Current information on handling and effects of the corona pandemic Questions and answers for members of the BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg

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.

Pandemic Action Guidelines of the BTU

New informations

January 11th, 2021: information from the BTU crisis team / fourth regulation containment measures

Dear students,

dear colleagues,

With the fourth regulation on temporary containment measures due to the SARS-CoV-2 virus and COVID-19 in the state of Brandenburg from January, 8th the already existing regulations for universities were continued. There are no significant changes for professional activities, studies and research. In particular, this means that priority should continue to be given to working from home and that business contacts should be reduced to the absolute minimum necessary.

The regulation newly stipulates a movement limit for so-called hotspots, according to which, if the incidence exceeds 200 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants within seven days, a radius of 15 kilometers may not be exceeded for private purposes (e.g., sports). This radius is measured from the respective county or city border and applies exclusively for private purposes. The necessary way to the office is still allowed. Should you require an employer's certificate attesting to your activity at the BTU, you can request this from your responsible personnel department or at krisenstab+personal(at)b-tu.de. However, we would like to explicitly point out that the certificate is only required in Brandenburg if you need to travel more than 15 km from your responsible district or city border to your place of employment. It is not known whether such a certificate will be requested during possible inspections or whether it is sufficient to indicate the route to work.

Taking into account the current conditions that in the BTU-wide presence change operation, to work from home remains the first choice and meaningful work should be possible at home, the telephone instructions for call forwarding, among other things, have been revised and expanded. The operating aids can be found on the intranet.

In addition, the crisis team would like to point out that the need for childcare due to widely closed schools and daycare facilities places a special burden on students, faculty and other employees of the BTU. Thankfully, all employees and students are trying to cope with this double burden as best they can. In individual cases, it may be possible to observe deficits in terms of time or content in the fulfillment of tasks in the various areas of work due to the now significantly increased demands. The crisis management team thanks you for your mutual consideration and support and asks you to be open to alternative solutions. 

With sincere thanks and kind regards

Krisenstab / Crisis Management Team

krisenstab(at)b-tu.de

December 14th, 2020: Current information of the crisis management team

Dear students,

Dear Colleagues,

First and foremost, we would like to thank you for your discipline and patience over the past few days, weeks, and months as we have now been maintaining BTU operations along with the pandemic-related restrictions. The continued high incidence of corona infection in the region makes it necessary to increase our efforts to ensure compliance with existing regulations, even though this will involve further restrictions.

The following regulations serve the purpose of achieving the protection goals agreed upon by the states with the federal government, which will be concretized for Brandenburg in the short term in the Containment Ordinance. By once again reducing contacts before Christmas, the BTU is also trying to protect the few possible encounters in the family environment during the holidays in the best possible way.

We therefore urgently appeal to supervisors and employees to further reduce contacts at the BTU as well and, where possible, to work from home. This includes giving priority to conducting meetings, consultations, job interviews or vocation interviews online.

Restrictions within the University on change of attendance will remain in effect with the following changes:

Teaching and studying

For the time being, courses will be held online only until the end of the lecture period. The following special arrangements are possible according to the current state of knowledge:

Laboratory practicals that require mandatory presence due to the physical equipment of the classroom can be planned and carried out by the department heads in close coordination with the faculty management and on the basis of the pandemic action guidelines. However, check for possible rescheduling of laboratory practicals!

In addition, the respective relevant legal requirements of the Brandenburg SARS-CoV2 Containment Ordinance must be observed. Pay particular attention here to possible maximum person limits for the implementation of attendance events. In the currently not yet approved draft of the new EindämVO, the limit is 5 persons.

Students who are writing bachelor's and master's theses and require the material equipment of a laboratory for this purpose can carry out the mandatory laboratory work on site in agreement with the persons responsible for the laboratory. However, in addition to the permissible maximum number of persons in accordance with the Brandenburg SARS-CoV2 containment ordinance, it is also advisable to check whether it appears possible to postpone this work. The persons in charge of the laboratories have to pay attention to the compliance with the pandemic action guideline when occupying the laboratories.

As it currently stands, face-to-face instruction in instrumental music, but excluding wind instruments, may be conducted for classes in the IGP program. Vocal instruction may not be conducted in a face-to-face setting. 

Arrangements for examinations are coordinated between the university administration and the deans.

Mandatory research that cannot be done from by work from home will continue to be possible after coordination with faculty leaders and based on pandemic action guidelines. However, please ensure that as few employees as possible are on BTU premises, thus supporting contact minimization.

