FAQs about the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Dear Members of the University Community,

This page provides the Rectorate’s answers to your questions with regard to measures taken at the University of Greifswald for dealing with the coronavirus (COVID-19). Please keep an eye on the developments and the information provided below. The Rectorate will also inform you via email if any important changes have been made or any important information has been added.

Thank you for your willingness to cooperate and for your understanding.

Update 31/03/2020 5.14 p.m.

Information from the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture MV

The Minister of Education, Bettina Martin, has addressed the students and members of staff at the State's universities during the coronavirus pandemic.

 

Restricted Public Access to University Campus

Public access to the campus will be heavily restricted from 17 March 2020 up until and including 19 April 2020. After the cancellation of face-to-face teaching and all kinds of events, the postponement of scheduled examinations, and the closure of the University Library, public access to the campus shall also be heavily restricted. The facilities and institutions can only be contacted via email. University bodies shall also hold no further sessions.

University Library with Extended Online Resources due to Coronavirus

Campus Life and Current Work Situation

I feel strained by the isolation at home, quarantine or the restricted contact to others. Is the University providing any support that could help me come to terms with the current situation?

The Chairs of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, and Clinical and Physiological Psychology/Psychotherapy are providing psychological support to help those affected come to terms with these straining situations. Please visit the chairs’ specific webpages [de] to find out more about the support on offer.
Studierendenwerk's (Student Services) psychological counselling is still available to students.

Can I enter Mecklenburg-Vorpommern if I am starting employment, continuing my current job or continuing/taking up studies at the University?

Entry to the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and thus also to Greifswald is currently only possible for persons whose primary residence is outside of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern for work reasons or due to unavoidable private reasons. Please be aware that the Landespolizei (State Police) or local authorities are carrying out corresponding checks on the autobahns and main roads and might stop your onward journey.
We therefore strongly recommend that you carry the following documents with you in case you are coming to Greifswald from another federal state: 

  • If applicable, proof of primary residence in M-V (e.g. German national ID card, residence permit) 
  • Student ID card or staff ID card from the University of Greifswald 
  • For freshers who have not yet received their student ID card: Enrolment certificate or corresponding confirmation from the Students' Registration Office; if required, please contact the Students' Registration Office at studsek@uni-greifswald.de 
  • Other documents or proof that provide plausible evidence of the reason for entry to M-V. 
How is campus life currently restricted?
  • In accordance with the decree passed by the Ministry of Education, all forms of teaching and kinds of events at the University are suspended for the period between 16 March up until and including 19 April 2020.
  • University examinations that were scheduled for this period are postponed. Further information on this topic can be found on the Central Examination Office’s website [de].
  • Libraries, Mensas (cafeterias) and cafés, as well as the computer rooms are also closed up until and including Sunday, 19 April 2020.
  • The public is no longer able to access the University premises, i.e. no consultation hours etc. are taking place. The University’s members of staff can still be contacted, preferably via email and – with restrictions – by phone.
  • Sports courses provided by University Sports are suspended. Sports halls and sports facilities are closed.
  • The Kustodie (University Collections) is currently providing no more tours. The daily public guided tours that were to start again on 1 April are on hold up until and including 19/04/2020.
Which services are provided by the Computer Centre for working from home and teaching over the internet?

The University Computer Centre provides remote access to university resources for teaching and administrative purposes [de]. In order for these services to run smoothly, computers and mobile devices (smartphone or tablet) require a stable and fast internet connection (with at least 2Mbit/s).

Guidelines (e.g. for Those Returning from Abroad, for Work-Related Travel, Conferences)

Why does the Rectorate ask members of the university community to inform them of confirmed cases of COVID-19? Which situations should be reported to the Rectorate?

The provision of such information makes it possible for the Rectorate to implement measures to counteract the spread of COVID-19 infections at the University. The Rectorate usually has no other way of receiving information about the spread of the coronavirus at the University than a notification from the person affected. In particular, the Gesundheitsämter (Public Health Offices) usually do not inform the University if a member of the university community is diagnosed with a confirmed case of the coronavirus.

