Uni-Tübingen

Corona virus: Information for employees

Detailed information on work organization can be found in the University's hygiene concept.

Organizing your work

Working from home

For the month of December employees again have the option to work from home on a case-by-case basis or work by tele-commuting. Employees whose applications expire at the end of November can submit new ones. The applications must be addressed to the respective superiors, approved by them and forwarded to Human Resources. The university management asks that all applications that are based solely on the current pandemic situation and a general defense against infection be limited until December 31, 2020. This arrangement was discussed with the two members of the staff council in the university crisis committee. The application form can be found in the Human Resource Division's download section (login required) under T for "Telearbeit".

In all cases, university management asks superiors to ensure that normal business operations are not noticeably affected when tele-commuting or work from home from home on a case-by-case basis is approved. Employees who notice symptoms of a possible Covid-19 infection (see above) in themselves or in a person in their own household have the option of working from home at short notice and until the symptoms are resolved (see agreement on tele-commuting – case-by-case work from home). In these cases, patients are requested to contact a doctor by telephone as soon as possible or to call 116117 for medical advice outside office hours. In emergencies, such as acute shortness of breath, you should call the emergency number 112.

Employees who work in areas where flexitime applies have the option to log in to the electronic time recording system online when working at home or teleworking and record their hours worked there directly. This requires a VPN connection to the university network from home, which all employees can set up themselves. For instructions, please refer to the IT center’s webpage.

The University’s health and safety offices have developed and implemented a comprehensive hygiene concept which is regularly updated. In all cases where the concept's provisions cannot be met due to the physical limitations of the space, employees and their superiors are asked to work together on the spot to find practical solutions without compromising safety.  In difficult cases, the Occupational Health and Safety and University Medical Services are available to provide advice.

Compulsory wearing of face masks and aerosol protection barriers

Compulsory wearing of face masks

According to the state's corona ordinance, the wearing of masks is now mandatory not only in all buildings, but also in the open spaces directly in front of them and on the pathways between buildings. In offices, you have to put on a mouth-nose covering whenever the minimum distance of 1.5 meters to other persons cannot be kept. According to the Ministry of Science's ordinance, a mouth-nose covering has also to be worn while sitting down during classes/lectures and in examinations. Exceptions to the mask requirement are laid down in the university's hygiene concept. Please note that the mask requirement also applies to the entire public space now: Wherever a minimum distance of 1.5 meters cannot be observed (in pedestrian zones and at weekly markets, for example), a mouth-and-nose covering must be worn.

Employees can use their own masks or those provided by the university.

For activities where the minimum safe distance cannot be maintained, for example during lab work, disposable masks can still be requested from the purchasing section.

Aerosol protection barriers

The central wood workshop offers support in the current situation. Facilities of the university with frequent public contact, such as advisory services, information or dispatch counters, can order aerosol protection barriers ("spit protection") from the wood workshop.

The standard model consists of two wooden stands with a depth of 30 cm and a plexiglas panel with a total height of approx. 70 cm and widths of 75, 100 or 150 cm. Individual sizes are also possible. Delivery time is about two weeks from the time of order. 

You can download the respective order form by the link below. Please fill out the form completely and send it by in-house mail or as a scan by e-mail to the central wood workshop. 

Workshop order for the central wood workshop - Download

Contact:
Central wood workshop
Andreas Lang (master carpenter)
andreas.langspam prevention@uni-tuebingen.de  
Auf der Morgenstelle 8, 72076 Tübingen
 Phone 07071-29 73002 (office, A building)
 Phone 07071-29 76185 (workshop)

Safety distance and regular airing of rooms

If possible with regard to work organization, at present, a workplace should not be used by more than one employee. If this is not possible, e.g. in the case of work in shifts or in a rotating system or in cars, commercial vehicles or control stands, the surfaces of jointly used workplaces are to be cleaned with standard household cleaners after use by the employees (to be obtained from Division VII, Purchasing). In particular, this includes surfaces with which employees have come into contact (droplets from speaking), e.g. tabletop, desk chair and armrests, cupboard and door handles, IT equipment such as mouse and keyboard, telephone receivers, steering wheels, gear levers and frequently used tools and equipment.

Members of the university must keep a sufficient distance (at least 1.5 m) from other people. In situations where strong aerosol formation is to be expected (e.g. longer speeches), we ask you to increase or the distance to at least 3 meters. If this is not possible, the person speaking should put on a mouth-nose covering. Where it is not possible to keep a minimum distance in the office or in meetings, you must wear a mouth-nose covering or alternative protective measures must be taken by superiors (e.g. different workplace).

n facilities with frequent public contact, especially if the minimum distances cannot be maintained, partitions (aerosol protection barriers) must be installed.

Note for superiors: For office workplaces, the room capacities of the facilities must be fully used and work must be organized in such a way that occupancy of rooms by more than one employee can be avoided or sufficient protective distance is provided.

