Archive for January, 2021

Further Lockdown Measures: Virtual and Home-Office Offers

January 8th, 2021 | by

Based on recent decisions by the federal and state governments on the extension of the lockdown, the Crisis Management Team and the Rectorate of RWTH have decided on the following measures:

Studying and teaching:

  • All virtual courses and exams will continue as scheduled.
  • Exam reviews and oral exams can still only be held online through January
  • At this time, we expect that individual lab courses, practicals, and in-person written exams that cannot be rescheduled should be able to take place between January 11 and 31, 2021, under the previously approved conditions. Even though the final regulations are not yet available from the state government, we ask students and supervisors to continue to prepare for the scheduled dates. As soon as new information is available, the Crisis Management Team will give an immediate update (including on weekends). We also urge students to pay attention to short-term change notifications issued by their departments.
  • In the case of experimental theses that require attendance, students must discuss available options with their supervisors.

Service operations:

  • The work-from-home obligation for work that can be accomplished from home – even if this results in quality losses – will be extended through January 31, 2021.
  • Exceptions to this rule may only be granted for good reasons, in particular for activities that secure the infrastructure of RWTH or for experiments in the university institutions. The respective managers are responsible for objectively and closely interpreting this regulation and ultimately deciding how to implement it.
  • A valid reason also exists for those employees who could work from home in principle but decide to come to work at RWTH (in an office not shared with others) because working from home is not feasible for them or they cannot reasonably be expected to do so due to home-schooling or other childcare obligations. However, these regulations only apply to justified individual cases. Otherwise, the risk of staff getting infected with COVID at RWTH or on the way to and from work will again be too high.
  • If employees have questions regarding the organization of working hours and childcare, the human resources departments are happy to help. The Family Services Center of the Equal Opportunities Office is also available to provide information and advice on all questions concerning childcare and on balancing work and family. The latest information (e.g., regarding the options of taking so-called additional child sick days – that is, sick leave for childcare – or special leave) for parents at the university can be found here.

Regulations for individuals coming from risk areas:

  • Individuals returning from risk areas can now choose to get cleared to return to work by taking a COVID test or they can stay under home quarantine. If employees who cannot work from home decide to quarantine, they will, however, only be entitled to compensation under the Protection Against Infection Act if they had a valid reason for travel. A vacation trip, for example, is not a valid reason. The human resources departments are happy to assist you with any questions you may have.

The Crisis Management Team and the RWTH Rectorate have taken the above measures based on the following guideline: All measures are intended to substantially reduce the risk of infection (for example, by reducing the need to take transportation to and from work). At the same time, we are committed to helping students progress with their degree programs in the best possible way.

As soon as new information is available, the Crisis Management Team will again pass it on to you.

Closure and Ban on Entering the University Sports Facilities Extended

January 8th, 2021 | by

As a result of the current federal-state decision, all sports facilities will remain closed until at least January 31, 2021.  All facilities of the University Sports Center (HSZ) are affected by the closure without exception. The ban on entering the facilities still applies for the specified period, the HSZ confirms.

“Although the restrictions have unfortunately been extended, everyone can continue to keep fit with our virtual offerings!” explains Peter Lynen, head of the HSZ.

The HSZ offerings mean you can either start your day off with some exercise, get moving on your lunchbreak, or participate in a wide variety of individual courses in the evening. All courses are free of charge and broadcast live via Zoom.

The HSZ would like to point out that the Service Point is currently only available by telephone, email, or by appointment. The timing of the reopening of the sports facilities and the resumption of sports operations will depend on future developments and will be communicated on the HSZ website at short notice.

All measures taken for the closure are based on the ordinances of the Federal Ministry of Health, the requirements of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, and the crisis management teams of  Städteregion Aachen and RWTH Aachen University.

All Dining Halls Still Closed

January 8th, 2021 | by

Studierendenwerk Aachen has announced that, due to the Corona Protection Ordinance of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, all of their dining halls, cafeterias, and coffee bars will continue to stay closed until further notice. This also applies to the administration area at Pontwall, which will only be accessible by telephone and email.

The Studierendenwerk Infopoint at Pontwall 3 will be open daily from 11 am to 12 noon. During this time, the machines to top up BlueCards, FH cards, and student guest cards can also be used.

Survey on Students’ Mental Health

January 6th, 2021 | by

As part of a project seminar at the RWTH Health Psychology Teaching and Research Area, psychology students are conducting a survey on students’ mental health. The questionnaire is divided into three key topics: Experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic, using Instagram, and using health trackers and apps. Interest is explicitly directed at users and non-users. So students can participate in the survey regardless of whether they use Instagram and/or health trackers and apps. The survey takes about 25 to 35 minutes to complete.

Here is the link to the survey, which is in German:

Feel free to forward the link to other students.

Standard Period of Study Also Increased for Winter Semester

January 4th, 2021 | by

The individual standard period of study has been extended by one semester for all students enrolled in the winter semester. This rule already applied for the previous summer semester. In addition, the free attempt regulation for all exam attempts is now an opt-out rule, meaning the respective rectorate of a university must actively oppose a free attempt regulation if they do not agree with it, otherwise the regulation applies automatically. The RWTH Rectorate has already decided to continue the full free attempt regulation for the winter semester 20/21. The regulation states that if a student fails an exam, it will not count as a failed attempt as the candidate took the exam and did not attempt to cheat in any way. Compared to the summer semester, the only change in the winter semester is that it will no longer be possible to withdraw from exams immediately before an exam, rather students must withdraw by at least 24 hours before the exam this time around.

The extension of the standard period of study for students who were enrolled at RWTH in summer semester 2020 and winter semester 20/21 means that BAföG entitlement will also be extended by one semester. However, this only applies to those whose funding entitlement only expires on or after the end of February 2021.