their Bachelor's degree by September 30, 2020.

Suspension of all teaching operations until April 20, 2020

I am currently completing a professional/orientation/school internship. How do I proceed?

All professional, orientation, and school internships are to be halted in consultation with the official responsible for the internship. Information on how to deal with school internships, which are coordinated by the DiZ, can be found here:

DiZ/Information Coronavirus (German)

 

Are consultation hours currently being held?

Consultation hours should be held by telephone or be replaced with other forms of communication.

Can I submit requests via e-mail?

Yes. Please submit the signed form as a PDF file attached to an e-mail. 

I am a medical student currently completing a clinical internship. How am I affected?

For students at the School of Medicine and Health Sciences engaged in clinical internships and research projects, separate solutions will be developed and communicated by the school.

Will disadvantages caused by the suspension of all teaching operations be compensated for?

The university is committed to ensuring that its students do not suffer any negative consequences due to the current situation. Working with the university's schools and departments, the Presidential Chair is developing solutions to compensate for classroom instruction which has to be postponed or cancelled.

Pregnant and breastfeeding students as well as students with health restrictions

For an individual assessment, we recommend you consult your attending physician.


Directive for the protection of expectant mothers and breastfeeding women at the University of Oldenburg

On the basis of the available epidemiological data, the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health as well as the Committee for Biological Agents (ABAS) have provisionally categorised SARS-CoV-2 as a risk group 3 pathogen under the Ordinance on Biological Agents (decision as of February 19,  2020). According to our current scientific understanding, the virus can be transmitted by inhaling aerosols and by contact with mucous membranes (nose, mouth, eyes). Exposure to these bio-substances may present a risk for pregnant women and nursing mothers at the university.

In order to protect employees and/or students who are pregnant or nursing, the University of Oldenburg has issued a directive, effective immediately, prohibiting them from entering the university, its buildings, and facilities.

Other protections granted by the university to expectant and nursing mothers ("Mutterschutz") are not affected by this and remain in effect.

This provision shall apply until and including April 19, 2020.

 

Examination proceedings in the spring-summer semester from April 20, 2020

In what form do examinations take place in the summer semester?

In the summer semester, the University will use alternative forms of examination rather than standard in-person written or oral exams. This also applies retroactively to winter semester exams which could not be completed in March. Furthermore, the Presidential Chair is currently working on the legal basis for online oral exams.

I'm about to complete my studies. Can I take necessary in-person exams despite emergency operation?

The University will also organize in-person exams that cannot be postponed even during the University’s reduced operations – observing, of course, all required hygiene measures. An exam cannot be postponed if and when all other requirements for the completion of the degree have been met and no more courses need to be taken. In other words, exams that cannot be postponed are the last exams that a student must take. To register and organize in-person exams, students should get in touch with the Academic Examinations Office.

Academic Examinations Office

Examination proceedings until April 20, 2020

Are examinations currently being held?

Exams requiring personal attendance (e.g. tests, written and oral exams) are to be postponed. One exception to this rule are exams which, if not taken by the end of April, would prevent students from graduating - as in the case of final exams to be taken by students of teaching who intend to apply for their school traineeship ("Referendariat") in April. Those students are requested to contact their individual examiners.

Will deadlines for the submission of bachelor and master's theses change?

Deadlines for bachelor and master's theses may be extended by four weeks upon submission of an informal request via email to the Academic Examinations Office.

What about exams which do not require personal attendance, i.e. papers, essays, or portfolios?

Forms of examination not requiring personal attendance are to be submitted via Stud.IP, email, or by mail within applicable deadlines. Examiners are asked to accommodate students - particularly those with children - who request deadline extensions.

Should documents such as academic transcripts be collected from building A12?

No, they will be sent by mail.

Due to the closure of copy shops, it is currently impossible to have final papers bound. Can I submit a final paper in digital format?

Yes, please send your thesis in PDF format (single file) attached to an e-mail to your designated clerk at the Examination Office. As soon as binding is possible again, please send the bound copies to your first and second examiner immediately. At that point, it won't be necessary to resend an electronic version.

