Further Measures in Teaching & Learning and Extension of Work-From-Home Obligation

January 27th, 2021 | by

Based on recent decisions by the German and state governments on the extension of lockdown restrictions, the Crisis Management Team and the Rectorate of RWTH have decided on the following measures, effective until mid-February:

Teaching and Learning (through February 14):

  • Exam reviews and oral exams can still only be held online up to and including February 14.
  • Practicals and in-person written exams must be rescheduled to dates after February 14. Exceptions can only be made in particularly justified individual cases and after consultation with Division 1.1. The previously approved conditions known to the deans of studies for justified individual cases continue to apply. Students should be informed promptly of any rescheduled events and relevant information. If hygiene concepts at events require wearing a face mask, this must now be a so-called medical mask. The institutions should purchase masks via the RWTH Purchasing Portal and make them available to the attendees if needed.
  • In the case of experimental theses that require attendance, students must discuss available options with their supervisors.
  • All virtual courses and exams will continue as scheduled.

Extended Plans for Teaching and Learning (from 15 February onward):

Please note: Since further planning in teaching and learning will depend considerably on the future infection rates, an initial assessment of possible measures is to be given here. A detailed plan or decision will probably only be possible in the short term:

  • All examiners are strongly encouraged to offer as many exams as possible via online formats and hold oral exams via video conferencing in order to be unaffected by potential changes with the varying infection rates.
  • Shrove Monday will be included in written exam planning.
  • If written exams still cannot be held after February 14, we will have to postpone the exams. The original exam schedule for the postponed dates will be retained but will commence at a later week, meaning these exams may have to be held after the planned exam period. We assume that the summer semester will again mostly be held online.

Service Operations:

The German government has published a new Corona-Arbeitsschutzverordnung (Coronavirus Occupational Health and Safety Ordinance), which is intended to better protect employees from infection with the coronavirus. This results in the following measures for RWTH:

  • The work-from-home obligation (for all work that can be accomplished from home – even if this results in quality losses) – will be extended through Monday, March 15, 2021.
  • After receiving many inquiries regarding work that requires an employee’s presence on campus, we would like to once again remind you of the following, non-final, catalog of measures, which has been partially updated on the basis of the German Government’s ordinance:
    • Employees should work one to a room if possible. In larger rooms, 10 square meters of space should be provided per person.
    • If the minimum distance (1.5 m) or the 10 square meter rule cannot be observed, medical masks must be provided to the employees. The masks can be purchased via the RWTH Purchasing Portal and billed to the respective university institution.
    • If necessary, departments should decide whether and how fixed (working) groups can be established.
    • The possibility of staff working in shifts should actively be explored.
    • Furthermore, virtual formats must continue to be used for job interviews.

The Crisis Management Team and the Rectorate are aware that the current measures pose considerable challenges for all RWTH employees. By following all these measures, we can make a valuable contribution to preventing further infections.

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