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Questions and Answers about the Novel Coronavirus

General Information about the Coronavirus

The most important thing you can do is to practice good hygiene: Wash your hands thoroughly (for at least 20 seconds) and often. Wear a protective mask when required. Don’t shake hands with people or hug them. Avoid people coughing or sneezing directly on you. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth as much as possible. Air out rooms regularly. Throw away tissues immediately after use. The German Federal Center for Health Education provides extensive information about ...

Like other respiratory pathogens, a coronavirus infection can lead to a variety of symptoms. According to the Robert Koch Institute, symptoms vary greatly and are hard to define. They range from an infection with no symptoms to severe pneumonia with respiratory failure and death. It is therefore not possible to provide a general descriptions of “typical” symptoms of the illness. Current information is available in German and English on the Robert Koch Institute's website.

The Berlin Senate Office has set up a hotline for people to call if they think they have been infected. The number is 030 90 28 28 28. Health insurance providers have also set up hotlines. Please contact your health insurance provider as well. Further Information Up-to-date information on health safety regarding the novel coronavirus (e.g., symptoms, risk of infection, preventive care), can be found on the Robert Koch Institute website. Current information and advice can also be ...

Telephone Hotlines The Berlin Senate Office has set up a hotline for people to call if they think they have been infected. The number is 030 90 28 28 28 . Further information, including the contact information for the local health departments, can be found here:  https://www.berlin.de/corona/en/   Health insurance providers have also set up hotlines. Please contact your health insurance provider as well. Further Information Up-to-date information on health safety regarding the ...

Studying

Virtual Seminars and Lectures

There are different support services available to you at Freie Universität and elsewhere in Berlin where you can turn to. These services are bound by strict confidentiality policies, and your identity can remain anonymous if you choose.

If you are a victim or have witnessed incidents, or if you are an instructor and want to learn more about the topic, you can also contact the task force at Freie Universität Berlin dedicated to preventing sexualized harassment, discrimination, and violence: “Arbeitsgruppe Gegen Sexualisierte Belästigung, Diskriminierung und Gewalt (SBDG).” They also provide confidential consultations in English or German.


Outside of the regular lecture period for the 2020 summer semester, some departments will be offering courses with on-site components that students still need to take since they were not able to complete them until now. Other than that, there will be no face-to-face classroom teaching, and examinations are to be held in digital form whenever possible; only in justified cases can examinations and certain practice-based formats be conducted on site, and then only in compliance with hygiene regulations.

Yes, all courses offered online this semester can be completed online as well. Generally, that will also be the case for any assessments that are part of an online course, includine module examinations. If you are supposed to take an examination in person, but are not able or it would be too risky for you, please contact the person administering the exam or the appropriate examinations office. They will help you organize an alternative remote testing format.

Freie Universität Berlin is discussing solutions with the State of Berlin to continue to find ways to help people in need so that they, too, have access to digital education resources. Please contact Studierendenwerk Berlin with questions or concerns related to this issue. The following website provides extensive information and FAQs related to financial support for students: https://www.stw.berlin/en/organisation/themen/corona-faq.html

Because there is no way to know how the pandemic will develop over the next few months, it is highly likely that the upcoming winter semester will also take place under special circumstances. Despite this uncertainty, Freie Universität Berlin is still committed to providing students with a wide selection of courses while also ensuring the health and safety of all of its members.

In order to achieve this, the current plan is to conduct the winter semester through a combination of on-site and digital courses. The majority of courses that will be held in person on campus involve courses for incoming and graduating students, courses or assessments that cannot be conducted remotely, as well as teaching in small groups. We are also aware of the difficult situation that international students and exchange students at Freie Universität are facing, so we are paying special attention to them as well. Building on experiences from the summer semester, we will continue to use digital and other teaching formats in the university’s curriculum. These alternative formats provide stability to teachers and students who need to be able to plan for the future. At the same time, they also make it possible for us to continue to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

This website has current information regarding studying and courses at Freie Universität Berlin during the 2020/2021 winter semester. Freie Universität Berlin has discussed its plans in close coordination with the Senate Chancellery – Higher Education and Research and the other universities and colleges of Berlin. Together, they have decided on some parameters regarding the upcoming winter semester and how to conduct teaching and allow students to pursue their studies. The Berlin Senate Chancellery’s press release is available here in German.

They can use Freie Universität’s E-Learning Platform: The platform provides students with virtual rooms where they can work in groups or meet with others to study together. 

Studying with Children

If you are taking care of a young child or children, if you are caring for family members, or if you are working while studying, then you can request a leave of absence or change your official status to part-time student.

Further information on leaves of absence and studying part-time.