 

Do I have to withdraw my registration for an exam taking place before April 20, 2020?

No. Registrations will be cancelled centrally.

How should papers and other pieces of graded work subject to a deadline be submitted?

All documents that require a date stamp can be deposited in the mailroom's mailbox in building V01 at Ammerländer Heerstraße 114-118.

III. Information for employees

Reduced operations (emergency operations)

May the university be entered despite reduced operations (emergency operations) being in effect?

Basically all buildings of the University of Oldenburg are closed and should not be entered anymore.

This provision excludes

  • those functions (persons) whose presence on site is considered essential by the heads of the organizational units (superiors) for the functioning and performance of the University of Oldenburg,
  • functions (persons) designated as relevant for system functioning, or
  • persons for whom appropriate exceptions are granted.

In principle, as few individuals as possible should be present at the same time in a confined space (e.g. hallway, office). If necessary, the heads of the organizational units/superiors coordinate their employees' presence in the workplace.

Home office regulations during the period of reduced operations

Once the closure takes effect, all employees of the university should, wherever possible, work predominantly from home ("home office"). Please note the recently communicated regulations laid out in the draft "Employment Agreement on Alternative Workplaces during the Corona Crisis" ("Entwurf zur Dienstvereinbarung zu Arbeitsplatzalternativen während der Zeit der Coronakrise").

We kindly ask you to use your laptop or - after consulting with your superior - take your work PC along with any necessary accessories. Please note: The use of private devices to access the university's IT infrastructure has to be authorized by the IT Services. Further information will be provided by the IT Services.

IT-Services

Am I still obliged to work while reduced operations remain in effect?

Moving your place of work to your home, you are still obliged to work, unless ordered otherwise. It is expected that you can be reached by telephone during your normal working hours and that you are on call to carry out important work at the university. In addition, we ask you to check your e-mails regularly and tend to them if necessary (e.g. via webmail, https://uol.de/webmail). Please also keep yourself informed about current developments on the university's website (https://uol.de/en).

Payroll accounting is maintained at all times.

What happens to previously approved vacation days or other types of leave of absence during the period of reduced operations?

Previously approved vacation days (including during Easter break) or other types of leave of absence remain valid.

What about employees who are not allowed to enter the university and who, due to the emergency operations, are unable to perform their duties?

If you are not designated to work on site at the university and your work cannot be carried out from home, you may be released from your duties after consulting with your superior. Nevertheless, you remain under obligation to be available by telephone during your normal working hours and to be on call to perform important work at the university. You are to inform yourself regularly about current developments at the university and check your e-mails. You may be notified by e-mail and via the website when business as usual resumes.

Payroll accounting is maintained at all times.

Further guidance

Mobile work: Employment Agreement ("Dienstvereinbarung")

Last updated: March 17, 2020

The Presidential Chair and the Staff Council have agreed upon the draft of a temporary Employment Agreement on alternative workplaces during the corona crisis. Subject to the approval of the Staff Council, the agreement will be concluded at short notice. The regulations laid out in the draft become effective immediately.

The agreement, including all relevant forms, is available on the administration portal (Personnel Service/Mobile Work).

The Employment Agreement authorizes superiors to permit individual employees to work remotely. In order to maintain the functionality and performance of the University of Oldenburg, superiors are also given the option to order individual employees to work remotely. However, it is required that the nature of an employee's job allows for mobile work to be carried out and that all necessary work equipment is available. Please coordinate requests for mobile work with your superiors.

Agreement on alternative workplaces during the Corona crisis (German)

Request for mobile work (German)

Tips for working from home with children

The German Social Accident Insurance (DGUV) gives advice on working remotely from home with children. For all parents who are currently looking after their children and working from home at the same time, here are a few tips from "The safe house" campaign on how they can manage that twofold burden as safely and health-consciously as possible:

  • Try to define a fixed period of time for working remotely. Discuss with your employer beforehand whether you can also do some work in the evening, for example, when the children are in bed.
  • If you do not have your own office in your home, set up a "no-go zone". This signals to others: "Please do not disturb, people are working here." Tape or pillows on the floor, for example, could serve as barriers.
  • If there are two of you working from home, divide and define clear times for childcare. If the weather is nice: Going for walks outside with your children is still possible. If the weather is bad: a brochure by "The safe house" campaign offers ideas for indoor games: https://das-sichere-haus.de/broschueren/sicher-gross-werden (German).

