Corona FAQs

Dealing with the Corona Pandemic - FAQs

Dealing with the Corona Pandemic - FAQs

On these pages you will find questions and answers from our university regarding the Corona pandemic. The information will be continually updated in accordance with the Crisis Management Team.

Last Update: January 26, 2022

    Important Contacts

    IMPORTANT NOTICE: all information will be sent to your email account @hs-gm.de or @mail.hs-gm.de. We therefore recommend you check the account daily.

    Reporting an infection
    Corona(at)hs-gm.de
    +49 6722 502 285

    Rooms / cleaning / technical
    haustechnik(at)hs-gm.de

    Contact data collection system
    veranstaltungen(at)hs-gm.de

    Crisis Management Team
    krisenstab(at)hs-gm.de

    Communication
    kommunikation(at)hs-gm.de

     

     

    Hy­gie­ne and Protection Measures

    Contact Among Each Other
    © WHO

    In buildings and also on campus, it is important to ensure that people have as little direct contact with each other as possible or that their contact is reduced to a minimum. Contact in rooms of the university, during breaks or other activities is to be kept to a minimum. Physical contact, such as shaking hands is to be avoided.

    Mouth and Nose Coverings
    © WHO

    Wearing a mouth and nose covering (surgical or FFP2 face mask) is mandatory in all buildings of Hochschule Geisenheim University (also in all 'traffic' areas and in lecture halls). Traffic areas include corridors, entrance areas, stairs and elevators. Wearing a  face mask is not required at the workplace if the office is used by only one person. In general, surgical or FFP2 masks are intended for single use, but can also be re-used after drying. This regulation applies to all areas and activities at the university, in buildings, outdoors and in vehicles. The use of plastic face protection shields without wearing a mouth and nose covering is not permitted inside campus buildings.

    Teaching staff may remove the mask once they have reached their seats in the lecture hall.

    It is recommended, if possible, to take a break from wearing a mouth and nose covering or surgical mask after 3 hours (75 minutes in case of FFP2 masks), ideally for a period of at least 30 minutes.

     

    Ventilation

    In order to protect against infection, interiors should be supplied with as much fresh air as possible. This is one of the most effective methods of removing potentially viral aerosols from indoor spaces.

    Fresh air ventilation

    The simplest form of ventilation is window ventilation. Impact ventilation, where windows are opened fully, must take place before or at the beginning of the event and then at regular intervals. A ventilation period of 3 to 10 minutes is recommended. Even more effective (if possible) is cross-ventilation via opposite windows.

    The time interval for ventilation depends on the size of the room, the number of people, activities (normal speaking or e.g. choir singing) and the available window area. The SARS-CoV-2 occupational safety rule of the BMAS recommends ventilation after 60 minutes for offices and after 20 minutes for meeting rooms.

    Dealing with Suspected and Confirmed Corona Infections, Entry/Return from High-Risk Areas

    Travelling to Germany from Abroad - International Students and Guests

    A summary of all entry and travel restrictions can be found here: www.zusammengegencorona.de/informieren/alltag-und-reisen/reisen/

    The website provides information on:

    • obligation to undergo COVID testing when entering the country
    • designation of risk areas/high-risk areas
    • digital registration on entry
    • exemptions for vaccinated travellers

    Before arrival, please read the latest information on the current classification of the area from which you enter. The latest classification is available on the webpage of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI)

    Please note that your vaccination certificate will only be accepted if you have been fully vaccinated with a vaccine approved in the EU. The officially approved vaccines are listed on the Paul Ehrlich Institute (PEI) website.

    It is expected that no trips to countries outside Germany will be undertaken if the Federal Government has classified the country as a high-risk area and it is not urgently necessary.

    If you have questions, please contact International(at)hs-gm.de.