A leave of absence or switching to part-time status might influence things like BAföG payments or scholarships. The Social Counselling Center through the Studierendenwerk Berlin can provide you with advice and support.

Berlin’s daycare centers resumed normal operations on June 22, 2020, but many of them have not been able to return to their regular hours. Please contact your daycare center for detailed information about childcare options. You can also read more about the return to regular operations on the Berlin Senate website (in German).

Furthermore, you also have the option of requesting a leave of absence or changing your official status to part-time student. The Center for Academic Advising and Psychological Counseling at Freie Universität Berlin also provides counseling and support concerning your studies or if you are in a stressful situation.

Berlin schools are out of session for summer vacation from June 25 to August 7, 2020. Freie Universität’s Family Services has put together a list of different activities for the summer in German.

The Family Service office has set up a Wiki (http://wikis.fu-berlin.de/x/KoK2KQ) with information for students with children. The information provided there will be updated as needed. The Center for Academic Advising and Psychological Counseling at Freie Universität Berlin also provides counseling and support concerning your studies or if you are in a stressful situation https://www.fu-berlin.de/en/sites/studienberatung/index.html

Dates, Deadlines, Advising

At the moment, no in-person office hours will be held as a protective measure against the spread of the coronavirus. However, Freie Universität Berlin’s offices and staff are still here for you. You can reach them by phone or email. Please check your department’s website for details.

For the moment, it is not possible to view your personal record. Given the circumstances, the three-month period reserved for contesting grades will not begin until regular educational operations at the university resume, so that you do not face any negative consequences.

The summer semester will be an academic semester, in which courses are offered as best as possible. Credits completed will count toward degree requirements. The summer semester will not count negatively toward a student’s time to degree in their program. If students are not able to take all the courses or exams they had scheduled for the summer semester, that will not count against them regarding the standard time to degree.

The universities are taking precautions to ensure that regularly occurring important dates and deadlines will automatically be postponed for upcoming semesters. For technical reasons, the semester might appear to be calculated into a student’s transcript; however, in the end the 2020 summer semester will not factor into the total number of semesters for a student’s time to degree. 

The previous February 15 deadline has been extended as a one-time exception. You must provide your bachelor’s degree certificate by the time you renew your registration for the winter semester 2020/2021 at the latest.

Students who enrolled in a master’s degree program starting summer semester 2020 with a “two-thirds certificate” must submit their bachelor’s degree certificate when they renew their registration for the summer semester 2021 at the latest.

Application dates for the upcoming winter semester have changed:

  • Applications for Bachelor’s degree programs with Numerus Clausus (NC) must be submitted between July 1, 2020, and August 20, 2020
  • Applications for Bachelor’s degree programs without Numerus Clausus (NC) must be submitted between July 1, 2020, and September 7, 2020 (unchanged)
  • Applications for state examination degree programs in pharmacy and veterinary medicine must be submitted between July 1, 2020, and July 31, 2020 for so-called “Alt-Abiturienten” (old graduates); between July 1, 2020, and August 20, 2020, for “Neu-Abiturienten” (new graduates)
  • Applications for state examination degree programs in law must be submitted between July 1, 2020, and August 20, 2020
  • Applications for consecutive Master’s programs with Numerus Clausus (NC) must be submitted  by June 30, 2020, for all applicant groups
  • Applications for consecutive Master’s programs without Numerus Clausus (NC) by August 15, 2020, for all applicant groups

The “two-thirds certificate” for Master’s degree applicants can be submitted without a signature from the examinations office.

Please refer to the information provided on the Admissions Office website.

The upcoming winter semester officially starts on October 1, 2020 and goes until March 3, 2021. The first day of classes is scheduled for November 2. The lecture period will end on February 27, 2021. Currently, the plan is to return to the regular semester rhythm starting summer semester 2021 with the lecture period also back to its normal length.

Term Papers, Examinations, Final Theses

Basically, all assessments at Freie Universität Berlin are being conducted remotely (often online) for the time being. The various remote formats include:

  • Oral examinations – through video conferencing
  • Written exams – either as a “take-home exam,” in which students receive and submit their assessment digitally (E-Examination@Home), or as a term paper assignment.

The normal rules still apply for term papers; however, students do not need to submit printed copies of their papers. Instead, they can submit them electronically.

For an overview, please refer to the white paper on rules established for examinations (in German). CeDiS has created a Wiki for instructors and students with information on digital examinations and assessments (E-Examination@Home).

There are some exceptions to this policy such as exams that cannot be conducted online, for example, exams with hands-on components or state examinations, which have their own set of legal requirements. In these cases, examinations will be conducted in person.

Deadlines for term papers and other written assignments were interrupted through July 20, 2020. You either have the full time to complete the assignment starting on July 20, 2020 (for assignments that began after March 12, 2020), or you have the remaining time to complete the assignment that you still had as of March 12, 2020. This is meant to keep you from suffering any negative consequences.

