No return to on-campus teaching in sight

E-mail to all students and employees

Dear students,
Dear colleagues,

Since the beginning of November, a partial lockdown has been in effect in Germany due to the sharp rise in the number of corona infections. As you all know, not only large parts of cultural and public life are affected, but also the universities. Since then, on-campus teaching has only been possible in exceptional cases. Important facilities, such as the refectories of the Studierendenwerk, are currently closed. Cultural events of all kinds like concerts, dance and theater performances in front of an audience are currently prohibited.

In view of the development of the pandemic in recent weeks, it is unlikely that the corona measures will be eased in the near future. As you all know, the federal and state governments made further fundamental decisions on this issue in the middle of this week. These decisions also include the recommendation that universities should continue to focus primarily on digital teaching. The Baden-Württemberg government has to implement the corresponding decisions in state law now. The respective regulations are expected to be issued on the coming weekend. As soon as we have received these regulations, we will inform you again in detail.

However, please be prepared that there will most likely be no significant change in the current situation from December 1, 2020. This means that, in all probability, on-campus teaching will remain suspended at least until Christmas break. I currently also assume that the exceptions that have been in force since November 2 for courses that must be taught on campus will continue to apply. In addition, please do not plan any meetings or conferences on campus for the month of December, but hold them online.

As for working from home, for the month of December employees will 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. I would ask 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.

On the basis of the coming state corona regulations, the university’s President’s Office will assess whether fairly long-term predictions can be made, for example on the further course of the winter semester until the end of February 2021. In this respect, I can only ask you all for patience. The corona pandemic continues to be a phase of extraordinary challenges.

Please stay healthy!

With best regards,

Professor Dr. Bernd Engler