A Transparent Overview: Current Data on Covid-19 Cases at Freie Universität Berlin
News from Nov 16, 2021
Four weeks ago, we kicked off the semester with our #yeswecampus campaign. Since then, Freie Universität Berlin has been conducting as much in-person teaching as possible while observing the current health and safety measures. A large majority of our university members have shown through their exemplary and responsible conduct just how important returning to the classroom in person is to our students and teachers.
But this semester is also a “transitional semester,” during which we have to keep in mind the difficult balance between teaching on campus and the current course of the pandemic.
What are the current university statistics regarding the pandemic?
On-Campus Teaching and Vaccination Rates
Right now about three-quarters of classes are taking place in person. With over 5,000 courses being offered, that’s no small number. However, the amount of in-person versus online teaching varies greatly between departments, depending on the specific subject matter or room requirements. Some departments are at almost 100 percent with in-person teaching, while others are teaching up to 40 percent of their classes online.
One of the requirements for returning to in-person teaching in such strong numbers is a high vaccination rate at our university. Survey results as well as the 3G-rule checks on campus over the last few weeks suggest a vaccination rate of over 90 percent among students. A large number of university employees have also taken advantage of vaccination opportunities provided by the Berlin Senate and Freie Universität.
Trust and Monitoring the Situation
Students must currently observe the 3G-rule in order to attend classes in person. To date, our security personnel has conducted over 7,600 spot checks, and due to the present situation they will be checking even more frequently. Based on these spot checks we can estimate that we have a vaccination rate of 93 percent. They also reveal that we are incredibly disciplined when it comes to following the 3G-rule. Among students, less than one person in a thousand has not been able to provide proof of being vaccinated, recovered, or tested.
The decision to conduct spot checks to monitor the situation was agreed upon by the State of Berlin in conjunction with Berlin's colleges and universities. Instructors at Freie Universität are not required to check students' status; however, they have the right to do so.
Reported Cases on Campus
Even with high vaccinations rates, breakthrough cases are still a possibility: Vaccinated individuals can still contract the virus. The university takes these cases very seriously, which is why we are carefully monitoring infections on campus. The university has put in place a detailed reporting system in order to share information about potential infections quickly and respond appropriately.
During the first four weeks of the semester, over 30,000 people were on our campuses in Dahlem, Lankwitz, and Düppel. Only a few cases of infection among students and employees have been reported up to now. Here’s an overview:
- For the week of October 18 to 24, 2021: 21 reported cases
- For the week of October 25 to 31, 2021: 39 reported cases
- For the week of November 1 to 7, 2021: 24 reported cases
- For the week of November 8 to 14, 2021: 27 reported cases
Freie Universität Berlin regularly provides updates about the current situation at https://www.fu-berlin.de/en/sites/coronavirus/index.html
University members are asked to observe the following:
- Please continue to observe the by now familiar health and safety measures at all times.
- If you have cold symptoms, do not come to campus.
- Continue to test yourself regularly, even if you are vaccinated or have fully recovered.
- Be sure to always check in when you attend classes by scanning the QR code to help with contact tracing.
- When you are inside please use an FFP2 mask – this is an extra precaution that goes above and beyond the current official regulations.