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Changed Isolation Rules in North Rhine-Westphalia as of November 30

December 5th, 2022 | by

The Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia has changed the isolation rules for those tested positive for COVID-19 with effect from November 30. The self-isolation period has been reduced to 5 days. Clearance testing is no longer required. Any medical certificate confirming incapacity for work beyond the 5-day isolation period, of course, continues to apply.

If you have any questions on self-isolation, incapacity for work, etc., please get in touch with the responsible HR representative.

Those tested positive for COVID-19 are also recommended to wear a medical mask until the tenth day after the positive test result, especially when in contact with vulnerable individuals.

The Rectorate and the Crisis Management Team strongly endorse this recommendation. We would also like to remind you of the health and safety regulation that states that employees are obligated to wear a face mask if the minimum distance requirements cannot be observed and if the technical and/or organizational protective measures in place are not sufficient.

Please continue to help prevent the spread of coronavirus through your conscientious actions.

Important Information on the 2022/23 Winter Semester

October 24th, 2022 | by

This winter semester will be held face-to-face. This means that courses and events will generally be held in person. However, the deans of academic affairs may allow exceptions to this rule. Please note that individuals with cold symptoms that have not been clarified by a doctor are still not allowed to enter any RWTH buildings.

Furthermore, I would like to remind you of the urgent appeal of the Rectorate and AStA: We Are Still Wearing Our Masks. We urge you to continue to wear a mask in all corridors in University buildings, but also in lecture halls and seminar rooms where it is not possible to keep a safe distance from others. This spirit of solidarity will be critical to how well we will cope with the COVID-19 pandemic this fall and winter. Let us do all we can to keep the pandemic at bay.

However, it cannot be ruled out that individual courses will have to be held remotely for a limited period of time due to coronavirus infections. We want to avoid this situation and our collective behavior has a considerable influence on how effective we can be in preventing this.

Due to the current legal requirements, the special COVID-19 regulations for exams no longer apply. If students wish to be granted an extension of the deadline for the submission of coursework or their final thesis due to illness, for example infection with COVID-19, or the ban on entering the University due to cold symptoms, they must submit an application to the relevant examination board. The examination boards are authorized to pass so-called anticipatory resolutions, which can then be adopted by the chair or authorized individual without delay.

It is currently too early to decide upon and inform you about regulations effective during the exam period. Our decisions will depend on how the pandemic evolves over the coming weeks.

Before closing, I would like to address another particular issue that you will have heard of by now: We all need to save energy. Please be prepared for lower temperatures than usual in the lecture halls and dress appropriately. We hope that these measures will be sufficiently effective; at this time, we are not planning to switch to full online teaching to save energy on campus. However, we are considering reducing the opening hours of University buildings in the evenings as well as during the Christmas break. We will provide you with further information in due course.

Adapted Vaccines

September 16th, 2022 | by

As of September 15, 2022, the new vaccines adapted to the Omicron subvariant (BA.1) are also available at the Vaccination Center at Uniklink RWTH Aachen. (Note: The new bivalent vaccine from BioNTech/Pfizer adapted to the Omikron sub-variant BA.4-5 will be available from September 29, 2022).

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) approved the first Omicron variant-adapted vaccines on September 1, 2022. The BioNTech-Pfizer and Moderna bivalent COVID-19 vaccines provide protection against both the Omicron subvariant BA.1 and the original virus strain. Both vaccines can be used for booster vaccination only in persons twelve years of age and older. The regular vaccines used up to now are still administered for primary immunization. Read the rest of this entry »

Covid-19 Vaccinations at the University Medical Center

August 29th, 2022 | by

The STIKO (Standing Committee on Vaccination) is now recommending individuals aged 60 or over have another COVID-19 booster dose (2nd booster dose of the Covid-19 vaccine) and individuals at high risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19 due to a condition should have a booster 6 months after their last vaccine dose or COVID-19 infection.