    Information about federal regulations on mandatory Corona tests for people entering the country::
    https://www.bundesgesundheitsministerium.de/service/gesetze-und-verordnungen/guv-19-lp/coronaeinreisev.html

    Federal government information for travelers and commuters:
    https://www.bundesregierung.de/breg-de/themen/coronavirus/faq-reisen-1735032

    The current German Foreign Office travel warnings:
    https://www.auswaertiges-amt.de/de/ReiseUndSicherheit/reise-und-sicherheitshinweise

    Important information provided by the Robert Koch Institute and recommended action for people entering Germany:
    https://www.rki.de/DE/Content/InfAZ/N/Neuartiges_Coronavirus/Transport/BMG_Merkblatt_Reisende_Tab.html

    Information on the designation of international risk areas by the Federal Foreign Office, BMG and BMI
    https://www.rki.de/DE/Content/InfAZ/N/Neuartiges_Coronavirus/Risikogebiete_neu.html

    Study and Teaching

    Hygiene Measures and Regulations

    Rules and regulations for the summer semester 2022:

    • Seating plans no longer ensure a distance of at least 1.5m to the seat neighbor
    • Hygiene regulations of the RKI must be followed (sneeze etiquette, hand hygiene)
    • Rooms without automatic ventilation systems have to be aired several times a day or after each group of students for at least 10 minutes.
    • Wearing a mask (surgical or FFP2 mask) is still mandatory in all buildings and courses, also in sensory lab courses. Masks can be removed for the tasting if a minimum distance of 1.5 m can be kept or if seats are separated with partition walls.
    • Teachers can remove the mask while teaching if a minimum distance of 1.5 m can be kept.
    • Individuals who have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 are not allowed to enter university premises. Legal provisions on the duration of quarantine apply.
    • Irrespective of the official quarantine period after a Covid-19 infection (currently 5 days), access to the university after an infection is only permitted with an official negative test result. Staff members have to present the negative test result to Occupational Safety (Dr. Rose, Ms. Schmidt-Weis) and Human Resources. Students are asked to contact the Admissions Office to present their test results.
    Support Services

    Feel free to contact us for any questions and problems concerning your studies, and we will try our best to help you. Please note that consultations on campus take place in exceptional cases only and in strict compliance with hygiene regulations (Hygiene Guidelines for Meetings in MTH). In addition, we are happy to provide advice online or on the phone. Please make an appointment with your contact person. 

     

    Hochschule Geisenheim University

    AStA

    General Support

    Practi­cal Exercises and Ex­cur­sio­ns

     

    Events such as lab exercises, excursions, etc., in which attendance is a mandatory prerequisite for achieving the learning objectives, e.g. due to the use of equipment on site, can be carried out in accordance with the hygiene concepts.


    For excursions, the usual approval procedure must still be followed (your lecturer will inform you).

    If necessary, the examination boards can determine alternative forms for corresponding study components.

    Examinations in the Summer Semester 2022, Examination Period 1 (Re-sit Exams Winter Semester 2021/22)

    For detailed information about your exam dates, please go to the website of the Examinations Office: https://www.hs-geisenheim.de/en/studies/students/examination-administration/ -> Specific information about your degree program -> select your program.

    Please note that, due to external developments, there may be changes in our planning so please check the website of the Study Organization & Examinations Office regularly as it provides the most up-to-date information relevant for all students during the exam period.

    Regarding examinations in the summer semester 2022, the same hygiene regulations apply as for courses (see https://www.hs-geisenheim.de/index.php?id=2386). According to the “Message from the President regarding the Corona Virus (LIX), wearing a mask is still mandatory in all HGU buildings for the time being but the so-called 3G rule has been lifted.

    Important information on final examination attempts – free attempt regulation has expired:

    As of the summer semester 2022, the “Regulation to address the impacts of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic in higher education” no longer applies, i.e. there are no more COVID-related free examination attempts.

    If you do not pass an exam at the final attempt in this first examination period of the summer semester 2022, your attempt will be counted and entered as “failed” (grade 5.0) in QIS.

