Information about the Coronavirus

The following arrangements at Heidelberg University take account of the Corona Ordinance on Degree-related Operations and the Arts and the Corona Ordinance of the State of Baden-Württemberg in their respective valid versions.

In the university’s action fields - research, teaching and knowledge transfer - the following principle applies: the intention is to have as much physical presence as is possible and justifiable with due regard for the valid hygiene and occupational safety conditions. For the winter semester - teaching activities begin on 2 November 2020 - every effort will be made to enable as much face-to-face teaching as is practicable in terms of the distancing and hygiene rules and the nature of the premises available.

Entry to university facilities is only permitted to those persons who do not manifest any of the grounds for exclusion defined in the Corona Ordinance of the State Government of Baden-Württemberg, such as the typical symptoms of an infection with the coronavirus. An indication of the applicable bans on entry and attendance should be posted in all entrances to university buildings and campus areas (Printable: DIN A5 to A3). 

The chief measures taken to protect against the spread of the coronavirus remain keeping the obligatory minimum distance of 1.5 meters from each other, which now applies as a general rule in all rooms, campus areas and places of circulation; buildings must be aired sufficiently and general hygiene rules observed (using sanitiser, washing hands etc.).

*Update* In addition to the requirement to keep our distance, it is now compulsory to wear a mask protecting our mouth and nose in all areas of the university open to the public, as well as in all corridors and areas of circulation in university buildings. In the case of events, also in rented premises, the obligation to wear a mask applies until participants reach their seats. In the case of lectures, students are obliged to keep their mask on while seated and also when contributing to the discussion. Lecturers are exempted from this as long as they keep a sufficient distance from the students.

The university’s guide to occupational safety continues to apply to on-campus activities; it includes coronavirus hygiene rules and an aid to action on the topic of COVID-19. Consequently, it remains unchanged that the necessary measures for the respective venues and rooms are based on the risk assessments of the facilities.

Those responsible for holding the respective on-campus classes or events ensure that the valid protective measures contained in the guide are observed.

*Update* University buildings and facilities are as of now, and until further notice, not open to the public. Similar to our approach last May, they are only accessible to members of the university, visiting researchers as well as academic or scientific members of partner institutions. This means that e.g. museums, collections and facilities like the university archive or greenhouses of the Botanical Garden are or remain closed to the public.

*Update* As of 19 October 2020, university buildings may only be used for university purposes. That means that it is no longer permitted to rent them out or allow external users to meet there.

All events require the preparing of a hygiene plan and collection of contact details. This applies, among other things, to lectures and seminars, practical classes and examinations, as well as to committee meetings of staff and student bodies, and any discussions in the context of work, official duties or business operations. The number of people attending events may not exceed 100.

*Update* Accidentally congregating or gathering is only possible for up to 10 persons.

The Corona Ordinances oblige the university to collect the following contact details from all visitors, users and participants at events: first and last name, address, date and time of presence and telephone numbers. The obligation to collect data has been expanded inter alia to the student portal, all advisory services and the use of learning and study areas requiring reservation. In the case of lecture series, it is necessary to collect contact details for every single event and on every occasion.

This documentation is meant for tracking down possible infection chains (’contact tracing’) and must be kept for four weeks. It must then be destroyed as appropriate under privacy law (e.g. in appropriate data protection containers). In order to make this task easier, forms have been prepared for collecting these details that can be filled out by the respective institute/facility in the (changeable) first part and then printed in sufficient quantities. The second part should then be filled out by the visitors, users and participants at the respective event.

*Update* Alternative electronic instruments for collecting details are in preparation and will most probably be available for the centrally administered lecture halls and seminar rooms in the Old Town and Neuenheimer Feld by the start of lectures in the upcoming winter semester. 

A data protection statement supplements the forms for collecting contact details. It is sufficient to ensure that this statement is visibly displayed. To sum up, these arrangements are set out in a guide to collecting contact details and on access and attendance bans.

For the winter semester - teaching activities begin on 2 November 2020 - every effort will be made to enable as much face-to-face teaching as is practicable in terms of the distancing and hygiene rules and the nature of the premises available. The special rules for protecting from infection in the area of student affairs and teaching, particularly regarding the obligatory distancing, protecting the mouth and nose and collecting contact details, are set out in more detail in the Corona Ordinance on Degree-related Operations and the Arts that took effect on 25 September 2020.

Arrangements for work in a home office

At present a special arrangement applies at Heidelberg University about work in a home office for a temporary period. The respective supervisors decide directly whether staff can work from home and must notify the Human Resources Division on a special form. The University Computer Centre can give assistance in setting up the IT infrastructure (IT-Support: Tel. +49 6221 54-117). Temporary work from home can be revoked at any time, however, and can currently only be agreed to continue until 31 January 2021 at the latest. Detailed information is available on the website of the Human Resources Division.

