Letter from the President: How the Summer Semester Continues

Dear colleagues, employees and students of the University of Jena,

the recent German, Thuringian and city ordinances have raised the question for many of you as to which of these rules are transferable to our university. I would therefore like to summarize once again the most important principles for studying and working during the pandemic and give you an outlook for the winter semester 2020/21.

Consistent adherence to protective measures

Germany was successful with its measures to contain the virus. In order for the effects to continue, it is important to maintain hygiene measures, i.e. to keep a physical distance, wash hands regularly, cover mouth and nose in public places and stay at home in case of illness. Please continue to adhere to this consistently and inform yourself about our hygiene concept: https://www.hanfried.uni-jena.de/vhbmedia/corona/rahmenhygieneplan+der+fsu+jena.pdf

How the summer semester continues

Our university has been in online lecture mode for several weeks. Lecturers from all faculties have converted their teaching - lectures, seminars and courses - to online formats under conditions that were unimaginable only a short time ago. This allows teaching to continue without endangering our health and that of the population. Many of the initial difficulties have now been overcome - but it is still too early for a final evaluation of the online semester. Your feedback with examples of best practice, but also with hints on difficulties, is always very welcome. Students can also turn confidentially to the Dezernat 1 – Studierende. The easiest way is by e-mail to: feedback@uni-jena.de. Evaluations of online courses are being prepared centrally and in the faculties.

The summer semester 2020 will remain an online semester. Presence is only permitted for activities that are required for exams, provided that hygiene measures are observed. These include internships or excursions, use of the library or computer workstations in university rooms. The PC pools in the Multimediazentrum can currently only be opened to a limited extent from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Starting next week, we will gradually make additional workstations available in the ThULB and in rooms in Carl-Zeiß-Straße 3. Please refer to the Corona FAQ page on our homepage for more information: https://www.uni-jena.de/200407_Corona_Informationen

The university management is true to its word that students who can only study to a limited extent or under great stress due to Corona must not suffer any disadvantages in examinations. A corresponding framework regulation will be prepared by the Studienausschuss and submitted to the Senate for decision in June. We will continue to lobby the city, state and federal governments to ensure that, among other things, student parents have childcare facilities and that students receive financial support if they are in need due to the pandemic. In a special session on 5 June, the state parliament of Thuringia will decide on how to proceed with the waiver of long-term study fees. We will inform you about the results on our website.

Home office and protected presence for employees

First loosening of the private contact ban has already taken place in Thuringia and Jena. Many employees now wish to return to their workplace. In order to protect our health, this is still only possible if the hygiene rules are observed. In this way, work and family can be reconciled and protected presence operation is made possible. We must prepare ourselves for the fact that mobile working, flexible working hours and workplace regulations will have to be maintained for many employees in science, technology and administration for a long time to come and thus become a new normality.

Employees whose work can be done from home should continue to be mobile as far as possible in consultation with their superiors. We urge all supervisors to enable employees who, due to pre-existing illnesses, are at higher risk of developing severe COVID-19 disease, as well as employees with children in need of care or relatives to be cared for, to work from home.

A look ahead to the 2020/21 winter semester

The winter semester will still take place under special conditions and will require special efforts from all of us. Both students and lecturers want as much presence on campus as possible. We therefore want to make the winter semester as digital as necessary and present as possible. The first universities have already declared the winter semester an online semester. We believe that this is premature since nobody can predict the course of the pandemic. However, lectureres are called upon to prepare themselves for the fact that online teaching will be necessary when planning the winter semester.

The semester period from 01.10.2020 - 31.03.2021 remains unchanged. The lecture period begins on 02.11.2020 and ends on 12.02.2021. The start of the lecture period is thus postponed by two weeks. This is a direct consequence of the rescheduling of the Abitur exams and thus also of the dates for the admission restricted study programmes with central admission (DoSV). The original end of the lecture period will be retained in order to allow eight weeks of lecture-free time between the winter and summer semesters for examinations, internships, clinical traineeships and jobbing.

The Friedrich Schiller University of Jena will do everything in its power to enable students and fershers to successfully complete their studies in the winter semester and to offer high-quality teaching. To this end, faculties will be even better equipped on application and the existing offers for lecturers in the service centre LehreLernen and the multimedia centre will be further expanded. Overall, funds in the upper six-figure range will be used for this purpose.

Cultural events

Cultural events such as concerts and exhibition openings are also prohibited for the University until September. Nevertheless, we do not have to do without cultural events. Our botanical garden and our museums are open again. You can find information in the FAQs or on the page of the respective institution. The Psychochor and the student choir Collegium Vocale regularly post videos and concerts on YouTube for you.

And for example, the exhibition "Animal Crossing" is currently being set up in the Frommannsche Garden. Under this title, the art history department of the university and the Jenaer Kunstverein show the sculptures of the sculptor Dana Meyer.

Please continue to help us to contain the pandemic and to meet us humanely despite our distance.

With best regards

Walter Rosenthal
President of the Friedrich Schiller University of Jena