    Absence from an exam due to illness:

    As of the summer semester 2022, the pre-COVID regulations for withdrawing from an exam due to illness re-enter into force. For further information, please go to:
    https://www.hs-geisenheim.de/en/studies/students/examination-administration/ -> General Information -> Examinations (registrations, notification in case of illness, attempted cheating)

    If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact your degree program administrator.

    Schedule

    Written and oral examinations:

    Examination period 1 summer semester 2022 (re-sit exams winter semester 2021/22):

    • Wednesday, April 20, 2022 – Friday, June 3, 2022

    Examination period 2 summer semester 2022 (main examination period):

    • Friday, July 15, 2022 – Friday, July 29, 2022

    ColloquiumThesis Defense:

    • July 25. – 28, 2022

    Graduation Ceremony:

    • Friday, July 29, 2022

    Oral Examinations / Video Conferences

    • In general, oral examinations are possible if hygiene concepts are adhered to.
    • The Examination Committee may approve special forms of examinations in the summer semester 2022, for example video conferences. In case of video conferences, it must be ensured, among other things, that all participants agree to this form of examination, that the identity of the examinees can be established by means of an identification card, that they alone in the room and that no aids other than those permissible are used.
    • If examiners or students belong to a risk group or cannot be present due other significant reasons, there is the possibility (if approved by the relevant Examination Committee) to conduct the oral examination as a video conference. It must be ensured that all parties involved agree to this form of examination, that the video conference is managed by the examiner(s) and conducted using a secure service, that the identity of the examinee can be established by video image and showing an official identification document, that he/she is alone in the room and no unauthorized aids are used, and that an examination protocol is drawn up in the usual manner. The explanation of the examination evaluation to the examinee is given orally during the video conference. If the candidate fails, he/she confirms orally that the evaluation has been explained to him/her. In the event that the examination has to be cancelled for technical reasons, the examination is considered not taken. This is determined by the examiner or the Head of the Examination Committee. If this procedure is not wanted, the examination may have to be postponed to a later date.

    .

    Internship and Vocational Semesters (BPS)

    The Internship and Vocational Semester (BPS) Advisors are happy to help you with any questions regarding BPS.

    Please contact them if you need assistance or your BPS must be postponed or split. We know that companies can only offer internships or vocational semesters under difficult circumstances. Please stay in touch with us to find individual solutions.

     

     

    Stays Abroad
    • Stays abroad are generally possible. The current pandemic can lead to short-term changes however, and it is therefore strongly recommended that, before beginning a stay abroad, you should inform yourself about the entry and residence conditions of the respective host country as well as the requirements and general conditions of the host institution.
    • Staff members should also inform themselves about the university's guidelines on business trips.
    • Furthermore, we recommend that you regularly check the websites of the Foreign Office and the host institution for information.
    • Students who are required to complete mandatory stays abroad should contact the respective examination committee.
    • Postponing the stay is possible in most cases. Whether an approved scholarship has to be repaid in case of early termination or non-appearance has to be checked in each individual case or depends on the requirements of the respective scholarship provider.
    • If you have successfully applied for an exchange place, you can use the online services of the host university. In many cases, it is also possible to combine classroom and online teaching and can be financially supported.
    • If you have any questions, the International Office  team will be happy to help you.

     

     

    Library

    For an overview of our opening hours and current access regulations please go to the library's website: https://www.hs-geisenheim.de/en/university/central-services/library/

    Meetings, Conferences and Non-Curricular Events

    General Conditions and Room Booking

    Events such as conferences, meetings and further education events are not authorized at the moment.

    Contact: Julia Baumberger  veranstaltungen(at)hs-gm.de

     

    Limited Room Capacities

    Curricular face-to-face courses during the winter semester starting on November 2, 2020, and written examinations of the winter semester until the end of March 2021 are prioritized with regard to the allocation of rooms. Due to limited room capacities - only 20 % of the original seats are available - these courses and examinations cannot be carried out on campus in most cases. As an alternative, the organizer may use external rooms / rentals.