The Rectorate therefore requires your help and asks you to notify them if you

  • have returned to Greifswald from abroad, in particular from a risk area, within the last 14 days; 
  • have been in contact with a person who has tested positive for the virus within the last 14 days;
  • are experiencing symptoms of illness that are typical for COVID-19 (e.g. cough, high temperature, sore throat, in some cases diarrhoea), but have not been tested;
  • have tested positive for the coronavirus.

If one of these applies to you, please contact Ms. Hosemann as soon as possible by calling her at +49 3834 420 1104 or writing her an email to coronauni-greifswaldde. Of course we will handle corresponding notifications confidentially.

Thank you for your cooperation!

What should I do if I have returned from a risk area and/or after I have had contact to someone who has fallen ill with COVID-19 if I show signs of illness?

All members of the university community that have been to a ‘risk area’ or an ‘area of Germany that is particularly affected’, defined as such by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI),

  • and/or have had contact to a person who has been diagnosed with a confirmed case of COVID-19
  • and have symptoms such as a high temperature, muscle ache, cough, runny nose, diarrhoea etc. (defined by the RKI as a ‘justified suspected case’ that must be reported),

must avoid any unnecessary contact to other persons and stay at home. 

These persons should call their general practitioners immediately (do not, under any circumstances, go to your GP’s practice without calling them in advance) or call the on-call medical services (Tel.: 116117), immediately contact the responsible Public Health Office (Gesundheitsamt) and notify the Office of the Rectorate (contact: Ms. Hosemann, coronauni-greifswaldde; or via telephone: 420 1104).

Likewise, if you have tested positive for the coronavirus, please also inform the Office of the Rectorate (see above for contact details) immediately.

What should I do if I have returned from a risk area but show no signs of illness?

If you have been to a ‘risk area’ or an ‘area of Germany that is particularly affected’, defined as such by the RKI (see: www.rki.de/DE/Content/InfAZ/N/Neuartiges_Coronavirus/Risikogebiete.html), but show no signs of illness,

  • after your return you must go into self-isolation at home for a period of 14 days. During this period those affected must refrain from contact to any third parties that is not absolutely necessary. During this period, these persons are not permitted, in particular, to access the university premises or use any of the University’s facilities (including the Mensas (cafeterias), libraries etc.).
  • Please notify your line manager/superior and the Office of the Rectorate immediately (contact: Ms. Hosemann, coronauni-greifswaldde; or via telephone: 420 1104).

If you have been in contact with a person who has been diagnosed with a confirmed case of COVID-19, please contact the Public Health Office (Gesundheitsamt) immediately (tel.: +49 3834 8760 2300).

If you contract any signs of illness, please MAKE A PHONE CALL to your general practitioner or – depending on the severity of your symptoms – the accident and emergency departments at the hospitals. Whatever happens: DO NOT TURN UP AT A MEDICAL FACILITY WITHOUT CALLING THEM IN ADVANCE.

If you have tested positive for the coronavirus, please notify the Office of the Rectorate immediately (contact: Ms. Hosemann, coronauni-greifswaldde; or via telephone: 420 1104)

