Labour law aspects concerning the campus shutdown

What has to be observed for telehoming during emergency operation?

Saarland University has, with immediate effect, ordered teleworking from home to be used as a special measure in response to the current coronavirus outbreak. All employees whose duties can be carried out remotely from home are instructed to do so. The rules and regulations governing how the university normally manages alternating home-and-telework schedules (application procedure, provision of IT devices and safety assessment of the remote (teleworking) site) have been temporarily suspended for the duration of the current emergency.

The activities to be completed and how they are to be carried out remotely from home shall be agreed in writing (email) between the employee and their supervisor or line manager. If the technical requirements for teleworking are not in place or the duties to be performed are not compatible with teleworking, the supervisor and employee should assess whether the technical requirements can be met in the very near future or whether the employee can carry out alternative duties from home. The assessment should determine whether the employee’s own home equipment can be used for teleworking. If none of the above options can be implemented, the employee shall be granted leave on full pay.

Will employees continue to be paid and what about time tracking?

Employees will continue to be paid while the university remains closed. However, it is an essential requirement that all employees continue to work remotely from home during this period (telework). If the technical requirements for teleworking are not in place or the duties to be performed are not compatible with teleworking, the supervisor and employee should discuss how the technical requirements can be met in the very near future, or whether the employee can carry out alternative duties from home. If none of the above options can be implemented, the employee shall be granted leave on full pay.

When an employee works from home, the crucial factor is not how long the employee spends working remotely, but that the work assignment(s) agreed between the employee and their supervisor or line manager are completed.

This rule also applies to persons who have to care for or supervise children because schools and nurseries/kindergartens have closed. The core requirement that university employees continue to complete work assignments from home still applies in full. See also ‘Looking after children while schools and child day-care facilities are closed’.

Working hours will not be recorded (time tracking) while the university remains closed. No overtime can be claimed during this period. However, research assistants (Hiwis) and student assistants (studentische Angestellte) will still need to record their working hours in the ‘MiLoG’ form as this is required by Section 17 of the Minimum Wage Act (Mindestlohngesetz (MiLoG)).

Holiday leave that has already been applied for or approved may be taken while the university is closed.

If you are unable to work because you become ill during this period, you are still required to submit a medical certificate (doctor's note). This can be done electronically by sending an email to personal(at)uni-saarland.de. You must also notify your supervisor or line manager that you are unwell. The same applies if a child that you care for becomes ill.

Can I be released from work if I have no childcare for my children in closed daycare centres and schools?

(updated on 17.03.20, 4:20 p.m.)

If you have to look after children, you can continue to do this until the schools and child day-care centres reopen. This will be treated in the same way as employees who are granted temporary leave from work in order to look after family members with care needs. If child supervision is split among a number of people (e.g. spouse, life partner), this will need to be taken into account. Please note that the requirement to telework from home still applies while schools and child day-care centres are closed. Exceptions only apply if an employee is unable to organize alternative supervision of their child(ren). This may be the case, for example, if a member of the university has to carry out their work activities at specific times of day and their partner works in one of professions delivering key services (e.g. medical and health care). Written notification that an employee is unable to work from home due to exceptional circumstances must be sent to the Personnel Department. (Personnel Department).

What is the situation regarding ongoing recruitment processes?

(updated on 17.03.20, 4:43 p.m.)

No new appointments to conduct recruitment interviews should be arranged until further notice. If a date has already been set for an interview, you should check whether all those taking part would be able to conduct the interview using video telephony / video conferencing software. In the unlikely event that this is not possible, care must be taken to ensure that any on-site interview is conducted in accordance with recommended health safeguarding measures, which include not shaking hands, appropriate coughing and sneezing etiquette, keeping a safe inter-person distance and using well-ventilated rooms.
Employment contracts that have already been signed will still become effective during the health emergency period even if new employees are unable to take up their positions at Saarland University because the university is still closed. The decision to continue administrative processing of new recruitments and of recruitment procedures that have already been initiated will be decided on a case-by-case basis. Priority will be given to positions in which the new incoming employee has already had to terminate their employment with their previous employer, and those positions that are directly linked to externally funded projects and cannot be postponed.

I have a short-term employment contract that needs to be renewed. What do I do?

Applications to renew or extend temporary (i.e. short-term) employment contracts in both academic and non-academic areas can now be sent unsigned by email to the relevant administrative office, i.e. to the appropriate Dean’s office or administrative unit, or to the Head of Central and Interdepartmental Institutions. Please send your application by email to the following address: personal(at)uni-saarland.de

For further information please refer to the following webpage: Basic services provided by the Personnel Department during the university shutdown.