Stress and a hectic pace facilitate falls - the most common cause of accidents in home offices.

  • Make sure that cables from your PC, laptop, and printer are stowed away so that you cannot fall over them or get tangled up. Stick loose cables to the floor with wide adhesive tape.
  • Toys that are lying around quickly become a trip hazard. Encourage your children to play only in their own room, if possible.
  • Stop working if you want to cook and small children live in the household. Hot food left on the stove unattended is a serious source of danger.
  • Take adequate breaks and stretch. Oftentimes, improvised home office workplaces are not ergonomic.

Closure of kindergartens and schools

If kindergartens and schools are closed, there may be an increased need for childcare. If childcare (other than personally provided care) cannot be ensured, or if home-based forms of work such as telework or mobile work are not possible, the University of Oldenburg may grant paid special leave for civil servants on a case-by-case basis in accordance with the state’s special leave regulation (“Sonderurlaub unter Fortzahlung der Bezüge gemäß Nds. Sonderurlaubsverordnung”). For employees subject to collective bargaining agreements, paid leave may be granted in accordance with § 29 Para. 3 TV-L.

Please note that these leaves of absence are limited to a few days according to collective bargaining and public service law as well as the currently applicable case law. It remains to be seen whether new regulations will be issued if current circumstances persist.

If you are affected, please report to your superiors following the same procedures that apply in case of illness.

Telework regulations

Concerning the permission and extension of telework, current regulations remain in effect. The university’s Work Safety Unit can provide further feedback, e.g. on simplifying the permission review process.

You can find detailed information about applying for telework on the Work Safety Unit’s website:

Telearbeit (German)

Health concerns

Pregnant employees and employees with health restrictions

For an individual assessment, we recommend you consult your attending physician.


Directive for the protection of expectant mothers and breastfeeding women at the University of Oldenburg

On the basis of the available epidemiological data, the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health as well as the Committee for Biological Agents (ABAS) have provisionally categorised SARS-CoV-2 as a risk group 3 pathogen under the Ordinance on Biological Agents (decision as of February 19,  2020). According to our current scientific understanding, the virus can be transmitted by inhaling aerosols and by contact with mucous membranes (nose, mouth, eyes). Exposure to these bio-substances may present a risk for pregnant women and nursing mothers at the university.

In order to protect employees and/or students who are pregnant or nursing, the University of Oldenburg has issued a directive, effective immediately, prohibiting them from entering the university, its buildings, and facilities.

Other protections granted by the university to expectant and nursing mothers ("Mutterschutz") are not affected by this and remain in effect.

This provision shall apply until and including April 19, 2020.

Oldenburg, March 19, 2020
The employment agreement on working remotely from home must be observed.

May I be absent from work to avoid getting infected on the way to work or through contacts at work?

The fear of being infected with the coronavirus at work or on the way to work is understandable, but does not entitle employees to be absent from work, according to current risk assessments.

I commute to work and rely on public transportation. May I stay at home to minimize the risk of infection?

Due to the relatively low prevalence of coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, there are currently no bans on using public transportation. Aside from that, employees generally bear the risk of travelling to work and are responsible for reaching their place of employment safely.

I have immunocompromised or chronically ill relatives at home. Can I work from home?

For the protection of your relatives, you should exercise the same caution you would during flu season. Other than that, there is no higher risk of infection in a work environment than in private life. The fear of being infected with the coronavirus at work or on the way to work is understandable, but does not entitle employees to be absent from work, according to current risk assessments.

IV. Travel

I am currently planning a business trip. What do I have to consider?

International business trips are not permitted; previous approvals are revoked. Only well-founded, indispensable business travel may be approved.