The University Medical Center also encourages all individuals to be vaccinated against COVID-19 who have not previously had any vaccine doses or who have had only two antibody response opportunities (e.g. two vaccine doses or a COVID-19 infection plus a vaccine dose).

Individuals under 60 who are not at high risk and have already had three antibody response opportunities (including at least one vaccine dose) are not advised to receive another booster at the present time.

Book a vaccination appointment at the University Medical Center via this link:  https://ecampus.rwth-aachen.de/units/hsa.

Current Measures and Developments

July 21st, 2022 | by

The Rectorate and the Crisis Management Team have once again assessed the current pandemic situation and would like to inform you about the following measures and developments:

Provision of and Use of Self-Testing Kits

Employees who work on site must continue to be offered one self-test per week. Since the federal state has now stopped providing for the financing of these tests, the University institutions must pay some of the costs for them. The self-tests are now available for purchase at 80 cents each in the RWTH Shop for all University institutions. The Central University Administration will provide the difference (currently approx. 1 euro) for the purchase price of the tests.

“We Are Still Wearing Our Masks” Campaign

The Rectorate and the Crisis Management Team continue to strongly support the “We Are Still Wearing Our Masks” campaign. By actively participating in this campaign, we can all do our bit to at least slow down the spread of infection.

Important Guidance From the Crisis Management Team on the Regulations Effective From April 4, 2022

April 1st, 2022 | by

The previously effective legal regulations regarding access to teaching and exam activities (3G rule), distancing, and masks cease to apply from April 3.

General Information

Due to the current infection rates, the Crisis Management Team and the Rectorate strongly recommend that the AHA-L rules (distancing-hygiene-mask+ventilating) be observed wherever possible. I would like to point out the RWTH campaign here: We Are Still Wearing Our Masks.

Appropriate templates for rooms, entrances but also presentations are available at https://www.rwth-aachen.de/go/id/ujbed

Please note that any individuals with cold symptoms that have not been clarified by a doctor are still not allowed to enter the RWTH premises. In this case, please first have the symptoms clarified by a doctor. Correspondingly, chronically ill persons are recommended to keep a medical certificate on them for their own convenience, if necessary.

If individuals have a coronavirus infection, they are asked to familiarize themselves with the relevant isolation rules (see also https://www.mags.nrw/sites/default/files/asset/document/corona_schaubild.pdf). Here, of course, the ban on entering RWTH premises also applies. Information on the duration of required isolation periods can be obtained from the local health department.

Notes on Working On Site

  • The recommendations of the Occupational Safety and Radiation Protection Staff Unit have been updated. The new versions of the documents are available at: https://www.rwth-aachen.de/go/id/uebzi
  • Partly as a result of the changed legal framework and partly due to the increase in on-site work, supervisors must review and once again adjust risk assessments for working on site. The templates for the risk assessments are available here: https://www9.rwth-aachen.de/go/id/crga. Please note that measures resulting from the risk assessments (e.g. wearing a face mask) are binding for all employees.
  • Last year, the so-called “2G” option (not to be confused with the 2G rule) was introduced. Employees who wish to use this option can find further information here: https://www9.rwth-aachen.de/go/id/crga

Further, supervisors may grant remote working as an appropriate infection control measure. The regulations in force from April 1, 2022, regarding working from home and situational mobile work can be found here: https://blog.rwth-aachen.de/corona/2022/03/11/home-office-regelung-ab-1-april-2022/?lang=en

The Crisis Management Team and the Rectorate are aware that at this stage of the pandemic, it is even more important than before that all of us in the university community act responsibly not only on our own behalf but to protect others as well. RWTH has come through the pandemic so well so far because University staff has been very conscientious when it comes to implementing the existing regulations, thus demonstrating a special sense of community and solidarity. The Crisis Management Team and the Rectorate would like to appeal to everyone to continue in this spirit and act responsibly!

