The 2020/21 winter semester will be a tough nut to crack!
With a rise in infection rates and more and more confirmed Covid-19 cases around us - with implications on teaching, research and our daily lives - we are all facing difficult times. Maintaining a high quality of teaching and research despite limited resources and spatial restrictions will be anything but easy.
We can crack this tough nut together - teaching staff, university staff and students - so let's do it!
We are using e-guest to track contact data in university facilities (www.e-guest.de). Get the latest updates from our crisis management team here: www.hs-geisenheim.de/corona
Hans R. Schultz
- President -
The university is committed to recording suspected cases of Corona at an early stage so that protective measures can be taken as quickly as possible. Employees, students and guests are requested to immediately report a confirmed Corona infection or a quarantine requirement to the Occupational Safety and Healthcare Management Department by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling +49 6722 502 285 or 0170 2857749, if there was any personal contact at the university within a period of five days before the first symptoms appeared.
If there is a confirmed Corona infection and the person was at work in the five days before the first symptoms appeared, the workplace should not be used for a period of at least 36 hours, after which contact surfaces should be cleaned with standard household cleaning agents. Cleaning of contact surfaces after a Corona infection can be requested from the Infrastructure Department (haustechnik(at)hs-gm.de).
In general, the infection rate of Corona viruses on inanimate, dry surfaces decreases rapidly at room temperature or higher temperatures. According to current knowledge, shared files and papers do not pose a risk of infection if the contamination occurred more than 24 hours ago.
Regardless of the regular cleaning of surfaces, it is important to wash your hands regularly (20 seconds with soap) and to avoid touching your own face.
Notification procedure for suspected infection:
Immediately inform your Head of Department / Manager / lecturer of all the facts:
Then immediately notify corona(at)hs-gm.de and +49 6722 502 285 or 01702857749.
The neccessary steps will then be undertaken.
In case of a positive corona test or suspected COVID-19 infection, a list of people must be compiled with whom there has been direct contact at the workplace within the last five days (Contact Category I: face-to-face, i.e. any contact that lasted longer than 15 min and with a distance of <1.5 m without wearing a mask). These people must be informed and leave the workplace immediately and quarantine until contacted by the health authorities, who will usually impose an official quarantine, or until a negative test result is obtained.
All further decisions are made by the health authorities.
If you are not contacted by the health authorities, please contact corona(at)hs-gm.de after 3 days at the latest to discuss further action.
Superiors are obliged to ensure that all colleagues employed on site can be reached by telephone at all times. This private data should not be available to third parties.
You have had a confirmed or suspected stage 2 contact with a person who is ill with COVID-19 (Contact Category II, i.e. direct contact with a distance of less than 1.5 m but while wearing a mask or a contact that lasted less than 15 min)? You have had no direct contact but had contact to a direct contact person?Please describe the situation in writing (corona(at)hs-gm.de) or by phone +49 6722 502 285 immediately, so that further measures, e.g. home office can be discussed.
Anyone entering Germany who was in a high-risk area in the 10 days prior to arriving in Germany or anyone entering Hesse from a high-risk area must immediately self-quarantine for 10 days. A region is considered high-risk if the number of newly infected persons has more than 50 cases per 100,000 inhabitants within the last seven days, see the RKI (Robert Koch Institute) list of designated high-risk areas. Please note that the list of areas may change daily.
If you are entering from a high-risk area, you are obliged to register online, prior to arrival, at www.einreiseanmeldung.de, and then to go directly to your accommodation immediately after entering the country. For a period of 10 days after your entry you must quarantine in your accommodation. During this period you cannot be visited by anyone who does not belong to your household. You are solely responsible for maintaining the domestic quarantine. The local health authorities will be notified via your online registration, in order to check that you are keeping to the mandatory quarantine period.
You can take a test, at the earliest after 5 days in quarantine (recognized tests: https://www.rki.de/DE/Content/InfAZ/N/Neuartiges_Coronavirus/Tests.html). A negative test result means the quarantine period can end. You should keep the test result and the online registration details for at least 10 days after arrival and be prepared to show them to the health authorities upon request. If the test is positive you should follow the procedure listed above under 'Corona infections'.
