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Prospective Plan for Reopening Campus during the 2021 Summer Semester

News from May 28, 2021

With the number of infections dropping and the vaccination campaign making progress, Berlin’s Senate Chancellery and its universities and colleges have agreed upon steps toward reopening during the current summer semester. These primarily concern the availability of workspaces and other services provided by the libraries and computer labs, the student cafeteria in the “Rost- und Silberlaube,” and teaching and studying at Freie Universität. June 4 and June 18 are the dates on which certain restrictions will be relaxed. Resolutions regarding fixed deadlines for written assignments have also been agreed upon. The university’s occupational health physicians are planning to carry out vaccinations on campus from the second week of June. It will be possible to apply for business travel planned for July 1 onward.

Starting June 4, 2021, the following changes are scheduled:

  • Libraries and computer labs will resume providing workspaces and other services on site. You will need to make reservations in advance and show proof of a recent negative Covid-19 test. The current regulations on lending services with little physical contact and online services will remain in place. Please visit the individual libraries’ websites for specific details.
  • The student cafeteria in the “Rost- und Silberlaube” will resume providing click and collect meals. Service is scheduled to restart as early as June 1, 2021.
  • The maximum number of participants for practical teaching formats, such as science labs or field trips, as well as for examinations that must be conducted on site will remain at 25 people per room.

Starting June 18, 2021, further changes are scheduled that will allow for more reopening:

  • At this point, the maximum number of participants for practical teaching formats, such as science labs or field trips, will be raised to 40 people per room.
  • In general, the current recommendation is for examinations to still be conducted digitally. However, in-person examinations can take place without a set limit on the number of participants, depending where the exam is to take place and as long as the safety and hygiene regulations are strictly observed.
  • Studying and teaching will continue to take place online for the most part. Individual departments may implement more in-person teaching on a case-by-case basis if there are strong reasons for doing so. This includes practical teaching formats, courses with small groups, as well as outdoor courses. However, a course can only switch to being held in person if there is also an alternative online or hybrid option in place.

Deadlines for final projects, term papers, and other written assignments that are due by June 30, 2021, can be suspended. After July 1, 2021, the clock starts ticking again, but you will still have the full amount of time originally allotted to complete the assignment. As of July 1, 2021, business travel in accordance with current legal provisions will be allowed again. Employees will continue to work primarily from home during the month of June due to the legal regulations that are still in effect.

The State of Berlin plans to amend the infection protection ordinance to reflect these decisions within the next few days in order to provide the legal framework necessary to implement these steps toward reopening. The current distancing and hygiene measures, including the requirement to wear an FFP2 mask when indoors, will remain in place for all members of the university until further notice. Students must provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test in order to participate in courses or exams conducted in person. Students who have had Covid-19 and recovered or who are fully vaccinated according to current legal provisions do not need to provide negative test results.

Vaccinations are another crucial step toward controlling the pandemic. The Occupational Health Service will be providing vaccines for university employees at Freie Universität Berlin’s vaccination center starting the second week of June at the earliest. Plans are being made to extend this service to students as well. However, it is still unclear how many doses will be available and when more will be delivered. Please check the university’s Covid-19 website regularly for updates. University members will also be notified via email as soon as it is possible to sign up for an appointment.

Press release on the resolutions of the Senate Chancellery for Higher Education and Research and the Landeskonferenz der Rektoren und Präsidenten der Berliner Hochschulen (LKRP) (in German).

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