Dear members of our University,
You have all been living, working and studying under the pandemic conditions for several weeks now, and most likely have different expectations from the decisions our country and states are making on how both our private lives and our lives at university should go on after 19 April. The message that we have managed to take the first steps together as a result of our discipline and the restrictions we have all accepted over the past few weeks is an important one. Thank you very much for your efforts. You have all contributed to making the best out of the situation, and have done so under conditions that are much harder than usual.
We must now succeed in maintaining this basis, while still managing to take feasible steps towards a personal, professional and social exchange. We will be unable to return to our normal lives until effective treatments and a vaccine have been developed, so will have to continue to face considerable restrictions. Certain rules are due to be relaxed, bit by bit, also in university operations. We won’t know exactly what this means for the CAU until the government and state decisions for Schleswig-Holstein are implemented, which the state government is scheduled to do by the end of this week. The crucial points for us will be the decisions directly related to universities, as well as those related to schools and kindergartens, because the fact that these are currently closed means an enormous challenge for several members of our University.
As the decision situation is not yet clearly politically described, the University Board has decided to extend the current measures at our University beyond 19 April until 26 April, for the time being. The reason for this is the anticipated requirements for hygiene and protective measures which will accompany gradual reopenings and which must first be created in University facilities. Over the next few days, the faculties and facilities at our University will coordinate the details with the crisis management team to produce regulations on how to design teaching, research and administration in the short and medium term.
Please understand that we are unable to answer all of your valid questions at this time, because the definitive decisions by the state government have not yet been made. However, we have coordinated the following conductive premises for the sectors of teaching, research and services/administration:
- Teaching: With a view to the potential approval for restricted presence on campus - also for students - we are currently scheduling block exam periods for the summer semester and the substitute period for the previous winter semester, in coordination with the faculties, to provide planning security and in order to not interrupt current teaching. The new examination periods will be announced with enough time for students to prepare and revise properly. Our first priority will be to implement those courses as best we can which are relevant for qualifications in this semester, and which cannot be held in a digital format. This also includes the enabling of final theses. All other plans will be continually coordinated with the Dean’s Offices. Courses which have been converted to digital formats with considerable effort and willingness to cooperate should continue in digital format until the end of the semester.
- Research: Measures must continue to be taken to protect everyone’s health in research operations, too. Safety assessments with standardised criteria are currently being conducted in all work areas and we are checking whether more measures are necessary above and beyond the general rules for hygiene and keeping your distance.
- Services and Administration: The CAU’s numerous service and advisory offices, as well as the central units will remain closed until further notice. Consultations will be conducted by telephone and e-mail. If libraries can be reopened under strict conditions, for example, this will be carefully considered together with the institutions and prepared with the necessary lead times. All administrative duties should, wherever possible, continue to be performed by working from home. If certain duties require presence on site, the valid hygiene and distancing rules must be adhered to. All regulations on working from home, time recording and other work matters are extended for the time being until 26 April (see the regulations from 16 March). Details will be provided as quickly as possible via the usual channels - circular e-mails and the CAU’s coronavirus website.
We hope that we will all continue to overcome these major challenges together.
Thank you very much, and best wishes! Keep well!
The University Board