06/05/2020

Coronavirus: Current Information

The Executive Board would like to provide you with an overview of current information on novel coronavirus, actions to take regarding the respiratory illness it causes (Covid-19), and precautions and policies in effect or which may be instituted at Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences in the future.

Regulations to offset the negative academic effects of the coronavirus epidemic

Recently, the state government of North Rhine-Westphalia enacted new legislation giving universities more flexibility to address the negative effects of the coronavirus crisis. In the days since, the Executive Board has developed new regulations specifically for Rhine-Waal University based on this legislative framework. The resulting document, entitled “Regulations to offset academic adversities caused by the coronavirus epidemic (SARS-CoV-2)”, was developed together with the University’s working group for digital education and, over numerous sessions, with the Faculty Conference as representative body of the faculties. This document combines the wide-ranging provisions enacted by the government with specific policies for our institution to ensure room for flexible decision-making.

This strategy is intended to not only safeguard the digital courses and concepts which have already begun, but also to give decision makers the flexibility to react to changing circumstances without the need for additional amendments. This flexibility was enacted on Friday, 8 May 2020 via publication in the Official Notices and entered into force the next day. The decision if and when to initiate these flexible policies rests solely with the Executive Board.

As the digital summer semester 2020 is already underway, the passages in these regulations put added emphasis on distance learning. This was also done to encourage continued motivation and respect for these ongoing efforts for the duration of the pandemic. Despite its digital focus, these regulations were formulated in such a way the University can shift to forms of instruction as the situation allows and provide the faculties with more room for their own decision-making processes. Final authority for the decision to return to on-campus instruction rests with the Executive Board, which is endowed by the constitution with the fundamental responsibility of ensuring academic operations – and thus that the teaching and examination obligations of our institution are fulfilled – in normal times and in times of crisis.

Virtual greetings at the start of the summer semester 2020

Unusual times require unusual measures: Since a semester greeting for the summer semester 2020 cannot take place as a face-to-face event, Professor Jörg Petri, Vice-President for Studies, Teaching and Continuing Training, Professor Dr-Ing. Peter Kisters, Vice-President for Research, Innovation and Transfer, and Professor Dr Tatiana Zimenkova, Vice-President for Internationalisation and Diversity, have decided to welcome new and returning students by video. Together they provide a virtual introduction to the “cemester” (Corona semester), including an overview of what awaits students and what they need to be aware of in this very unusual situation.

You can find the video here or on our social-media channels.

Core staffing measures

Emergency measures were implemented at Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences early into the coronavirus outbreak in Germany in order to protect the health and safety students and staff. For staff, this also meant a shift to a flexible range of telework options. This decision was made by the Executive Board on 17 March 2020 and was valid through 19 April 2020.

From 20 April onwards Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences will begin a careful shift from emergency staffing measures to core staffing measures. However, on-campus presence should still be kept to a minimum. Nevertheless, we must begin to enable greater access to office spaces, laboratories and university equipment in order to implement new distance learning concepts, for research and in order to ensure a successful semester. All university-related events and gatherings of people, whether external or internal, indoors or outdoors and regardless of the number of participants, remain cancelled until further notice. Recommended hygiene precautions should continue to be followed as well.

“We want to continue making sound contributions to the fight against the coronavirus, and moving from emergency staffing to core staffing is a part of this ongoing effort. The decision is in line with government plans for gradually loosening restrictions and positions our operations in the right place for the coming weeks. We would like to give special thanks to all members of Rhine-Waal University who have contributed and shaped the past weeks and all those who will help shape the weeks to come so that we as a university can continue operating and develop new forms of teaching and learning,” stressed Dr Oliver Locker-Grütjen, President.

The FAQ you can find here.

Task force Corona

The Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences has set up an internal task force for coronavirus to observe the situation and react quickly to any new developments. This task force will meet several times a week in order to quickly react to any new developments to the coronavirus situation. It will also be in contact with experts from the faculties, central facilities for advice as needed and the public health services. There is also a close coordination with other Universities of North Rhine-Westphalia.

As part of ongoing efforts to stop the continued spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the NRW Ministry of Science and Education decided yesterday to delay the start of the summer semester lecture period until 20 April 2020.

Summer Semester

As part of ongoing efforts to stop the continued spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the NRW Ministry of Science and Education decided yesterday to delay the start of the summer semester lecture period until 20 April 2020.