Can I continue to carry out my secondary employment assignments?

(updated on 17.03.20, 4:50 p.m.)

Secondary employment assignments may only be carried out if they do not increase the risk of infection. According to Sec. 87 of the Saarland Civil Servants Act (SBG), civil servants (Beamte) are not permitted to take secondary employment if it would compromise the performance of their official duties. This is particularly the case if secondary employment could significantly restrict the ability of the civil servant to execute their official duties in future. All forms of secondary employment that could lead to an increased risk of infection (e.g. giving a conference talk or presentation, activities involving travel) are therefore prohibited at the present time. An exception to this rule may be permitted for those secondary employment activities that support the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

What do I need to know about personal (i.e. not work-related) travel or private activities?

Your employer cannot forbid you from travelling privately. However, you are very strongly urged not to travel to or to take part in activities in risk-affected areas. If you ignore this rule, you may not be able to work, as you would be held accountable for your actions (e.g. travelling to a designated higher-risk area, participating in mass events or mass gatherings) and you would not therefore be eligible for sick pay during any period in which you are quarantined or ill. The university is asking all employees to act in a responsible and proactive manner in both their work-related and their private activities.

Can I stay home if I am worried about catching the coronavirus at work?

Being worried about becoming infected is not sufficient reason to stay away from your place of work. Employees may only stay home if they are on sick leave; in all other cases, they are required to come into work. If you are unable to work because you are ill, you must submit a medical certificate (doctor's note) after three consecutive days off work.

Do I have to come to work if trains and buses are not running?

Employees who continue to work on the campus in emergency situations are responsible for organizing how they get to work. Employees must come to work even if public transport services have been cancelled. Every employee is responsible for getting to work on time.

 

Am I allowed to refuse to follow precautionary or safeguarding measures ordered by my employer?

No. Your employer has the right to issue directives and instructions to employees. To prevent the spread of the coronavirus, an employer may therefore instruct employees to follow specific instructions, e.g. to wear a face mask and to wash or disinfect their hands regularly. Employers are required to ensure that the risk of injury or the risk of becoming ill at work are kept as low as possible and they must therefore take the necessary steps.

Labour law aspects regarding the coronavirus

What should I do if I have spent time in a foreign country during the last fourteen days?

Members of the university who are returning after having spent time abroad (e.g. business trip, study or research period abroad, work experience or internship, or private trip) are instructed to follow the recommendations issued by the health authorities. They strongly urge anyone returning from a foreign country to self-isolate for a period of fourteen days and to minimize personal contact with others to the greatest extent possible: https://www.bundesgesundheitsministerium.de/fileadmin/Dateien/3_Downloads/C/Coronavirus/BMG_Flugblatt_de.pdf

Anyone whose place of residence is on the list of higher-risk areas identified by RKI, which now includes the French region of Grand Est, is not permitted to enter university premises until further notice.

All university supervisors and line managers are required to ensure compliance with this rule.

If you are affected by this rule, you must immediately notify your supervisor or line manager either by phone or email. During this period, you will work from home. In those cases in which a member of the university carries out duties that cannot be performed remotely, a decision will be made by their supervisor or line manager whether to assign other work to that person or to grant them temporary paid leave.

What should I do if I have had contact with an infected person?

If you have had contact with a person infected with the coronavirus, you must report that fact directly to your supervisor or line manager and/or the Personnel Department by phone or email (Personnel Department ) and you must remain at home. The key objective is to minimize the risk of spreading the virus to others. You should also immediately phone your local health authority (Gesundheitsamt) even if you do not have any symptoms. You can find your local health authority in the database maintained by the RKI. Robert Koch Institute . Follow the instructions given to you by the health authority. Do not go to a hospital or to a GP’s surgery (doctor's office) in person.

Do I need to notify my employer if I am or have been in close contact with a person infected with the coronavirus?

Yes! As an employee you are contractually obliged to report the fact that you have had contact with a person infected with the coronavirus. Contact your supervisor or line manager or the Personnel Department either by phone or by email.
(Personnel Department).

Who is authorized to impose quarantine restrictions?

The local health authority will impose home quarantine (self-isolation) for the maximum incubation period (14 days) on any employee who has been in contact with the virus. Furthermore, the university can, in its role as employer, order an employee to stay away from their workplace without the will or consent of the employee. This supposes that the employer has grounds for assuming that the employee is unable to work due to illness or that the employee poses a health hazard for other employees or members of the university. It is sufficient that the employee poses a plausible risk of infecting others with the coronavirus. Additional grounds supporting the order to exclude the employee from the workplace may be asserted if the employee spent time in a higher-risk area or in a location with a significantly increased risk of infection.