Within Germany, only indispensable business travel, ideally avoiding public transportation, will be approved.

I am currently planning a private trip to a particularly affected country. What do I have to consider?

Regulation issued by the responsible ministries:

We expressly warn against planned or booked holiday travel to a particularly affected country or area listed in travel advisories issued by the RKI or AA. These travel warnings must be observed.

Note under public service law (“dienstrechtlicher Hinweis”): Undertaking holiday travel which leads to an infection with the coronavirus may constitute a breach of the employee's obligation under public service law; failure to maintain good health may result in disciplinary action (“Verstoß gegen die beamtenrechtliche Pflicht zur Gesunderhaltung”).

Note for employees subject to collective agreements (“Tarifbeschäftigte”): employees bear the sole risk (e.g. illness, local quarantine measures, obstacles to return travel) associated with visiting an affected country or area listed in travel advisories issued by the RKI or AA.

I am back from an affected area and am already in domestic quarantine as a precaution. First symptoms of illness are developing - what do I have to do?

For further clarification, please contact your general practitioner exclusively by telephone. Outside of regular consultation hours you can contact the on-call medical service of the city of Oldenburg:
Phone: 0441 75053 (Oldenburg)
Phone: 116 117 (nationwide)

I am a student at the University of Oldenburg, am currently abroad and won't be able to return due to travel restrictions. What should I do?

Please send an e-mail to stud5moium@uol.de describing your situation and your specific concerns (e.g. failure to attend scheduled examinations). Don't forget to include your matriculation number.

I am a student at the University of Oldenburg and would like to terminate a semester abroad. Is that possible? Will examinations and internships still take place?

Please write an e-mail to studium@uol.de describing your situation and adding any questions you may have regarding the continuation of your studies at the University. Don't forget to include your matriculation number.

IV. Events

Dealing with public events at the university

All conferences, workshops, or any other public events at the University of Oldenburg are suspended (on campus and in other locations).

 

What about committee and other work meetings?

Due to the emergency operations, committee and other work-related meetings are now also affected. They should be avoided, if possible, or only involve a few people.

V. Health & hygiene

Infection risks

Who is considered a contact person with a higher risk of infection?

Anyone who has had contact with a sick person at least two days before that person began experiencing symptoms is considered a contact person. Contact persons have a higher risk of falling ill themselves if

  • they came in direct contact with an infected person for at least 15 minutes, e.g. during a conversation.
  • they came in direct contact with an infected person's secretions or bodily fluids, e.g. during kissing or coughing.
  • they work in the medical field or nursing and, without wearing protective gear, came within less than 2 meters of an infected person, e.g. during an exam.
  • they traveled on an air plane with an infected person, but only if 1) they sat in the same row or up to 2 rows in front of or behind the infected person (regardless of the flight's duration) or 2) they were among the crew or other passengers, e.g. after a longer conversation.

Can imported goods, objects, packaging (cardboard boxes, envelopes) from regions where the disease is widespread be a source of human infection?

Based on the transmission pathways identified so far and the relatively low environmental stability of coronaviruses, it is unlikely, according to the current scientific consensus, that imported goods such as food, consumer goods, toys, tools, computers, clothing, or shoes could be a source of infection with the novel coronavirus. (BfR)

Can the virus spread from pets to humans?

There has not yet been any evidence of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 spreading from humans to their pets and vice versa. Therefore, no special protection for dogs or cats is necessary.

The Federal Office for Food Safety and Veterinary Affairs BLV of Switzerland has provided information on this (German, French and Italian).

The WHO gives the following answer to this question:

Can I catch COVID-19 from my pet?

"No. There is no evidence that companion animals or pets such as cats and dogs have been infected or could spread the virus that causes COVID-19."

How can I protect myself from infection?

Washing your hands thoroughly and regularly is the foundation of personal hygiene. The Robert Koch Institute has published an information sheet on this subject (German).

Disinfecting your hands is only useful and necessary in specific cases, such as when handling potentially infectious material.

