Coronavirus - FAQ

General Information

What should I do if I’ve been in close contact with someone with the coronavirus? (Updated March 2021)

If you have been in close contact with someone confirmed to be infected with the coronavirus, you should contact the local health authority immediately. Stay at home and do as instructed by the health authority. Do not visit a doctor without first contacting their office by telephone.

Employees should also inform their line manager. Students should also inform their teachers and any faculty members they have been assigned to.

What should I do if I think I have contracted the virus? (Updated March 2021)

Please remain at home in isolation and avoid contact with others as much as possible, even family and flatmates. Avoid eating together and keep to separate rooms as much as possible. Air out rooms thoroughly and often.

Contact your GP during their office hours or the emergency medical service (dial 116 117) in the evenings or at the weekend.

What should I do if I test positive? (Updated March 2021)

If you test positive for SARS-CoV-2 you must remain at home and isolate. If symptoms worsen, you will need to be treated in an isolated hospital ward. Always follow the instructions of health authorities, which you should contact after immediately after testing positive.

Employees must also notify their line managers. Students should ideally inform both their teachers and any faculty members they have been assigned to.

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

The lower health authority for Wesel county can be reached at 02821-207-0 (https://www.kreis-wesel.de/de/dienstleistungen/infektionskrankheiten-mel...).

What should people coming to Germany be aware of? (Updated March 2021)

Please familiarise yourself with the Coronavirus Entry Ordinance (Corona-Einreiseverordnung), which currently governs all travel to Germany. An overview of travel rules currently in effect be found here (in German).

A FAQ for travellers to Germany can be found here (in German).

Current travel advisories of the German State Department can be found here (in German). The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) also maintains a list of countries with high infection rates of SARS-CoV-2: https://www.auswaertiges-amt.de/de/ReiseUndSicherheit/10.2.8Reisewarnungen

How is travel from Germany affected? (Updated March 2021)

All citizens of Germany are requested to avoid any unnecessary travel. Individual travel advisories were instituted from 1 October onwards for all foreign travel. Travel warnings apply to all countries and regions with high rates of infection. For more information, please visit this page.

What are current quarantine rules? (Updated January 2021)

Anyone with an active or suspected Covid-19 infection must isolate at home for the duration of their illness or until deemed non-infectious. Quarantine length can only be determined on a case-by-case basis. For more information, please refer to the Quarantine Ordinance of North Rhine-Westphalia (in German): https://www.mags.nrw/coronavirus-quarantaene

What are current reporting requirements? (Updated March 2021)

Any and all possible coronavirus infections – i.e. whether suspected or confirmed exposures to the virus, onset of illness or fatalities – must be reported by German law. Reports must be directed to local health authorities. Staff and students who were exposed to the virus while on campus must also contact the accident insurance department of NRW (Unfallkasse).

Information about Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences

How is Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences keeping students and staff up to date? (Updated March 2021)

Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences has created its own Coronavirus Task Force to monitor the course of the pandemic, brainstorm potential measures and react swiftly to new developments. The Task Force 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 involved in a coordinated network of universities in North Rhine-Westphalia.

Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences regularly updates its students and staff via homepage updates, by email and social media. Please check these outlets regularly for news and updates.

For questions related to the coronavirus, you can also contact us directly at: corona@hochschule-rhein-waal.de  

Is the University open? (Updated March 2021)

Emergency, bare bones staffing measures were implemented at Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences early on in the pandemic to protect the health and safety of students and staff. At the same time, a flexible range of telecommuting options was also introduced to continue academic operations in a safe manner.

On 20 April 2020, Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences began a careful shift back to core staffing measures. Despite this trend visits to campus should still be kept to a minimum where possible. We understand, however, that access to office spaces, laboratories and university equipment is necessary for implementing new distance learning approaches, research and ensuring an overall 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 whenever possible.

Most areas of campus are still closed off to the public. Updates for specific facilities are available in the corresponding sections of the homepage.

Informations for students of Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences

Will exams take place? (Updated March 2021)

Examinations are currently being conducted online as much as possible. Some examinations may take place on campus, but only in specific cases where alternative arrangements are infeasible.

How is enrolment affected? (Updated January 2021)

Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences would like to confirm that the enrolment deadline for summer semester 2021 set forth in acceptance letters will not be extended.

As a deeply international university, it is very important to us to offer our students from over 120 different countries our full range of services and outstanding teaching quality. However, as a public institution we are also required by law to uphold the principles of equality and transparency in our decision-making processes. This includes publishing information about deadlines well in advance and ensuring the reliability of this information. As a result, altering these processes and deadlines is not possible.