If I have to go into quarantine, will I still get paid?

If quarantine is officially imposed by the health authority, then this will be done in accordance with the German law governing the prevention of infectious diseases in humans (IfSG). If the university itself determines that an employee should stay away from their workplace, then it is of material significance whether or not quarantine was ordered as a consequence of actions for which the employee can be held accountable. If no culpability on the part of the employee is found, the employee will receive statutory sick pay. If, however, the employee is held culpable, e.g. by having knowingly travelled to a designated higher-risk area, statutory sick pay will not be paid. This also applies to brief trips across a border into any higher-risk area designated by RKI.

Do university employees have to work from home if they have been quarantined?

Yes, you will be expected to work unless you are on sick leave (i.e. you have a medical certificate from a doctor). Essentially, employees are required to work from home if they have the means to do so. This requirement stems from the duty of employees to act in good faith towards their employer.

Changes to processes during the coronavirus campus shutdown

Can I send invoices electronically to the Accounting and Finance Department? (NEW)

From 30 March 2020 and for the duration of the period in which the university’s coronavirus pandemic response plan is in force, members of the university (professorial staff, offices of the deans, secretarial offices, central and interdepartmental institutions, administrative departments) may submit invoices to the Accounting and Finance Department (Dezernat HF) electronically.

Invoices must be sent to the following email address: rechnungen(at)univw.uni-saarland.de. If you want to send an invoice to the Accounting and Finance Department electronically, it is essential that you include on the invoice (i.e. in the pdf file) the code for the budgetary unit and/or cost centre to be charged and that this information has been verified and signed off (click here for instructions). After submitting the electronic invoice, please send the original paper invoice by internal mail to the Accounting and Finance Department.

Important: An email may contain only one invoice, which must be attached as a pdf document. Invoices copied into the body of the email will not be processed. If you are applying for the reimbursement of hospitality expenses (meal, entertainment, etc.), you must include with each receipt the reason for the expenditure, details of the programme or schedule and a list of those attending. Please note that we can only process receipts that have been prepared and submitted in the manner described above. Receipts that do not meet the stated requirements will be returned.

The rules on submitting invoices electronically apply only to members of Saarland University.

During the ongoing campus shutdown, the Accounting and Finance Department is endeavouring to maintain all key services. Please appreciate that in the current situation it may take longer to process invoices, applications for reimbursements, credit notes and health insurance subsidies for civil servants (Beihilfe). Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Where do I get an employer authorization certificate if movement restrictions come into force?

(Updated: 21 March 2020, 5.49 p.m.)
The following information was issued by the Personnel Department on 21 March by email:

Dear Members of Staff,

As you will be aware, the Saarland state government has imposed movement restrictions from 21 March 2020 onwards. Under these emergency regulations you are only allowed to leave home for certain exceptional reasons. One such reason is that your employer may require you to be present at your place of work in order to perform essential functions or provide key basic services. As we have not yet received any definitive answer as to whether an employee will need an employer authorization certificate in this situation, we have taken the precautionary measure of preparing such a document. You can then present this document together with your identity card should you be requested to do so by the relevant authorities. In light of the large numbers of documents that may need to be issued and the time pressures that we are under, we have introduced different procedures for the Homburg and Saarbrücken campuses.

As we have already received the relevant lists for the Homburg campus detailing who needs to be present on site and in view of the need to safeguard the continued provision of medical services to patients, we have issued individual certificates to the relevant employees. These will be individually emailed to the employees at the Homburg campus. Please print out the employer authorization certificate and add your date of birth and identity card number. If you are required to work on site but have not yet received your authorization certificate, please report this fact to your supervisor or line manager. Your supervisor or line manager should contact Ms Freidinger at the Dean’s Office in Homburg in order to resolve the situation. Ms Freidinger will then update us on your case.

To deal with the situation at the Saarbrücken campus we have sent a template document for the employer authorization certificate to all sections of the university (Dean’s offices, administrative units, central and interdepartmental institutions, etc.). If you are required to be present on the Saarbrücken campus in order to maintain essential services, the head of your section or organizational unit will issue you with an employer authorization certificate. Please complete the certificate by adding your date of birth and your identity card number. Please make sure that you carry your employer authorization certificate and your identity card with you when travelling to or from your place of work .