Rooms must be aired regularly:

  • Individual offices must be aired at least every 60 minutes.
  • Rooms used by several persons and common rooms must be thoroughly aired at least every 20 minutes or should have a continuous flow of air.
  • Classes/lectures: If a corona case occurs and airing times have not been exactly observed, it must be assumed that all participants of a class/lecture must be quarantined.
  • In buildings and rooms with ventilation, building management controls the ventilation systems to ensure that a maximum of fresh air is supplied.
  • The use of decentralized cooling units in multi-person workrooms contradicts the above mentioned ventilation requirements. Ventilation has priority over cooling. In this case the cooling must be switched off.
  • If several persons are present in a room, fans contradict the safety effect of the minimum distances. Fans must not be operated if more than one person is present.
  • There are safety concerns about mobile air filters and other approaches(e.g. UV rays, ozone) as Health & Safety and the university medical service have not approved them. At present the best data indicates that airing is the only measure to be recommended

For further information please refer to the University's hygiene concept.

Shutdown of institutions - Continued payment of wages

I would like to point out that the shutdown of individual university facilities, too, may be ordered exclusively by the university management or the Baden-Württemberg state government. Should there be an instruction for a partial shutdown of individual institutions or for the shutdown of the University as a whole, the civil servants and those employed under collective wage agreements will be released from work without any loss of income.

Balancing work and family life: care for children and other family members

If schools and childcare facilities are only open with restrictions, the parents concerned still have the options of working from home, reducing overtime, taking leave or applying for unpaid special leave if childcare cannot be organized in any other way. Those employed under collective wage agreements who suffer a loss of income as a result have a statutory right to compensation on the basis of the Infection Protection Act or, in the case of care for relatives, may be entitled to a care support allowance. For details, please consult the staff of the personnel department or the nursing care insurance fund (Pflegekasse).

Due to the special burdens resulting from the corona crisis, employees with children and relatives in need of care were allowed to take time off work while retaining their regular pay and benefits. According to a new decree issued by the Baden-Württemberg state government, this regulation expired on 29 May and will in future only be applied in cases of particular hardship.

Public contacts, meetings, events and trips

Meetings, events and conferences - Use online tools

Please hold meetings and conferences online as far as possible. Even though the state’s corona ordinance allows for the accumulation of more than ten people for official purposes of business, university managment asks all employees to refrain from holding meetings in person, if possible, for reasons of infection protection. The same applies to on-campus conferences until 30 November 2020.  

All employees now have the option of applying for their own zoom license from the IT Center (ZDV). This makes it possible to quickly, easily and reliably set up video conferences. Teaching staff can obtain a license that allows for courses with more than 300 participants. The ZDV will also offer BigBlueButton for the winter semester 2020/21. This system is operated via the ZDV’s own servers and can thus also be used for examinations. All data is stored exclusively on servers of the university. This service is also directly integrated into the learning platforms Ilias and Moodle. All information on these tools can be found at https://uni-tuebingen.de/en/174405.

If a meeting urgently requires the personal presence of the participants, please ensure that it is as short as possible and that a minimum distance of 1.5 meters is maintained between the participants. In situations where strong aerosol formation is to be expected (e.g. longer speeches), we ask you to increase or the distance to at least 3 meters. If this is not possible, the person speaking should put on a mouth-nose covering. Where it is not possible to keep a minimum distance in the office or in meetings, you must wear a mouth-nose covering.

Trips

Please note the recommendations for travelling and excursions.

Notes on private travel:

Please refrain from private travel, overnight accomodation for touristic purposes is forbidden in all of Germany. For travel abroad, please see the Foreign Ministry's travel warnings (in German) and the list of risk areas compiled by the Robert Koch Institute as well as the ordinance on entry and quarantine (in German) by the Ministry of Social Affairs.

Please note: Employees who have to go into quarantine are obliged to do their work from home according to the regulations of the Baden-Württemberg state government, as far as this is technically and organizationally possible. Those affected should contact their superiors as soon as possible.

Advice from the public health authority

Those returning from abroad can obtain advice on medical questions from the Tübingen Health Authority. https://www.kreis-tuebingen.de/corona.html 

In case of symptoms contact your family doctor

If typical cold or flu symptoms occur, people returning from abroad should first consult their family doctor after making an appointment by telephone and referring to the previous trip. Alternatively, you can also contact the nationwide medical on-call service ( phone 116117).  

Advice from the university medical service

The university medical service is also available for consultation, +49 7071 29-87092, daily 8.30-13.30 hours.

Health

Employees in higher-risk categories

All workspaces at the University should, as a matter of principle, be arranged so as to minimize the risk of infection. A major component of this is the entry ban for all persons who currently or in the previous 14 days have had contact with a COVID-19 patient or who themselves currently have symptoms of a respiratory infection or a fever, a cough, a runny or congested nose, or whose sense of smell or taste is impaired. Insofar as two or more employees have to work in one room, the risk of infection must be minimized by observation of a distance of 1.5 meters, sufficient ventilation, and the use of transparent barriers where necessary.  Alternating working hours in the workspace can also help to reduce the risk of infection in this case.  Employees who are in a high-risk category for severe complications if they contract COVID-19 are asked to speak to their superior regarding the organization of their workspace. The Medical Service can offer advice in individual cases. In the rare cases that safe use of the workspace cannot be realized, the option to work from home is still available.