What should I do if I have typical signs of illness related to COVID-19, but have not been to a risk area or an area of Germany that is particularly affected, nor have I, as far as I am aware, been in contact with a person who has COVID-19?
  • Members of the university community, who have not been to a ‘risk area’ or an ‘area of Germany that is particularly affected’, defined as such by the RKI, and who have not had contact to a person with a confirmed case of COVID-19 during the last 14 days, but still show signs of illness such as a high temperature, muscle ache, cough, runny nose, diarrhoea etc., must avoid accessing the university premises until they have been checked over by a doctor.
  • If you have tested positive for the coronavirus, you must inform the Office of the Rectorate immediately (contact: Ms. Hosemann, coronauni-greifswaldde; or via telephone: 420 1104).
  • The first contact to your GP’s practice, or, in severe cases, the accident and emergency departments at the hospitals, should ONLY be made via TELEPHONE. Please also take note of the further information provided by the HR Department.
Can I still attend conferences and congresses?
  • Please refer to the information about the approval of work-related travel with regard to participation at external conferences, congresses and other events, which applies accordingly.
  • Until further notice, no conferences, congresses or similar events shall take place at the University of Greifswald. Events that were planned for the period up until and including 19/04/2020 must be cancelled. It cannot be ruled out that events that are planned for later dates will also need to be cancelled. Further information on this topic will be provided in due time.
Is the University currently approving work-related travel?
  • All work-related travel taking members of staff abroad or to areas in Germany that are particularly affected by the coronavirus (according to the current definition made by the Robert Koch Institute), is no longer permitted. This also applies to previously approved work-related travel; these approvals are hereby withdrawn. Exceptions to this rule will be decided upon by the Rector for the academic members of staff, and by the Registrar, Head of Administration and Finance, for the members of non-academic staff.
  • Work-related travel within Germany is to be reduced to the minimum amount necessary. Strict criteria must be used to check the necessity of work-related travel. Before going on work-related travel, members of staff must first check whether the business can be conducted via video conference, it can be postponed to a later date or the number of participants can be reduced. Previously approved work-related travel must be checked according to this criteria by the person travelling and, if necessary, they must meet the decision for the work-related travel with their line managers/superiors.
  • Persons who have permanent authorisation for work-related travel must independently consider the above-named criteria when planning travel and make a dutiful decision at their own discretion.
  • Please take note of the information provided by the HR Department with regard to the procedure for cancelling previously approved work-related travel.

Questions Related to Employment Law

For all questions related to work regulations, please refer to the HR Department’s information sheet [de] ‘Coronavirus Pandemic: Work-Related Information for Employees of the University of Greifswald’ of 30/03/2020.

The Public Health Office has ordered me to go into quarantine - will I continue to receive my normal salary?

If a public body orders employees to go into quarantine, meaning that they are unable to perform their work duties for a specific period of time, as a rule of principle, in accordance with § 56 Infektionschutzgesetz - IfSG (Protection Against Infection Act), they will receive a compensation payment for a period of six weeks, which corresponds to the loss of earnings.

In order to avoid unnecessary bureaucracy, depending on the circumstances, employees who work for the State of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern will simply continue to receive their salary, and the reimbursement is waived (as this would also be paid by the State of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern). It can also be expected that civil servants will also continue to receive their salary if a public body imposes quarantine.

I am currently working from home; do the provisions of the flexitime service agreement still apply?

All employees who are working from home shall perform their work tasks to the best of their ability using all of the resources they have access to. In general, the employees who are subject to the Service Agreement for the Performance of Flexible Working Hours (DV-Gleitzeit) must be available during the usual core working hours and are responsible for keeping record of their own working hours at home on a suitable hours sheet. It is presumed that, as a general rule of principle, overtime will not occur. However, if overtime is necessary in specially justified cases of exception, the required overtime must be announced in advance to the direct line manager/superior.

I am supposed to be performing my work tasks at home; however, this is only possible to a limited extent, because I am having to look after my children. Which regulations do I need to observe?

If the performance of work tasks at home is restricted because you are having to look after your children, you can receive special paid leave (currently only) for up to 10 days. Up to 10 further days can be granted if a child that you are looking after is no older than seven years old or if it requires assistance due to a bodily, cerebral or mental disability, or if you are looking after more than two children, who are both no older than 11 years old.  Employees who do not fulfil these requirements and who have already received 10 days of special paid leave, should make use of overtime hours they have gained as part of flexitime or working time accounts, or holiday entitlements - especially from the previous year, or request special unpaid leave/unpaid release from work. The same applies to those employees who fulfil these requirements if they have already received the maximum number of 20 days of special paid leave.  

In order to enable the performance of some work tasks for the University in spite of childcare responsibilities, the 10 or 20 days of special paid leave can be stretched to 20 or 40 half days. This would account for those situations in which work from home is limited due to childcare and cover four to eight weeks. Due to the special circumstances, as an exception to the general rule, it is not necessary to adhere to the usual grant procedure via the HR Department. Please clarify the specific details with your line manager/superior. Employees on flexitime arrangements making use of special paid leave must record their hours in a suitable form on an hour sheet. Those employees who are not subject to the flexitime arrangements must inform their direct line manager/superior that they will be making use of the special paid leave.

