Uni-Tübingen

Corona virus: Information for employees

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

Organizing your work

Far-reaching home-office regulations repealed

Since August 1, 2020 full-time working from home is no longer be the rule at the University of Tübingen. Until further notice, the University has returned instead to the regulations which existed at the University of Tübingen prior to the pandemic and which are set out in the agreements on tele-commuting and on irregular working from home on a case-by-case basis.

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. 

In the following cases, Home Office may be an option in the future:

  • Lack of child care when schools and kindergartens are not on vacation: As you know, the state and local governments are working to get kindergartens and schools back up to their full operations. But not all these institutions are fully open again. However, in many cases, schools and kindergartens have at least partly re-opened. If your individual situation does not yet allow for a full return to your usual place of work, please speak to your superior and seek solutions with her/him as to how you can manage both child care and work. The same goes for employees who need to care for family members.
  • Staff in high-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 fever, a cough, limb pain, 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. I ask employees who are in a high-risk category for severe complications if they contract COVID-19 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 home office option is still available.
  • Symptoms of a COVID-19 infection: If you or a person in your household shows the typical symptoms of COVID-19 and is suspected to have an infection, you or the person concerned should stay at home as a precaution until the suspected infection is clarified by a medical examination. Such a precautionary measure serves the protection of all university members. In this case, employees are nevertheless obliged to do their work from home, provided that the respective technical and organizational requirements are met. This type of case-by-case work from home can be done on an hourly or daily basis and can last up to four weeks at a time. Those affected should contact their respective superior and discuss the expected scope and content of work done from home. Employees can then submit an application for “case-by-case work from home” (Fallweise Arbeit von zu Hause), which is forwarded to the Human Resources section after approval by the superior. The respective agreements and forms can be found at https://uni-tuebingen.de/de/128093#c893047 (intranet-login required).
  • Rising infection rates: We must all be prepared for the general infection situation to deteriorate again, at the latest in the autumn or the winter. If the number of new infections rises steeply in our region, the University of Tübingen will be able to respond quickly. In that situation, the University will be able to send more employees into the home office situation. Please understand that such decisions must be made by the University’s management. Faculties, institutes and departments may not act independently in this matter.

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 https://uni-tuebingen.de/en/2178.

Safety distance of 1.5 meters - Regulations for offices with two or more people

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. Where this is not possible through measures of work organization, alternative protective measures must be taken by superiors (e.g. different workplace, aerosol protection barriers).

  • Mouth and nose protection is provided to employees if it is necessary to keep below the minimum distance for exceptional reasons of work. The facilities may order protection from Division VII, Purchasing, using the form „Artikelbedarfsanforderung“ (article requirement request). 
  • In office rooms, an aerosol protection barrier (e.g. a Plexiglas pane) should be installed at opposite workplaces if the minimum distance cannot be maintained. It is the superior’s responsibility to take care of this. It is recommended to wear a mouth-nose cover on a voluntary basis.

In 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.
  • 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.

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

Planning your vacation - make use of planned vacation and flexitime days

University managaments asks that you make use of the vacation days and flexitime days available to you. Many employees are currently facing demands at work which are far greater than usual. Due to our current reduced operation in academia and the central institutions, others have far less or even nothing to do. Right now it is extremely important for all members of the University to preserve both their health and ability to work. For that, rest and relaxation are essential.

Organizationally, we must avoid a situation in which – once travel restrictions have been lifted and university teaching can resume – that many employees then wish to take holidays. University management therefore requests that all employees plan the use of their vacation days for the rest of the year and coordinate them with their superior. Please note that left-over vacation days from 2019 must be used up by 30 September 2020.

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

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.

Teaching

Teaching on Saturdays

Our concept for a partial return to on-campus teaching in the winter semester includes the option of also using Saturdays for teaching classes. The university management and the Staff Council have now agreed that the following aspects will be observed:

  • On Saturdays, mainly block courses will be offered. Thus, the weekends will remain largely free of courses for teachers and students as usual.
  • Work on Saturdays is by mutual agreement only.
  • The respective superiors are requested to consider family tasks of their employees who are working on Saturdays, as well as voluntary work or further training.
  • Despite work on Saturdays, a five-day working week will be observed. It will be ensured that the employees concerned have two days off in a row, unless the employees themselves wish to arrange this in a different way.
  • If these conditions are not observed, those affected can turn to the following contact persons: The Vice-president for Academic Affairs, the Executive Vice-president, the respective deans, the head of the Student Affairs division or the Human Resources section. In addition, employees are free to turn to the Staff Council.
     

Public contacts, meetings, events and trips

Avoid meetings in person - Make use of conference calls

Please hold meetings by telephone if possible. Our telephone system allows conference calls with up to six participants. Colleagues working from home or other external parties can also join. For instruction, please see the tba website https://www.tba-ukt.de/wp-content/uploads/Anleitung-Telefonkonferenz-mit-TK-Anlage.pdf. The computer center (ZDV) has also put together a range of other technical aids to help you cope with your daily work, but also with the foreseeable challenges in academic teaching. You can find all important information on this subject here: www.zdv.uni-tuebingen.de/corona

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. Meetings of more than 20 persons are prohibited.

All counselling and service facilities at the University must – if they have not already done so – change their offers to telephone and online service. In individual cases, justified exceptions may be allowed.

Trips

Please note the recommendations for travelling.

