QUESTIONS & ANSWERS ON THE CORONAVIRUS AND ITS IMPACT ON THE RHEINMAIN UNIVERSITY OF APPLIED SCIENCES

Building closures at all campuses

All buildings and parts of buildings at all campuses of the RheinMain University of Applied Sciences have been shut from Monday 30 March, until further notice. For essential/administrative operations, keyholders have the necessary access rights, or will receive these from their managers.

For further information about building closures, please see the e-mail from 26 March 2020.

Students can find information about validating the Student Card in these FAQ.

 

Gatherings on university campuses

The state of Hesse decided on Sunday, 22 March 2020, to tighten the prohibition of contact further. According the new rules, only groups of a maximum of two people are able to meet in public together. This also applies to the university grounds.

Read the full press release. (in German)

 

Will the start of lectures be postponed?

The start of lectures is being postponed throughout Hesse until 20 April 2020. The regulations will therefore apply to all campuses of the RheinMain University of Applied Sciences. Welcome events for first-semester students are canceled. All preliminary and block courses, internships, and all other teaching-related events that require in-person attendance that are scheduled to take place before this date are canceled, unless they are able to be run online.

The form that teaching may take from 20 April 2020 onwards, as well as the date for the end of lectures for the summer semester 2020 is currently being determined.

 

Exclusion orders and self-quarantine: Who may not enter the RheinMain University of Applied Sciences?

For the protection of their own health and to avoid further infections, a ban on entering the buildings of the RheinMain University of Applied Sciences applies to the following groups of individuals:

  1. Persons who have the coronavirus (COVID-19), until it is proven that the affected individuals have been cured or are no longer contagious.
  2. Persons who have been in risk areas within the last 14 days are excluded from all campus buildings for 14 days after their entry to Germany, regardless of whether or not they are showing symptoms. Latest information on risk areas (in German)
  3. Persons who have had contact or are maintaining contact with individuals affected by the novel coronavirus (e.g. because they are caring for them), are also excluded from the university for the duration of the contact and for a further 14 days.

All staff who are included in these groups must report to their manager by telephone without delay.

 

What should I do if I believe that I have been infected?

Always first follow the advice on the Robert Koch Institute website. The RKI advises people who show symptoms and who have previously been in an area in which Covid-19 cases are occurring, or who have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus, to call a doctor or emergency medical services on the number 116 117.

This is very important: it is essential to contact the practice by telephone first, before visiting it in person.  By doing so, you will protect yourself and others.

Employees who have had contact with someone who has been confirmed as having the coronavirus must immediately contact the responsible public health department (“Gesundheitsamt”). This contact must be made in all cases – regardless of whether or not symptoms appear.

The German Federal Ministry of Health has set up a coronavirus hotline. This number is +49 30 34 64 65 100.

A coronavirus hotline from the Hessian Ministry of Social Affairs can also be contacted on the number 0800 5554666, each day from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

 

Do students and staff who have been in quarantine need to be tested before they are again allowed to take part in university life?

Local health authorities who have ordered the quarantine will decide this. Their instructions must be followed. The authority will also decide whether the quarantine should be lifted and whether there should be any restrictions.

 

Social contacts: What should I generally be aware of in everyday study or work routines?

To minimize the risk of infection, the hygiene rules must be complied with. Social contacts should be reduced as much as possible. For everyday working routines, it is therefore recommended to use digital options (telephone, e-mail etc.) wherever possible and limit in-person contact. For example, office hours should take place online or by phone if it all possible, until further notice.
At present, students should enter the university only for essential reasons and should practice appropriate behavior when doing so (keeping a distance, handwashing etc.).

 

How will students and staff be notified about the latest measures and information on handling the coronavirus at the RheinMain University of Applied Sciences?

Comprehensive information and advice will be sent by e-mail, with summaries provided on the university website www.hs-rm.de/corona and via official social media channels. The university administration therefore requests you to continue to check your university e-mail regularly. Should new, relevant information for staff and students of the RheinMain University of Applied Sciences be made available, the president’s office will announce this via the channels noted above.

 

Who can people associated with the university contact if they have specific questions?

The RheinMain University of Applied Sciences has set up a co-ordinating team. The team can be reached at corona(at)hs-rm.de. Please first check whether your question has already been answered by the FAQ before contacting us. 

 

How is telephone availability with the university currently being maintained?

The university can currently be contacted by e-mail and phone.

What should I do if I am a staff member and am in one of the risk groups?

State employees who belong to a risk group can now work from home. Working from home is permitted for this risk group up to and including 30 April 2020.