If you are still not be able to complete you term paper or other written assignment due to limited library services or for some other reason, please inform the appropriate examination office by email. Be sure to send the email from your ZEDAT email account. By notifying the examination office, you void the assessment attempt and will therefore not be penalized.

The Department of Law has its own special rules regarding state examination degree programs. Please visit the examination committee website for more information in German.

If you wish to register for a final thesis, please contact your degree program and examination office by email.

At this point, the only way to submit your final thesis is electronically via email. You need to send the email from your ZEDAT email account. You do not need to submit the three printed and bound copies that you usually would. The submission date is the date that your email is received. Your academic honesty statement, in which you state that you are the sole author of your thesis and used only the sources and reference works listed in your thesis, should also be submitted electronically with your final thesis. Ideally, the statement should be signed and then scanned; however, you can also submit the form with a certificate-based electronic signature.

The Department of Law has its own special rules regarding state examination degree programs. Please visit the examination committee website for more information in German.

The rule regarding the period for starting a second attempt for a final thesis, which says it should begin no later than three months after the results of the first attempt have been announced, is suspended until the end of summer semester 2020 (September 30th). That means that during this period you do not need to submit any requests for deadline extensions.

The Department of Law has its own special rules regarding state examination degree programs. Please visit the examination committee website for more information in German (www.jura.fu-berlin.de/fachbereich/organisation-service/studienbuero/informationen/muthorst20201303.html).

Deadlines for term papers and other written assignments were interrupted through July 20, 2020. You either have the full time to complete the assignment starting on July 20, 2020 (for assignments that began after March 12, 2020), or you have the remaining time to complete the assignment that you would have had as of March 12, 2020. This is meant to keep you from suffering any negative consequences.

The Department of Law has its own special rules regarding state examination degree programs. Please visit the examination committee website for more information in German.

Oral exams that are part of your final thesis, if required by the current degree program and examinations regulations, can be completed either remotely through a video conference or in person while adhering to the necessary hygiene regulations.

The option of waiving oral examinations for the bachelor’s or master’s theses expired July 20, 2020, i.e. requests to waive the oral examination for the bachelor’s or master’s thesis after July 20, 2020, will no longer be considered. Students who submit their bachelor's or master’s thesis after July 20, 2020, must take the oral exam as required by their degree program and examination regulations, either remotely or in person.

You will receive an email letting you know that your certificate is ready, at which point you should send us your current mailing address. If possible, the university will send you your graduation documents by mail. Please contact your department to clarify the details.

If it is determined that an examination must be conducted in person by a student at a Freie Universität location, there are special rules that must be followed in order to protect the health of those involved and to reduce university member’s risk of infection. These rules state, for example, how far tables must be from each other, what you have to do when you enter and leave the examination room, cleaning procedures, etc. Students will be properly informed of these rules before the examination. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.

For an overview, please refer to the white paper on rules established for examinations (in German).

Yes, you can. You will not face any negative consequences if you decide to not take your exams that were scheduled for the 2020 summer semester. You can take the exams later. You can also withdraw from the exam at the last minute.

However, please note: Once you have official started the exam, you can only withdraw if there is a strong reason to do so. If you officially start an exam but do not complete it, you will receive a grade of “insufficient” (5.0) or “fail” (nicht bestanden) and the attempt will count against you.

The choice to take an exam through a digital format is voluntary. Students must agree at the beginning of the exam that they consent to this testing format and promise that the work they submit is their own. Students who cannot or do not wish to take the exam under these conditions will not face any negative consequences.

If an examination cannot take place due to technical issues, or if an examinee has to stop taking an exam because of technical problems, the examination attempt will not count against the student. A new examination will be prepared and held within an appropriate period of time.

Digital examinations are not substitute assessments; they count as regular assessments just like an in-person exam would. That means that once you have officially started a digital exam (including online written exams), you can only withdraw if there is a strong reason to do so.

For an overview, please refer to the white paper on rules established for examinations (in German). CeDiS has created a Wiki for instructors and students with information on digital examinations and assessments (E-Examination@Home).

Freie Universität Berlin is using more or less the same software for digital exams as it uses for digital teaching, namely, Cicso Webex and Blackboard.

In addition, “E-Examinations@Home” is also a campus-wide resource for digital assessments conducted remotely. Other examination software includes LPLUS TestStudio, which Freie Universität had already been using in its E-Examination Centers (EECs). The software is, however, being hosted on the software company’s own servers at the moment. This allows students to take exams from home. To do so, all you need to do is install the Safe Exam Browser (SEB) on your computer along with Freie Universtität Berlin’s configuration file. The Safe Exam Browser prevents users from accessing other applications while the examination is in progress and effectively prevents attempts to cheat. All applications currently being used for exams have undergone the appropriate data protection screening procedures. The university does not use a proctoring or surveillance system to monitor testing.

