Corona epidemic: Latest information for University employees

Circular e-mail from the university president

Dear colleagues,

The University of Tübingen is seeking to phase in a return to normality in the coming weeks. This means there will be a step-by-step reopening of facilities and the public will be re-admitted in places where research and teaching and consultation and services cannot be carried out online. The process begins this week with the University Library, some institute libraries, and the Botanical Gardens. As institutions open up, everyone must adhere strictly to the measures aimed at preventing the spread of infection. 

Ordering surgical masks

The University has obtained basic face masks for employees. Please understand that these masks are reserved for employees who come in contact with many people as part of their work. That includes those working at dispatch and information counters. I ask the superiors of employees thus affected to carry out an assessment of the overall situation in the workplace before ordering masks. Further information may be found here: https://uni-tuebingen.de/de/176862 

Entry ban

Due to recent incidents, I would like to remind everyone that a far-reaching ban on entry to University buildings has been in place since the end of March. The only exceptions to this are employees and students of the University of Tübingen, and persons visiting the University for urgent professional reasons only. That includes building workers and tradesmen, for example. No others are permitted to enter. I request that you all observe this measure in order to protect yourselves as well as your colleagues. Furthermore I remind you that under University regulations, pets may not be brought into University buildings. Guide dogs for the blind are the only exception.

Home office and special leave

As part of the preventative measures against the spread of infection, employees may continue to work from home until further notice. I remind you that you are obliged to clearly document work carried out at home, including (lunch) breaks. This applies also to employees who clock in electronically from home on their computers. In order to counter and prevent any abuse of this system, overtime is not permitted in home office work. If there is a need in individual cases for overtime to be worked due to an urgent, concrete task, this is to be clarified in advance with the employee’s superior; his/her express permission is required.  The staff council has been notified of this procedure. Parallel to this provisional measure, a formal request for input regarding our flexi-time regulations has been passed to the staff council for its next meeting. Please also note the requirements and regulations for approval of home office work: https://uni-tuebingen.de/de/174702

Until recently, University employees with children in need of care were able to take special leave. This rule expired on 3 May. Currently we do not have any information as to whether the previous rule will be extended by the state government. At the moment, affected employees can only make use of the options of using their vacation, using up overtime, or taking unpaid leave. As soon as we have new information on this matter, we will inform you without delay.

Conferences and concerts

Under the joint decision by the federal and state governments on 15 April, all large gatherings are banned until 31 August. Please therefore understand that until then, no conferences, congresses or concerts may take place at the University of Tübingen. With regard to the planning and preparation of conferences and congresses in September and October, I advise you to err on the side of extreme caution. At the moment we do not know what course the Coronavirus pandemic will take in the months to come. Smaller meetings should be conducted online. 

Even as we seek to slowly return to normal as far as possible in the coming weeks - both in research and teaching as well as in services and administration - we must all continue to ensure effective protection against the spread of infection. Please play your part!

Stay healthy!

Professor Dr. Bernd Engler