New information: On-campus classes, working from home
President's circular to all employess and students (except Faculty of Medicine)
The effects of the infection protection law, which was amended last week, on universities are still not fully clarified. Therefore, the science ministers of the federal states have approached the federal government last Friday with a request for clarification. https://mwk.baden-wuerttemberg.de/de/service/presse-und-oeffentlichkeitsarbeit/pressemitteilung/pid/laender-fordern-vom-bund-klarstellungen-bei-corona-notbremse/
In addition, The Baden-Württemberg State Rectors' Conference has information that universities are to be exempted from the scope of the infection protection law again in the foreseeable future. In this legally unclear situation, the University of Tübingen's President’s Office has decided to leave the general conditions for studying and teaching in the 2021 summer semester largely unchanged.
This means that the majority of classes in the current semester will also have to be held in online formats. However, those classes that are mandatory for a successful course of study and cannot be substituted by digital formats can continue to be held in person for the time being. This applies to laboratory courses and other courses with significant practical components as well as examinations and admission procedures. The university library and the departmental libraries will also remain open.
In contrast, courses for students in their first to third semesters must be converted to digital formats for the time being, unless they are courses with a significant amount of practical content (such as laboratory courses). The requirements of the state of Baden-Württemberg had given greater leeway here in recent weeks. The university will not have complete certainty until a new version of the Baden-Württemberg corona directive on study operations, adapted to the infection protection law, is available.
The past twelve months have shown that German universities are not drivers of the Corona pandemic. To ensure that this stays that way, we are all called upon to continue to strictly adhere to the known hygiene rules. In order to further improve infection protection in both private and professional environments, university employees have been able to get tested twice a week since April 19, free of charge and without registration, in the Neue Aula building or the Morgenstelle lecture hall center. This offer is also open to students and should be made use of especially by people who regularly attend face-to-face courses or visit the university's libraries. Participation in the Corona rapid tests is voluntary for employees and students. For employees, tests can be attended during working hours; supervisors should be informed appropriately about respective absences, unless electronic time recording ("Dienstgang") is possible.
New law changes regulations on working from home
In many cases, the University of Tübingen has already been offering its employees the option of working from home since December 2020, thus following requirements of the state of Baden-Württemberg. With the amendment to the infection protection law, the federal government now obligates employers, on the one hand, to offer those employees who do office work or comparable activities to perform these in their homes, if there are no compelling operational reasons to the contrary. On the other hand, employees are obliged to accept these offers from the employer. However, employees may refuse the offer to work from home if they are prevented from doing so due to, for example, a lack of space, interference from third parties or inadequate technical equipment. A simple notification to supervisors that working from home is not possible is sufficient in these cases. Please continue to submit requests to work from home on a case-by-case basis to your supervisors using the familiar form.
I hope that the new restrictions resulting from the amended infection protection law will not cause you any unmanageable difficulties in research and teaching. Unfortunately, the pandemic situation forces us again and again to revise our decisions and adapt them to the given general conditions. Thank you for your understanding and your great commitment!
With best regards – and continue to stay confident and, above all, healthy!
Professor Dr. Bernd Engler