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your support in helping the university tackle the coronavirus public health emergency.

Stay safe and healthy!
With best regards

The Saarland University Personnel Department


 

How will buildings be managed while the university is closed?

During the period in which the university is closed, all buildings and real estate will be managed in the same way as during a holiday shutdown. District heating, electric power and water supplies will be maintained. Drinking water hygiene will be ensured. Building services systems will be adjusted to reflect reduced building usage levels.

These changes will be organized and implemented by Facility Management (FM).

Members of FM staff and of the ZB cleaning services workforce will be split into teams and will work in the buildings at different times.

If a member of the on-site emergency skeleton staff (in academic institutes and departments, central university institutions, etc.) detects a fault or malfunction, the problem must be reported immediately to the 24-hour central monitoring station (Tel.: 0681 302-2242). Members of FM staff will respond immediately to the problem in order to prevent further damage.

When remedying or eliminating a fault or defect, FM staff will comply with all relevant safety protocols and/or will coordinate their response with the designated contact person.

For this to be possible, the only technical systems and research equipment that should continue to operate are those for which it would be unreasonable or disproportionate for them to be shut down. Please remember that every piece of equipment and every device that continues to operate while the university is closed represents a potential hazard.

For more information as well as for contact information, please refer to the university’s coronavirus pandemic response plan which was sent to the private email accounts of all members of the university staff.

Will post still be delivered and when will the university post office be open?

The university post office on the Saarbrücken campus has reduced its business hours; it is now open Monday to Friday from 10.00 a.m. to 12.00 noon. If you wish to collect a delivery or hand in outgoing mail during these times, please notify the post office beforehand on 0681 302-3020. Deliveries from DHL Express, recorded deliveries, signed-for deliveries and parcels that have to be received in person will not be accepted. Advice and information can only be provided by phone during the campus shutdown period.

During this period, post will not be delivered to or collected from the individual buildings on campus. The university’s Meerwiesertalweg site will receive daily postal deliveries, but post will only be delivered on Wednesdays to the Dudweiler campus and the Homburg campus. Court and legal correspondence for university lawyers working within the university administration will be sent to the university’s Personnel Department for initial processing. Post for the Villa Europa and for the Fraunhofer Institute in Sulzbach will be delivered by external service providers. Incoming and outgoing post for the Center for Mechatronics and Automation Technology in Saarbrücken (ZeMA) can be collected from or handed in at the campus post office, but prior phone notification is essential.

Correspondence should preferably be sent via digital services during the campus closure period. Please note, however, that the campus post office staff do not provide document scanning services. The campus post office cooperates with several different postal service providers. If these providers restrict or suspend some or all of their operations in future, postal services cannot be guaranteed.

Information regarding parcels and packages:
The university’s central campus post office only accepts parcels and packages from our delivery partner DHL. During the campus shutdown period, DHL will deliver parcels and packages to the central campus post office. If you are due to receive a parcel or package from another parcel service (UPS, DPD, Hermes, Fedex, etc.), you must make appropriate arrangements for the delivery. You must make sure that you or a person designated by you is on site to take receipt of the consignment. Please refrain from sending parcels during the campus shutdown period. Parcels should only be sent during this period if absolutely essential.

What services are still being provided by the Personnel Department?

It has been agreed with university management that the Personnel Department will focus on maintaining the following services: payroll accounting, salary payments and renewing/extending fixed-term employment contracts. A number of changes have had to be made to the usual administrative processes so that these services can still be provided by staff now working remotely from home. Please take note of the following procedural changes:

  • Renewing fixed-term employment contracts: With immediate effect, all applications to renew or extend temporary (i.e. fixed-term) employment contracts in both academic and non-academic areas should be sent unsigned by email to the relevant administrative office, i.e. to the appropriate Dean’s office or administrative unit, or to the Head of Central and Interdepartmental Institutions. Please send your application by email to the following address: personal(at)uni-saarland.de
     
  • New appointments: The decision to continue administrative processing of new appointments and of recruitment procedures that have already been initiated will be decided on a case-by-case basis. Priority will be given to positions in which the newly appointed employee has already had to terminate their employment with their previous employer, and to those positions that are directly linked to externally funded projects and cannot be postponed. Applications should be sent by email (as described above for fixed-term contract renewals).
     
  • Employment contracts: Once funding has been confirmed and the relevant employment law requirements have been met, and after consultation with the relevant staff representative council and the Equal Opportunity Officer, new employment contracts will be posted directly to the employees and will no longer be sent via the supervisor or line manager. The contracts then need to be signed and returned by post to the Personnel Department in order to ensure that salary payments can continue.
     
