Coronavirus - FAQ

General Information

How is coronavirus currently spreading? (Status 18.03.)

Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) continues to spread and has affected the entire European Union. Scientists estimate that in approximately 80% of cases infected patients will have mild symptoms or show no symptoms at all. The virus poses the largest threat to people over 70 or people with certain co-morbidities. Most critical cases are concentrated here.

The German federal government is currently coordinating a strategy of slowing the spread with local and regional health authorities in order to “flatten the curve”, or reduce the number of simultaneous infections. The goal of this strategy is to lessen the strain on health services and win valuable time for researchers to develop effective treatments and possibly a vaccine, as well as for hospitals to reorganise and bolster their ICU capacities.

The Robert Koch Institute (RKI), Germany’s centre for disease control, is monitoring the situation in Germany at all times. Currently, all states in Germany are reporting confirmed cases of SARS-CoV-2. RKI is continuously analysing the situation, evaluating incoming reports and data, assessing the risk level for the public, and issuing recommendations to the public, lawmakers, researchers and medical personnel. Please refer to the following site for the latest information (in German): https://www.rki.de/DE/Home/homepage_node.html

How can I protect myself from infection? (Status 18.03.)

  • Regularly and thoroughly wash your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Sneeze and cough into your elbow, not your hands
  • Avoid shaking hands
  • Keep to a distance of approx. 1 meter from others
  • Wearing a protective mask in public transport and in shops (compulsory from 27.04.)

And as always: STRICTLY FOLLOW the latest instructions from health authorities and public officials at the county, state and national level.

What are the symptoms of coronavirus and when do they appear? (Status 18.03.)

The incubation period for SARS-CoV-2 averages around 5-6 days, but symptoms can appear anywhere from one day after exposure to 14 days.

Please observe the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Dry cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Feeling run down or worn out

What should I do if I was in close contact with a confirmed case? (Status 18.03.)

If you have been in close contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus, you should contact your local health authority immediately. Quarantine yourself at home and follow the instructions of the health authority. Do not visit any doctor without first contacting him or her by telephone.

Employees should also inform their line manager. Students should also inform their faculty.

What should I do if I think I have been exposed? (Status 18.03.)

Please remain at home in self isolation and avoid contact with others as much as possible, even with family or flatmates. Avoid eating together and keep to separate rooms as much as possible. Ventilate thoroughly and often by fully opening your windows for a time.

Contact your GP or ring the emergency medical service between the hours of 20:00 and 8:00 at 116 117. You are strongly advised to not visit a doctor or hospital without first speaking on the phone with staff. This is critical to avoid further spread of the virus.

A tent for coronavirus tests has been set up in front of the St. Antonius Hospital in Kleve. The tent is for testing only, not treatment.

If your test returns positive, please contact HSRW. All employees of Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences, who have been or are exposed to a particular risk and who have serious concerns that they may have been infected with the virus, can work in the home office if they give clearly understandable reasons or can make other arrangements in consultation with their supervisor. Students should also inform their faculty.

What should I do if I have tested positive for coronavirus? (Status 18.03.)

Patients confirmed to have coronavirus via lab test must remain isolated at home as long as their symptoms remain mild. Severe cases must be treated in isolated areas of the hospital. Patients treated in hospital can only be discharged when later coronavirus tests return negative. Employees should inform their line manager if they are affected. Students should inform their faculty if they are affected.

The public health authority 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/corona-virus/). The public health authority for Wesel county / Kamp-Lintfort can be reached at 02821-207-0 (see also: https://www.kreis-wesel.de/de/dienstleistungen/infektionskrankheiten-mel...)

What should people returning to Germany be aware of? (Status 26.08.2020)

The German federal government has implemented a number of travel restrictions to slow the coronavirus outbreak. These restrictions are intended to prevent new infection chains from travelers coming from abroad. Current restrictions can be found here (in German).

Since April 10, the "Ordinance on protection against new infections with the corona virus SARS-CoV-2 in relation to persons entering and returning to North Rhine-Westphalia (CoronaEinreiseVO)" has been in force. Persons who have been abroad for more than 72 hours have to stay in quarantine for 14 days. This was decreed on Thursday (09.04.) by the Minister of Labour, Health and Social Affairs of North Rhine-Westphalia. 

