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Corona-News

New Guidelines for Holding Events and Classes

August 25th, 2020 | by

The Rectorate and the Crisis Management Team have once again extensively discussed the possibility of holding events and classes in person in winter semester 2020/21. The University critically reviewed all possible forms of in-person events held at RWTH and created guidelines for this topic. This document includes instructions for holding events in the areas of teaching and learning, research and ongoing operations, and third-party offerings.

In-Person Classes: Focus on First-Semester Students

August 25th, 2020 | by

The Rectorate has decided that in the coming winter semester, the University will focus on enabling events and classes for first-semester students. The aim is to introduce first-year students to their studies and university life as per usual, despite the extraordinary conditions at present.

the University is aware of the fact that the limited number of participants permitted per class and restricted space available at RWTH will cause significant difficulty for instructors. It is striving to find a compromise between legal protection requirements and the demand to (re)enable classroom teaching. “This certainly requires much time and energy in some areas. Just like with the organization of examinations, we are dependent on support from the Faculties here,” explains RWTH Rector Professor Ulrich Rüdiger.

The Rectorate would like to point out once again that, due to the continuing risk of infection, employees from at-risk groups cannot currently hold classes in person. In cases of doubt, the University Medical Center will decide whether employees belong to an at-risk group.

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SARS-CoV-2-Viruses in Wastewater

August 25th, 2020 | by

Since the beginning of the pandemic, research groups have been working on methods to detect SARS-CoV-2 viruses in wastewater to be used to monitor the degree of COVID-19 transmission among the population. The idea is simple: since infected people shed SARS-CoV-2 viruses in their faeces, wastewater samples could give an indication of the infection numbers among all the residents connected to a wastewater treatment plant. Given sufficient sensitivity, these analyses could function as an early-warning system for authorities, allowing early detection of local case increases within the catchment area of a treatment plant.

A consortium of Frankfurt virologists, ecotoxicologists, and evolutionary researchers, and water researchers from Aachen have now shown for the first time in Germany that SARS-CoV-2 genetic material can be detected in treatment plants using modern molecular methods. Analyses revealed 3 to 20 gene equivalents per milliliter of wastewater in all nine wastewater treatment plants tested during the first pandemic wave in April 2020. This concentration level was also measured in studies in the Netherlands and the USA.

Find the entire article here.

Study Places in Bib2 Open Again From Monday

August 20th, 2020 | by

Bib2 will open some of its study spaces again from Monday, August 24. The RWTH University Library now announced that, initially, 76 study desks will be available on the 4th floor. The remaining floors will be opened successively. As in Bib1, the following opening hours apply:

Monday to Friday 8am to 4pm.

Simultaneously, the library will be switching to the University Sports Center reservation system for booking study places. RWTH will use this system for all study rooms on a trial basis. The University Library emphasizes that, without exceptions, a booking must be made.

With the new reservation system, study places can also be booked in the Unibib. From August 23 onward, study places can only be booked via the new study room and space reservation system.

Further Information:

https://www.ub.rwth-aachen.de/cms/UB/Bibliothek/Aktuell/Aktuelle-Meldungen/~jkcpi/Bib2-oeffnet-und-neues-Lernplatzbuchungs/?lidx=1

Latest Regulations on Travelers Returning From Abroad

August 20th, 2020 | by

On the basis of the legal specifications and out of concern for all University members, the Crisis Management Team, in consultation with the University Management, has agreed upon the following travel regulations: as soon as someone exhibits any COVID-19 symptoms, they are expressly prohibited from entering the RWTH premises.

Business trips for employees:

RWTH will not approve any business trips to risk areas at present. If an employee returns from a country that has been subsequently classified as a risk area, and if the local health department does not issue a quarantine order or shortens the quarantine period for special reasons, the employee must still work from home for the first week following their return.

Private travel by employees:

The Crisis Management Team urgently appeals to all employees to refrain from personal travel to risk areas when it is not absolutely necessary. If, however, employees do go on such trips, the respective superiors should be informed in advance so that work arrangements can be planned ahead of time. Irrespective of the health authority’s decision regarding quarantine, these employees must always work remotely from home for the first week after their return.