  • Notification of commencement of employment Please note that until further notice supervisors and line managers no longer have to submit a hard copy document confirming that a new employee has started work. However, it is essential that supervisors and line managers still send an email reporting the fact that the new employee has begun working (either on campus or from home). Email confirmation should be sent to: personal(at)uni-saarland.de 
    Confirmation that an employee has commenced work is essential to ensuring that proper payroll accounting procedures can be maintained during the period in which the campus is shut down.

Please make sure that the subject line of your email specifies the purpose of your email (contract renewal or extension, notification of commencement of employment, employment contract) and the name of the employee. Please avoid sending correspondence via postal services at this time. This also applies to medical certificates (doctor’s notes) or applications for annual leave, which should preferably be sent by email to the Personnel Department. Please note that applications for annual leave must still be presented to your supervisor or line manager before being forwarded to the Personnel Department. If you fall ill during the campus shutdown period, you must notify your supervisor or line manager as soon as possible and if you are issued with a medical certificate by your doctor, this must be sent directly to the  Personnel Department for processing.

Employees should also be aware that payslips will not be printed and dispatched for the duration of the campus shutdown. You will receive all outstanding payslips once the current emergency health crisis is over.

If you are unable to work because you have been quarantined at home, you should notify the Personnel Department about the length of the quarantine. If you are a member of the university’s on-site skeleton staff providing essential services during the campus shutdown, you must notify us if you have to stay at home for 14 days after coming into contact with an infected person.

Further information on the services provided by the Personnel Department is available on the website.

How can I gain exceptional access to a research facility?

To ensure that only the most necessary activities are carried out during the period of the campus shutdown, university employees are requested to comply with the rules governing applications for exceptional access to research infrastructure.

During the ongoing health emergency, access to university research facilities (offices, laboratories, equipment, etc.) is prohibited. Access can only be granted in highly exceptional cases if the research work has been designated as a ‘critical research activity’. Critical research activity is defined as research work that is concerned with the current coronavirus epidemic and relevant clinical diagnostics. Also covered by this definition are long-term research activities that would be difficult to reorganize, or where interrupting these activities would lead to a significant loss of critical data or would significantly compromise particularly complex scientific and clinical studies.

The application form for requesting permission for special access to university research facilities can be downloaded from the website of the Research and Enterprise Unit https://www.uni-saarland.de/dezernat/ft.html

What are the rules governing the purchasing of materials and services needed to maintain core services and essential functions?

The Central Purchasing Unit has issued information and guidance concerning the purchasing of those materials and services needed to maintain core services and essential functions while the university is shutdown.

The webpage also contains information on how ongoing tender procedures should be managed: https://www.uni-saarland.de/dezernat/zb.html

What information and contact details are provided in the pandemic response plan?

The university’s coronavirus pandemic response plan was emailed to all university employees on 19 March. It contains the emergency response procedures that have been put in place by the university’s primary organizational units. All other lower-level units have developed their own emergency response plans. The pandemic response plan will be updated regularly to reflect the latest developments affecting the university. If you have not received a copy of the coronavirus pandemic response plan via your personal email address, please send an email to: krisenstab(at)uni-saarland.de

The university’s response plan contains a wealth of useful information explaining what the university is doing to maintain key services and to ensure that essential functions are being performed in the faculties, administrative departments and in the central and interdepartmental institutions. The document also contains details of how to contact staff members tasked with maintaining key operational and support services in the different areas of the university. If you have a specific issue that needs resolving and want to know who to contact, please refer first to the information in the pandemic response plan.

The response plan provides details of the following core services that the university administration is maintaining during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic: building operation and security measures, supervision of existing building and construction sites, payroll accounting and salary payments, contract renewal/extension for employees on fixed-term appointments, postal and mail services, payment transactions, non-postponable external funding procedures to reach research milestones, non-postponable legal matters (such as court deadlines), purchasing/provision of materials and services needed to maintain core services and essential functions, and cleaning operations.

Core student services that continue to be provided during the campus shutdown include processing of student admission and enrolment applications and giving advice and information to both prospective and current students. Other areas in which relevant response measures have been implemented include: IT services during the campus shutdown period, clarifying and resolving fundamental crisis management issues, conducting key management meetings, particularly those involving the University Board, and ensuring media access.