Here you can find more Informations and Guidelines for travellers returning from high-risk areas.

Is travel currently affected? (Status 14.04.)

The Federal Foreign Office currently advises against non-essential travel abroad. For current recommendations and advisories, see https://www.auswaertiges-amt.de/de/ReiseUndSicherheit/covid-19/2296762

Also have a look at the article Coronavirus and entry restrictions: 4 things travelers to Germany need to know by the Federal Foreign Office. 

The Federal Ministry of Health advises against all travel at the moment, including travel to destinations in Germany. Refer to the following site for more information: https://www.bundesgesundheitsministerium.de/coronavirus.html

The fate of Erasmus and exchange semesters in summer semester 2020 is still being decided at the moment. The DAAD will publish any new information here as it becomes available.

Who should quarantine themselves at home for 14 days? (Status 14.04.)

Any person who was in contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus must self-isolate at home for a period of at least 14 days. The RKI advises travellers from high-risk areas to also remain at home in isolation for at least 14 days and to practice social distancing. You can find all information here

Do I need to report a possible coronavirus infection? (Status 18.03.)

Possible coronavirus infections must be reported by law, whether suspected exposure, confirmed exposure / onset of illness, or in cases of death possibly caused by coronavirus. Reports must be directed to the local health authority. If the infection occurred while working at HSRW or, for students, while visiting campus, you must also contact the accident insurance department of NRW (Unfallkasse).

Information about Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences

How will Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences notify me of updates? (Status 09.04.)

Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences has organised an internal coronavirus task force in order to observe the situation and react quickly to any new developments. This task force currently meets multiple times per week. It also coordinates with researchers and staff members from the faculties and other facilities as needed and is in constant contact with local health authorities. It is also part of a closely coordinated network of universities in North Rhine-Westphalia.

Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences continuously provides updates to its members via its homepage, mass emails and social networks. Please check these channels regularly (at least once a day) for new information.

Is Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences currently operating? (Status 18.03.)

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.

The Department of Student Affairs (including Student Advisory Service, Student Services, Examination Services and Welcome Centre), University Sport and Music (including training and practice rooms), the IT Department (including the service desk) and the University Library will remain closed to visitors from Tuesday, 17 March 2020 until Sunday, 19 April 2020.

The University Library is closed until further notice. We are currently working on alternative arrangements for operations and will keep you informed. PC pools and the university’s help desk are also closed until further notice. We are currently working on alternative arrangements for operations and will keep you informed.

The Student Advisory Service, Examination Services and Welcome Centre are closed. We are currently working on alternative scheduling for operations and will keep you informed.

The Studierendenwerk Düsseldorf has closed the campus canteens in Kleve and Kamp-Lintfort until further notice.

Informations for students of Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences

Will exams take place? (Status 18.03.)

Scheduled examinations will not take place. Solutions involving alternative examination formats are being worked on and will be announced soon by your Examination Board. Note that this restriction does not apply to examinations which do not require your presence on campus, e.g. take-home assignments, lab report and thesis papers. As before, these assignments, if sent by post, must be postmarked by the date of submission (sent ideally as a certified letter with notice of receipt). For examinations submitted by email, the time of receipt must be before the submission deadline. Thesis papers must be uploaded before the deadline in Sharepoint.

Can I still register as a new student for summer semester 2020? (Status 15.04.)

Please note that the enrolment deadline for summer semester 2020 listed in your letter of admission will not be extended despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

As a deeply international university, we strive to offer comprehensive support services and excellent academic quality to our students from more than 120 different countries at every opportunity. At the same time, however, we are an institution subject to German public law which, among other things, obligates us to nondiscrimination policies and transparent processes, particularly with regard to publishing and adhering to deadlines. Unfortunately, we are not in the position to deviate from these processes and published deadlines.

Aside from that, an enrolment exemption for international students would also result in weeks of delay for affected students to begin their studies. Our experiences over the past years have shown that the vast, vast majority of “late arrivers” are unable to complete their first-semester modules as planned, which prevents them from signing up for certain modules in the second semester. As first-semester modules can only be repeated in the following winter semester, late enrolment can, in some cases, mean that students lose up to an entire year’s worth of progress towards their degree.

We understand your frustrations and sympathise, but for the aforementioned reasons we will abide by the published deadline and cannot grant exemptions for any reason. If you are unable to enrol on time this semester, we encourage you to reapply to our institution for the coming winter semester 2020-2021.