If you need advice on your particular situation, please phone the University Medical Service, +49 7071 29-87092, for individual advice regarding your work and any possible arrangements which can be made regarding your workplace. Sick leave - documented by a doctor’s certificate - remains unaffected.

The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Allgemeinmedizin und Familienmedizin (DEGAM) has issued current guidelines for the assessment of at-risk categories (updated: 27.03.2020). These guidelines state that the following conditions signify the greatest risk of complications in the case of a COVID-19 infection:

  1. Cardiovascular diseases (including high blood pressure)
  2. Diabetes mellitus
  3. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease/ smoking
  4. Immunosuppression

 According to the data we have, age alone (without pre-existing conditions) is a moderate risk factor from approximately 60 years of age.

Pregnant employees

According to the current state of knowledge, pregnant women do not in principle have a higher risk than the general population of becoming infected with the corona virus, or of a more severe course in case of infection. The general measures implemented at the University (ban on entry, distance regulations etc.) reduce the risk of infection. If public access is permitted in individual areas in future, the risk assessment must be updated in accordance with the maternity protection act (Mutterschutzgesetz) before this change in the working conditions of pregnant women is made. For this purpose, pregnant women and their superiors should contact the University Medical Service to obtain advice on a possible ban on employment. Breastfeeding women are not affected by this.

If an employee in the working environment of a pregnant woman is tested positive for thecorona virus, the employer must issue an employment ban for the pregnant woman until the 14th day after the case of illness has occurred. Currently, this constellation is possible at the university if, for example, several persons work in the same room while observing the distance regulations (including shift work) and one of these persons becomes infected.

For pregnant women in the working environment of a person suspected to have an infection, an employment ban is to be issued for the duration of the diagnostic assessment. If the suspicion of infection is not confirmed, the pregnant woman may continue to be employed.

The University Medical Service is in close cooperation with the responsible regional authorities in Tübingen (Regierungspräsidium) in order to be able to adjust the protective measures for pregnant women in the event of future changes in the general conditions (e.g. relaxation of the ban on contact for the general population).

Suspected cases of a corona infection

Employees who notice symptoms of a possible Covid-19 infection (see above) in themselves or in a person in their own household have the option of working from home at short notice and until the symptoms are resolved (see agreement on tele-commuting – case-by-case work from home). In these cases, patients are requested to contact a doctor by telephone as soon as possible or to call 116117 for medical advice outside office hours. In emergencies, such as acute shortness of breath, you should call the emergency number 112.

It still applies that if your child gets sick and you have state-sponsored health insurance, one of the parents has the right to ten days of time off work and may receive paid sick leave (Kinderkrankengeld) for that time. If you have private insurance, under collective-bargaining agreements, you have the right to four days paid leave in this situation. For this, you must send a doctor’s certificate to Human Resources.

Further medical information

If you have a corona infection

Employees who test positive for Covid-19 are considered sick even if they exhibit no symptoms. Affected persons must provide a doctor’s certificate. Please send it by post, or via scan attachment in an email to: personalspam prevention@uni-tuebingen.de.

If you have a confirmed corona infection and suspect that is has occurred through contact at the workplace or in class, you should submit an electronic accident report to the Baden-Württemberg accident insurance company UKBW: https://www.ukbw.de/informationen-service/coronavirus-information-und-unterstuetzung/ (in German; click on "Versicherungsschutz bei Corona-Infektionen (SARS-CoV-2)" (insurance cover for corona infections) there). Employees can thus claim benefits from the statutory accident insurance. To improve infection protection at the university, it would be helpful if you informed the university medical service about such a report. You can also seek advice from the team there.

If a case of a corona infection occurs in the environment of your university workplace, your can obtain advice from the Tübingen health authority via its hotline:  +49 7071 207-3600, Monday-Friday, 08:30 -16:00. If you do seek advice, please also report this voluntarily only to the university medical service), e-mail ambulanz.arbeitsmedizinspam prevention@med.uni-tuebingen.de.

The health authority alone handles tracking, members of the university are not entitled or obliged to do so.

Further medical information

Disinfection of the workplace in case of illness

If an employee is sent home with symptoms of illness such as cough, cold or fever, the University Medical Service recommends immediate surface disinfection of the workplace of the person affected. For reasons of prevention, these measures should also be applied to workplaces where the person concerned has been regularly present up to 48 hours before the start of the illness.

It can sometimes take a long time before it is clear whether a person is infected with corona viruses. Not all affected people are tested. For reasons of care, surface disinfection is therefore urgently required. The respective superiors are requested to contact us by e-mail at reinigungspam prevention@zv.uni-tuebingen.de so that appropriate measures can be taken.

Psychological counseling in stressful situations in the corona crisis

In stressful situations and conflicts in the corona crisis, the Psychosocial Counseling Service for employees can offer advice. Until further notice, this service is provided by telephone or by video conferencing on DFN.conf. You can reach the counseling service Mon to Fri from 9:00-12:00, Tel. 07071-2977563. In addition, you can make appointments at any time via the counseling service's e-mail address: karla.polen-beerspam prevention@uni-tuebingen.de.

Information for researchers, e.g. on third-party funding