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General information

Dealing with suspected and confirmed cases of corona-infection

Illness

  • In the case of acutely infectious diseases or if a person experienced symptoms typical of SARS-CoV-2 in the last 48 hours – such as coughing (productive, dry) or sore throat, fever, diarrhoea and especially sudden loss of smell and/or taste – the person should not come to the University. For these persons, a house ban applies.
     
  • In cases of suspected infection or uncertainty, all persons should immediately seek medical advice and refrain from coming to the University until clarification. Employees who are physically fit to do so should work from home during this time. Supervisors will ensure that this is made possible, if official reasons do not speak against it.

Reporting cases of corona-infection

  • All persons with a confirmed corona infection diagnosed up to two weeks after having been at the University are requested to inform the University immediately via the information office of the crisis management team (info-praeventionSpamProtectionverw.uni-koeln.de).
     
  • Employees (including student assistants – SHK) are requested to inform not only the information office of the crisis management team (info-praeventionSpamProtectionverw.uni-koeln.de) but also their supervisor and the Personnel Management Department, and to provide the names of their contacts within the probable incubation period.
     
  • Students are requested to send this information to their lecturer or examiner as well as to the information office of the crisis management team (info-praeventionSpamProtectionverw.uni-koeln.de).
     
  • The regulations of the Faculty of Medicine and/or Cologne University Hospital apply to clinical staff working in health care and/or students employed therein, as well as university employees who work on the premises of Cologne University Hospital – e.g. in buildings used by hospital and university employees. They are requested to also inform the responsible person managing contact tracing at Cologne University Hospital.

Further procedures and contact tracing

  • Supervisors, lecturers, or examiners who learn of a case of infection in their area are requested to also inform their respective supervisors and the information office of the crisis management team at info-praeventionSpamProtectionverw.uni-koeln.de.
     
  • Further steps are coordinated by the office of the crisis management team.

If cases of infection occur at the University, the Public Health Authorities generally decide on the measures to be taken.

In addition, the University provides for the following further measures:

  • In the event of an infection during a classroom teaching event or face-to-face examination, a first consultation will take place between the university headship and the affected area. This will also include a decision on further measures, such as necessary room disinfection. Subsequently, persons who have been in a room with the infected person are informed by the responsible Faculty or central institution about the case.
     
  • In the event of an infection among faculty or staff, the employees of the respective area are informed about the case by their supervisor or the Personnel Management Department. All persons who have been in contact with the infected person and who have not been placed in quarantine by the authorities are urgently requested not to come to the University for 14 days and to minimize contacts as far as possible. They should work from home during this time. Supervisors will make this possible, if official reasons do not speak against it.

Home isolation (quarantine)

  • In the event of an officially ordered quarantine, employees must report this to the Personnel Management Department in order to allow the University to assert claims for compensation in accordance with the Infection Protection Act.

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House ban to stop the spread of infections

  1. Persons (employees, students, guest researchers and other guests such as relatives or employees of external companies) who are infected with the coronavirus are prohibited from coming to the University of Cologne (grounds and buildings) until you are completely well again, or the infection is no longer contageousntil a medical certificate has been submitted proving that the infection is over or no longer contagious. For the protection of other members of the university, they are banned from the premises.
     
  2. Persons who have been or are still in close or prolonged contact (Category I of the Robert Koch Institute) with persons who have contracted the coronavirus, e.g. because they are caring for them, are also banned from the premises of the University of Cologne (grounds and buildings) for the duration of the close or prolonged contact and for 14 days beyond it. You can find a more precise definition of what persons with ‘close and prolonged contact’ (Category I) means here: https://www.rki.de/DE/Content/InfAZ/N/Neuartiges_Coronavirus/Kontaktperson/Management.html#doc13516162bodyText2
  3. Persons returning from international high-risk regions according to the Robert Koch Institute may not enter the University of Cologne – regardless of the duration of their stay and whether they show symptoms – for 14 days after entry. They are banned from the University of Cologne (grounds and buildings).

In principle, it is not possible to be exempted from the house ban by presenting a negative SARS-CoV-2 test.

Exceptions to the house ban can be made, exclusively and for one time only, for
a)     students taking study-related examinations,
b)     prospective professors accepting an invitation from an appointment committee,
c)     other job applicants upon invitation of a selection committee, if the selection procedure requires personal appearance.
These persons must, however, present a negative corona test issued to them personally to the responsible examination office or the chairperson of the appointment or selection committee in English or German. The test must meet the requirements for recognition as a molecular biological test for SARS-CoV-2b (in particular: PCR method from an EU country or a country designated on the RKI website). In case of subsection 1c), the test must not be older than 48 hours at the time of entry into the Federal Republic of Germany.

The regulations of the Faculty of Medicine and/or Cologne University Hospital apply to clinical staff working in health care and/or students employed therein. The same applies to University employees working on the University Hospital premises – e.g. in buildings used by clinic and university employees.

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Hygiene and infection prevention regulations for face-to-face events and working on campus

The hygiene and infection protection regulations as well as guidelines for their implementation can be found in detail here.

Physical presence at the University continues to be possible only to a limited extent. Employees work from home as a rule, and teaching takes place online. The following hygiene and infection protection regulations must be observed for all face-to-face events as well as when working at the University:

  • Everyone should observe the general hygiene rules (in particular good hand hygiene, coughing/sneezing etiquette, social distancing).
     