The quarantine rules are lifted for the carrying out of the test only. You should go directly to the test center (see list below) and then must return directly to your place of quarantine, where you are required to remain until you receive your test result. Please take your online registration with you in order to be exempt from test fees within 10 days of arrival from high-risk areas (valid until December 1, 2020).
Can I exempt myself from the quarantine and notification obligation? Yes, if you will stay at the destination for a maximum of 5 days and can present a negative molecular biological test (PCR test). An antibody test is not sufficient.
It is expected that no trips to countries outside Germany will be undertaken if the Federal Government has classified the trip as risky and it is not urgently necessary. As of October 1, 2020 a travel warning will automatically be issued for Corona risk areas.
Government information for travellers and commuters:
Current Foreign Office travel warnings:
RKI important information and recommendations for people travelling to Germany:
Information on the designation of international risk areas by the German Foreign Office, BMG and BMI
High-risk regions in Germany:
Employees returning to Germany from a high-risk country must inform Human Resources without request by sending an e-mail to corona(at)hs-gm.de .
In addition, please refer to the Regulation to Control the Corona Virus, dated March 13, 2020, in its applicable version. For persons with a confirmed Corona infection and contact persons of category I with close contact ("higher" risk of infection) according to the RKI definition, the obligation to be physically present is lifted for 14 days, provided that public health authorities do not impose self-isolation. During that time, employees will work from home, if possible, using their office laptops. Affected employees must inform their departments without delay if home quarantine has been imposed.
If an infection is confirmed by a positive test result, the doctor reports the result to the public health authorities. People with suspected COVID-19 infection or a confirmed positive Corona test must stay away from the university/work place.
The public health authorities will then contact the person concerned and, if necessary, the university in order to determine further contact people. The following protocol is used:
Contact people in Category II or other contact people (contact to an infected person with a distance of more than 1.5 m or spending time in the same room) do not belong to the closer circle of contact people. Therefore, no quarantine regulations apply to them. As an additional preventive measure for contact persons in Category II, we refer to the possibility of working from home. Nevertheless, there are some information to be observed for 14 days after an infection has occured:
The Hessian Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and the Arts (HMWK) has defined the winter semester 2020/21 as a hybrid semester with a combination of digital and face-to-face teaching, with the individual universities responsible for the organization.
In contrast to the previous summer semester, all types of university courses can thus be held again in the winter semester, taking into account the distance and hygiene rules, limited seating capacity and, if necessary, the creation of specific hygiene concepts. Responsibility for compliance with the rules lies with the respective lecturers.
In general, the entire teaching should be offered digitally. Exceptions apply similarly to the summer semester (lab exercises, excursions, sports). The digital courses ensure that all students can continue their studies, even if they cannot or are not allowed to enter the university, either individually or as a group.
The Federal Centre for Health Education (BZgA) recommends that, as in the case of influenza and other respiratory diseases, people should protect themselves from transmission of the corona virus by keeping a distance of at least 1.5 metres, washing their hands regularly and thoroughly, and by observing coughing and sneezing 'etiquette'. Detailed hygiene recommendations can be found at www.infektionsschutz.de/coronavirus-sars-cov-2.html. Rooms must be ventilated regularly (please also refer to section "Ventilation"). Regular airing is also good for hygiene, as it reduces the number of fine droplets containing pathogens that may be present in the air.
1. In teaching areas on the campus, contact data will be collected in classes, exams, and other study-related events such as admissions events as well as when using work stations in libraries, or using practical, PC and learning rooms. At events over several days, contact details will be collected each day. Details will also be collected in dining facilities and other facilities with visitors, with the exception being for takeaway food and beverages. Participation in the collection of contact data is obligatory and a prerequisite for participation in classroom events and the use of the above-mentioned facilities. The name, address and telephone number of the participants as well as the title of the event will be recorded for the sole purpose of enabling the tracking of infections. The contact data is recorded using an electronic system (www.e-guest.de) or form. For data protection reasons, one form per person must be filled out and submitted to the organizer. The contact data collection forms will be kept by the organizer until the deadline expires. The data is to be kept for the duration of one month from the beginning of the event, protected from third-party access by the responsible health or public order office, and is to be transmitted to them on request or deleted or destroyed securely and in accordance with data protection regulations immediately after the deadline has expired.