Conferences, conventions and major university events

Conferences, conventions and workshops etc. may be held according to the provisions of the current Corona Ordinance of the State of Baden-Württemberg and with due regard for hygiene and distancing rules, the maximum number of participants, as well as the access and attendance arrangements. This also applies to inaugural or farewell lectures and habilitation lectures.

Central information service in the university administration

Besides the familiar communication channels, the university administration has set up a Corona Service Portal for researchers and staff. It replies to questions and concerns in the context of the corona challenges or refers them to the internal contact persons responsible.

Telephone availability on 06221 54 19191
Mon to Thurs      8am to 4pm
Friday                   8am to 3pm

Research activities

Here the general legal conditions apply around the issues of occupational safety and hygiene, as well as access and attendance arrangements.

Research activity in laboratory areas

As of 1 August 2020, those involved in pure research activities in laboratory areas may deviate from the 1.5 meters distancing rule, as long as the researchers stay in the same groups of up to four and wearing mouth-and-nose protection. Another precondition for so doing is observing the hygiene requirements of the Corona Ordinance in the facilities, particularly ensuring adequate fresh air. The general legal conditions regarding occupational safety and hygiene remain applicable, along with access and participation arrangements. Exceptions from the obligatory distancing are not possible if it is inadmissible to wear a mask protecting the mouth and nose for reasons of occupational safety.

University Library

The University Library in the Old Town and its Im Neuenheimer Feld branch, as well as decentralised libraries, have opened their service areas, along with their lending and open stacks areas. It is again possible to order books and collect them at the library. The reference areas of the University Libraries are open subject to the applicable requirements. Access and attendance arrangements apply, along with the obligatory collection of contact details.

All digital offerings of the University Library continue to be available as usual. The enhanced digital offerings are being maintained in order to limit library visits only to those that are strictly necessary. The document delivery service HEDD (Heidelberg Electronic Document Delivery) is also still on offer for students of Heidelberg University. The same applies to ordering books from the holdings of the University Library for members of the university with postal delivery to their homes. Many publishing houses are supporting Heidelberg University during the coronavirus pandemic by activating additional or so far unlicensed content.

University Archive

The reading room of the University Archive can be used again, with restrictions. At most three people can work in the reading room, by appointment only. Access and attendance arrangements apply, plus obligatory collection of contact details.

Digital services

The University Computing Centre has compiled the currently available digital services on a website and more are to be added as fast as possible.

Business Trips

Business trips within Germany are possible. Please check, however, whether they can be postponed or replaced by digital formats and events. The institutes/facilities decide themselves whether to approve a business trip. Legal provisions at the local level and during the trip must be observed. If university events - of whatever kind - are held outside the campus, they are subject to the hygiene and distancing rules of the current Coronavirus Ordinance of the State of Baden-Württemberg, unless there are stricter requirements at the local level, in which case the latter will apply.

Business trips to European countries and other international destinations are usually only possible on condition that the Federal Foreign Office has not announced a travel warning. In that case the above-mentioned rules for trips in Germany will apply in the same way. This applies to students, doctoral candidates, employees and researchers, as well as visiting scholars.

Returning from abroad

Entering or returning to Germany is subject to the Ordinance of the Ministry of Social Affairs on quarantine regulations (Corona Ordinance EQ) in the applicable version.

The supervisors of employees who have to self-isolate at home under the Ordinance will notify the Human Resources Division about the quarantine ordered by the public authority and likewise when the employees return to work.

What is to be done in a case of suspected infection with the coronavirus?

The questions of whether there are grounds for suspicion and testing for coronavirus infection is required must be clarified with the Rhine-Neckar District Health Authority. Everyone is urgently recommended not to go to a doctor’s office or emergency room without a prior arrangement. By dialling 06221 522-1881 people can obtain answers and advice on issues like symptoms and incubation time, or on how to protect themselves from infection. The telephone hotline is available daily from 7.30am to 7pm. Contact via email is possible at impfen @ After 9pm adults should ring the new infection emergency room on 06221 56-8626. The emergency room of the Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine is responsible for questions concerning children and young people. It can be reached by calling 06221 56-4823.

What can every individual do?

All members of Heidelberg University are required to follow the hygiene rules as issued, for example, by the Federal Centre for Health Education for educational institutions. By way of precautionary health protection, please be careful to observe the rules for good hand hygiene and coughing and sneezing etiquette, and keep your distance to other people. Rooms must be aired appropriately. Follow the guidelines for social distancing adopted by the Federal and State Governments.

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