    Hygiene Concept Required

    For questions on how to draw up a hygiene plan, you may seek personal advice by contacting Occupational Safety and Health Management. The responsibility for the creation and implementation of a hygiene concept / risk assessment lies with the organizer. Measures to reduce the risk of infections and to track contact data must be observed.

    Priorities in Room Allocation

    Written examinations in the summer semester until the end of October, introductory courses for first-semester students in the last two weeks of October as well as curricular face-to-face courses during the winter semester starting on November 2 are prioritized with regard to the allocation of rooms.

    Avoiding Possible Costs

    The further development of the pandemic situation is unpredictable. In some cases, local or regional lockdown measures have to be expected. In order to avoid potential costs due to short-term cancellations, alternatives such as online formats shall be considered when planning an event. 

     

    Public Events

    For the time being, no larger public events should take place.

    According to the regulations of the Corona Protection Ordinance, public events with a smaller number of participants, such as small award ceremonies, presentations or similar events may take place provided that only vaccinated or recovered persons are allowed to attend (as defined by para. 2, No. 2 and 3 or No. 4 and 5 of the COVID-19 Protective Measures Exemption Ordinance). Additionally, these persons have to present a negative test result that has been carried out no longer than 24 hours ago as defined by para. 2, No. 7 of the COVID-19 Protective Measures Exemption Ordinance. Persons who cannot get vaccinated due to medical reasons, and pupils who take part in regular testings at school pursuant to para. 3 section 1, No 5 are exempt from this regulation. The number of participants should be reduced to an absolute minimum.

    Regulations for Employees

    Instructions for Handling the Coronavirus in the Business Area of the Hessian Ministry of Science and the Arts (Dienstanweisung des HMWK)

    The instructions for handling the coronavirus in the business area of the HMWK must be observed. Furthermore, the primary objective is to maintain the proper functioning of the state government and its departments and agencies. The instructions therefore focus on the state’s duty to protect the health of its employees.

    In light of the current pandemic situation, state employees are expected to observe the regulations as defined by section 1, Corona Protection Ordinance, and comply with the guidelines provided by the Robert Koch Institute.

    Link in German:

    3G Regulations in the workplace (§ 28b Infection Protection Act, IfSG)

    Pursuant to the amendment of the German Infection Protection Act (Infektionsschutzgesetz, IfSG), new regulations for infection control in the workplace have been introduced. The employer is responsible for monitoring compliance. Employers and employees have to carry proof of their vaccination or recovery status or a current negative COVID test result when entering the workplace.

    For more detailed information please see the current version of  § 28b IfSG. The regulations apply until March 19, 2022.

    Risk Groups and Protective Measures

    If employees who are more likely to suffer from a severe COVID-19 infection cannot work from home, employers must explore all options in relation to hygiene and distance regulations to enable them to work in the office. Employees concerned must provide a medical certificate which proves that they belong to a risk group. The costs to obtain such a certificate must be borne by the employees themselves.

    In particular, employers must consider if employees affected can be given an individual office, work during off-peak hours or be reassigned to alternative duties.

    The medical certificate has to be presented to the superior for information purposes. The original must be sent to HR & HR Development. Superiors are not authorized to make a copy of the certificate. After the end of the pandemic, HR will destroy all doctor's certificates immediately and in compliance with data protection laws.

    If neither working from home nor working at your workplace is possible, plus hours in the flexitime account or other overtime hours need to be used.

    If all of the above possibilities are exhausted or are not possible, paid leave of absence from work can be considered in exceptional cases on the basis of an occupational medical examination within the framework of dutiful discretion, and after weighting up the duty to maintain proper operational functioning and the duty to have regard for the welfare of officials. In these cases, please contact HR & HR Development.

     

    Care of Children and Relatives in Need of Care

    If the nursery, child care facility or school is closed due to infection prevention measures, employees with children under 12 years of age can be allowed to work at home for home care reasons. The home office agreements already made continue to apply.