Where possible, non-essential services will continue to be provided by university staff working remotely from home. The university has issued the following directive to all university employees. All core university service units can still be contacted by phone or email. Additional information is available on the respective websites.

Which email address will be used to send me the latest updates?

University management and the crisis management team will issue regular news bulletins in the form of bulk emails to university employees. Students will also receive emails but on a more restricted range of topics.

In both cases, the emails will only be sent to the personal, official email inbox that was provided by the University IT Centre (HIZ).

News and updates will not be sent to email addresses associated with specific university functions, to subordinate email addresses operated at faculty level or to email addresses associated with Saarland University Teaching Hospital. No addresses can be added to the existing bulk email distribution lists and any such requests in this regard will not be processed.

Please make absolutely sure that you can access your official university email inbox. You can either access this inbox directly or redirect incoming mails to another email address of your choice.

Information on using the university email system can be found on the following website (see the right-hand column for information on redirecting incoming emails): https://www.hiz-saarland.de/dienste/email

Where can I find the university directive regarding the campus shutdown that was issued to members of the university?

In light of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, Saarland University has agreed on a range of measures that all members of the university are required to follow and that are set out in a university directive. The measures specified in the directive are mandatory and have been issued following the order issued by the Saarland state government to effectively close all higher education institutions from 18 March, while allowing them to maintain essential core services in accordance with the relevant pandemic response plan.

Hier finden Sie die Dienstanweisung aus Anlass der aktuellen Krisensituation  (als pdf)

Click here for the Directive concerning the ongoing health crisis (as pdf)

Cliquez ici pour consulter les Instructions pour les membres de l'Université de la Sarre face à la crise actuelle du coronavirus (en format pdf)

How can I help during the current coronavirus pandemic?

The President of Saarland University Manfred Schmitt has issued the following appeal to all students and university employees asking for assistance in helping to support the Saarland University Teaching Hospital and other medical and health facilities in their efforts to maintain medical services during the coronavirus crisis.

Dear Students and Members of Staff,

In response to the ongoing coronavirus public health crisis, the Faculty of Medicine last week asked for assistance from the medical students at our university.

I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to all those who answered this call and have now registered via the link provided. At the present moment, you do not need to take any further steps. Today, I am issuing a further appeal not only to all of our students of medicine and dentistry, but also to the students of all other faculties and to all members of university staff.

I am asking all of you, if at all possible, to support Saarland University Teaching Hospital or another medical or health facility so that medical services can be maintained as we continue to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

If you are able to help the Saarland University Teaching Hospital, please use the following link to register as a helper: https://forms.gle/q2VgqdVUERdcaXX86

Registration involves completing a short questionnaire to gather information on the type of help that you can provide and how you can be contacted.

I would also like to draw your attention to the appeal that has been issued by the Saarland Ministry of Education, Families, Women’s Affairs and Culture, which you can find here: https://www.saarland.de/254853.htm

If you need to be granted leave of absence for the period in which you will be providing assistance, please notify the Personnel Department accordingly.

The university expressly supports any of it members willing to provide full-time assistance unless they are already part of the team dedicated to maintaining essential university functions and core services during the campus shutdown.

Please also consider whether you are able to provide help in addition to your normal work duties.

With best regards

Manfred Schmitt
President of Saarland University

Teaching and studies

What’s happening about classes, courses and examinations?

The Education and Quality Assurance Unit is providing information and advice on how academic activities (classes, examinations, etc.) will be restructured or rescheduled during the current coronavirus health emergency. Issues being dealt with include extending submission deadlines, postponing examinations and assessments, academic progress requirements and procedural changes to the assessment and examination phase of doctoral and Habilitation degrees.

The Education and Quality Assurance Unit has compiled the following website Information on academic courses and examinations.

Where can I find information about the e-learning tools that can be used to prepare students for the coming summer semester?

The University Board recommends that all members of the university’s teaching staff become acquainted with the features offered by the Moodle online leaning platform.

The Digital Learning project webpage offers instruction on how to create short videos of PowerPoint presentations, how to digitally record conventional ‘chalk and talk’ presentations and how to use more advanced tools for online lectures.

I am studying to become a school teacher. Where can I find more information about state examinations and about school teaching placements?

Information on how to deal with these issues while Saarland University and the schools in Saarland are closed is available on the following webpage that has been provided by the university’s Centre for Teacher Education.

I supervise/mentor international students. Where can I find relevant information?

The International Office has set up a webpage containing information and recommendations for international students, exchange students and freemovers. Saarland University students who are still abroad or who are planning to travel abroad should refer to the regularly updated information that is provided on the International Office’s dedicated webpage.

