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Measures against the spread of the coronavirus in the Higher Education and Research Division of the State of Berlin: Freie Universität discontinues classroom instruction in person / Switch to digital formats / Special regulations

News from Mar 13, 2020

The Governing Mayor of Berlin and Senator for Higher Education and Research, Michael Müller, met with the COVID-19 taskforce headed by Permanent Secretary Steffen Krach today, Friday, March 13, 2020, to decide on further measures with representatives from Berlin higher education institutions, non-university research institutions, and the Studierendenwerk Berlin in addition to receiving counsel from health and medical experts from Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin.

The following measures were agreed upon for the eleven state higher education institutions in the State of Berlin, as well as for Charité – Universitätsmedizin and the non-university research institutions in Berlin. It is also recommended that the private and religious higher education institutions in Berlin implement these measures. 

The following measures are to be observed by the institutions until further notice: 

All classes that require classroom attendance have been discontinued. 

Freie Universität is doing its best to ensure that online formats and other creative possibilities are found in order to maintain teaching operations at its institutions to the extent necessary, provided that these solutions are consistent with other measures.

In order to enable examination dates in justified individual cases, the recommendations of Charité – Universitätsmedizin are to be observed on how to conduct examinations during the COVID-19 pandemic by the respective institution on its own responsibility. 

The libraries of academic institutions of the State of Berlin are no longer granting access to the public (guests or students). Wherever possible online services will be made available. Loan periods for library materials are suspended. Late fees will not be charged during this time. 

Student cafeterias (Mensen) and museums belonging to academic institutions will be closed. The university sports program is discontinued. The Botanic Garden’s enclosed area will be closed. The park will remain open. 

The work of the administrative units will continue for now. To the extent necessary, employees may make use of options such as remote work from home, telecommuting, or other measures, even those that go beyond existing employment agreements. Furthermore, precautions are being taken at all institutions to maintain operations at a minimum. Working in open space offices should be avoided. At the discretion of the respective institution, research operations may continue in justified individual cases as long as they are in accordance with the mandatory and recommended measures here.

The scientific institutions are required not to authorize official travel, regardless of the purpose or destination, whether in Germany or abroad. They must also revoke any such authorizations already made. The same applies to upcoming study abroad or research stays that have not yet begun and are run through programs at the respective institutions.

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