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Current Updates

Calender week 40 / 2021

Dear Instructors,

On September 29th, we informed you of the procedure for performing the required 3G check (to verify “vaccinated, recovered, or tested” status) before a course. Since then, the state of North Rhine-Westphalia has released a new Coronavirus Protection Ordinance, which will initially in force until 30 October 2021. This new ordinance continues to call for “as comprehensive a check as possible” but it also gives institutions of higher learning the option of conducting “at least random checks” to verify 3G status.

Our concept for accessing university premises – as previously communicated – includes checking the sticker affixed to the Uni Card at central check points to lecture halls, larger seminar rooms, and building units with interconnected seminar rooms. This will remain in place as described. (Please see the additional guidance for this at the end of this email.)

For one specific situation, however, we want to implement this new regulation: instructors who have to perform the 3G check themselves (e.g. in individual classrooms with up to 35 seats) are to check all participants’ 3G status on their Uni Cards during the first session of their course. If all students have a red sticker, then you only must check the status of any new students who come to the following sessions. It may be possible to further relax the procedure for the 3G check throughout the semester, keeping in mind the occupancy of the seminar room (whether all seats are occupied or not); the composition of participants attending the course (having the same, stable cohort) and the 3G status of participants (having few participants who are only tested).

We know that some students and instructors are feeling apprehensive about returning to in-person teaching. We take your concerns seriously. Instructors should therefore perform the 3G check when in doubt and discuss the issue with students as needed.

One more important point:

In the first days of the semester, there will not be enough support staff for all the central check points. We therefore must ask that instructors take over the responsibility of performing the 3G check for individual seminar rooms. Please have a look beforehand to see if you course or room will be affected by this. An overview of the seminar rooms is available here (in German) The rooms marked in yellow will be checked with the central control staff; for the other rooms, the instructors are to perform the check themselves. We expect, however, that all central check points will be fully staffed over the course of the week.

We are also providing you with an overview of the rooms in which instructors, as a general rule, will have to perform the 3G check themselves, i.e. for which no central control points are provided (less than 35 seats): view pdf (in German).

For your reference, we have also compiled important information on the 3G check procedure in an online guide (in German).


We hope you have a great start to the new semester.

With kind regards,

Professor Dr.-Ing. Gerhard Sagerer, Rector

Professorin Birgit Lütje-Klose, Vice-Rector for Education and Teaching

Dr. Stephan Becker, Chancellor

Dear Colleagues,

On Monday, October 11th, 2021, Bielefeld University will be changing its Coronavirus rapid test offerings for staff members. These changes will be of particular relevance to those who are not vaccinated.

Here is an overview of the changes and regulations:

  1. Previously, staff members have been able to take advantage of free testing at the campus testing center via a special registration portal. This will no longer be available.
  2. Moving forward, Bielefeld University will only issue Coronavirus rapid tests for self-use at home. All employees will be offered two such tests per week.
  3. Orders for rapid tests should be pooled at the divisional level (faculties, deans, institutions, departments) and orders are to be submitted via email to Full orders can be picked up Monday through Friday from 10am – 2pm at the Information Point in the Main University Building. The federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia has unfortunately only provided us with non-separable bulk packs of 20 tests to distribute to staff members. One pack therefore covers one person’s testing needs for 10 weeks. Please keep this in mind when placing your orders. Additional important information on storing and using rapid tests is available at
  4. The free public testing that has previously been available at the campus testing center will only be available for a fee starting on October 11th. Bielefeld University will only cover the costs for testing for staff members if the test is required for purposes connected to their employment.
  5. Those who attend courses held in person must be vaccinated, recovered, or tested (3G). This also applies to teaching staff (including technical staff in laboratories as well as service staff). For staff members who are not vaccinated or recovered, personal use of self-tests is not enough. Such staff members need proof of a negative test from an official testing center. For university staff members (including student workers) who are not vaccinated or recovered, Bielefeld University will cover the costs of testing. Non-staff adjunct instructors, however, must pay for testing themselves.
  6. If a Coronavirus rapid test is required for a business trip, training program, or another task connected to a staff member’s work, Bielefeld University will pay for the test.
  7. Those returning from travel who are not vaccinated must provide a negative test result upon returning to work on campus. In this case, Bielefeld University will also cover the cost of testing.
  8. For cases in which Bielefeld University covers the costs of rapid tests (as described above), the following procedure must be followed to obtain reimbursement: staff members must pay for the testing upfront at the test center and can then submit their receipts on a monthly basis at their dean's office, department, or institution. For business trips or trainings, these costs are to be submitted for an expense report.

