New Corona virus ordinance
President's circular to all employees and students
On September 20, the Baden-Württemberg state government issued a new Corona virus ordinance on study and teaching. Against the backdrop of numerous discussions with the Ministry of Science, we can assume that the most important framework conditions for the coming winter semester have been set with the new regulations. With the latest ordinance, the government is once again making it clear that Baden-Württemberg's universities should return to face-to-face teaching as far as possible. Nevertheless, it will be important to keep an eye on the risk of infection that still exists. In the following, I would like to briefly present the key points of the ordinance and the supplementary rules laid down by the President’s Office:
- According to the new ordinance, face-to-face teaching is once again the norm at universities. Accordingly, classroom teaching does not have to be approved by the President’s Office in the future.
- For all face-to-face teaching, 3G (geimpft, genesen, getestet) applies, meaning that only those who have been vaccinated, have recovered, or have tested negative for Covid-19 may participate in classroom teaching. Individuals who are not vaccinated and have not recovered may show by a negative rapid antigen test or a negative PCR test that they do not have contracted Covid-19. The test results from rapid antigen tests must be current to the day, meaning that the test must be no more than 24 hours old at the time of the face-to-face course; PCR tests must be no more than 48 hours old. Violations constitute an infringement of law and may result in a fine of a substantial amount.
- The University is obliged to verify the 3G status. Teaching staff are obliged to check the participants of their courses on a random basis. Students who evade the check or do not provide proof of 3G are to be excluded from the course.
- The model developed by the University of Tübingen stipulates that a random sample of ten percent of the students present is checked once a week in each course. For further details, please refer to the following webpage, where the random sample model is explained in detail: https://uni-tuebingen.de/en/217998 (German only, translation to come soon)
- The verification of the 3G status on the basis of random samples is part of a pilot experiment and is methodically accompanied by researchers from the Department of Economics. The University is obliged to report on the pilot experiment to the state government every four weeks.
- The President’s Office has decided to do without 3G in examinations. Here we will continue to rely on the hygiene regulations with which you are familiar, which have proved very successful and practicable in recent months. Details can be found in the University's hygiene concept.
- The use of libraries and the university archives is also subject to 3G, which means that only people have access who have been vaccinated, recovered or tested negative.
- Masks are still mandatory in all university buildings.
- Masks are also mandatory on the entire university campus, even outdoors, if a minimum distance of 1.5 meters cannot be reliably maintained.
- Masks do not have to be worn in lectures and examinations if a minimum distance of 1.5 meters is reliably maintained. This also applies to persons teaching or giving presentations. These persons, however, should keep a distance of 3 meters, if possible.
- For face-to-face teaching, contact tracking is still required for each individual course. We recommend that all teaching staff use electronic contact tracking by means of a QR code. Information on the use of electronic contact tracking can be found here: https://uni-tuebingen.de/de/198598 (in German only). Alternatively, teaching staff can still use the contact data collection form that can be downloaded from the Corona info (https://uni-tuebingen.de/en/university/information-on-the-corona-virus/).
- Contact tracking is also required when using archives and libraries. The only exceptions are the collection and return of media in archives and libraries.
- The University’s central administration and the Technical Operations Office (TBA) have now checked a major part of the seminar rooms and lecture halls and have determined a maximum number of occupants for each room. The maximum occupancy rate of rooms is 80 percent for courses with up to 35 participants and 60 percent for courses with more than 35 participants. Rooms that are used for courses with a high practical component (such as laboratories) can be occupied to their full capacity. The binding data for the winter semester 2021/22 can be found here: https://uni-tuebingen.de/einrichtungen/verwaltung/viii-bau-arbeitssicherheit-und-umwelt/abteilung-2/belegung-lehrraeume/ (intranet, please log in first)
- Regular cleaning of surfaces and objects is to be done by the users themselves during study; suitable materials for this purpose will be provided. Cloth dispensers are placed in front of larger lecture halls. Smaller rooms are supplied with packs from which cleaning cloths can be pulled.
The Baden-Württemberg state government wants to avoid another lockdown. I am convinced that we at the University of Tübingen have made our contribution to this aim during the summer months. As part of our highly successful collaboration with the Tübingen Vaccination Center, numerous employees and students, visiting researchers and scholarship holders were vaccinated. In addition, all newly enrolled students coming to the University for the first time this fall were offered vaccinations against Covid-19. A survey by the Institute of Occupational Medicine, Social Medicine and Health Services Research found that 74 percent of more than 4,000 students surveyed had already been fully vaccinated by early August. Another 18 percent had received at least the first vaccination. This suggests that we will start the winter semester at the University of Tübingen with an exceptionally high vaccination rate.
I am fully aware that vaccination does not ensure complete protection. This also applies to all the other measures we have introduced over the past year and a half; from mandatory masks to the distance rule, the use of rapid tests and contact tracking to regular airing. I consider a clever combination of different protective measures to be the right way to allow more face-to-face research and teaching as well as more direct encounters in everyday university life again in the coming months. Please help us to successfully master this path together.
With best regards and best wishes for the new semester,
Professor Dr. Bernd Engler