Students: If you do not have a smartphone or have forgotten it and you can therefore not use the e-guest app, your fellow students can also submit your contact data (as a guest entry). In addition, it is also possible to submit contact data in paper form. Contact forms are available in all teaching rooms.
Lecturers: Please do not forget to register yourself. The forms available in the lecture halls and seminar rooms are to be handed out to students who were unable to register by smartphone. After the end of the event, the forms are to be collected in DIN A5 envelopes (with the date, place and name of the event written on it), which are also available in the room, and sent by in-house mail to P5 - Event Management; in addition, marked mailboxes will be hung up on campus. Any questions regarding QR codes and paper forms should be directed to veranstaltungen(at)hs-gm.de or the Info Point (tel. -100)
Guests and External Visitors: For persons who do not have a smartphone or have forgotten it, contact data can also be collected online by other guests (guest list) or by using paper forms. Contact forms are provided in all lecture halls and seminar rooms.
2. At internal staff meetings, minutes should be taken and kept for four weeks, in which the participants are recorded, with online participation identified. External participants are to be recorded with first name, surname and telephone number. Minutes are to be stored for a period of 4 weeks.
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.
In the case of unavoidable direct contact, additional protection must be ensured! At consultation and information areas with personal contact, where the safety distance of at least 1.5 meters cannot be maintained, protective screens are provided. Where such screens are not available and the minimum distance cannot be maintained, mouth-nose coverings must be worn.
At all times a minimum distance of at least 1.5 meters ("safety distance") must be maintained from other people in all directions, including on entry, when sitting and moving about. Where this is not possible, alternative protective measures (e.g. mouth-nose coverings) must be observed. The safety distance must be maintained in all university owned and rented buildings, parts of buildings and on the entire campus of Hochschule Geisenheim University! Measures such as barriers, markings or access regulations are to ensure that the distance is maintained. All members of the university, users and guests are obligated to observe the measures for maintaining the safety distance. The safety distance must also be maintained when entering and leaving buildings and rooms and in queues. Group formations in buildings and on the premises are to be avoided.
A mouth and nose covering is mandatory in all buildings of Hochschule Geisenheim University (also in all 'traffic' areas such as corridors, entrance areas, stairs and elevators) with the exception being made for working in an office or in other rooms by yourself. If distance requirements (1.5 meters) cannot be observed during joint work or business travelling, wearing a FFP2 face mask or surgical mask is mandatory. In general, these items are medical disposables, 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 in the buildings of Hochschule Geisenheim University is not permitted.
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.
The three main measures (AHA rules) to reduce the risk of infection must be observed: Keep your distance, observe hygiene, wear a face mask.
In particular, regular and thorough hand washing with soap and water for 20 seconds before and after class is recommended.
In addition, hand sanitizers have been installed at many building entrances.
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.
The Commission for Indoor Air Hygiene at the Federal Environment Agency has recommendations for schools that applies equally to seminar rooms at universities: For room sizes of approx. 60-75 m³ and a number of pupils of usually 20-30 children per class, intensive ventilation is to be provided in every (!) break in class with the windows wide open. In the case of teaching units of more than 45 minutes duration, i.e. also in double lessons or if only a short break (5 minutes) is planned between teaching units, this should also be done during the lessons. (...) If, during the lessons, individual students experience symptoms of illness such as repeated sneezing or coughing, the windows should be opened immediately (shock ventilation as described above). This also applies at home or in the office.
Ventilation systems (RLT systems)
HGU teaching rooms which have an air conditioning system are to be operated with a very high outside air volume flow in the winter semester.
In a statement, the indoor climate department of the German statutory accident insurance (DGUV) states: In technical ventilation, filtered fresh air is continuously fed from the outside into the interior rooms via central or decentralized ventilation systems (RLT systems). (...) In contrast to fresh air ventilation, ventilation systems, when correctly adjusted, guarantee a continuous and sufficient air exchange regardless of the external weather conditions. The risk of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 via properly maintained HVAC systems can be classified as low. For this reason, air handling systems should not be switched off, but on the contrary, the supply of fresh air via the air handling system should be increased and recirculation should be avoided or reduced as far as possible. Only a sufficient supply of fresh air contributes to a reduction of a virus-contaminated aerosol concentration.