Hopefully the much-feared 4th wave of the pandemic will not occur this fall, and we can continue moving forward on this path towards “normalization”. The Coronavirus pandemic, however, is not over. There are still seriously ill people lying in hospitals, some of whom are fighting for their lives.

It is therefore still very important that we adhere to the rules we all know by now (social distancing, wearing a mask, etc.) to ensure that we can safely interact with each other on the university campus. Being vaccinated, recovered, or tested makes everyone safer. Please take your responsibility seriously – we can all play our part to get through these challenging times.

Thank you very much for your understanding.


Best regards,

Dr. Stephan Becker, Chancellor

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Gerhard Sagerer, Rector

The most important current regulations:

  • The university is fully open again, also for the general public. Registration at the entrances is no longer necessary
  • In the buildings and on the campus: maintain a social distance of 1.5m. Masks are compulsory in the public circulation areas in the buildings.
  • In the winter semester 2021/202, teaching and examinations will take place predominantly onsite while taking the 3G rule into account. Large-scale lectures and seminars will continue to be held primarily digitally or in hybrid form.
  • In the University library (UB), Main University Hall, and other places in the university, workstations can once more be used on a large scale (but only by students of Bielefeld University). A booking is still necessary in the UB.
  • Individual service and advice centres (e.g., the Infopunkt, the Central Student Advisory Service, the Student Office, or the examination offices) are once again available with a personal service on campus. Please refer to the respective websites for opening hours and conditions of use.
  • Information on library use can be found here:

Regulations for University Operations at Bielefeld University during the Coronavirus Pandemic


Complete Organisational Decision (PDF), updated 08.09.2021

Organizational decree dated 23 March 2020

Updated version dated 7 September 2021, in force from 9 September 2021

Bielefeld University continues to be operating in the mode of “University Pandemic Operations.” The regulations of this Organizational Decree have been updated in accordance with applicable legal provisions and apply to all employees in teaching and research, as well as technical services and administration who are in a position of employment by the university (pay-scale salaried employees, civil servants, auxiliary staff, instructors).

This Organizational Degree has been updated on the basis of the Infection Control Act of the federal government of Germany, the Coronavirus Protection Ordinance of the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia from 17 August 2021 in its currently valid version from 2 September 2021; the SARS-CoV-2 Occupational Health and Safety Ordinance from 1 September 2021 (draft bill) that has been in force since 10 September 2021; the SARS-CoV-2 Occupational Protection Regulations dated 7 May 2021; the Coronavirus Ordinance on Travel Entry from 12 May 2021 in the consolidated version from 30 July 2021; the Ordinance governing Exemptions to COVID-19 Protection Measures from 8 May 2021 and the Corona Testing and Quarantine Ordinance of North Rhine-Westphalia dated 8 April 2021 in its currently valid version from 2 September 2021. This Organizational Decree summarizes the current measures in place at Bielefeld University.

All measures continue to pursue the goal of effectively targeting and limiting the risk of infection, thus safeguarding the health of all members of the university community.

-> Complete Organisational Decision (current version)

Additional information

General information and links

Tips for hygiene

What do we know about the coronavirus and how to avoid transmissions?

Interview with Prof. Dr. med. Claudia Hornberg, Professor of Environment and Health and founding dean of the Medical Faculty OWL

Prof. Dr. med. Claudia Hornberg
Prof. Dr. med. Claudia Hornberg

Ms Hornberg, what’s so special about the coronavirus and how dangerous is an infection?

