Teaching operations at the Berlin higher education institutions: supplement to the key parameters for the 2021/2022 winter semester

Joint press release by the Senate Chancellery for Higher Education and Research and the State Conference of the Rectors and Presidents of the Higher Education Institutions in Berlin (LKRP)

With the "key parameters for the 2021/2022 winter semester", the Berlin universities and colleges and the Senate Chancellery for Higher Education and Research adopted important principles at the end of July 2021 for the implementation of study and teaching activities in the current semester. These emphasise the great importance of in-person course offerings for students at higher education institutions. As agreed in the key parameters, the course of the pandemic is monitored by the task force, and regular reviews are carried out to assess whether these principles need to be adapted based on the current situation.

The task force last discussed whether the key parameters for the 2021/2022 winter semester needed to be adjusted in view of current developments in its meetings on 24th November 2021 and 6th December 2021. As a result, the task force made the following agreements, which supplement the key parameters for the 2021/2022 winter semester:

  • The universities and colleges and the Senate Chancellery for Higher Education and Research view the general development of the pandemic with great concern. In light of the recommendation from scientific experts, there is an urgent need for action to combat the pandemic, and the higher education institutions will continue to make their contribution to this. At the same time, as educational institutions, they consider themselves obliged to be open and accessible to all people in principle.
  • The Berlin universities and colleges and the Senate Chancellery therefore maintain that in-person teaching will continue to be made possible and offered. In view of the importance of face-to-face encounters in the educational process, a return to purely online operations at the higher education institutions should only be considered as one of the last resort measures to reduce contact. The universities and colleges will decide to what extent in-person offerings are carried out based on the particular local situation.
  • The vaccination rate among the students is above average, the universities and colleges implement comprehensive hygiene measures, and students and teaching staff observe the existing rules for in-person teaching with great responsibility and make very good use of the possibilities of combining in-person and online offerings. 
  • In order to maintain a high level of protection against infection while continuing to provide in-person teaching offerings, the universities and colleges will take several or all of the following additional measures, depending on the local conditions:
    • Intensifying verification of the 3G regulation at the higher education institutions beyond random samples
    • Extending the obligation to wear FFP2 masks in enclosed spaces
    • Use of the minimum distance between persons, where possible
    • Expanding test and vaccination offers 
    • Further developing and expanding the ventilation concepts for teaching rooms
    • The universities and colleges are examining where further events involving large group sizes will temporarily be conducted using online formats in the coming weeks 

  • In order to make an additional contribution to fighting the pandemic, the universities and colleges can temporarily expand the proportion of online teaching and independent study immediately before and after the academic holidays. The academic infrastructures, in particular, the libraries, computer labs and workstations, will be retained at their current level outside of the academic holidays.

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