How should people behave if they are at a higher risk of the disease progressing severely (e.g. in case of a preexisting condition, a suppressed immune system, ...)?

It is particularly important to reduce the risk of infection as much as possible, for example by following the general guidelines (washing hands, keeping distance from sick people) and other measures to reduce contact.
Educating vulnerable individuals about the disease's clinical characteristics is also important, as it can help them recognize symptoms early. Infected persons should contact their family practitioner or other medical counselling services by telephone as soon as possible.

The RKI has published information specifically for higher-risk groups (German). 

Symptoms & quarantine

I feel sick and I'm showing symptoms such as fever, dry cough, and fatigue - what should I do?

For further diagnosis, please contact your general practitioner exclusively by telephone. Outside of regular consultation hours, you can contact the on-call medical service of the City of Oldenburg:
Phone: 116 117 (nationwide)

Further steps for:

  • Employees: If you suspect to have been infected, please inform your superior and Division 1 (Dezernat 1) by telephone or e-mail.
  • Students: If you suspect to have been infected, please inform the InfoService of Division 3 (Dezernat 3) by telephone or e-mail (studium@uol.de or 0441/798-2728).

You can find the InfoLine Studium service hours at https://uol.de/dezernat3/infoservice.

I have come in contact with people who have been diagnosed with the coronavirus but are not showing any symptoms. What should I do?

Contact persons are people who came in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 within two days of that person first showing symptoms.

The Robert Koch Institute divides the risk of infection associated with physical contact into different categories and provides corresponding behavioral guidelines (German). 

If one of these scenarios applies to you, please contact the University of Oldenburg immediately.

  • Employees: If you suspect to have been infected, please inform your supervisor and Division 1 (Dezernat 1) by telephone or e-mail.
  • Students: If you suspect to have been infected, please inform the InfoService of Division 3 (Dezernat 3) by telephone or e-mail (studium@uol.de or 0441/798-2728).

I have been officially ordered to self-isolate. Who do I contact? What are the next steps?

  • Employees: Employees who have been officially ordered to self-isolate should contact their respective superior by telephone or e-mail. Employees who cannot come to the university due to isolation measures will continue to receive their salary or remuneration regardless. They should inform Division 1 (Dezernat 1) via their superior. Whether it is practical and legally permissible for an affected individual to carry out official duties from home will be reviewed in this context as well.
  • Students: Students who have been officially ordered to self-isolate should contact the InfoService of Division 3 (Dezernat 3) by telephone or e-mail (studium@uol.de or 0441/798-2728). The university will ensure that these students do not suffer any negative consequences.

 

Who issues quarantine orders?

In accordance with the Infection Protection Act ("Infektionsschutzgesetz"), state health authorities may order and organize quarantine measures. The Infection Protection Act authorizes state health authorities, among other things, to order persons to shelter in place or to not enter certain premises until necessary protective measures have been taken (Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community).

What happens if someone violates a quarantine order?

Quarantine orders are enforced by the local police authorities.

According to § 74 of the German Infection Protection Act (IfSG), anyone who commits an intentional act described in § 73 section 1, or section 1a numbers 1 to 7, 11 to 20, 22, 22a 23, or 24 IfSG, and thereby spreads a disease or pathogen mentioned in § 6 section 1 sentence 1 number 1 IfSG or a pathogen mentioned in § 7 IfSG will be punished with up to five years of imprisonment or a fine.

 A new reporting ordinance ("CoronaVMeldeV") came into force on Februrary 1, 2020. As a result, Covid-19 now falls under the reporting obligation of § 6 section 1 sentence 1 number 1 and § 7 section 1 sentence 1 of the IfSG.

(Federal Ministry of the Interior, for Building and Community)

Hygiene measures

Current decrees and general ordinances concerning the actions taken by the state government of Lower Saxony

In the fight against the spread of the coronavirus, the government of Lower Saxony is rapidly implementing the recommendations of its crisis management team. In doing so, it is closely following the guidelines issued by the federal government and the heads of state governments for combating the corona epidemic. Here you will find a chronological overview of all regulations issued in Lower Saxony to manage the corona pandemic:

https://www.niedersachsen.de/Coronavirus/erlasse-und-allgemeinverfuegung/erlasse-und-allgemeinverfuegung-185856.html (German)

What is the correct use of disinfectants?