CeDiS has created a Wiki for instructors and students with information on digital examinations and assessments (E-Examination@Home).

The Department of Law has its own special rules regarding this question. Please visit the examination committee website for more information in German (www.jura.fu-berlin.de/fachbereich/organisation-service/studienbuero/informationen/muthorst20201303.html).

Please send an email to krisenberatung@fu-berlin.de, which will put you in contact with the Center for Academic Advising and Psychological Counseling, Social Counseling Services, as well as the Dual Career and Family Service office. You can find more details, including offices’ opening hours when you can call, here.

Information for Freie Universität Students Studying Abroad

If you are doing an internship abroad through Erasmus+ – or have organized your own study abroad, e.g., through the PROMOS program – and have questions about the current situation, please contact the appropriate contact persons for your program in the Student Mobility Office or the Career Service Office: www.fu-berlin.de/studium/international

In response to the spread of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 numerous partner universities have informed the central Erasmus team about precautionary measures such as switching to online courses, cancellation of events, and temporary closures.

Please pay attention to information provided by your host institution, local government offices in your host country, and travel and safety warnings issued by the German Federal Foreign Office.

If, due to the current situation, Erasmus+ coursework at the host institution abroad cannot be continued through face-to-face instruction, online courses can also be approved for Erasmus+ funding under the following conditions:

  • The courses or exams are being offered online by the host university. Then, exchange students can either remain in their host countries and take the online course there or return to Germany and do the coursework from here.
  • The courses still contribute to achieving the learning objectives as defined in the Learning Agreement.

We sent you an email with details on the documentation needed in order to complete coursework.

Please check with your department or institute at Freie Universität Berlin about the possibility of transferring credits and recognition of courses and exams taken online. You should contact the same person who helped you with the Learning Agreement.

Here are some other things to consider if you are planning on cutting your study abroad short, leaving your host country, and won’t be taking any online courses through your host university: 

  • If you cut your study abroad short, you cannot resume your stay later. For the time being (until July 20, 2020), students will not receive funding through Freie Universität Berlin’s financial support programs to continue study abroad stays that they cut short. This means that you should not plan on returning to your host country at a later point in time to resume your studies.
  • Students who could not finish their semester by taking online courses at their host university should submit receipts and other documentation of actual expenses resulting from this situation.

If you have questions, please feel free to contact our Erasmus+ Team Outgoings Europa at outgoing-erasmus@fu-berlin.de.

At the moment we are working under the assumption that many Erasmus exchanges planned for the 2020/2021 academic year will be able to take place. But we also expect that many students will have to cancel or postpone their study abroad plans. The central Erasmus team for outgoing students is already in contact with students who are in this situation.

Students planning to participate in an Erasmus exchange can find information about different host universities’ policies regarding the upcoming fall/winter semester (2020/2021) at https://covid.uni-foundation.eu/ if they have not received information directly from their host university.

The central direct exchange team is already in contact with candidates for direct exchange programs. Many students’ plans to study abroad will need to be postponed until the summer semester or the next academic year.

If you would like to cancel or postpone your study abroad plans, please let us know as soon as you have come to a final decision.

Feel free to contact us by email if you have any questions at auslstud@fu-berlin.de.

In response to the spread of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 numerous partner universities have informed the central Erasmus team about precautionary measures such as switching to online courses, cancellation of events, and temporary closures.

If, due to the current situation, Erasmus+ coursework at the host institution abroad cannot be continued through face-to-face instruction, online courses can also be approved for Erasmus+ funding under the following conditions:

  • The courses or exams are being offered online by the host university. Then, exchange students can either remain in their host countries and take the online course there or return to Germany and do the coursework from here.
  • The courses still contribute to achieving the learning objectives as defined in the Learning Agreement.

We sent you an email with details on the documentation needed in order to complete coursework. 

Please check with your department or institute at Freie Universität Berlin about the possibility of transferring credits and recognition of courses and exams taken online. You should contact the same person who helped you with the Learning Agreement.

Here are some other things to consider if you are planning on cutting your study abroad short, leaving your host country, and won’t be taking any online courses through your host university: 

  • If you cut your study abroad short, you cannot resume your stay later. For the time being until July 20, 2020), students will not receive funding through Freie Universität Berlin’s financial support programs to continue study abroad stays that they cut short. This means that you should not plan on returning to your host country at a later point in time to resume your studies.
  • Students who could not finish their semester by taking online courses at their host university should submit receipts and other documentation of actual expenses resulting from this situation.