    In exceptional cases, leave of absence from work or service with continued payment of remuneration may be granted for periods outside school holidays or closing times if

    • the shared childcare facility or school is partially or completely closed or in restricted regular operation
    • the children have not yet reached the age of 12 or are in need of help due to a physical, mental or psychological impairment 
    • work at home, if necessary with reduced working hours, is not possible
    • plus hours on the flexitime account as well as overtime hours have already been used 
    • alternative childcare options (e.g. emergency childcare, other parent, family care group) are not available on an hourly basis.

    The same applies to the care of a close relative in need of care if the day care facility closes due to infection prevention measures or admission is not possible.

    If all of the above possibilities are exhausted or are not possible after consultation with superiors, paid leave of absence from work may be considered. In that case, please contact HR & HR Development.

    For detailed information, for examples on the conditions to claim child sickness benefit (Kinderkrankengeld), please go to the website of the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth: https://www.bmfsfj.de/bmfsfj/aktuelles/alle-meldungen/kinderkrankengeld-wird-ausgeweitet/164738 (information provided in German)

    An English-language explanation of the child sickness benefit (Kinderkrankengeld) can be found on the following website:

    https://www.iamexpat.de/expat-info/german-expat-news/kinderkrankengeld-how-parents-germany-can-take-paid-time-care-kids

    Mobile Work

    HGU employees are supposed to work from home until further notice, provided that their task and duties and their technical equipment qualify for mobile work and their presence in the workplace is not required (HomeOfficeCorona). If employees must be present in the workplace due to the nature of their tasks and duties or in order to ensure proper service operations, measures shall be taken to reduce the number of contacts among employees to a minimum.

    When working from home, please bear in mind that you are obliged to protect confidential data and information so that third parties do not have access.

    Employees can work from home if the following criteria are met:

    • The tasks must be suitable for being carried out at home.
    • Service operations can be maintained.
    • Data protection and data security is guaranteed.
    • Any overload is avoided.
    • Participation is voluntary.
    • No overtime hours can be accumulated.

    Respective superiors are responsible for proper service operations.

    The instructions for handling the coronavirus in the area of responsibility of the Hessian Ministry of Science and the Arts (Dienstanweisung zum Umgang mit dem Corona-Virus im Geschäftsbereich des HMWK), dated November 30, 2021, remain unaffected.

     

    COVID Testing for Employees

    Self-test kits are provided to employees in accordance with the SARS-CoV-2 Occupational Health and Safety Regulations. Please contact Occupational Safety and Healthcare Management for further information.

    Hygiene regulations for working on campus

    Surgical masks or face masks of the protection classes FFP2, KN95, N95 or similar without integrated exhalation valve must be worn in all HGU buildings. This does not include workspaces that are not accessible to the public, provided that a distance of 1.5 m from others can be safely maintained.

     

     

     

    Information on Occupational Safety and Corona provided by the German Statutory Accident Insurance

    Below you will find some information (in German) regarding occupational safety and corona provided by the German Statutory Accident Insurance.

    For questions concerning occupational safety and corona, feel free to contact the Department of Occupational Safety and Healthcare Management.

    Time Recording
    • On days when employees work from home all day, they contact HR to report their actual working hours. Employees cannot claim overtime when working from home. Exceptions can only be made in individual cases.
    • On days when employees work partly at Hochschule Geisenheim University and partly at home, they book their arrival and departure time at the time recording device, and report their working hours for mobile work to Human Resources. In general, employees cannot claim overtime when working from home. Exceptions can only be made in individual cases.
    • On days when employees work at Hochschule Geisenheim University all day, they book their arrival and departure times at the time recording device. On these days, flextime plus hours and minus hours are recorded as usual and can be used in accordance with the flextime employment agreement.
    • Travel time between the office and the mobile workplace does not count as working time.

     

    Overtime in Mobile Work

    In general, employees cannot claim overtime when they are working from home. Exceptions can only be made in individual cases if the current pandemic-related workload requires overtime.