What’s more, extending the enrolment deadline for international students would result in a later start for affected incoming students, who would begin their first semester many weeks after courses have begun. Prior to these policy changes, we found that the vast majority of our “late arrivals” were simply unable to manage the first-semester workload successfully under these conditions. Since these failed or abandoned modules can only be repeated in the next winter semester cycle – and many summer semester modules depend on students having successfully completed these modules – “late arrivals” essentially lose an entire year of progress.

For these reasons we are obligated to adhere to the printed enrolment deadlines without exception—not even for individual circumstances. If you are unable to enrol in time, we encourage you to apply again so that you may commence your studies in winter semester 2021-22 instead.

If you have any enrolment-related questions for summer semester 2021, please contact us at studierendenservice@hochschule-rhein-waal.de.

How can I deregister from HSRW? (Updated March 2021)

Signed deregistration requests can be submitted by email to studierendenservice@hochschule-rhein-waal.de

Will summer semester 2021 lectures start on schedule? (Updated January 2021)

Summer semester 2021 will proceed as scheduled.

The Executive Board, together with the faculties, the Coronavirus Task Force, and other decision-makers at the University, are planning summer semester 2021 as a flexible online semester like the previous winter semester.

Will I continue to receive BAföG? (Updated March 2021)

For information about BAföG during the pandemic, please refer to the Federal Ministry of Research and Education (BMFB) here and here

How are semesters abroad / exchanges affected? (Updated March 2021)

The International Center can help you plan an upcoming semester abroad or advise you on delaying your semester / internship abroad.

For information on whether semesters abroad (Erasmus or otherwise) are currently permitted, please refer to the DAAD. The DAAD has put together a comprehensive FAQ for students here.

I had to prematurely end my semester / internship abroad. Will that affect my scholarship? (Updated March 2020)

You do not need to pay back a PROMOS scholarship. 

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 minimum length of stay).

Students who are still completing online courses offered by the partner institution will continue to receive their Erasmus scholarship even if they are physically located in Germany.

Can I still join a language course? (Updated March 2021)

The International Center continues to offer language learning opportunities via Moodle and Webex. Information about deadlines and registration can be found in Moodle. For more information, please contact Brett Ellis at brett.ellis@hochschule-rhein-waal.de.

Can I still apply for a Germany Scholarship (Deutschlandstipendium)? (Updated March 2021)

All application rules and deadlines for the Germany Scholarship (Deutschlandstipendium) remain unaffected.

Is the length of a Germany Scholarship (Deutschlandstipendium) affected by the pandemic? (Updated May 2021)

The general extension of the standard duration of study by one semester (refer to Section 10 (1) sent. 1, Coronavirus Epidemic Ordinance for Universities) also applies to students enrolled in a degree programme in summer semester 2020, winter semester 2020-2021 or summer semester 2021. Thus students who remained in a single degree programme during this time are automatically eligible for three extensions, i.e. three additional semesters added to their standard duration of study. Students are only eligible to receive a Germany Scholarship if they have not exceeded their standard duration of study per Section 2 of the Awarding Guidelines of the Executive Board for the Deutschlandstipendium. Accordingly, the maximum possible length of a Germany Scholarship will be extended to ten semesters for undergraduates and six semesters for postgraduates.

Are there any scholarships or financial aid available? (Updated May 2020) 

It is important for students to know who they can turn to at Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences for questions and advice about scholarships and financial aid opportunities. We have compiled the most important contacts for you in a single document. Please carefully read this document and direct your specific scholarship / financial aid questions to the appropriate contact person. Information about scholarships and financial aid.

Advising (Updated March 2021)

The Student Advisory Service and the Welcome Centre are open and ready to assist both students and prospective students. You may be battling uncertainty and anxiety, and have many unanswered questions. The Student Advisory Service is standing by for individual advising appointments (both online and by telephone). You can also contact us by email if you want to put your thoughts into writing.

Welcome Centre Tutors can also provide helpful tips and advice from the perspective of a fellow student, which can be very valuable in difficult times as well.

For academic and/or programme-related questions (for example: questions relating to your degree progress), please contact the Study Guide for your faculty.

Student Advisory Service

Telephone: +49 2821 80673 360

Email: study@hochschule-rhein-waal.de (also for arranging an appointment)

Welcome Centre

Email: welcome-centre@hochschule-rhein-waal.de 

Facebook: Welcome Centre

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.