If you have questions, please feel free to contact our “Erasmus+ weltweit” Team at erasmusworld@fu-berlin.de

At the moment, we are working under the assumption that the exchange programs planned for the 2020/2021 academic year will be able to take place under certain limitations. So, if you want to apply for PROMOS funding, you can find more information at https://www.fu-berlin.de/en/studium/international/studium_ausland/promos/index.html

If you want to apply for an Erasmus internship abroad, you can find all the information you need here.

When making your plans please consult the German Federal Foreign Office’s travel warnings.

More information on the impact of travel warnings for internships and study abroad.

The German Federal Foreign Office issued a COVID-19 travel warning that is in effect until August 31, 2020. The warning cautions against travel to certain regions if the purpose of travel is not completely necessary, such as tourist trips. Travel for study abroad programs, however, does not count as tourism.

If you have been admitted to a partner university and are supposed to start your semester abroad before August 31, your admission is still valid, unless you have been informed otherwise. You can decide to take part in the exchange at your own risk.

Please be sure to read the country-specific advisories issued by the the German Federal Foreign Office carefully, as there may be special conditions on travel to your destination (e.g. mandatory quarantine). If you are a German citizen, please register in the crisis management list.

Certain study abroad scholarship programs might not be able to provide funding when travel warnings have been issued, for example, Erasmus+, PROMOS, or other DAAD programs. If you were planning to study abroad with financial support, please contact the appropriate person in the Student Mobility Office soon to find out more about the current policies.


Information for Exchange Students Studying at Freie Universität

If you were planning on studying abroad at Freie Universität Berlin during the 2020/2021 winter semester, you are welcome to postpone your plans and come during the 2021 summer semester.

Please let us know if you do wish to postpone by email at incoming@fu-berlin.de. You should also inform your home institution and let them know that they should nominate you again for the 2021 summer semester exchange. We will accept both students who postponed their study abroad and the regular nominees for the 2021 summer semester.

Please be aware of the current obligations for quarantine and reporting if you are coming from a country at particular risk. You can find the regulations here: https://www.berlin.de/corona/en/measures/

If you are required to go into quarantine, you may not visit the campus of Freie Universität during that period. You may only take part in digital classes and online exams.

Currently, the plan is for the 2020/2021 winter semester to offer a mix of remote and on-site courses. The university is paying special attention to the needs of exchange students and will most likely hold courses especially for them on campus. Please note that we cannot guarantee that all the courses listed in the course catalogue will be offered this semester. You might not be able to sign up for the courses you planned on taking. The first day of classes for winter semester is November 2, 2020. Classes end on February 27, 2021.

If you enroll in the 2020/2021 winter semester, you can take online courses offered at Freie Universität without traveling to Germany. Please note that many courses are not offered completely online. Some might have testing components that require students to be physically on site. Please inform the student mobility team for incoming students at incoming@fu-berlin.de by September 9, 2020, if you do not intend to travel and wish to study completely online at Freie Universität. The staff team will then provide you with further information.

Teaching and Research

In compliance with the current regulations issued by the German Foreign Office, the State of Berlin, and Freie Universität Berlin, international visitors are allowed to come to the university for research stays. Visitors from non-EU countries should, however, apply for a visa for their trip at the German mission abroad in their country of residence, since the Berlin Immigration Office has not resumed full operations, which means the university’s passport service cannot help you submit a visa application at the moment. Please visit the Berlin Immigration Office’s website for more information or contact Freie Universität Berlin’s Pass Service at pass-service@fu-berlin.de.

People returning from a risk area abroad within the last 14 days must observe current quarantine and reporting requirements. Risk areas include states or regions outside the Federal Republic of Germany for which there is an increased risk of infection with the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 at the time of entry into the Federal Republic of Germany. You can find the current list of risk areas here (in German): https://www.rki.de/DE/Content/InfAZ/N/Neuartiges_Coronavirus/Risikogebiete_neu.html 

In many cases, visiting researchers need to be able to present a document from their host institution that states why their visit to Germany is necessary. Please have your host at Freie University request this document from Division IV International Affairs at academic-relations@international.fu-berlin.de.

If you have questions regarding a special individual situation, please send an email to academic-relations@international.fu-berlin.de.

In accordance with Berlin’s SARS-CoV-2 Infection Protection Ordinance, it is now possible to hold events on campus at Freie Universität Berlin generally speaking. However, due to current hygiene regulations and the required distance between individuals, the university’s room capacity has been significantly reduced. In addition, the room capacity we do have in our central facilities (e.g,. the Henry Ford Building or the Seminar Center) will be reserved primarily for educational purposes during the 2020/2021 winter semester. In terms of rooms that are coordinated centrally, the course schedule for on-site instruction needs to be finalized before you can book them for other academic events, such as workshops, symposia, or conferences. We kindly ask that you wait until September 2020 before sending reservation requests for events to be held between now and March 21, 2021. Rooms that are coordinated departmentally are also primarily for teaching needs. Reservations for other purposes are only possible after those needs have been met.

