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Recent Developments and Further Plans for the Winter Semester

News from Dec 07, 2021

Given the troubling course of the pandemic at the moment, Freie Universität Berlin must respond to the rapidly changing situation and do what we can as a university community to slow the spread of infection.

The German federal and state governments have agreed on measures to help break the fourth wave of Covid-19. Amendments to the "Protection against Infection Act" are being put into place at the federal level, while the Berlin Senate just recently passed further restrictions. The new legislation does not include changes that fundamentally impact operations at Berlin's universities and colleges.

Recent Developments

We have made the following observations concerning developments at our university: The pandemic situation on campus is stable, and, in absolute numbers, it remains low compared to the state of Berlin as a whole. If a positive case is reported, the university's administrative units, academic departments, and institutes have been responding quickly to break the chain of infection. We are already monitoring observance of health and safety measures, including the "3G rule," more carefully. We have conducted checks on about 14,000 people, revealing that over 90 percent of students are vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19. We assume that these rates are similar for university employees.

Freie Universität Berlin decided to return to campus this winter semester with as much in-person activity as possible - as a united effort and without losing sight of our shared social responsibility to each other. We don't want to let go of this vision, but we recognize the need to take action in light of the spread of infection in Berlin and in Germany right now. To stop the fourth wave, we can help by reducing our contact with others and limiting our mobility.

Further Plans for the Winter Semester

After intensive consultations, Covid-19 Task Force has decided on the following measures for studying and teaching at Freie Universität Berlin over the next several weeks:

  • From December 13, 2021, to January 17, 2022, courses that do not necessarily have to be held in person shall be increasingly offered in digital or hybrid formats. Courses that involve hands-on learning, practical activities, as well as exams or other educational activities scheduled to take place on site can, with good cause, still do so. The academic departments and institutes are responsible for arranging the specifics for teaching in their areas given their respective needs and facilities.    
  • We ask that all instructors continue to be flexible when it comes to attendance requirements and to be accommodating to students in light of the impact the pandemic is having on them.      
  • Our campus, libraries, computer labs, and other research facilities will remain open to university members.  
  • In January 2022, we will reassess the situation with the departments and offices responsible for academic affairs and teaching and inform you of how we plan to proceed as soon as possible. 

We have intensified our health and safety measures in order to ensure that we are doing all we can to protect each other while maintaining on-site operations. You can find the updated measures in our revised basic hygiene plan. Here are some of the main points:

  • Strict observation of the standard health and safety precautions;    
  • The 3G rule applies to all university members, and the 2G rule applies to cafeterias and events;     
  • Attendance of in-person courses, exams, etc. must be documented using the appropriate digital technology (QR codes and the "a.nwesen.de" app);       
  • FFP2 masks must be worn at all times when inside - except for the person presenting; 
  • You are strongly encouraged to continue to get tested regularly, even if you are vaccinated or recovered.
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