The application deadline is 15.04.2020.

Applicants who still have questions regarding the registration for the summer semester 2020 are welcome to contact studierendenservice@hochschule-rhein-waal.de

Can I still deregister as a student? (Status 18.03.)

Applications for deregistration can also be signed, scanned and sent to: studierendenservice@hochschule-rhein-waal.de.

Will summer semester 2020 lectures start on schedule? (Status 09.04.)

As part of ongoing efforts to stop the continued spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the NRW Ministry of Science and Education decided to delay the start of the summer semester lecture period until 20 April 2020. Accordingly, the lecture period will now end on 17 July 2020. This rule applies to all research universities, universities of applied sciences and universities of fine arts in North Rhine-Westphalia.

We have been working on emergency contingency plans for some time now to ensure a possible delay is implemented smoothly. An immediate consequence of this decision is that all courses scheduled for before the lecture period (workshops or block seminars, for example) are cancelled. More information on the possible effects of this decision on examinations, internships, semesters abroad etc. will follow as soon as possible.

Students and staff will be informed regularly of any new developments or new precautions.

Will extracurricular events still take place? (Status 19.03.)

The Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Affairs decreed on 13 March 2020 that all public and private gatherings of people, regardless of the number of participants, must be cancelled until further notice. Extracurricular activities at Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences are thus also cancelled until further notice.

Will I continue to receive federal student aid (BAföG)? (Status 26.03.)

The Federal Ministry for Research and Education (BMFB) has dictated to the German states and their financial assistance offices, which are responsible for disbursing federal student aid funds (BAföG), that payments must continue despite the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, students in Germany receiving BAföG will continue to receive their financial assistance even if their school, university or training organisation is temporarily closed due to the pandemic, as responsible state offices have been officially instructed to continue disbursing financial aid by the German federal government.

Official information from the BMBF is available in German here and here for reference.

What about student exchanges? (Status 14.04.)

The DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) is monitoring the situation. Students who have already started a stay abroad with the Erasmus+ program may cancel their stay at their own request. Students who are via Erasmus in the affected regions and cancel, will still receive Erasmus funding for the days spent abroad even if the required minimum duration is not met.

The International Center will support you with the planning of a later stay or postponement of the semester or internship abroad.

I had to prematurely end my semester / internship abroad. Will that affect my scholarship? (Status 25.03.)

PROMOS scholarships do not need to be repaid. 

Erasmus students who were forced to end their stays abroad prematurely will receive scholarship funds for the period of time they spent abroad (even if this was less than the required minimum length of stay).

Students who were on an exchange at a partner university – and are still enrolled in online courses offered by that institution – will continue to receive their Erasmus scholarship even if they have returned to Germany.

What will happen with my semester abroad nomination for winter semester 2020-21? (Status 25.03.)

Students approved for a semester abroad will still be nominated to our partner universities for an exchange in winter semester. Partner universities will contact each student after their individual nomination. 

Can I still do a language course? (Status 25.03.)

Many different practice exercises are available for German in Moodle. Contact Mr. Brett Ellis (brett.ellis@hochschule-rhein-waal.de) if you are interested in them. Similar practice exercises for English will be rolled out soon. The International Center is currently planning online language courses exclusively for HSRW students using Moodle and the Webex tool from Cisco. More information will be published soon. We will also inform you of how and when to register. 

Can I still apply for a Deutschlandstipendium? (Status 18.03.)

Currently, the application process and deadlines remain unchanged. The selection committee will decide how to deal with potential delays in the study progress of current scholarship recipients. We will explore all possibilities to find a fair and favourable solution for students.

Does the Covid-19 Situation affect the duration of the Deutschlandstipendium? (Status 14.05.) 

The standard period of study has been prolonged by one semester for all students who are enrolled during summer term 2020 according to §10 the Corona-Epedemic-Act.  Due to §2 of the awarding guidlines of the Executive Board for the Deutschlandstipendium, students who have not exceeded the standard period of study for their degree are eligible for a sholarship. Therefore, the maximum scholarship duration will be increased to 8 semesters for students enrolled in a bachelor programm and to 4 semesters for students enrolled in a masters programm.