The Center for Digital Systems (CeDiS) is providing support for instructors as they adjust their lectures, seminars, and practice sessions. Support, suggestions, and instructions for the use of digital media and technologies in teaching and research, can be found here. A new blog (in German) to exchange ideas and experiences can be found here.

Campus

All cafeterias on campus are closed during the semester break.
Further information can be found at https://www.stw.berlin/en/dining-facilities/themen/corona-oeffnung.html

The Verkehrsverbund Berlin-Brandenburg (VBB) will continue to accept the VBB semester tickets for the winter semester 2019/2020, which expired on March 31, 2020, as a valid ticket for use of the public transportation system. This exception has been extended until June 28, 2020. The semester ticket holder must also carry with them and be able to present a certificate of enrollment for the summer semester 2020.

For first-time students who just enrolled for summer semester 2020, but who have not yet received their semester ticket, they can use their certificate of enrollment for summer semester 2020 in combination with another legal form of identification (e.g., German National Identity Card).

However, Freie Universität is also making sure that all first-time students who are starting their studies in the 2020 summer semester and who are unable to use the CampusCard machines due to building closures on campus will receive their CampusCard by mail. This way, they will also have a valid semester ticket.

You can find more information on the Student Records and Registration Office website:
hwww.fu-berlin.de/en/studium/studienorganisation/immatrikulation/campuscard/standorte/index.html

Tickets must also be purchased for travel if the VBB semester ticket cannot be replaced when lost. There are currently no plans to provide reimbursement for individually purchased tickets, and a certificate of enrollment alone does not serve as a valid replacement ticket. More detailed information is available online in German at https://www.vbb.de/fahrplan/aktuelles/gueltigkeit-von-vbb-fahrausweisen?slug=gueltigkeit-von-vbb-fahrausweisen.

Under the Berlin Higher Education Act, the semester ticket contracts are entered into by the student parliament and the VBB. The Berlin universities are advocating strongly with the VBB and the State of Berlin for more flexible provisions, since the current regulations are burdensome, particularly for first-year students.

Libraries and University Archives

Yes, a few libraries at Freie Universität Berlin are resuming lending services as of May 11, 2020. However, the services are generally only available to members of the university. However, the general public can check out library items from the University Library and the Library of Economics.

The following libraries are open for Freie Universität members to order, check out, and return items:

Other libraries have special regulations regarding services and opening hours:

In preparation, the libraries have taken steps to comply with hygiene regulations, building access limits, visitor traffic paths, and measures to ensure a minimum distance between people.

You can retrieve library items ready for pick-up at the appropriate location during the following times:

  • Monday – Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

If you have questions, please contact:

Further information is available on the University Library website: https://www.fu-berlin.de/en/sites/ub/index.html

No, most libraries are only providing lending services that can be offered with minimal physical contact. These lending services with little physical contact are only available to members of Freie Universität Berlin. The general public can now use the University Library and the Library of Economics again. A few workspaces are avaiable for study use in the University Library and the Library of the Friedrich Meinecke Institute and Art History Institute. Other library services such as reading rooms, collections in open stacks, copy machines, scanners, and computer workstations are still off limits for the time being.

Library items must still be ordered through the Library Portal Primo in advance. You will receive email notification when your items are ready for pick-up. Please wait until you have received the pick-up notification for your items (with the pick-up code for items from the Law Library) before you come to the library.

You can only pick up an item at the library where it is held. Other pick-up locations are not available. Please wear a protective mask when you enter the library and keep an appropriate distance between yourself and others. Only a limited number of people will be allowed to enter the library at a time. Please try to limit your time in the library as much as possible. Disinfectant will be provided.

The lending period for checked-out items has been automatically extended so that you do not need to return them right away now that the libraries are re-opening (unless it has been requested by another user, see below). Before coming to the library please check your user account in the Library Portal Primo and verify the due dates of your items. If you can, renew your check-outs online. The maximum lending period for items has been extended to one year. You can still request items that have been checked out by others. If someone requests an item that you have checked out, you must return it by the new due date.

The University Archives’ reading room reopened on June 23, 2020, and their collection for on-site use only is now accessible to the public, albeit in a limited capacity and subject to the usual hygiene precautions and physical distance regulations.

Opening hours are Monday to Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Visitors need to make an appointment for a time slot in advance because only one or two people are allowed to use the reading room at a time. Visitors must wear protective masks at all times while in the reading room.

