Coronavirus - Important Information for Staff

On this page, all employees of Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences will find a summary of the most important information about coronavirus.

 

Hygiene guidelines 

On 3 June 2020 the Executive Board enacted new hygiene guidelines (currently only in German) to facilitate the return to partial on-campus presence for students and staff in certain necessary cases. These guidelines describe all hygienic precautions which must be taken in order to ensure the health and safety of all members of our University. They are intended to complement, not replace, legislation and other legal guidelines currently in force in Germany. Plans for returning to partial on-campus presence must be developed internally in the faculties, central facilities, administration and other departments at the University and submitted to the Executive Board for final approval. This is to ensure compliance with the legal requirements of the health authorities.

Before you begin planning, please consider the following:

  • The semester is to be conducted as successfully as possible.
  • Online forms of instruction and assessment have priority.
  •  Practical requirements for courses should be scheduled for the end of the summer semester 2020 lecture period or as far into the subsequent lecture-free period as possible.

Plans must be both reasonable and feasible to carry out. Moreover, the actual necessity of on-campus presence should be critically examined in each instance.

Together we are responsible for ensuring that these new guidelines are upheld. Our shared goal is to navigate the ongoing crisis safely and successfully.

From online semester to flexible online semester 

We have accomplished something astonishing over the past three months: We scaled back operations to the barest minimum at impossibly short notice, “closing” our University, but without grinding to a halt. We, everyone who teaches, researches, studies or works at Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences, then did our parts to ensure our University weathered the months of the pandemic that followed. Each and every one of us – whether academic staff, non-academic staff, students, lecturers, professors, administrators and decision makers in the faculties and boards – has made their own individual contribution to these efforts. It is only thanks to our disciplined adherence to social distancing restrictions and the creativity with which we implemented new teaching and work arrangements that we can look, with some measure of hope and optimism, towards the future. Have a look at the complete document here (English follows German). 

The importance of self-care during the coronavirus pandemic

In our current situation in particular, many of us must learn how to deal with our own fears and anxiety. Stressful situations can cause stress reactions in our body, for example elevated heart rates, restlessness or insomnia. Taking care of yourself and your health is more important than ever. This includes respecting your own inner feelings and striving for a healthy lifestyle.

We have gathered a few thoughts for you below that will hopefully help you better manage the mental stresses caused by the coronavirus crisis. You can find the document here

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.

The heads of the faculties, departments, staff units and central facilities should re-organise their staff and areas in ways that ensure that tasks and duties can be performed largely through telework and that services remain available as best they can.

Staff members are only permitted to remain on campus if their presence is essential for maintaining operations. At the same time, all university-related events or gatherings, whether external or internal, regardless of the number of participants or whether they occur indoors or outdoors, are hereby cancelled. Please continue to follow the recommended hygiene precautions of the Robert Koch Institute and World Health Organization.

Staffing Measures

Emergency staffing measures will be instituted on Thursday.

The heads of the faculties, departments, staff units and central facilities are asked to re-organise their staff and activities such that all tasks and duties can be performed and as many services offered as possible through telework.

The president and chancellor, together with the staff councils, have decided to expand official work times to 06:00 - 21:00 (for civil servants from 06:30) until 19 April 2020.

All staff members have until 19 March 2020 to visit their offices and gather the materials they will need for telework.

Staff members, student assistants and apprentices who in positions not suited to telework will be released from their duties at full pay for a period of up to 6 weeks. The German government is currently in talks to determine how to best deal with the ongoing situation in general and beyond this 6 week period. Later measures and decisions will naturally apply to the aforementioned staff groups as appropriate.

The personnel department will remain available from Thursday onwards via this email address:
personalservice@hochschule-rhein-waal.de as well as via post.

The library offers free access to e-resources and free articles of current corona research 

Due to the global corona pandemic, many publishers are temporarily making e-journals, e-books and database content available for free. A comprehensive overview of current corona research can be found on the pages of the library

Closure of the canteens 

To protect individual health and to slow down the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the canteens at the campus Kleve and Kamp-Lintfort will be closed from 17 March 2020.

Events cancelled 

Until July 17, 2020 all events organised by or with Rhine-Waal University have been cancelled.

How to make telecommuting work

Many HSRW employees are currently working remotely, or telecommuting. For many, this is a new and challenging experience.

With just a few simple steps, however, you can make your telecommuting experience more effective. Start with a dedicated office space and stick to a daily routine. You should try to simulate a “normal day at the office” as best as possible. Start working at your usual time and create a daily plan for how you want to manage your tasks for the day. Take regular breaks, making sure to stand up and move around, and think up an “evening ritual” to clock out, wind down and disconnect your thoughts from work for the rest of the day.

These tips are easy to implement and will really help you work more effectively from home. Read on for additional tips and ideas for telecommuters! You can also read the exciting interview with psychologist Pia Weigelt-Lindemann on the subject of how to make telecommuting work and self-care. 

General tips for healthy telecommuting:

1. Stand up when you use the telephone.

2. Move about frequently.

3. Stand up to stretch multiple times a day. Stand behind your chair and stretch your arms up to
    the ceiling, then down to the ground.

4. Open the windows and let in plenty of fresh air, even when it’s cold out.

5. Drink plenty of water, at least 1.5-2 L a day.

6. Use your lunch break to stand up and move around.

Workspace ergonomics:

An ergonomic workspace promotes good health and creates a workspace you enjoy spending time in. You can ensure a healthy, ergonomic workspace by rearranging your desk, computer and chair in certain ways. Good workspace conditions are always important, but often an afterthought when working from home. For more information, please see this pdf

Nutrition:

Telecommuting can also bring nutritional challenges for employees as well. Our health management team (BGM) would like to pass on a few tips on eating healthy while working from home with this helpful pdf

Exercise:

With just a few simple exercises each day you can stay fit while working from home and feel better, too. In fact, regular exercise is absolutely vital to a healthy body. Exercise not only improves your cardiovascular and circulatory systems, but is also proven to help reduce blood sugar levels, relax strained and cramped muscles, and promotes weight loss. Look for opportunities to move around and be active during the day. Try using your bicycle to run errands instead of your car, for example. There are countless ways to be active while working from home if you consciously think about it throughout the day.

But we’re here to help, too. HSRW’s own Aktive Pause for employees is currently available in video form. You’ll also find a new yoga video each week at this link as well.

Medical advice:

Our occupational medical service offered through PIMA Health Group has set up a medical hotline for all questions related to the coronavirus pandemic which puts you in touch with a doctor directly. The number is +49-6134-5006-200 and is available to all employees of Rhine-Waal University during these hours:

Mondays to Thursdays, from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Fridays from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Other helpful links (in German only):

Information on accident insurance while working from home from the German Social Accident Insurance Association (DGUV)

Tips for telecommuting parents from the DGUV

Healthy working tips for telecommuters from the DGUV

Free home workout plans from the Stuttgarter Nachrichten