 

Travel and attendance at events

What should I do about a planned business trip?

As of 12 March 2020, the university has banned all business trips for members of the university. The ban, which shall remain in force until further notice, applies to all national and international business trips and to all national and international travel to training and professional development events, academic conferences, etc. The ban does not cover business trips within Saarland that either concern official matters with government ministries, agencies, etc., or that deal with urgent matters that cannot be deferred until a later date.

Academics and students at Saarland University who have study trips, excursions, etc. planned for the present or coming semester must postpone these trips until further notice.

Direct costs that have already been incurred or that will be incurred as a result of postponement (cancellation charges) can be recovered from the relevant budgetary unit.

What do I need to know about events outside the teaching profession held at the university ?

All non-teaching and non-curricular events must be cancelled, unless they are essential to maintaining the university’s basic operational services during the coronavirus emergency.
In order to minimize interpersonal contact, you should also consider whether a meeting or event could be conducted remotely, e.g. by conference call or by video conferencing. Additional information on video conferencing options is currently being prepared. Until that time, you may wish to use DFNconf  Dienste vom DFN  or the services offered by other commercial operators.

http://www.hiz-saarland.de/dienste/webkonferenz

Medical issues

Coronavirus telephone hotline for university employees and students

The Institute for Sport Medicine and the occupational medical officer at Saarland University have set up a coronavirus telephone hotline for members of the university. University employees and students can call the hotline if they have coronavirus health questions. Tel. 0681 302-70400, Monday to Thursday 8.00 a.m. to 4.30 p.m., Friday 8.00 a.m. to 3.30 p.m.

Medical questions can also still be sent by email to: krisenstab(at)uni-saarland.de

 

Wo finde ich psychologische Hilfe? Notfall-Hotline der Universitätsambulanz

Die Coronavirus-Pandemie ruft bei vielen Menschen Angst- und Unruhezustände, Schlafprobleme und niedergeschlagene Stimmung hervor. Bei Menschen, die bereits psychisch belastet sind, verstärken sich vielfach die Symptome. Um Menschen, die aufgrund der aktuellen Situation belastet sind, beizustehen, haben die psychotherapeutische Universitätsambulanz und das Weiterbildungsinstitut für Psychotherapie Saarbrücken an der Universität eine unentgeltliche Notfall-Hotline eingerichtet.

Diese ist für Personen gedacht, die durch die aktuelle Situation psychisch belastet sind und ein kurzfristiges  Klärungsgespräch brauchen, in dem gegebenenfalls weitere sinnvolle Interventionen geplant werden. Auch können sich Personen melden, die bereits in ambulanter Psychotherapie sind, aber aufgrund landesweiter Einschränkungen (häusliche Quarantäne, Schließung des Praxisbetriebes etc.) im Rahmen der Corona-Pandemieaktuell keinen Zugang zu dieser haben.

Die Hotline (0681 302-71021) ist ab 26. März täglich zwischen 13 und 16 Uhr erreichbar. Im persönlichen Gespräch wird entschieden, ob eine sofortige telefonische Beratung zur Entlastung ausreichend ist oder ob weitere Kontakte sinnvoll wären. Die Art der Kontakte (Telefonat, persönliches Gespräch in den Räumlichkeiten der Ambulanzen oder Videosprechstunde) sowie deren Umfang werden individuell mit den Betroffenen je nach persönlicher Lage abgestimmt.

Weitere Informationen: Psychotherapeutische Universitätsambulanz

Wie kann ich mich vor dem Coronavirus schützen?

Aktuell geht es vor allem darum, die Ausbreitung des Virus so gut es geht einzudämmen. Dazu sollten Beschäftigte und Studierende insbesondere auf eine gute Händehygiene, ausreichend Abstand zu Erkrankten sowie auf die übliche Husten- und Nies-Etikette achten. Zu folgenden Maßnahmen wird geraten:

  1. Regelmäßig und gründlich Hände waschen und möglichst wenig ins Gesicht fassen.
  2. Zur Begrüßung auf Händeschütteln und Umarmungen verzichten.
  3. Der Abstand zu Krankheitsverdächtigen oder Erkrankten sollte ca. 1-2 Meter betragen. Darauf sollten selbstverständlich auch Infizierte und Erkrankte achten.
  4. Soweit es geht, Türklinken, Handgriffe und Haltestangen etwa in Bussen und Zügen nicht anfassen
  5. Räume sollten regelmäßig gut gelüftet werden. Die sogenannte Husten- und Nies-Etikette sollte eingehalten werden:
    • Beim Husten oder Niesen mindestens einen Meter Abstand von anderen Menschen halten und sich wegdrehen.
    • Am besten ein Einwegtaschentuch benutzen - nur einmal verwenden und anschließend in einem Mülleimer mit Deckel entsorgen. Wird ein Stofftaschentuch benutzt, sollte dies anschließend bei 60°C gewaschen werden.
    • Nach dem Naseputzen, Niesen oder Husten gründlich die Hände waschen.
    • Ist kein Taschentuch griffbereit, kann in die Armbeuge geniest werden.
Wie kann man sich anstecken?

Menschen können sich gegenseitig anstecken. Der Hauptübertragungsweg ist die Tröpfcheninfektion (direkt über die Atemwege oder indirekt über die Hände, die mit Schleimhäuten in Verbindung gebracht werden). Aber auch sogenannte Schmierinfektionen können als Ansteckungsweg nicht ausgeschlossen werden. Dabei werden Erreger über eine Kette von Berührungen weitergereicht.

Eine Infektion über importierte Waren ist sehr unwahrscheinlich, da im Vorfeld eine Kontamination –  also Besiedelung mit Erregern – stattgefunden haben müsste und dann das Virus nach dem weiten Transportweg noch aktiv sein müsste. Ob das neuartige Coronavirus in flüssigem oder getrocknetem Material mehrere Tage überleben kann, ist aktuell noch unbekannt. Aber es liegen noch keine Fälle vor, in denen das geschehen ist.

Wie groß ist die Gefahr im Vergleich zu anderen Infektionskrankheiten?

Die Symptome bei einer Infektion mit dem Coronavirus sind Husten und – allerdings nicht in allen Fällen – Fieber. Im schlimmsten Fall könne es auch zu einer Lungenentzündung kommen. Ungefähr ein Viertel aller Fälle verläuft laut Weltgesundheitsorganisation sehr schwer. Bei den Todesfällen in China infolge der Infektion mit dem Erreger 2019-nCoV handelt es sich vor allem um ältere Menschen mit teils schweren Vorerkrankungen.

In den meisten Fällen werden die Infizierten wieder gesund. Die Behandlung verläuft so wie bei anderen Atemwegserkrankungen. Eine spezifische, das heißt gegen das neuartige Coronavirus selbst gerichtete Therapie steht derzeit nicht zur Verfügung, so die Bundeszentrale für gesundheitliche Aufklärung. Experten gehen davon aus, dass das Coronavirus nicht so ansteckend ist wie beispielsweise Influenza (Grippe) oder Masern. Nach bisherigen Erkenntnissen ist das Virus auch weniger ansteckend als der SARS-Erreger. Da die Datenlage laut Bundesgesundheitsministerium noch unzureichend ist, gibt es bisher nur Einschätzungen von Fachleuten.

Warum gibt es noch keinen Impfstoff?

Weltweit wird an einem Impfstoff gegen das Coronavirus geforscht – doch das braucht seine Zeit. Weltweit wird an einem Impfstoff gegen das Coronavirus geforscht – doch das braucht seine Zeit.

 

Wie kann ich andere schützen?

Generell werden die Maßnahmen empfohlen, die grundsätzlich bei ansteckenden Krankheiten ratsam sind. So sollten akut Erkrankte zu Hause bleiben, um sich auszukurieren, damit das Virus nicht weiterverbreitet wird. Dies gilt auch für enge Kontaktpersonen von Personen mit nachgewiesener Infektion. Ansonsten siehe den Punkt „Wie kann ich mich vor dem Coronavirus schützen?“.

 

Sind Gesichtsmasken sinnvoll?

Der Nutzen von Gesichtsschutzmasken zum Selbstschutz ist umstritten. Diese sollten Infizierte bzw. Erkrankte tragen, um das Übertragungsrisiko auf Mitmenschen zu mindern. Entscheidend sind das Material und der korrekte Sitz der Maske. Es gibt keine hinreichende Evidenz, dass das Tragen eines Mundschutzes einen Gesunden vor einer Infektion schützt.

 

Current information on the campus shutdown and the coronavirus public health crisis

For more information on the latest developments, please go to the university’s staff portal: Neuigkeiten für Uni-Beschäftigte (available in German only).

Saarland University‘s coronavirus information webpage contains information on the campus shutdown and answers to frequently asked questions for students as well as a list of information pages and live tickers.