You can return library items at any of the library locations that are now open. Whenever possible, please use the book-drops for returns located at the libraries’ entrances.

In preparation, the University Library and the departmental libraries have taken steps to comply with hygiene regulations, building access limits, visitor traffic paths, and measures to ensure that people keep the required distance between themselves and others.

Since July 1, 2020, the University Library and the Library of the Friedrich Meinecke Institute and Art History Institute have made a few workspaces available for study use. As of July 29, 2020, the Campus Library is also providing several workspaces for members of Freie Universität.

Other libraries also plan on making workspaces available soon: the Law Library starting August 7 and the Library of Economics starting August 17. The Library of Social Sciences and East European Studies will also provide workspaces at some point in the near future.

Due to current hygiene measures, there are only a limited number of workspaces available. You must sign up in advance to use them.

You can find out more about using the University Library’s workspaces here. Further information about reserving workspaces in the Campus Library can be found here.

More details about the workspaces in the Library of the Art History Institute and the Friedrich Meinecke Institute are available on the library website (in German).

University Sports Center

As of June 2, 2020, the University Sports Center is offering outdoor sports again under special conditions that adhere to hygiene regulations and physical contact rules: https://www.hochschulsport.fu-berlin.de/news/Outdoor-Sportprogramm.html (in German)

Starting August 3, 2020, some indoor sports activities that do not involve physical contact will be offered again – with the necessary precautions of course: https://www.hochschulsport.fu-berlin.de/news/20-07-07-Vorschau.html (in German)

The University Sports Center will continue to offer its alternative online sports program: https://www.buchsys.de/fu-berlin/angebote/aktueller_zeitraum/_UniSport___HOME-Ticket.html (in German)

No, the KRAFTKLUB gym is closed for the time being. Gym memberships will be automatically extended to compensate for the time the gym was closed.

Information for Freie Universität Employees

University employees should generally start returning to their offices and other regular places of work. The measures defined by your unit based on the basic hygiene plan (in German) must be followed.

Measures include, in particular:

  • Only one person per office.
  • Keep a healthy distance from others (1.5 meters).
  • To reduce aerosols, rooms must be aired out regularly (at least once an hour).
  • Observe proper etiquette when you cough or sneeze.
  • If you cannot keep a distance of 1.5 meters from others, you must wear a mask in the hallways.
  • The number of outside visitors should be kept to an absolute minimum A safe distance of 1.5 meters must be kept at all times, even when welcoming visitors to the university. If it is not possible to keep this distance, you must wear a protective mask.

In certain cases, exceptions can be made for employees to work remotely. The only exception are employees who are essential to on-site operations. Please contact your direct supervisor or your department to make appropriate arrangements.

The heads of departments and units will continue send the personnel office a list of names at the end of the month, stating who worked remotely during this period.

If you belong to an at-risk group, you are not required to return to work on site. For more details, please consult the Robert Koch Institute’s recommendations. With a doctor’s note from your physician, you can continue to work with as little social contact as possible, for example, through remote work from home or a different work arrangement. Please submit your doctor’s note to the head of your unit.

Because of our success in containing the pandemic, we were able to cautiously return to work in research and administration in mid-May and have been able to start limited on-site operations again.

Generally speaking, yes, you still have to go to work. However, you might make use of options such as compensation hours, vacation days, or reducing overtime hours. You also might be able to work remotely.

However, just being afraid of getting sick is not a viable reason to refrain from working. You are only excused from work if you are actually unfit to perform your tasks.

Fear of getting infected at work or on the way to work is not sufficient.


If you are taking care of a sick child who is 12 years old or younger and who is affected by school and daycare closings, you have the option of working remotely.

In addition to that, you can be granted 20 days’ time off regardless of the number of children in your care. In order to be eligible for this extra time off, the following conditions must apply:

  • The community facility, such as a nursery school, daycare center, parent-child cooperative (or similar), school, etc. must actually be closed in response to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and not simply closed as part of their regular schedule, for example, during vacation breaks.
  • The child effected by the closings must be 12 years old or younger.
  • No other childcare options are available for the child or children.
  • Your presence at work is not absolutely necessary during this time.

Please make use of other options first, such as compensation hours, vacation days, or reducing overtime hours. You also might be able to work remotely.

This measure is valid until August 31, 2020.

It is important to distinguish between two different scenarios:

1. You are in quarantine because you are ill:

In this case, you should get a doctor’s note and the usual regulations for sick leave apply. Please submit your doctor’s note to the appropriate office at Freie Universität.

2. You are not ill, but precautionary quarantine measures are necessary:

Here, you have the option of working remotely.

