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Regulations for University Operations at Bielefeld University during the Coronavirus Pandemic


Organizational decree dated 23 March 2020

Updated version dated 12 July 2021, in force from 15 July 2021

In order to continue its successful response to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, and to avoid a resurgence in the number of infections, Bielefeld University is operating in the mode of “University Pandemic Operations.” At the same time, however, the provisions of this Organizational Decree are intended to allow for the gradual reopening of increased university operations – subject to applicable legal measures and regulations. 

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 24 June 2021 in its currently valid version from 14 July 2021; the General Order governing teaching and examinations at institutions of higher learning in the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia from the Ministry of Labour, Health, and Social Affairs dated 14 July 2021; the fourth SARS-CoV-2 Occupational Health and Safety Ordinance dated 25 June 2021; the SARS-CoV-2 Occupational Protection Regulations from 7 May 2021; the Coronavirus Ordinance on Travel Entry from 12 May 2021 in the consolidated version from 9 June 2021; and the Corona Testing and Quarantine Ordinance of North Rhine-Westphalia dated 8 April 2021 in its currently valid version from 8 July 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 students, instructors, researchers, and technical and administrative staff.

In principle, and independent of the following contingency plan, the following still applies:

  • A minimum of 1.5 meters social distancing must be maintained between all individuals.
  • Exceptions to maintaining social distancing only apply in the following cases:
    • Situations in which it is necessary to carry out work.
    • If suitable protective measures are in place in the work area to fully prevent infections transmitted by droplets (structural separations, partitioning with glass, Plexiglas, or similar); or if there is a at least a requirement to wear a community mask.
    • In outdoor areas of the university, provided that the incidence level is 0 (7-day average rate of infection of 10 and under per 100,000 inhabitants).
    • While wearing a face mask in public areas in university facilities, the main university hall, and in the university library (except for at student workstations) at incidence rate 0.
  • In addition to the requirement to maintain social distancing, wearing a face mask is also required in all university buildings. (Exceptions include wearing a mask in staff offices and other workplaces provided that adequate social distancing is observed or comparable protective measures are in place, and for individuals with a medical certificate exempting them from wearing a mask.)
  • Wearing a high-quality, medical grade mask (surgical mask or an FFP2 mask) is required in work settings in which social distancing of at least 1.5 meters cannot be maintained between individuals, and/or if other protective measures (such as appropriate partitioning with Plexiglass) are not available (see point IV.3). At permitted courses and examinations held in person, wearing a medical-grade mask is required of all those in attendance, even if social distancing is maintained. If Bielefeld is at incidence level 0 or 1 (under 10 or not more than 35 infections per 100,000 inhabitants, respectively), the face mask can be taken off while seated during permitted courses and exams, provided there is adequate ventilation or air filtering in the room. In addition to this, social distancing must be observed. Exceptions to the mask requirement during practical activities, e.g., in laboratories, during oral exams, or upon presentation of a medical certificate, continue to exist. The medical-grade mask requirement continues to apply for all visitors to the university library (e.g. students/researchers/external visitors).
  • Individuals with respiratory symptoms or fever (unless medically cleared as having another etiology) are, as a rule, not allowed on the university campus.
  • Bielefeld University is offering two free Coronavirus rapid tests per week to all employees. Testing can take place once a week at the campus testing center (located in the cafeteria of Building X). At the campus testing center, staff members can also pick up another rapid test for home use. Staff members includes all individuals employed by the university (salaried employees, civil servants, support staff). Use of Coronavirus rapid tests is voluntary and is not a prerequisite for on-site presence (for exceptions to this, see testing requirements under Point III.6a). The University strongly encourages all employees to take advantage of these testing opportunities. Persons with proven immunity (through full vaccination or recovery) have a very high degree of individual protection against infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and/or protection from serious illness. However, individuals with immunity can still become infected and pass it on to others; the general protection measures (social distancing) therefore continue to apply to immunized persons as long as a large number of people in society has not yet had access to vaccines and are thus lying upon the immunity of others for protection. Nevertheless, exceptions to general protective measures are permitted, which are described in the Organizational Decree (e.g. sharing work areas). Fully vaccinated individuals (after completion of the second vaccination) may, in principle, return to working on campus within the framework of the regulations currently governing university operations (for details, see Section III.3 and respective risk category).

For complete organizational decision see PDF.

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