The Executive Board of Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences welcomes this decision and will begin planning for the new semester together with the faculties and central staff units over the coming days and weeks. An immediate consequence of this decision is that all courses scheduled for before the lecture period (workshops or block seminars, for example) must be cancelled. More information on the possible effects of this decision on examinations, internships, semesters abroad etc. will follow as soon as possible.

Events

Until July 17, 2020 all events organised by or with Rhine-Waal University have been cancelled. This decision affects the following events:

  • Career Days
  • DenkWerkStadt
  • Girls' and Boys' Day
  • Gasthörerschaft
  • Graduation Ceremony
  • Lange Nacht der Studienberatung
  • Offenes Klimahaus
  • Schnupperstudium
  • Studierende treffen Wirtschaft
  • Tag der offenen Tür
  • Freshers' Day
  • Lange Nacht der Hausarbeiten 

Hygiene

The first step taken by this task force was to increase awareness of effective personal hygiene to reduce the spread of viruses. This lead to the posting of info signs and hand sanitizer dispensers throughout the university.

At the same time, the University of Applied Sciences strongly recommend that you practice these simple hygiene precautions, which can help prevent the spread of viruses to yourself and others:

  • Regularly and thoroughly wash your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds
  • Avoid touching your eyes, ears, nose and mouth
  • Sneeze and cough into your elbow, never your hands
  • Avoid shaking hands
  • Keep a distance of approx. 1 m from others
  • If you are feeling ill, do not leave your home and avoid contact with others, including family and flatmates. Avoid eating with others in your household and keep to separate rooms as much as possible. Ventilate rooms thoroughly and often by fully opening your windows for a period of time.

Recommendations

The Executive Board of the The Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences recommends to all members of the university that they closely follow the current information, travel and safety advice and monitor the situation.

  • The Federal Foreign Office provides travel and safety advice (German only).
  • The Federal Ministry of Health provides information (in German only).
  • The Robert Koch Institute provides current information (in German only) and a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs).
  • The Federal Centre for Health Education provides answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the novel Coronavirus.
  • Current information about the coronavirus can be found on the site of the Kreis Kleve (you can find it here) and in the current press release. (in German only)
  • Current information about Kreis Wesel can be found here. (in German only)
  • Current information about Stadt Kleve can be found here. (in German only)
  • Current information about Stadt Kamp-Lintfort can be found here. (in German only)

Further information from the Federal Ministry of Health and the Robert Koch Institute can be found in the download area.

Special information offer by the library 

A comprehensive overview of current corona research can be found on the pages of the library

General information       

The university continues to refer to the recommendations and assessments of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) and the health ministries regarding the handling of the coronavirus: https://www.rki.de/DE/Content/InfAZ/N/Neuartiges_Coronavirus/Risikogebie...

  • Asymptomatic persons who have not been in a high-risk area in Germany or abroad (as defined by the RKI) within the past 14 days nor in contact with a person confirmed to have covid-19 are considered healthy and not at risk.
  • Symptomless persons who were recently in a high-risk area in Germany or abroad (RKI) and/or in contact with a person confirmed to have covid-19 should contact their local public health services and, as a precaution, remain home to limit contact with other persons for a period of 14 days (from the date of arrival in Germany or date of contact with the infected persons).

Public health services for Kleve county can be reached at 02821-85-311, Mondays to Fridays, from 8:00 a.m. to 11 a.m. (see also: https://www.kreis-kleve.de/de/fachbereich5/coronavirus/).

Public health services for Wesel county / Kamp-Lintfort can be reached at 0281-207-0 (see also: https://www.kreis-wesel.de/de/dienstleistungen/infektionskrankheiten-mel...)

  • Any person who is currently exhibiting flu-like symptoms or has been in close proximity with any infected persons should remain at home and contact their doctor. Please call your doctor’s office and speak to staff first—do not simply visit during consultation hours.

Finally, a word regarding “fake news”: rumours and speculation surrounding coronavirus are quick to spread. Please approach everything you see or hear with a level head and a critical eye. Get your information from the experts directly, for example the World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019. Do not treat any people or groups with suspicion. There is no cause for special safety precautions when speaking with people from affected areas, nor to make any demands of them. Current risk assessments of German health agencies are clear that there is no need for panic or unconventional measures among the public.

Should you have any questions or concerns regarding coronavirus, please contact us at: corona@hochschule-rhein-waal.de.

Further information are regularly published on the university's homepage.

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