Local health departments are solely responsible for issuing quarantine measures. In this case, you are not sick and do not have a doctor’s note. You will still receive your salary during the duration of the quarantine.

Supervisors have been asked to be very liberal with requests for vacation time off or for comp hours for overtime.

 

Please send an email to krisenberatung@fu-berlin.de, which will put you in contact with the Center for Academic Advising and Psychological Counseling, Social Counseling Services, as well as the Dual Career and Family Service office. You can find more details, including offices’ opening hours when you can call, here.

Foreign Travel and Returning to Germany from Abroad

Thanks to recent positive developments concerning efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent changes in health and safety policies, official travel will be possible again starting July 5, 2020, provided that no new restrictive precautions become necessary in the meantime. Approval of official travel requests, however, still depends on the German Federal Foreign Office’s travel warnings and general advisories (in German). If there is a travel warning for the country you plan to visit, your official travel request will not be approved.

We would also like you to ask yourself the following questions before submitting your official travel request:

  • Can I conduct my business using other modes of communication, for example, a virtual meeting, instead of traveling in person?
  • Is it objectively possible to adhere to the health and safety measures still in place as well as whatever policies might be in force at your destination?

One good alternative might be the audio and video conferencing technology that Freie Universität has available (information in German).

If you are an employee and have work-related questions (for example, about official travel), please send an email to cv-info@fu-berlin.de.  

Students with questions about study abroad should contact Division IV International Affairs at international-office@fu-berlin.de.

Anyone returning to Germany from abroad, or who has had contact with someone who tested positive for the coronavirus, is urgently requested to determine if they need to quarantine themselves for fourteen days based on the regulations found in the “Ordinance on Measures Necessary to Stem the Spread of the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) in Berlin.” This applies even if you are not showing symptoms of respiratory illness. 

If you are in this situation, please contact your work office and the personnel office by phone. You should also contact the local health department in your area. The Berlin Senate Office has set up a 24-hour hotline where you can get advice. The number is 030 90 28 28 28.

If you are an employee or student currently traveling or living abroad with questions about returning to Germany, please contact cv-info@fu-berlin.de.

Social Welfare and Financial Aid

Interim financial aid funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)

Interim financial aid provided by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is intended to help those students who can prove that they are faced with financial hardship caused by the pandemic, who need immediate help, and who are unable to overcome their pandemic-related hardship by making use of other sources of support. Interim financial aid can be applied for by German and foreign students who are enrolled at a public or state-recognised higher education institution in Germany.

Further information can be found here.

SoliFUnd: Financial support for Freie Universität students

Financial support is available for Freie Universität students thanks to a fundraising campaign launched by researchers here at our university. Students can apply for an individual, one-time payment of 500 euros. Applications must be submitted online through the studierendenWERK BERLIN website: www.stw.berlin/solifund. Applications will be processed in the order received. 

  • Online application form for SoliFUnd funding from studierendenWERK BERLIN (in German): www.stw.berlin/solifund
  • studierendenWERK BERLIN’s Social Counseling Center: Telephone consultations available Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Tel.: 030 / 93939 8437 or 030 / 93939 8408
  • Read the campus.leben interview with Reinhard Bernbeck, professor at the Institute for Near Eastern Archaeology at Freie Universität and member of the “Dienstagskreis” list in the Academic Senate, who was responsible for starting the SoliFUnd initiative: https://www.fu-berlin.de/campusleben/lernen-und-lehren/2020/200525-solifund-2-interview-bernbeck/index.html (in German) 

The Social Welfare Package (Sozialschutz-Paket), put in place by the German Bundestag on March 27, 2020, aims to mitigate the economic impact of the coronoavirus epidemic on citizens.

The package includes provisions for self-employed individuals, small businesses, and one-person businesses, but also for families, retired people, and social services. The package also includes measures to make it easier for people to receive basic income and other support for securing their livelihood, including children’s allowances.

More information from the German Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs

The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research decided that students at all levels who are dependent on financial aid under the Federal Training Assistance Act (BAföG) should not suffer financial disadvantages if classes at their educational institution are temporarily canceled or the start of the semester is postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. You can find more information on this topic (in German) here: https://www.bmbf.de/de/karliczek-keine-nachteile-beim-bafoeg-wegen-corona-11122.html

The studierendenwerk Berlin student union recommends that students who cannot take their final examination (e.g. defense of a bachelor thesis) due to the pandemic and are therefore unable to complete their studies within the maximum funding period, should submit a new application for BAföG and present an extra statement explaining the reasons for needing to extend the maximum funding period. You can find the appropriate request form here: https://www.stw.berlin/assets/sw-berlin/BAf%C3%B6G%20Corona/Antrag_Verlaegerung_Foerderhoechstdauer.pdf