Guests/visitors from risk areas:

The Crisis Management Team strongly recommends refraining from in-person meetings and switching to videoconferencing formats or the like. If guests etc. arrive from risk areas (e.g. because they planned a stay in Europe for longer than two weeks), the host institution must inform them of the obligation to register with the responsible health department (usually that of Städteregion Aachen). Regardless of the public health department’s decision on a quarantine order, these guests are also not permitted to enter the RWTH premises until one week after their arrival at the earliest.

Regulation for students coming from risk areas:

Students who are only in Germany for up to 72 hours in order to complete or prepare for their exams, are not obligated to follow the quarantine and notification obligation at the public health department, according to (§2 (3) 3 CoronaEinrVO). Students who plan to stay longer than 72 hours after arriving in Germany must, however, report to the Health Office immediately. The public health department can shorten the quarantine period if students present a negative test result. As soon as the (shortened) quarantine period is over, students may attend courses and take exams at RWTH.

Host institutions must actively inform students about the reporting obligations and quarantine regulations. For some individual students from risk areas, supervision of the written exam can be offered via Zoom. The Examination Boards have already received detailed information regarding this option.

Finally, the University would like to point out how important it is that all members do their best to follow the current rules responsibly. Incidences of COVID-19 diseases have already occurred in the RWTH community. In most cases, a large-scale quarantine of contact persons could be avoided because the infected individuals had diligently followed the rules about hygiene and avoiding contact with others.

New Podcast Episode: Coronavirus and Student Life

August 14th, 2020 | by

In the twelfth episode of the”Coronavirus and Student Life” podcast series hosted by the Student Health Management department, RWTH student Cornelia talks to Professor Lothar Rink of Uniklinik RWTH Aachen. The director of the Institute of Immunology gives us insights into the defense mechanisms of the human body and explains how the immune system works. He also explores whether it is true that happy people live longer.

Listen to the latest episode in German here.

New Study Spaces Available at SemiTemp

August 14th, 2020 | by

From Monday, August 17, 98 study spaces will be made available again in the RWTH learning room building SemiTemp, Schinkelstraße 15, 52062 Aachen. Hours are Monday to Friday, 8am to 4pm. The places and slots can only be booked via the study place reservation system. A booking is required, as capacity is limited.

For further information please refer to the website for study place reservations.

New Podcast Episode: Answers From Research

August 13th, 2020 | by

In the eigth episode of the RWTH podcast series, Coronavirus – Our Answers to the Pandemic, Professor Thomas Gries, Head of Institut für Textiltechnik at RWTH, speaks about the consequences for research and the project situation at research institutes, particularly related to textile technology. Dr. Jacqueline Lemm from the RWTH Chair of Sociology of Technology and Organisation, or STO for short, conducted the interview via a video conferencing system.

The podcast series features RWTH staff responsible for the digitalization of teaching, virologists and physicians at the University Hospital, the Rectorate of RWTH, the AStA Students’ Committee, political scientists as well as experts from the fields of ethics, economics (including innovation research), computer science, and mechanical engineering.

Listen to the latest espisode in German here.

New Rules for Individuals Returning From Risk Areas to Take Exams

August 12th, 2020 | by

The state of North Rhine-Westphalia recently announced new regulations for individuals entering the state from risk areas. Please note that the generally known regulations for a two-week quarantine order and free testing possibility now also applies to students coming from a risk area. The only exception to this rule applies to students entering the state from a risk area only to take an examination and who will leave again within 72 hours of their arrival.

If students have any questions regarding this regulation, they should contact their responsible health department. For students living in the Städteregion Aachen, this is the Aachen Health Department (infektionsschutz@staedteregion-aachen.de).

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Aachen Engineering Award Ceremony Postponed to 2021

August 12th, 2020 | by

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, RWTH Aachen University and the City of Aachen, in consultation with the Advisory Board of the Aachen Engineering Award, agreed to postpone the award ceremony to 2021. A specific date will be set at a later date. “We would have liked to have honored Sebastian Thrun for his extraordinary influence on technology in a ceremony in the coronation hall of the city hall in a few weeks‘ time. In light of the current conditions, however, we do not want to take any risks and inadvertently harm the participants,” explained the Lord Mayor of Aachen, Marcel Philipp. “We look forward to honoring Sebastian Thrun in the coming year and then allowing as many people as possible to meet this prizewinner in person under secure conditions,” emphasizes Professor Ulrich Rüdiger, Rector of RWTH Aachen University.

Please read the complete press release here.