In dealing with the corona virus (SARS-CoV-2), the BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg is guided by the general recommendations for action of the federal government, the state and the local health authorities, and makes appropriate decisions for the BTU, with the protection of BTU employees, students and guests being the main focus.
A crisis management team has been set up at the BTU to ensure a continuous assessment of the situation. The crisis management team keeps employees and students continuously informed about current developments and decisions.
On 8 May 2020 the new containment regulation of the State of Brandenburg (german only) came into force.
For BTU as a state university in Brandenburg, there will be small changes:
- Committee meetings, which make presence mandatory, are again possible on site
- Examinations and laboratory training are possible in presence, if there are no alternatives and the equipment in the laboratories forces a presence
The current developments allow us to organize and implement our so-called “Präsenzwechselbetrieb" from 18. May 2020.
What remains as before? What will be possible from 18. May onwards?
- BTU buildings will remain closed
- Business trips are generally prohibited
- Home office is still the rule based on trust working hours
- Personal consultation takes place only online
- Research in the laboratories in coordination with the faculties and on the basis of the pandemic guidelines
- Selected administrative areas in coordination with the administrative management and on the basis of the pandemic guidelines
- Largely digital postal traffic
- Supervisors ensure compliance with the pandemic guidelines in their areas of responsibility
Newly enabled from 18. May:
- Laboratory training, which require a compulsory presence due to the equipment of the laboratory, can be planned and carried out by the chair and department heads in close coordination with the faculty management and on the basis of the pandemic guidelines
- Presence exams must be reduced to the absolute minimum. In addition, organisational and personnel resources must be available to carry them out. The faculties are already working on a concept for this
- Students who are writing bachelor and master theses and need the technical equipment of a laboratory for this purpose can carry out the absolutely necessary laboratory work on site in coordination with the laboratory managers
- Meetings of the BTU committees that cannot be postponed can be held again on site - provided that no other form of the meeting is possible and the number of participants is limited to the absolute minimum
- Business trips are possible on request (krisenstab+personal(at)b-tu.de) and if absolutely necessary within Brandenburg and Berlin (ministry etc.) under observance of the hygiene and distance regulations
As a university, we plan our teaching and examination operations on a long-term basis. For this reason it is very important that we start thinking about the coming winter semester now. The experts are still reckoning with months of distance requirements. For this reason: when planning, the first priority should be contactless and digital based teaching.
A bit of normality is coming back, even if under completely new conditions and completely new rules. Let us use the framework as responsibly and constructively as possible. With your individual behaviour you are a role model and you protect not only yourself but also your colleagues, your students, your employees and their environment. In doing so, you make a significant contribution to ensuring that we can and will continue to fulfil our mission in teaching, research and transfer at all our locations.
Even if things are different than they were at the beginning of March, we are all working with the greatest commitment every day to make a functioning university possible.
BTU Governance would like to thank you all very much for this!
The assessment of the current situation in the BTU's environment, together with the small general easing measures already defined, will allow the crisis unit to move from its current online operation to an initial phase on the way back to normal operation, as part of a phased plan. The overriding principle remains to avoid endangering oneself and others by means of appropriate hygiene and prescribed protective measures and to pay special attention to groups of persons requiring special protection! People with family responsibilities also need our special support.
This means that corresponding regulations of the federal, state and local authorities as well as the health authorities must be observed in any case. The principles of home office operation formulated for online operation also continue to apply in the presence core operation with the aim of improving the workability of individual functional areas in laboratory-based research and in a few areas of administration:
- In addition to the critical infrastructures at the BTU, research work in the workshops and laboratories that cannot be postponed is planned for presence core operation. This means that only in the laboratories and workshops is research core operation possible with minimal staffing. From 4.5.2020, deaneries and a few selected administrative areas will be able to start work in the offices (here, too, with minimal staffing). These areas have already been informed.
- Our libraries at all three locations can already be used again for lending and delivering books. An extended access to the libraries will be available for our students from 4 May 2020.
- For all other areas, nothing will change from the current status and it will not be possible to use the offices in these areas during the reference core operation.
- Guests at the BTU will generally still not be granted access.
- All office hours are also to be carried out digitally in the presence core operation.
As the federal and state governments announced on 15th April, universities will also continue to work online. This means that from 20 April up to and including 3 May 2020, nothing will change in the current situation.
- BTU will continue to perform its core functions and will do so in the home office by default,
- employees continue to receive general permission for home work until revoked. A separate notification is not necessary!
- offices, experimental halls, laboratories, workshops, sports facilities, teaching rooms of any kind, etc. are generally not to be entered during online mode,
- business trips are still prohibited,
- events at the BTU do not take place,
- the refectories and cafeterias will remain closed,
- for academic staff, the period of trusted working hours continues to apply in accordance with the valid agreement. For the non-scientific employees of BTU, the principle of confidential working hours has also applied since 24 March 2020 and until revoked. Therefore, working hours are not to be recorded. During this period, employees are required to work the hours owed to them and are responsible for ensuring the regulations (e.g. rest periods, break times, etc.),
- in addition to the crisis management team, there is also our hotline, which can be contacted Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and is available for questions and problems relating to the effects of the Corona pandemic (https://www.b-tu.de/en/university/governance-and-management/information-about-the-coronavirus). In addition, the FAQs are regularly updated and of course we can all be reached via our usual digital channels.
Based on the current planning status - and always on the basis of the assessment of the current situation - the BTU will be able to enter a first stage of opening up from 4 May 2020. The stage plan will be communicated in the coming week. The universities in the State of Brandenburg have agreed with the Ministry that the entire semester will run as an online semester. There will be internships for students in a few and selected areas. The criteria would be, for example: Necessity of presence due to practically necessary work in the laboratory as well as ensuring the recommended hygiene standards (here, the universities' request to the Robert Koch Institute is running). However, these limited attendance offers will not be able to start before June!
The extended containment ordinance enables libraries at universities to provide an extended range of services. In the coming weeks, it will be necessary to further refine their own digital teaching concept and digital processes.
The eLearning team of the IKMZ/Multimedia Centre offers teachers support in all media-didactic and technological questions concerning the conversion of teaching to digital teaching and learning formats in order to enable online teaching. You can reach the established telephone hotline "Digital Teaching" from Monday to Friday from 9.00 a.m. to 3.00 p.m. under the telephone number: T+49 355 69-3939. Likewise, your inquiries will be distributed to the eLearning team by e-mail and processed as quickly as possible. Further information (FAQs) can be found at https://www.b-tu.de/elearning/lehre-online.
In the event of a quarantine case, measures must be agreed between superiors and employees to check whether and which activities can be carried out from home. All superiors should report any quarantine cases to human resources:
krisenstab+personal(at)b-tu.de (T: 0355/69-2166)
The Robert Koch Institute continuously updates the international risk areas and recommendations for action. For the latest information, please also refer to the Robert Koch Institute's website at www.rki.de.
Current information and regulations in Brandenburg in connection with the corona pandemic: Regulation on measures to contain the corona virus SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 in Brandenburg (German only, valid from 8.5.2020)