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Planning for the coming winter semester

The first week of testing is now over and we have found that everyone involved has adhered to the hygiene concept. I would like to thank you very much for this. I can imagine how difficult it is for the students to see their fellow students again after six months and have to keep their distance. I ask you to stick to the hygiene concept in the remaining two weeks as well, in order to finish the examination period with the least possible health risk for all participants.

All faculties are currently preparing for the winter semester 2020/21, and even though the number of cases is currently low, it is still showing an upward trend and we do not know what the figures will be at the end of the holiday period. However, we know that we must not let up in our attention and in our protection against infection. Against this background, we will continue to adhere to our infection defence strategy in the coming winter semester, which has proven its worth in recent months. We must continue to keep our distance, ensure strict hand hygiene and - where frequent encounters cannot be avoided - wear everyday masks (the so-called AHA rules).

This semester has shown us how important the direct and personal exchange between teachers, staff and students and also among each other is, which we have missed to a great extent. Protection against infection and keeping a distance on the one hand and small steps back to normality, to classroom teaching on the other hand, is the balancing act we have to do in the coming semester.

And as different as the disciplines, the group sizes, the spatial distribution of students and the didactic concepts are, so different will be the design of the coming winter semester in the individual faculties. Some learning content can be transferred to the digital world comparatively easily, others only at great expense and some not at all. For some group sizes we do not have the facilities to offer classroom teaching with the necessary distance.

We have agreed to create classroom teaching opportunities, especially for the coming freshmen, but also for the current freshmen who have not yet had a class in class. And we will primarily offer face-to-face teaching for courses that live in a special way from direct interaction between teachers and students, as well as for internships that require special laboratory or work spaces.

We want to have you, dear students, back at the university, but we also do not want to take the risk of becoming a corona hotspot in the winter semester. Therefore we will continue to maintain our high security level and a large part of the courses will take place online. The safety distance of 1.5 meters still applies to classroom teaching.

The faculties will inform you about their plans in the next few days.

Please note that all plans are preliminary and that the time, place, duration and type of event may change depending on how the pandemic situation changes during the semester.

As already announced, lectures will start on October 5, 2020 for all students in the second or higher semester and on October 12, 2020 for all freshmen.

We want to reopen the university, but at the same time we don't want to fall into recklessness. The described mix of necessary classroom teaching and possible online teaching is necessary to fulfil our educational mission and at the same time protect the health of all university members. This will once again pose challenges, but it is a first step towards normality. I ask for your understanding and for your continued support.

Sincerely yours,
Andreas Frey 

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