“The Hessian state government has decided that state employees who are over 60 years of age, as well as people with certain pre-existing conditions, may work from home if their job allows them to. The Robert Koch Institute believes that there is a significantly higher risk of a more severe illness caused by coronavirus for persons aged over 60 years. This higher risk also applies to people with certain pre-existing conditions, such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, diseases of the respiratory system, liver, kidney, cancer, and staff who have weakened immune systems.”

Read the relevant press release from the state of Hesse (in German)

In the event of doubt over whether you are included in this group, please seek medical advice. It is essential to notify your manager of your status and to co-ordinate with him or her about home office options.

Please note that the above risk groups are not under any obligation to work from home. This is an option which the affected staff should consider individually, seeking medical advice where necessary.

More information on risk groups

 

What should I do if I am part of a risk group but my job is not possible to carry out from home?

It is essential to notify your manager of your status and to co-ordinate with him or her about home office options, in accordance with the information provided in the e-mail of 20 March 2020.

 

I live with people at home who are members of a risk group. Can I work from home in this case, if I am an employee?

Notify your manager of your status and co-ordinate with him or her about home office options, in accordance with the information provided in the e-mail of 20 March 2020.

 

Childcare in the event of closure of daycare centers and schools

If daycare centers and schools are closed, flexitime, leave and special leave without pay may be taken in accordance with the usual provisions. Parents who are affected may, in consultation with their managers, also work from home until further notice, if their jobs permit them to do so.

In the above cases, home office options are available, regardless of whether or not a telecommuting agreement has been approved. No special requests for approval need to be submitted; consultation with your manager is sufficient.

For provisions relating to the documentation of time spent on work activities, please see the e-mail of 20 March 2020.

 

Can I bring my children to work, given the difficulty of childcare arising from the current school and daycare center closures?

No children may be brought to work, in order to reduce the risk of infection.

 

Relatives in need of care in the event of closure of adult daycare facilities

If an adult daycare center is closed due to measures taken to avoid coronavirus infections, flexitime, leave and leave without pay may be taken in accordance with the normal provisions. Staff looking after a relative in need of care can, in consultation with their managers, also work from home until further notice, if their jobs permit them to do so. Social Security Code (SGB), Book XI; Hessian Administrative Procedure Act)

In the above cases, home office options are available, regardless of whether or not a telecommuting agreement has been approved. No special requests for approval need to be submitted; consultation with your manager is sufficient.

For provisions relating to the documentation of time spent on work activities, please see the e-mail of 20 March 2020.

 

What are the rules for working from home?

The President strongly advises to use the work from home options. The work from home provision has been extended until further notice. It will apply until it is removed again by the President. Please read your work e-mails regularly.

All staff whose job is suitable for a home office situation and who are equipped appropriately (technical equipment, necessary documents etc.) and who have already made the necessary home office arrangements with their managers, may, as an initial rule, work from home until further notice.

You must be able to be contacted. If you have a work mobile phone, set up call forwarding from your work office phone and/or leave a message on your voicemail that refers to e-mail communication. On a voluntary basis (if the employee so chooses), call forwarding to personal mobile phones or landlines may also be set up.

For provisions relating to the documentation of time spent on work activities, please see the e-mail of 20 March 2020.

 

Reporting sick: What should I do if I feel sick?

If you feel sick, have a fever or show signs of having a cold, please stay at home and call in sick.

All staff must continue to report as sick to their department from the first day of illness. Only from the eighth calendar day of illness is there a requirement to produce a certificate of incapacity for work.

 

Are public events and conferences being held?

Public events will not be held until the start of lectures and must be canceled. In-person conferences and meetings that cannot be postponed will not take place during the summer semester and must be canceled.

 

How should work, field, study, and research trips be handled?

Travel for study and research purposes to risk areas as defined by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) will not be approved. Work and field trips are generally forbidden with immediate effect and must be canceled until further notice.

Exceptions must be arranged with the president’s office. Please use the new team address to do so: corona(at)hs-rm.de.

 

I have general authorization to travel between the RheinMain University of Applied Sciences campuses in Wiesbaden and Rüsselsheim. Do I need to eliminate these work trips?

Travel and work-related trips between the university campuses are exempt from the ban on work travel.

 

Will internal training courses continue to take place?

All AGWW events and the internal iwib seminars at the RheinMain University of Applied Sciences will not be held until the start of lectures. Possible exceptions are events that can be run online. Participants will be notified by e-mail accordingly.

 

What happens if I have become infected and am in quarantine? Will I continue to receive my employee salary?

If an employee has become infected and/or is placed under quarantine and/or his or her incapacity for work is certified by a doctor, the usual continued payment of wages for illness or equivalent compensation will apply.