Furthermore, contrary to the stipulation of Clause III(2) of the flexitime service agreement, members of staff who are subject to the flexitime service agreement are allowed to accumulate negative working hours of up to 80 hours, which shall be made up within two years following the revocation of this regulation.

In order to provide you with the greatest possible flexibility for arranging your work obligations around your childcare responsibilities, the framework working hours stipulated in the flexitime service agreement have been suspended. However, please make sure that you observe the legal requirement of 11 hours of rest after finishing your daily work hours.

Due to the nature of my tasks or due to other reasons, I am not or only partially able to perform my work tasks from home. What does this mean for me?

If working from home is not possible due to the nature of your work tasks, the lack of required skills and/or technical equipment, you must complete your work tasks at your regular workplace until the highest administrative authority makes a decision to close the University completely. Such a decision has not been made yet. Even if you are performing your work tasks on site, it must be ensured that the instructions for the protection against infection are observed, in particular the avoidance of as much personal contact as possible and keeping the required minimum distance between individuals, by introducing corresponding organisational measures. If work tasks can only be performed at home to a limited extent or only in part due to the nature of the tasks, the lack of required skills and/or suitable technical equipment, but working from home has been selected as the preferred location for the performance of work tasks following consultation with your line manager/superior (e.g. for employees who are particularly at risk due to previous/existing illnesses, age or their personal situation), the hours that you have actually worked should be supplemented by using up possible overtime hours that you have previously collected. The following applies to negative working hours: contrary to the stipulation of Clause III(2) of the flexitime service agreement, members of staff who are subject to the flexitime service agreement are allowed to accumulate negative working hours of up to 80 hours, which shall be made up within two years following the revocation of this regulation. Please take note of the further details provided in the information sheet on the HR Department’s website [de].

If the current amount of required work is not sufficient for exhausting the work hours of an employee due to restricted operations at the University or as a result of restrictions enforced outside of the University although the employee would have been able and willing to work, the full working hours can be credited following a corresponding confirmation from the respective line manager/superior.

I had requested holiday that was approved. Can I now cancel this holiday at short notice?

The employee has no legal right to a short-term cancellation of approved holiday. The employer is entitled to decide how to proceed.

Holiday that has already been approved can only be cancelled if suitable work tasks can be performed by the employee. If there is currently no requirement for the performance of the work tasks, because the employee is unable to fulfil the required work tasks from home or due to the lack of work for him/her to do, a cancellation of holiday cannot be justified. The decision regarding the cancellation of holiday shall be made by the direct line manager/superior.

Information about Examinations and Teaching

Have there been any developments with regard to examinations?

In view of the press release issued by the Minister of Education Bettina Martin on the general conditions for summer semester 2020, the University has been granted permission to initiate the necessary steps for organising and realising examinations that can be held without the presence of the students, whilst maintaining certain quality standards. The subject areas have already been asked to clarify the detailed terms with the Central Examination Office. We will provide you with more detailed information as soon as the further procedure has been arranged. Until then we urge you to refrain from sending any further questions regarding this matter to the Central Examination Office or the faculties.
Thank you for your patience.

Coronavirus - general information, hygiene and precautionary measures

Which hygiene practices should be observed?
  • Wash your hands with soap regularly and thoroughly (for at least 20 seconds).
  • If you meet other persons, avoid personal contact (do not shake hands etc.)
  • Keep as far away from others as possible or turn away from them if you need to cough or sneeze; use your elbow or a disposable tissue.
  • If possible, use your elbow or make use of a disposable tissue to operate door handles, taps etc. Do not use pens, or drink from glasses etc. used by other persons.


This page was last revised on: 31/03/2020, 5.14 p.m.
Short URL to this page: www.uni-greifswald.de/en/coronavirus