Letter from the president: A look ahead to the 2020/21 Winter Semester

Dear colleagues and members of the University of Jena,

Over the past weeks, the University of Jena has gradually been organising the return of people to the University under Covid-19 conditions. We want you to be able to return to your workplace, while at the same time protecting your health. I will summarise the most important regulations in this letter. They are expected to remain in force until the end of the winter semester on 31 March 2021. If conditions change due to Covid-19-related developments and provisions by the State of Thuringia and the City of Jena, we will inform you immediately.

Protect yourself and others

The pandemic is not over. Maintaining distance, wearing a face mask and airing rooms remain essential measures. Please continue to follow the University’s hygiene rules and protect yourself and others. Wear your face mask when you enter our buildings and walk along the corridors. You never know when you might meet a person who is at greater risk than you are. Avoid shaking hands or other forms of physical contact and do not enter University premises if you have symptoms of an acute respiratory infection (coughing, runny nose, sore throat, with or without a fever). If you notice an acute loss of your sense of smell or taste, please contact your general practitioner before deciding whether you can come to the University.

Presence at the workplace and working online

If the organisational, spatial and social conditions allow it, we would request that you return to work at the University. When working on-site, you need to comply with the hygiene rules (see Hygiene and Infection Prevention Plan [pdf 602KB]). Working from home is possible, in consultation with your line managers/supervisors, if they agree that the work involved can be done properly from home. University staff with pre-existing medical conditions or care responsibilities can find further information in the FAQs for the current semester (www.uni-jena.de/en/Onlinesemester_Sommersemester2020). Regulations relating to teaching are unchanged.

Opening of canteens and cafeterias

The canteen on Ernst-Abbe-Platz is open from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm. The library cafeteria offers a takeaway service, which is open Monday to Friday from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm and Saturday from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm. The cafeteria in the main University building is open Monday to Friday from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm. As well as a breakfast menu, there is a choice of two hot lunches, at least one of which is vegetarian. You can see the menu online. During opening times you can also purchase drinks, filled rolls, cakes and snacks. Please observe the special Hygiene rules (in German). Payment can only be made using the thoska card. Cash payments are not permitted.

Meetings and events

Limits on the number of participants have been removed for meetings, conferences, laboratory courses and other practical events. However, the number of participants is based on the calculation of the room capacity in compliance with the Hygiene and Infection Prevention Plan. Indoor cultural events such as concerts and exhibition openings continue to be prohibited at the University until 31 August 2020. Please see the organisational instructions (here in German. An English version will be available soon).

Work-related travel, excursions and field trips

Work-related travel, excursions and field trips within Germany are once again possible. Business and research trips abroad can be approved, taking account of the German federal government’s travel warnings for specific countries. If the destination is classified as a risk area before the start of the trip, you may no longer travel, despite prior approval. Expenses incurred until then can be reimbursed under the travel expense allowance arrangements.

Returning from a risk area

If you return from a country that has been declared a risk area, you must immediately place yourself in quarantine at home for 14 days from the day of your return. The classification as a risk area is continuously updated by the Robert Koch Institute (in German). Please familiarise yourself with the regulations in the town where you live and, if necessary, report to the relevant public health authority. Residents of Jena should telephone the public health authority of the City of Jena on 0049 3641 49-2222.

A look ahead to the 2020/21 winter semester

Friedrich Schiller University Jena will do everything in its power to ensure that its students enjoy a successful winter semester and to provide high-quality teaching. We wish to offer new students in particular as many attendance events as possible under the current protective conditions. All timetables will be restricted by the available room capacity, which is reduced to 25-30 % due to distancing rules. The faculties have already reported their space requirements for students in their first semester. A large share of the remaining lectures has already been planned in an online format. At the beginning of October, we will be able to inform students definitively which lectures will be given in which format. At the same time, we must be prepared for a situation in which all teaching has to be provided online if the pandemic worsens.

Physical distancing instead of social distancing

You do not have to give up all social contacts – and nor should you! Arrangements for physical presence under Covid-19 conditions should enable you to return to work on campus while being protected by infection prevention measures. A very important element of this is the possibility of tracing contacts over the previous 14 days, should a case of Covid-19 infection be confirmed, so that the chain of infection can be quickly and permanently broken. At lectures and other events, this is achieved by participants recording their presence on attendance lists. It is also recommended that all members of the University keep records of the people with whom they have had contact in the course of work, especially if they were at a distance of less than 1.5 metres for a prolonged period. Wherever possible, people should continue to use alternative means of communication, such as telephone or video conference.

Digital issue of the LICHTGEDANKEN

Keep your distance! This commandment has made university communication the title of the new issue of LICHTGEDANKEN. In the focus of the first digital edition you can read, see and hear how our university is researching and working on solutions to Corona: www.lichtgedanken.uni-jena.de/Ausgabe_08 (German issue. An English version is to be published soon).

Please help us to continue containing the pandemic. I wish you an enjoyable summer and good health!

With best regards

Walter Rosenthal
President of the Friedrich Schiller University of Jena