 

Will I continue to receive my salary if the university is closed?

As far as we are currently aware, staff will receive continued payment of wages or appropriate compensation even in the event of a temporary closure of the university.

This provision will also apply to student assistants. Staff who are capable of working, and whose jobs permit them to do so, should work from home during this period.

In the event of a closure, you will be informed again in detail about appropriate provisions.

 

What options do I have to hold lectures, seminars etc. online?

It is currently being clarified to what extent and how teaching can take place from 20 April 2020 onwards. The university is currently assessing the extent to which lectures can be shared online with students.

How will I find out in what form teaching will take place from 20 April 2020?

The start of lectures has been postponed to 20 April 2020. Despite the current closure of the university buildings, an evaluation is currently underway regarding the form that teaching can take place from 20 April. For this reason, students are being asked to keep themselves informed by checking the specific webpages for their degree programs for more detailed information. Please also check the e-mails for your university account regularly in case you are notified by the Dean or by those in charge of individual programs about current measures by e-mail.

 

I have not validated and/or received my Student Card. How can I now receive a semester ticket?

In your student account at https://compass.hs-rm.de, a new document called “Immatrikulationsbestätigung inkl. ASTA Semesterticket bis 30.04.” is now available under the “Bescheinigungen” tab. Please go into your student account and print the ticket out, which will be valid initially until 30 April 2020. If you use public transport, please carry this confirmation along with the previous semester’s Student Card. If the summer semester will be your first semester as a student, this confirmation is sufficient on its own. We also advise you to carry your ID.

Infographic on the semester ticket for first semester students (PDF) (in German)

Infographic on the semester ticket for non-first semester students (PDF) (in German)

More information from AStA on the interim semester ticket solution (in German)

 

Issuance of degree certificates

Degree certificates have not been able to be issued since 21 March 2020. Degree certificates that have already been printed can be posted to you upon application to studienbuero(at)remove-this.hs-rm.de. Please send us your current postal address in your e-mail. If you cannot receive degree documents by post, the chair of the examination board can confirm passed final examinations by e-mail, with no special form required.

 

What should I do if I am a staff member and am in one of the risk groups?

The following provision for risk groups among state employees will also apply analogously to students and student assistants with severe pre-existing conditions.

IMPORTANT: All student assistants at the RheinMain University of Applied Sciences  who are in one of the above risk groups can work from home, effective immediately. Working from home is permitted for this risk group until 30 April 2020. Please make arrangements for this with your manager. Please note that there is no obligation to work from home for the risk groups listed above. This is an option which the affected staff should consider individually, seeking medical advice where necessary.

It is essential to notify your manager of your status and to co-ordinate with him or her about home office options.

IMPORTANT: All students at the RheinMain University of Applied Sciences who are in one of the risk groups should seek medical advice to clarify to what extent taking part in an exam constitutes an unreasonable health risk. In such a case, please notify the examiner without delay and before the exam is held.

 

Will exams take place at the RheinMain University of Applied Sciences?

Examinations have, in general, been postponed. For examinations that are of urgent need to students (e.g. Bachelor degree oral examinations if processes have already started), digital options can be used. Decisions about these options are a matter for the relevant examination board. The deadlines for handing in projects and/or theses, and/or presentations relating these, are generally extended by an initial four weeks. Theses which require the use of a laboratory should be extended by the period for which the relevant laboratory is closed. The relevant examination board is also responsible for these matters. Regular new registrations of theses remain possible. Please note the e-mail newsletter of 19 March 2020 and the latest information from your department.

 

Can I sit an exam if I am subject to an exclusion order?

Individuals who are subject to an exclusion order may not take part in exams. These individuals should contact the examination committee for their relevant degree program.

 

What do I have to do if I need to withdraw from an exam for health reasons?

Given the current situation, the requirement to produce medical evidence (a doctor’s note certifying inability to take an examination) is waived. A note by e-mail to the examiner stating the desire to withdraw for health reasons is sufficient. This provision applies to all proctored examinations (e.g. written and oral exams) until the start of lectures.

 

Libraries are closed. Can I return books that I have borrowed?

All libraries of the University and State Library RheinMain (HLB) are closed until further notice. If you have borrowed items from the HLB, do not worry: Renew the items online – if possible. If a renewal is not possible, wait until the libraries are open again.
You will absolutely not be fined! The fines procedure is suspended until further notice.

Further information about borrowed items, reserves and orders (in German)

In truly urgent cases (return of books due to exmatriculation), please contact information-hlb(at)remove-this.hs-rm.de.

 

How can I use the library’s digital media options?