Disinfectants can be used to reduce the number of pathogens in the environment or on hands and skin. However, you need to consider whether the use of disinfectants is actually necessary, which disinfectants should be used, and how to apply them correctly.

Why doesn't the university provide any disinfectants?

Disinfectants are only effective if selected and applied properly. If used incorrectly, disinfectants may even cause pathogens to grow resistant to the active ingredients. Not every disinfectant is effective against every pathogen. Choosing appropriately is crucial. Disinfectants are often used incorrectly (e.g. application time is not taken into account), so that in the worst case they do not have the desired effect and give users a false sense of security.

If the basic rules of general hygiene are observed, e.g washing hands thoroughly and sneezing into the crook of the arm rather than one's hands, there is no need to use hand disinfectants in daily life.

The Federal Centre for Health Education (BZgA) has published further information on this (German).

May I use privately purchased hygiene products in my workplace at the University?

If privately purchased hygiene products (e.g. disinfectants, liquid soaps, etc.) are used at the University and are made available to the general public, please ensure that they are only used in their original packaging with the official labelling intact.
Missing or inadequate labelling can cause serious harm to human health (e.g. poisoning, allergies).

May I use homemade disinfectant?

The WHO has issued instructions on how to make disinfectant. However, we advise against passing on homemade disinfectant to third parties, since this is not a certified production process (as is usually the case for these products). Their effectiveness and safety in humans has not been sufficiently established. In the worst case,  homemade disinfectant could be hazardous to one's health (e.g. allergies, skin and respiratory tract damage).

At this time, however, there is no evidence that would speak against using such products as a surface disinfectant.

Does it make sense for the general public to wear a face mask?

The most important and effective measures for protecting yourself as well as others from infection with pathogens causing respiratory tract infections are proper coughing and sneezing, good hand hygiene, and keeping a distance (approx. 1 to 2 metres) from persons suspected of being ill. However, these measures are recommended anywhere and at all times during flu season.

If a person suffering from an acute respiratory tract infection has to be in public, he or she may wear a face mask (e.g. a surgical mask) in order to reduce the risk of infecting others through droplets produced when coughing or sneezing (third-party protection).

For optimum effectiveness, it is important that the face mask fits correctly. It must be worn tightly and changed when it becomes wet. It should not be repositioned (even unintentionally) while it is being worn. Ask a healthcare professional to advise you on whether you should wear a mask, which mask is suitable for you, and how to put on or change the mask correctly.

On the other hand, there is not sufficient evidence that wearing a face mask reduces the risk of infection for a healthy person wearing it. According to the WHO, wearing a mask in situations where it is not recommended may create a false sense of security. This can lead individuals to neglect key hygiene measures such as good hand hygiene. Further information can be found on the BZgA's website (German).

How do I disinfect my computer or laptop?

Wipe down the surfaces of the mouse and keyboard with commercially available moist disinfecting cloths or with a soft, lint-free cloth (e.g. microfibre cloth) slightly moistened with disinfectant. Switch off the device (laptops unplugged etc.) before disinfecting and make sure that no liquid enters the casing during the process.
Pay attention to dangers caused by electrical current!

General information

The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) provides ongoing information on the situation as it develops. Answers to frequently asked questions (FAQ) can be found there as well.

The Federal Foreign Office issues current travel warnings and an information sheet on the coronavirus.

The Federal Centre for Health Education (BZgA) provides information for the general population on its website.

The Occupational Medical Service (BAD) of the University of Oldenburg has released a current information leaflet on the subject.

General information is also published by the State Chancellery of Lower Saxony.

English information: WHO travel advice for international traffic in relation to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV and Q&A on coronaviruses. 

Webmaste/qrb6y (chriuwrvstian.re0y2nkenbif@uol.def6) (04/07/2020)