The University Sports Center Asks Participants to Continue to Take Safety Precautions

March 31st, 2022 | by

Starting Monday, April 4, 2022, the 3G rule will no longer apply at the University Sports Center, HSZ for short. “Nevertheless, we urge all participants to continue to get tested before attending classes and to wear a mask on their way to and from the indoor sports facilities as well as in the waiting area to further minimize potential infections,” said Peter Lynen, director of the HSZ.

For more information, go to the HSZ website.

RWTH Is Counting on Community Spirit: “We Are Still Wearing Our Masks”

March 31st, 2022 | by

The new University Ordinance on the Coronavirus Epidemic enters into effect on April 1. Starting April 3, with the beginning of the new semester, RWTH will no longer have a legal basis to compel everyone to wear masks, maintain minimum distances, and comply with the 3G rule. However, in the spirit of solidarity, RWTH is committed to keeping everyone in the university community safe. For this reason, the Rectorate and AStA have agreed to launch a campaign at RWTH: We Are Still Wearing Our Masks. This campaign will require everyone to still wear masks in the hallways, study spaces, and lecture halls. Instructors are asked to urge their students to wear masks in class and to make the best use of the space available in the lecture halls. “We hope we can count on everyone’s community spirit,“ emphasizes Professor Aloys Krieg, Vice-Rector for Teaching and Learning.

Adjustments of COVID-19 regulations at RWTH

March 23rd, 2022 | by

The amendments to the Infection Protection Act have led to the following adjustments of COVID-19 regulations at RWTH:

  • The 3G rule at the workplace has been dropped. The building-related 3G rule thus also no longer applies. Please note, however, that until April 2, 2022, participating in courses and exams will continue to be possible only if the 3G rule is observed. The previous offers or obligations to check for 3G-compliance remain in place.
  • Employers are no longer obligated to make a home office offer to their staff. However, home office arrangements can still be implemented as an appropriate infection control measure. The regulations in force from April 1, 2022 regarding working from home and situational mobile work can be found here [https://blog.rwth-aachen.de/corona/2022/03/11/home-office-regelung-ab-1-april-2022/].
  • When working on site, employees must be offered at least one self-test per week. These tests can still be obtained free of charge from the RWTH Purchasing Portal. [ https://rwth-kaufhaus.de/ ]
  • The recommendations of the Occupational Safety and Radiation Protection Staff Unit for working on site have been updated. Please find the updated version here [ https://www.rwth-aachen.de/go/id/uebzi/lidx/1 ]

The previous regulations continue to apply in all other respects. As soon as the state of North Rhine-Westphalia has come to a decision about the COVID-19 regulations effective from April 3, we will inform you in a timely manner. This applies in particular to regulations that may affect teaching activities and exams. Currently, however, more far-reaching regulations (such as not continuing the 3G rule, etc.) are not expected as of this date.

Work-from-Home Arrangements

March 11th, 2022 | by

Until March 19, 2022, the statutory obligation to make a home office offer continues to apply. Until the end of the winter semester (March 31, 2022), up to 100% home office can be granted by mutual agreement based on a regulation at RWTH. The legal regulations around the pandemic situation that will apply as of March 20, 2022, are currently still under political discussion. Nevertheless, we are already receiving increased inquiries as to which home office regulations will apply at RWTH from April 1, 2022 onwards.

Unless further legislation is brought into force by the federal or state government, the Crisis Management Team and the University Management have agreed to implement the following work-from-home policy from April 1, 2022 until the end of the summer vacation (August 9, 2022):

Employees and supervisors may mutually agree to implement home office for up to 60% of their weekly working hours. No involvement of the HR department or further documentation is required for such a consensual agreement. In addition, the new “Agreement on Working from Home and Situational Mobile Work” (in German) can be used as an alternative or in addition to the options for situational mobile work.

On the one hand, this regulation is intended to continue to protect us from infection and, on the other hand, it serves to enable a smooth transition to the framework conditions of the new “Agreement on Working from Home and Situational Mobile Work”.