Coronaviruses were first identified in the mid-1960s and can infect not only humans but also various animals such as birds and mammals. It is assumed that the precursors of the novel coronavirus come from animals in the wild.

The current illnesses are caused by a new type of corona virus, with the official name "SARS-CoV-2". The respiratory disease it causes is called COVID-19.

As with other respiratory pathogens, an infection with the novel coronavirus can lead to symptoms such as coughing, a runny nose, a sore throat, and fever—just like a common cold. In patients with pre-existing conditions, the virus can take a more serious course with, for example, breathing difficulties or pneumonia. Up to now, most of the patients who have died were already suffering from chronic diseases. Currently, the proportion of deaths in which the virus has been confirmed by laboratory tests is about two percent. However, this only includes data on patients who have been treated in hospital.

How is the virus transmitted?

As far as we currently know, the coronavirus is transmitted from person to person. The main transmission route is droplet infection. This can be directly person to person via the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract or also indirectly via the hands that are then brought into contact with the mucous membranes of the mouth and nose or the lining of the eyes.  Transmission is also possible if only mild or unspecific signs of disease are present. Novel coronaviruses have also been found in stool samples of some infected individuals. However, we do not yet know conclusively whether it can also be transmitted this way.

How can you personally protect yourself against an infection?

In terms of preventive health protection, it is important to adhere to the same hygiene measures that also protect against influenza (flu) infection. These are as follows:  

  • Do not shake hands
  • Regularly carry out good hand hygiene (wash your hands thoroughly with sufficient water and soap several times a day)
  • Avoid touching your face with your hands
  • Observe the coughing and sneezing etiquette (e.g. cough and sneeze into the crook of your arm, use disposable handkerchiefs)
  • if possible, keep at least 1-2 meters away from anybody who is coughing and/or sneezing.

What should people do if they are worried that they have been infected?

First of all, they need a medical examination to determine whether the suspicion of coronavirus is justified. This requires the presence of at least one of the following two constellations:

  • Acute symptoms (fever, cough, a runny nose, a sore throat, and/or infection-related breathing difficulties) or unspecific general symptoms AND contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus.
  • Acute symptoms (fever, cough, a runny nose, a sore throat, and/or infection-related breathing difficulties) AND having been in a risk area ( and within the last 14 days before the start of the illness.

If you suspect that you might have caught the disease, contact a doctor by telephone. Tell the doctor that you suspect that you have become infected with the new coronavirus (and, if appropriate, where you have travelled home from) and discuss what you should do next by telephone before going to a doctor's practice.

Why is there a quarantine recommendation for people who have been in risk areas or who have had clearly documented contact with sick people?

The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) estimates that people who have been in a coronavirus risk area or have had contact with a COVID-19 infected person in the previous 14 days are potentially infected or sick. Persons who have stayed in a risk area designated by the RKI should - even if they have no signs of illness— avoid unnecessary contact with other persons.

The aim of quarantine measures is to interrupt chains of infection and to slow down the spread of the virus as much as possible. This should provide time to find out more about the virus and treatment options, identify risk groups, prepare protective measures, and maintain treatment capacity in the clinics.

Hotline city of Bielefeld

(Supplement dated 09.03.2020)

0521 51-2000: The hotline of the city of Bielefeld can be reached under this number from Friday, 6 March, for all questions concerning the corona virus. From Monday to Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., municipal employees* will provide general information and advice on prevention. Outside service hours, the service point of the Kassenärztliche Vereinigung (Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians) is available at 116117. Translated with (free version)

Hotline Evangelisches Klinikum Bethel

(Supplement dated 03.03.2020)

Concerned citizens should please follow the nationally established structures and contact their family doctor or the public health department by telephone. A "telephone hotline" has also been set up at Evangelisches Klinikum Bethel (EvKB) for justified suspicions: Tel. 0521 772-77777. It is attainable from 8 to 16 o'clock.

Source: Evangelisches Klinikum Bethel (in German)

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