In rooms with recirculating air coolers it is important to ventilate using the windows.
Mobile air circulation units
According to the Indoor Air Hygiene Commission (IRK) at the Federal Environment Agency, the most effective method of removing virus-containing aerosols from indoor spaces is to provide as much fresh air as possible. Mobile air filter units based on circulating air do not allow fresh air to enter the rooms. In the opinion of the IRK, the use of such air purifiers with integrated HEPA filters in rooms is not sufficient to effectively remove suspended particles (e.g. viruses) by filtering the indoor air over the entire period of use. The use of such devices cannot replace ventilation.
The Indoor Air Hygiene Commission (IRK) also describes which requirements must be checked in advance for the operation of such devices: This would require an exact recording of the airflow in the room as well as a specific placement of the mobile devices. The height of the air flow rate would also have to be adapted exactly to the local conditions and room occupancy. The use of such devices can therefore not replace ventilation measures. Treatment of air pollutants with ozone or UV light is rejected by the IDE for both health and safety reasons.
The above-mentioned documents are available at the following links (in German):
The advisory services of the university administration, the degree programs and the central services are currently available by appointment. This applies, among others, to the Admissions Office and the Examinations Office, which should be contacted by telephone, e-mail or post: List of services. The Infopoint is open. Please note the limited opening hours.
Opening hours and regulations are available here: University Library
Opening hours and regulations are available here: Mensa
A plan of the classroom capacities has been put together, based on hygiene and distance regulations, and cannot be changed without prior approval. The maximum capacity in compliance with distance regulations (number of seats) is to be observed. Contact details must be supplied either via www.e-guest.de (online) or paper forms (offline).
The instructions for handling the coronavirus in the business area of the HMWK must be observed. Hochschule Geisenheim University's agreement on "mobile work" remains unaffected and continues to apply until further notice.
Links in German:
According to updated information from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the large number of potentially predisposing medical conditions and their degree of severity (e.g. existing organ damages) as well as many other influencing factors (e.g. age, sexe, weight, certain behaviors, adequate medical treatment) demonstrate the complexity of risk assessment. Therefore, it is not possible to make a general classification of a risk group. On the contrary, a medical practitioner needs to make a personal risk assessment.
A doctor's certificate must be provided in order to lift your obligation to be present at the workplace if you belong to a risk group. The doctor's certificate must confirm that, according to RKI criteria, you are more likely to suffer from a severe COVID-19 infection. It has to be presented to your superior for information purposes. The original must be sent to HR & HR Development.
Your superior is 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 work at home with a mobile office PC is possible, mobile work can be authorized. Agreements on mobile work continue to apply.
If work at home is not possible, work must be organized at your workplace in compliance with hygiene and safety standards (maintaining a distance of at least 1.5 metres, if necessary, working when fewer people are around, or assignment to a different task).
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 after consultation with superiors, paid leave of absence from work can be considered. In these cases, please contact HR & HR Development.
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 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 overview of the child sickness benefit (Kinderkrankengeld) can be found on the following website:
Employees can work from home, if the following criteria are met:
Respective superiors are responsible for proper operation.
The instructions for handling the coronavirus in the area of responsibility of the Hessian Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and the Arts (Dienstanweisung zum Umgang mit dem Corona-Virus im Geschäftsbereich des HMWK), dated February 16, 2021, remain unaffected.
For further information, please go to the management portal of Hochschule Geisenheim University
In general, overtime / plus hours during mobile work outside the campus are not possible. Exceptions can only be made in individual cases if the current pandemic-related workload requires extra working hours.
Official meetings and committee meetings may take place 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 it 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?
To reduce the risk of infections, employees may not bring their children to work.
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.
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.
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.
Important documents are made available, with highlighted parts. Information regarding emergency funding for students (highlighted in yellow), most important passages about applying (highlighted in red)!