     

     

    Official Meetings and Committee Meetings

    Official meetings and committee meetings may be held indoors with a maximum of 25 participants and in compliance with enhanced hygiene standards. However, meetings should be reduced to a minimum. Please observe the regulations provided by the SARS-CoV-2 Occupational Health and Safety Ordinance, which stipulates that if several people are in the same room at the same time, each person must have a minimum of 10 square meters, if this is compatible with the assigned tasks. If necessary, the Department of Occupational Safety and Healthcare Management provides surgical face masks or FFP2 masks.

    How can I protect myself and others during meetings?

    • The Federal Center for Health Education has summarized the most important hygiene information in this diagram (in German)
    • Consider if the meeting can be postponed or replaced by a conference call
    • Reduce the number of participants to the required employees/participants
    • Limit topics and schedule to what is absolutely essential
    • Wear a medical mask until you have taken your seat
    • If possible, arrange the seats in the room to allow a safety distance (1 - 2 m is recommended)
    • Do not shake hands
    • Everyone should wash their hands thoroughly before the meeting begins. The room should be aired thoroughly before the meeting starts.
    • Air the room regularly during the meeting
    • Participants with cold symptoms should not take part in the meeting
    • Participants or people returning from high-risk areas should not take part or they may participate via conference call
    • Observe coughing and sneezing hygiene. Do not cough or sneeze into your hand but in the crook of your arm or, preferably, leave the meeting room for a short period of time.
    • Always take your used tissues with you and dispose of them in a closed bin.
    • Keep your distance in personal discussions. A 15-minute lively conversation between two people in a room without any safety distance is considered enough for a transmission of the corona virus.
    • For possible inquiries, make a list of all participants with names and contact details (phone number, e-mail) and store the list for a period of one month.
    Reporting Sick

    In case of illness, all employees have to report sick on the first day of illness. From the 4th calender day onwards, a sick note is required.

     

     

     

    Vacation
    • As a general rule, any approved recovery holiday cannot be reclaimed because of the Corona pandemic or holiday trips being cancelled as a result.
    • As usual, already approved recovery holiday can only be reclaimed in justified individual cases with the consent of your superior. This can be the case if, for urgent operational reasons, the employee is considered indispensable for maintaining services and operations despite of a planned holiday.
    • Please adhere to the current instructions and the obligation to inform your employer when returning from abroad
    Further Training

    Further training should take place digitally (webinars) if possible. In case digital alternatives are not possible, urgently required trainings may take place face-to-face in compliance with applicable hygiene and distance regulations.

    Participating in external trainings is possible if hygiene and safety standards are adhered to. Regulations for business trips must be followed.

     

     

    Business Trips
    • Superiors and the business travellers have to carefully evaluate if the business trip is absolutely necessary. 
    • Alternatives such as video conferencing or conference calls are to be prioritized.
    • If a business trip is indispensable, employees should use an official or private car, if possible, and they may not carry any passengers. Public transport should be avoided where possible.
    • In terms of travel expenses it can be assumed that valid reasons exist for travelling in your own car pursuant to Section 6 (1) of the Travel Expenses Act of the State of Hesse, and a mileage allowance amounting to EUR 0.35 can be granted.
    Selection Interviews

    Selection interviews may take place in the usual face-to-face setting again if hygiene standards, as outlined in the Instructions for Handling the Corona Virus, are adhered to. This also applies to interviews as part of appointment procedures.

    Interviews may also take place in a digital form. For important information on digital interviews, please get in touch with the responsible departments beforehand.

     

     

    Sources of Information and Downloads

    Sources of Information about the Corona Virus
    Corona Warning App

    The Corona Warning App is available for downloading since June 16, 2020. The App issues a warning anonymously and quickly if you have been near an infected person. The more people use the Corona Warning App, the faster chains of infections can be broken in the future. For the most important information about the app, please refer to the following website of the Federal Ministry of Health: https://www.zusammengegencorona.de/en/