New rules for Covid-19 protection

President's circular to all employees (except Medicine)

Dear members of the University, dear colleagues,

Last week, the Bundestag and Bundesrat passed a package of laws that once again expands measures to protect citizens against Covid-19. The new requirements take effect as of Wednesday this week (November 24) and affect the University of Tübingen primarily in the following areas:

“3G” in the workplace

As of Wednesday, 3G rules apply nationwide in the workplace. This means employees may only set foot in the University if they have recovered from, are vaccinated against, or have tested negative for Covid-19 (proof required). To meet these legal requirements, you must proceed as follows:

  • All employees with personnel responsibilities please check and document the 3G status of the employees in their area of responsibility on Wednesday, November 24, if possible. This 3G verification requirement also applies to employees who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons. 
  • In the faculties, the review and documentation of 3G status takes place at the level of the departments, institutes or seminars. In the central administration, the review takes place at the level of the divisions, staff units and central facilities.  
  • I ask supervisors to disclose their 3G status to a trusted employee and to document it. The process must be countersigned by the trusted employee. 
  • The documentation of the 3G status of employees may be done electronically or on paper. This data processing and storage is permitted. Supervisors are required to ensure that the data in question is stored securely and deleted or destroyed no later than six months after it has been collected.
  • For vaccinated and recovered persons, the existence of valid proof need only be recorded and documented once. For recovered employees, supervisors should also record and document the end date of the recovered status (valid for six months). 
  • Employees who are not immunized must submit a test result immediately prior to starting work each workday showing that they are not infected with Covid-19. The result of a rapid test or a PCR test may be submitted for this purpose. Rapid tests may be no more than 24 hours old, PCR tests up to 48 hours old.
  • Employees who are not immunized may submit a negative test result from an official testing facility. The submission of a negative test will be reviewed and documented by supervisors on a daily basis. For this purpose, it is sufficient for supervisors to note and sign off on the fact that employees have submitted a negative test result in a list; however this must be done on each individual work day. Testing conducted outside the University cannot be counted towards working hours.
  • Employees who are not immunized can also test themselves at the University under supervision. For such required tests, the University will provide two rapid tests per person and per week until further notice, in accordance with the requirements of occupational health and safety laws. For other weekdays in which the unvaccinated person is at the University, I ask that he/she make use of the testing services at the Tübingen city test centers or carried out by commercial providers. 
  • Supervisors are responsible for ensuring the proper implementation of self-tests. They may delegate the performance of the tests to a trusted person at the facility they manage. The negative test result must in turn be documented in an appropriate form. 
  • Employees who have tested negative within the University can be issued with a corresponding certificate. A form for this is available as Appendix I 4 in the University's Hygiene Concept.

The University is currently trying to find an official test provider who is willing to set up and operate test stations on the Morgenstelle campus and in the Wilhelmstrasse vicinity. As soon as we have more detailed information on this, we will inform you.

Working from home

With the new version of the Infection Protection Act, the University as employer is once again obliged to offer its employees the opportunity to work from home, provided that there are no weighty operational reasons against this, i.e. above all that the tasks assigned to the employees can be completed from home. In addition, employees are obliged to accept corresponding offers if there are no weighty reasons preventing this. A similar regulation applied this year from April to June.

Employees who are currently working on campus and would like to work at home in the future should contact their supervisors. Once again, the tried-and-tested instruments of working from home on a case-by-case basis or alternating teleworking can be used here.

In addition, I would like to point out that classroom teaching at the University of Tübingen must continue to take place as before. This is the express wish of Baden-Württemberg's Minister of Science. This means that the expansion of the home office option must not lead to a reduction in the current in-class teaching. To protect against infections, however, it is essential to strictly adhere to the now-familiar hygiene measures in class. These include, above all, the wearing of masks as well as regular and intensive ventilation of classrooms.

The state government is currently still in discussions about a further tightening of protective measures at higher education institutions. We will inform you in the coming days as soon as we have reliable information on this. I am sure we would all like to have an autumn and winter without constant new impositions triggered by the pandemic. Unfortunately, the situation makes that unlikely. Rest assured that the President’s Office will continue to do everything possible to steer the University of Tübingen as safely as possible through these difficult times. Please support us in this endeavor. 

Professor Dr. Bernd Engler