Which scholarships are available for financing my studies? (Status 08.05) 

It is important for us, especially in the current situation, that you know which department/representative to contact in which regard and for which scholarship at Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences. This is why we collected the most important contact information such as information concerning responsibilities. Please find out about the scholarship regulations in detail on the mentioned webpages before you address our experts with precise questions. You can find all information here

Advising (Status 01.04.)

The Central Student Advisory and the Welcome Centre are still available to students and prospective students. If you are dealing with uncertainty, questions and anxiety in these trying times, please contact our staff. We are here to speak with you online or by phone.

The tutors of the Welcome Centre are also continuously providing helpful tips from a student’s perspective, which can be very valuable in the current coronavirus situation.

For counselling on academic and degree specific questions (e.g. your study progress) get in touch with the Study Guides of the Faculties.

Contact Central Student Advisory

Phone: +49 2821 80673 360 Email: study@hochschule-rhein-waal.de (auch zur Vereinbarung von Onlineberatungsterminen)

Contact Welcome Centre

Email: welcome-centre@hochschule-rhein-waal.de Facebook: Welcome Centre

Contact Study Guides

Technology and Bionics: elena.buksmann@hochschule-rhein-waal.de
Life Sciences: lena.voelkel@hochschule-rhein-waal.de
Society and Economics: studyguide-fgo@hochschule-rhein-waal.de
Communication and Environment: elena.buksmann@hochschule-rhein-waal.de

Informations for employees of Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences

Can I visit campus at the moment? (Updated 11 Jan. 2021)

The answer to this question currently depends on the current guidelines of municipal and health authorities, as well as the recommendations of the Robert Koch Institute (social distancing, number of people in a room, PPE). At the moment, employees should avoid visiting campus as much as possible.

This is in line with the most recently published version of the Coronavirus Protection Ordinance (CoronaSchutzVO), in particular Section 1 (4): “In particular, all non-essential person-to-person contact among employees and with customers should be avoided to the greatest extent possible (for example: by instituting special protective measures and liberal use of work-from-home), general hygienic precautions should be implemented, and, where person-to-person contact is unavoidable, additional hygienic precautions should be implemented to further reduce the risk of infection.”

For additional details, please refer to the Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences Hygiene Framework: https://www.hochschule-rhein-waal.de/en/page/coronavirus-important-information-teachers-and-researchers#Hygiene

Are job interviews currently being held? (Updated 11 Jan. 2021)

Job interviews with prospective candidates may still occur via video conference. However, this must be coordinated by the relevant decision makers at Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences together with the recruiting department and requires the consent of both the relevant staff council and the Equal Opportunities Officer.

How do current rules affect employees’ usual work or service obligations? (Updated 6 Jan. 2021)

All employees are still obligated to perform their usual work or service duties, unless they are on holiday or official leave (paid time off for overtime, for example). The heads of the faculties, departments, staff units and central facilities have been tasked with reorganising their teams’ tasks and duties so that they can be performed largely from home, but without sacrificing the availability of services as much as possible. The president and the chancellor, together with the staff councils, have decided that individual work-from-home agreements extending beyond pre-pandemic regulations can be made with employees. For employees who must work on campus due to the nature of their job, work duties should be adjusted according to the occupational protection standards and guidelines of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS) and the HSRW Hygiene Framework.

What are current working hours at Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences? (Updated 6 Jan. 2021)

In consultation with the staff council, the chancellor has decided to adjust the official range of permissible working hours for non-academic employees who are required to clock in and out. For the time being, employees may work at any time between 6:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. (or 6:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. for employees with civil servant status [Beamte]).

Note that 9:00 p.m. is the strict cut-off time for all employees. This arrangement will apply until 28 February 2021 unless otherwise extended.

How should I clock in and out while working from home? (Updated 6 Jan. 2021)

If you are currently working from home temporarily due to the pandemic, you can clock in and out in the INFONIQA Time web client (available in the Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences intranet) using the hotkeys Kommt and Geht, respectively. If you have a pre-pandemic work-from-home agreement with Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences, please use the hotkeys Telearbeit Beginn and Telearbeit Endeinstead.

What are the current rules for holiday and leave? (Updated 6 Jan. 2021)

Normal rules apply for employee entitlement to holidays and leave. This means, in particular, that any unused holiday entitlement will still expire as usual; “saving up” unused holiday entitlement is not possible despite the pandemic.