  • A simple mouth-and-nose cover (so-called everyday mask) must be worn in all UoC buildings. It may only be removed if a person is alone in a room. This also applies during face-to-face-examinations, classroom teaching, public traffic and all other occasions of physical presence on campus. Mouth-and-nose-covers may briefly be removed to eat or to drink, but these occasions should be reduced to a minimum. The university strongly recommends that you wear the mouth-and-nose cover on the entire UoC campus (i.e. including the outdoor area).
     
  • In all buildings and rooms of the UoC, a minimum safety distance between people of 1.50 m must be guaranteed. In the case of encounter traffic or necessary activities that cannot be carried out without falling below the minimum distance, it may be briefly reduced. In the case of classroom teaching events and face-to-face examinations with a maximum of 20 participants, the minimum distance may be reduced if the participants are given fixed seats and a seating plan is prepared in addition to recording the contact data (special traceability in accordance with Section 2a of the Corona Protection Ordinance – CoronaSchVO NRW).
     
  • Classroom teaching events and face-to-face-examinations may only be held in certified rooms. Centrally allocated rooms are certified by Division 5, de-centrally allocated rooms can be certified by the Faculties after consulting with Division 5. Crowds of people in and in front of buildings must be avoided as far as possible by appropriate planning (e.g. by safety-distance markers, entrance regulations, and the like).
     
  • All rooms must be aired regularly and sufficiently by their users. The windows must be fully opened for this purpose. In rooms that are generally used by only one person, tilting the windows is sufficient. The windows must be opened completely at regular intervals for 3 to 10 minutes to let in a surge of fresh air. Intervals of no more than 60 minutes in offices and no more than 20 minutes in meeting rooms are recommended. Meeting rooms and examination/lecture rooms must also be aired before use, especially if other people used the room before. Events with 21 or more people may only be held in rooms where continuous technical ventilation with a high level of fresh air supply is possible. Rooms at the University are primarily used for classroom teaching and face-to-face examinations. Other room requests for official purposes can only be taken into account if they are not used for classroom teaching or face-to-face examinations.
     

  • The regulations on contact tracing in accordance with Section 2a of the Corona Protection Ordinance must be observed for every occasion of a person’s presence at the University. This includes in particular the correct indication of the contact data required for possible infection tracing (name, address, private [and work, if applicable] phone number). Students are requested to enter the relevant data in KLIPS 2.0 (Instructions). Electronic data storage is only permitted with the consent of the persons concerned. All faculty, students, and staff are also strongly urged to use the Corona-Warn-App of the Federal Government.
     

  • Supervisors are requested to schedule attendance and occupancy times for rooms in advance. The presence of employees must be recorded, even if they are predominantly working in individual offices.
     

  • Employees who come to the University to work should be offered individual offices. In all work rooms where the use of space by more than one person cannot be avoided (especially offices and workshops), an area of at least 12.5 m2 must be available for each person. This does not apply to teaching events and examinations, committee meetings and other gatherings, or labs. In these cases, however, the minimum safety distance must also be observed. This must be ensured by appropriate measures, such as limiting the number of people, taking into account the spatial situation, and organizational processes. If the room is permanently used by more than one person, the distance between the persons must be greater than the minimum safety distance.
     

  • The equipment of sanitary facilities as well as the cleaning and disinfection of rooms and surfaces is organized in accordance with the protection and hygiene requirements of the Robert Koch Institute.
     
  • If several persons meet, e.g. while working on campus or outside of committee meetings, they must ensure for four weeks after the meeting that, in the event of infection with the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, all persons can be reported to the health authorities with contact data. This does not apply if anonymity is provided by law for the meeting. In appropriate cases, the organizational units may organize this centrally. In cases of doubt, personal lists must be kept.

Everyone at the University is asked to take note of the guidelines to ensure accessibility in applying the infection protection measures.

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Events

In order to reserve the reduced room capacities of the university for attendance tests, classroom teaching, and other events required for various official purposes in the future, which have been reduced by the hygiene and infection protection measures, no rooms can be made available at the university for other attendance events (especially those with external participants, e.g. conferences, meetings, workshops) until the end of the winter semester (31.03. 2021). This also applies to events in the specified time period for which rooms have already been booked. Courses already planned to take place in classrooms cannot be carried out as attendance events, or must be held outside the university.

The following applies to committee meetings:

  • Committees prescribed by law or regulations (e.g. Senate, Rectorate, University Council, Faculty councils, commissions, staff councils) may meet in person if the provisions of the Hygiene and Protection Directive are observed. The Rectorate strongly advises that meetings should only be held in person if there are compelling reasons for doing so, and an alternative virtual or telephone meetings are not possible.
     

  • For all other meetings and gatherings, e.g., inspections and job interviews (including recruitment), compelling reasons and the absence of alternative formats are prerequisites for meeting in person.
     

  • The decision to hold a meeting in person is made by the chairperson of the meeting after consultation with the convening participants. The interests of members of high-risk groups must also be taken into account. The chairperson must ensure contact tracing in the form of simple traceability in accordance with Section 2a of the Corona Protection Ordinance (CoronaSchVO NRW) and the availability of the contact list for four weeks.

The following must also be observed:

  • In case of participation in events organized by third parties and held outside the University’s premises, the hygiene rules of the organizer apply.

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Frequently Asked Questions