Corona-Update: Regulations for the CAU from March 8

Dear members of the university,

The Corona pandemic has been going on for more than a year now. Not only has it changed our lives in ways we never imagined, but it has also expanded our vocabulary to include "infectious events", "mask obligations", "vaccination offers", "hygiene concepts", or "pandemic fatigue". The latter has now taken hold of us all, and so many of you will welcome the further relaxations that the federal and state governments decided on Wednesday, and which Schleswig-Holstein has now implemented in ordinances, as steps towards normality.

The state's "Higher Education Corona Ordinance" also provides for initial opening steps for the universities. However, a far-reaching relaxation of the regulations applicable to the universities is not yet justifiable, according to the explanatory memorandum to the Higher Education Corona Ordinance, "against the background of the virus mutations and due to the supraregional catchment area of the universities".

For CAU, this means that even from 08.03.21, attendance in teaching, research, administration and other campus life will be limited to a few exceptions in order to largely avoid personal contact. The practical courses, which are planned in individual cases during the lecture-free period, can take place on site as scheduled and with hygienic concepts. Students will receive information about this from their teachers. We would like to point out once again that the examinations of the 2nd examination period of the winter semester from March 29 are mainly conducted online and the free attempt regulations will also apply here. The regulations on the free attempt, disadvantage compensation and free semester continue to apply unchanged and are explained in more detail on the Corona page for students. Teaching will continue to be conducted online in the summer semester 2021. Only in the known exceptional cases (especially for practical lectures) will teaching on site be possible. Your faculties will inform you about this in good time before the start of the semester in the usual way.

For the "workplace university", the urgent appeal to supervisors and employees of the university to work from home wherever activities allow continues to apply. Where this is not possible, all supervisors are strongly encouraged to make arrangements with their employees that take appropriate account of health and safety as well as  personal circumstances, such as childcare or caring for dependents. Where on-site activities are necessary, take advantage of flexible work schedules, shift work and physical barriers to reduce employee contact where possible. The provisions of the federal SARS-CoV-2 Occupational Safety and Health Regulations are extended through April 30. Risk assessments by supervisors must continue to be completed for all facilities where work is performed on site. More information - including how to order FFP2 masks - can be found on the Safety Engineers staff pages. These masks are provided by the university, if the risk assessment shows that all other protective measures at the workplace are not effective.

The federal and state governments decided on Wednesday to expand the use of rapid tests as part of the national testing strategy and to implement them gradually by the beginning of April. More concrete information about what this means for CAU is not yet possible. How universities, as employers, can offer their employees rapid tests in the future is currently being examined on a cross-state basis in the KMK. It will also be clarified in the KMK whether teachers at universities - like teachers at schools - can be vaccinated as a priority. Whether and how rapid tests are to be included in the hygiene concepts for courses and examinations in the summer semester is to be worked out in a joint concept between the universities in Schleswig-Holstein and the Ministry of Science. As more substantive information on rapid testing and vaccinations becomes available, we will add appropriate sections to the CAU Corona pages.

The known hygiene and distance regulations will remain unchanged on the entire campus until further notice.

The University Libraries will be gradually reopening their services during March, as infection events allow. Please understand that the opening steps for the libraries require a certain lead time. For this reason, known restrictions will remain in place for at least the next week. Please inform yourself about current changes on the websites of the UB or the subject libraries as well as on the Corona pages of the university.

Also for the museums and the Botanical Garden of the CAU, the regulations of the state allow in principle an opening from 08.03., which must also be carefully prepared. Please inform yourself on the websites of the institutions or on the Corona pages of the CAU.

I ask for your understanding that the University Board and crisis team are approaching the next opening and relaxation steps for the university very cautiously in view of the continuing high infection figures and the increasing share of the much more contagious virus mutations. So, even for now, the restrictions on meetings, committee meetings, job interviews and appointment procedures continue: these are to be conducted as videoconferences to keep on-site presence to a minimum, avoid travel, and allow attendence for employees who work from home offices. Business trips will also continue to be possible only in justified exceptional cases with the approval of the University Board.

We will, of course, keep you informed about further "small steps" in the coming weeks via e-mails and on the CAU's Corona website, and we will continue to rely on your cooperation, your patience, and your caution, also in private, in order to cope well with these challenging times together as CAU!

Yours sincerely 
Claudia Ricarda Meyer

Transmission electron micrograph of a SARS-CoV-2 virus particle

Transmission electron micrograph of a SARS-CoV-2 virus particle (UK B.1.1.7 variant), isolated from a patient sample and cultivated in cell culture. Image captured at the NIAID Integrated Research Facility (IRF) in Fort Detrick, Maryland.