Previously-approved holiday requests will remain approved regardless of new restrictions. If an employee requests holiday leave and this request is approved, then that employee is obligated to follow through with their request. But what happens if they fall ill (with covid-19 or another illness) while on holiday? In accordance with Section 9 of the Federal Holiday Leave Act (Bundesurlaubsgesetz), sick days occurring during holiday leave will not count towards an employee’s annual holiday entitlement if appropriately documented by medical certificate. Note that a previous holiday request approval does not entitle employees to simply reschedule “lost” holidays as they see fit: they must submit a new holiday request to take advantage of these recouped days.

Do employees placed under quarantine still receive pay? (Updated 6 Jan. 2021)

Employees who fall ill with covid-19 during quarantine will receive sick pay for up to six weeks in accordance with Section 3 of the Continued Remuneration Act (Entgeltfortzahlungsgesetz), in connection with Section 56 (5) sentence 1 of the Infection Prevention Act (Infektionsschutzgesetz).

Employees who have been placed under quarantine by health authorities, but who do not actually fall ill, and whose work duties cannot be performed from home will receive compensation for lost earnings from their employer based on their net take-home pay in accordance with Section 56 of the Infection Prevention Act. This does not apply to employees who were placed under quarantine as the result of their own deliberate actions, for example by travelling to countries with a high-risk of infection despite official warnings from the Robert Koch Institute (see Section 56 (1) of the Infection Prevention Act). In this case, employees must use their holiday entitlement to avoid an unpaid leave of absence.

What options do I have if I need to care for my child during the day due to closed kindergartens or schools? (Updated 6 Jan. 2021)

Parents are entitled to compensation for lost earnings due to childcare obligations in accordance with Section 56 (1a) of the Infection Prevention Act. This applies to the non-scheduled closing of schools, kindergartens or care facilities for children with a disability.

Compensation is equal to 67 per cent of the affected parent’s net take-home pay (or a maximum of 2,016 euros per month) and is available for up to ten weeks. Gainfully employed single parents are eligible for up to 20 weeks of compensation.

This compensation does not apply to regularly scheduled closings, i.e. holidays or summer breaks.

How is business-related travel currently being handled? (Updated 6 Jan. 2021)

At the moment, all international business travel (to non-European destinations) is prohibited until further notice. Any previously-approved requests will be cancelled. As a rule, only essential and justified business travel can be approved.

The Coronavirus Travel Ordinance of North Rhine-Westphalia (Coronaeinreiseverordnung NRW), as amended, applies to all inner-European business travel. Please be aware that persons returning to Germany from high-risk areas in Europe are subject to special restrictions. The German Foreign Office is responsible for deciding which areas and countries constitute a “high risk”. Travellers are expected to remain informed of the situation. Where doubt remains, Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences reserves the right to deny business travel requests.

Travel within Germany is permitted, provided it complies with health and safety guidelines of municipal and health authorities and is in line with the current recommendations of the Robert Koch Institute. At the same time, employees and their line managers should carefully weigh whether upcoming business travel can truly be considered essential. Furthermore, business travel requests will only be approved if all applicable hygienic guidelines can be properly adhered to. The Executive Board’s decision regarding the use of private vehicles remains in effect, provided the underlying circumstances remain unchanged. New guidelines will be instituted when broad recommendations for the use of public transportation return.

Travel requests for professional training purposes within Germany will not be approved for destinations with a risk factor of 2. Previously-approved requests will be cancelled. Exceptions are possible, but require detailed justification and the approval of the employee’s top-level manager.

Naturally, proper social distancing and hygienic precautions should be adhered to throughout the entire business trip.

Which rules apply to student assistants and apprentices/trainees? (Updated 11 Jan. 2021)

The need for measures to reduce person-to-person contact among employees (Section 1 (4), Coronavirus Prevention Ordinance) also apply to student assistants, apprentices and trainees as well. Accordingly, these groups are also entitled to work from home even without a pre-pandemic contractual arrangement to do so, but this must be coordinated with their line manager and is only applicable if their work duties can actually be performed from home. New contracts concluded with student assistants, apprentices and trainees must explicitly indicate how work duties are to be performed: the possibility of work-from-home must be ruled in or out based on the needs and responsibilities of the specific position.