Notes on private travel:

As of June 15, 2020, the federal and state governments have significantly relaxed the quarantine regulations for people entering Germany. However, a quarantine obligation as well as the obligation to contact the responsible authorities immediately still exists for all persons entering from a risk area. The current list of countries classified as risk areas can be found on the website of the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Social Affairs: https://sozialministerium.baden-wuerttemberg.de/de/gesundheit-pflege/gesundheitsschutz/infektionsschutz-hygiene/informationen-zu-coronavirus/verordnungen/risikogebiete/  

However, currently (August 25, 2020), persons entering from a risk area are exempt from the quarantine obligation if they can already prove on entry by a medical certificate that they are not infected with the novel corona virus. Details on the requirements for this medical certificate can be found on the following information page of the Robert Koch Institute and in the FAQs on the website of the state government of Baden-Württemberg: https://www.rki.de/DE/Content/InfAZ/N/Neuartiges_Coronavirus/Tests.html 
https://www.baden-wuerttemberg.de/de/bibliothek/corona-faq-sammlung/#c110814 

The quarantine obligation applies to all those who enter a risk area without the appropriate medical certificate. In addition, there is currently (August 25, 2020) an obligation to test (see information from the Federal Ministry of Health: https://www.bundesgesundheitsministerium.de/coronavirus-infos-reisende.html). For this purpose, corresponding test offers have been set up at airports, freeway service stations and railroad stations or on site at your place of residence. The quarantine obligation applies at least until a negative result is obtained. The final lifting of the quarantine is carried out by the local police authority.

Please note: Employees who have to go into quarantine are obliged to do their work in the home office 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.

Events and meetings

According to the University's hygiene concept (cf. D.5), meetings of up to 20 people are permitted without prior approval procedure, provided that the requirements of the hygiene concept are met. This applies to on-campus meetings such as briefings and conferences or committee meetings, but not to lectures/classes.

For the time being, please refrain from joint social activities like staff outings and team Christmas parties.

The regulations on lectures/classes in the winter semester can be found at https://uni-tuebingen.de/en/university/information-on-the-corona-virus/newsfullview-coronavirus/article/preparations-for-the-winter-semester-202021/. For further information, see the University's hygiene concept, Part E. ff.

Conferences  and other public events with external guests with more than 20 participants should not take place until at least September 30, 2020, unless you have obtained a special permit by the president’s office to hold such an event.

I have to cancel an event. Who is liable for the costs?
In the case of events held by a University institution, you can submit an application for reimbursement to the finance division. Applications will be examined on a case-by-case basis. The application form can be requested by sending an email to finanzenspam prevention@zv.uni-tuebingen.de.

Surgical masks and aerosol protection barriers

Surgical masks

As of October 19, 2020, all persons (including employees) who are moving or lingering on traffic areas in the buildings of the University (does not apply to seats in event rooms) are obliged to wear a mouth-nose cover. The Rectorate reserves the right to bring this regulation into force earlier, should the development of the pandemic make such a step necessary.

If the hygiene concept prescribes the use of a mouth-nose cover or the wearing of qualified masks and a person affected by this is prevented by a medical certificate from complying with the requirement to wear the mouth-nose cover or mask, this person is not entitled to enter the university until the individual case has been further clarified and a separate admission granted. In the case of students, the modalities of admission of such a person are to be agreed upon with the responsible Dean of Studies (in the case of an upcoming examination with the chairperson of the responsible examination board), in the case of employees with the respective direct superior. The deans of studies, examination board chairpersons and superiors are free to contact the company medical service and the occupational safety department in specific cases; superiors may suggest that employees seek risk advice from the company medical service. Any separate admissions must be made dependent on the clarification of the question of how the protection of other university members can be guaranteed in a specific case if persons enter the university without a mask or a nose cover. Since examinations and, as a rule, courses are possible without a mask, it is urgently recommended that persons who have their family doctor issue a medical certificate for the wearing of a mask or cover are advised to point this out. In most cases, it should be possible to cover the relatively short distances in the traffic areas with a mask or a cover and to remove the cover or the cover in the room. This circumstance should presumably lead the physician to design a possibly required certificate in such a way that it is compatible with the hygiene concept of the university. Otherwise, the procedure for separate approval outlined above would have to be applied.

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)

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 fever, a cough, limb pain, 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 home office option 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 new type of 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 the new kind of corona virus, the employer must issue an employment ban for the pregnant woman until the 14th day after the case of illness has occurred. Currently (as of 16 April 2020), 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 and the Section for Work Safety in the University administration are 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).

If a member of your household becomes infected with Covid-19 or is suspected of being infected

If a member of your household becomes infected with Covid-19 or is suspected of being infected and a doctor considers that there is a danger of spreading infection, you must stay away from work until a doctor judges that you are no longer in danger of spreading the virus.
You must provide a doctor’s certificate accordingly. Please send it by post, or via scan attachment in an email to: personalspam prevention@uni-tuebingen.de
If the nature of your work allows it, you are to make use of the option to work from home. Otherwise you will be released from work duties on special leave.

Furthermore: 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. Please send it by post, or via scan attachment in an email to: personalspam prevention@uni-tuebingen.de.

Further medical information

If you are an official suspected case of infection

Persons officially suspected of having Covid-19 are usually placed in quarantine for 14 days by the health authorities. Employees affected by this form of quarantine should inform their superior as soon as possible. Affected employees will be released from work duties and receive their regular pay and benefits.

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 a corona case occurs at the university (among employees, students or visitors): each person is obliged to report it immediately to the Tübingen Health Authority, hotline:  +49 7071 / 207-3600. Please also provide a supplementary report on a voluntary basis to planungsstab.infektionsschutzspam prevention@zv.uni-tuebingen.de.

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.

In view of the current rapid increase in the number of cases, 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 exclusively by telephone. 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.

Information and offers for teaching staff for designing online classes and digital teaching

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