Many digital media are indicated as such on the library’s Katalog Plus service. You can use this to filter your search results to include online sources. To do so, select “E-Medien” in the “Standorte” (locations) panel.

On the library’s website, you will also find the most important services categorized by subject – information on e-books, e-journals, databases and video training courses – under the E-Medien & Datenbanken tab.

We are also currently receiving numerous offers for trial access options from e-book and other full text providers. You can find these under Zusätzliche Angebote während der Corona-Krise.
To use the services, you must connect to the university network using a VPN. Notes on VPN access (in German)

Please send question about the use of online services by e-mail to e-medien-hlb(at)remove-this.hs-rm.de.

Alternatives to interlibrary loans: As no interlibrary loans are currently possible, we can only refer you to document delivery services that can supply literature, if needed, by PDF to you at home (at a cost). For example: https://www.subito-doc.de

 

How can I reach the Admissions Office and student advising team?

The Admissions Office, student advising team, and the iPunkt information office at the Kurt-Schumacher-Ring site can no longer be accessed in person. Please use the alternative contact options (telephone, contact form) listed on the university website.

 

How can I submit my documents to the Admissions Office?

With immediate effect, Admissions Office staff are generally working from home and therefore cannot offer in-person service on site.

You can now submit applications and documents to the Admissions Office by e-mail only, to studienbuero(at)remove-this.hs-rm.de. Please send your documents as a PDF document, ideally in black and white format and with as small a file size as possible.

You do not need to resubmit paper documents which you have already sent. They will be processed in the coming days.

The following applies:

  1. If you need submit certified documents (e.g. for enrollment), please send these as copies by e-mail. We will come back to you after the crisis and ask you for the certified copies.
  2. If you wish to exmatriculate, please send us the exmatriculation application by e-mail, so that we can exmatriculate you in a timely manner. If you have already been registered and would like a refund of the semester fees, we require your Student Card to process the reimbursement. Please send us this by post. The refund will be able to be made only once we are back at work and there is proof that the card was sent to the university before 15 April (postmark!).

The Admissions Office will do everything possible to process your request in a timely and correct manner. Nevertheless, at present there may be delays. We ask for your understanding. Contact the Admissions Office or by using the contact form

 

Are cafeterias open?

All catering facilities operated by Studentenwerk Frankfurt am Main are closed until further notice.

 

Are lecture theaters, seminar rooms, laboratories, computer labs etc. open?

All lecture theaters, seminar rooms, laboratories, computer labs etc. are closed until further notice. For now, students should, as a general rule, enter the university only for essential reasons, practicing appropriate behavior when doing so (keeping a distance, handwashing etc.).

 

What provisions are there for internships outside the university?

For students who are completing an internship, external thesis etc. outside the university, the regulations of the internship organization apply in addition to the regulations of the RheinMain University of Applied Sciences. In the event of contradictions between the provisions of the internship organization and the RheinMain University of Applied Sciences, the regulations that protect your health more comprehensively shall apply.

In the event of contradictory regulations or if there may be potential consequences for your academic achievement, please contact your supervisor at the university (preferably by telephone or e-mail) to co-ordinate the next steps.

 

Will I continue to receive my ‘BAföG’ financial support if the university has closed or if there are entry bans?

German Federal Education Minister Anja Karliczek has stated that BAföG recipients do not need to worry about disadvantages arising from the coronavirus epidemic. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) ruled in a decree on Friday, 13 March 2020 that BAföG recipients will continue to be paid their educational assistance even in the event of university closures or bans on entering other countries.

The BMBF also announced in the same press release that first-year students whose first semester will be delayed due to the pandemic will receive their BAföG assistance as if the in-person lectures had begun on the date originally scheduled. It has also been decided that the participation in online teaching options will be made compulsory under the requirements for receiving financial assistance as soon as online teaching becomes available at educational institutions.

The responsible office for educational assistance (‘Amt für Ausbildungsförderung’) at the relevant student union (‘Studierendenwerk/Studentenwerk’) will be available to assist.

Read the full press release

Further information from the Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) about BAföG (in German)

 

I’m spending a semester abroad and would like to withdraw from this. What happens then?

No-one should be obliged to undertake or continue to study abroad, even if the travel is not to or via a risk area, as defined by the Robert Koch Institute or German Federal Foreign Office. If the planned travel cannot take place or is aborted due to the coronavirus, we will declare these study abroad periods to be “force majeure” events

 

Will preliminary and block courses or internships within the university etc. take place?

Preliminary and block courses, internships within the university, and all other teaching-related events that require in-person attendance are canceled until the start of lectures, unless they can be run online.