Library

From Dec. 15th to Dec. 20th 2020:

The library at the main campus, including the reading rooms, will remain open on weekdays from 9 am to 5 pm. The operation of the Senftenberg and Sachsendorf campus libraries will be limited to lending on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

From Dec. 21st to Dec. 23rd 2020: 

The campus libraries in Sachsendorf and Senftenberg will be closed. The intention is to provide urgently needed literature at the campus electronically. At the main campus, operations will be limited. Reading rooms are closed, media can be borrowed and returned, and a few research stations are available on the ground floor. The library at Central Campus will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

From Dec. 24th 2020 to Jan. 3rd 2021:

The libraries at all locations will be closed. Please find the opening hours starting from January 4th on the homepage.

Business trips

Business trips in Germany and abroad are generally not approved to January 10th 2021. Business trips that have already been approved should be cancelled. For particularly compelling reasons that cannot be postponed, official travel may be given to the crisis management team for prior approval, or already approved travel may be given to the crisis management team for approval, with the consent of the Dean's Office, the VP or the Chancellor. The respective approvers are asked to check in advance with a high standard.

Building opening

Building opening hours in effect since November will continue. Teaching rooms will only be opened after announced occupancy.

As the Studentenwerk Frankfurt/Oder informs, the Mensa will be closed from Wednesday (Dec. 16th) until January 1st 2021 for the time being.

The crisis team wishes you all a healthy and wonderful Christmas.

Krisenstab / Crisis Management Team

Brandenburgische Technische Universität Cottbus-Senftenberg

Platz der Deutschen Einheit 1

03046 Cottbus

www.b-tu.de

krisenstab(at)b-tu.de

November 12th, 2020: Electronic contact tracking at BTU

Ladies and gentlemen, dear colleagues and students

Like other institutions, we will start with an electronic contact tracing system on Monday, 16.11.2020. The first universities (TU Dresden, TH Wildau) have launched apps or a web services as they began operating under the  Covid restrictions. These will significantly improve the way contact tracing in case of infection is done in the next few weeks. The BTU has also decided to go down this route. The following is an overview of the information available. We also ask that you use our website to find out how to use the system and to familiarize yourself with it. The use of the app or web application is mandatory during the pandemic.

Electronic contact tracing at BTU

At the start of the winter semester, the BTU will introduce an electronic system for tracing contacts at all of its locations. This system was developed at the TH Wildau in strict accordance with the data protection regulations and has been in successful operation there since October. The new system facilitates the collection of personal data required by the State of Brandenburg (SARS-CoV-2 Containment Ordinance of the State of Brandenburg in its current version) to enable contact tracing at the request of the responsible health authorities.

How does the system work?

BTU rooms in which several people are present (lecture halls, seminar rooms, laboratories, meeting rooms, etc.) are currently being equipped with a room-specific QR code. Before entering the room, you start an platform-independent app and scan that QR code. When leaving the room, you sign out of the room using the app. The app stores in a database room number, attendance time and your personal data (first and last name, e-mail address, for guests the phone number can also be entered) required for contact tracing. If you do not have a mobile device, the mobile app is not available or the QR code cannot be read, you must manually register your presence in the room at the respective time in the web application. You can use any Internet computer.

You can register for rooms that are not equipped with a room-specific QR code (offices, workshops, etc.) using the list function in the app. BTU guests enter their contact information using a form in the app. If guests expressly request it, BTU employees will assist them recording their presence.

Is the system secure?

The attendance data is stored in encrypted form in a database and is automatically deleted after four weeks. The database runs on the university's own server. The data is only recorded and passed on for the purpose of contact tracking and is DSGVO-compliant.

Who can access the data?

In the event of a request for contact data by the health authorities, only a member of the university management in the presence of a trusted representative of the staff council can access the data.

Do I have to use the app or web application?

Yes, due to legal regulations the university has to collect your data for contact tracing purposes and the use of the app or web application is mandatory during the pandemic. The app or web application replaces the paper lists that had to be kept up to now. The data will be accessed by order of the health authorities only. Access is carried out by the university management in the presence of a representative of the staff council.

Can I ask the university to inform me personally about an infection case in my working environment?

You have the advanced option of giving your consent to be notified by the university itself. In this case, you will be informed personally by the BTU crisis management team when an infection in your area becomes known. This is how the BTU supports the health authorities, who are currently operating under high stress. This internal notification service is not obligatory. It can be activated and deactivated at any time.

Where can I find more information on contact tracing at BTU?

We provide detailed information about our technical solution on our website.

Have a good semester and stay healthy!

Krisenstab / Crisis Management Team

Reporting Mechanism in Quarantine Cases

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)

Further we are in alternating presence operation and we ask you to consider the regulations

Alternating presence operation

Dear colleagues,

we thank you for your patience, your prudence and your sense of responsibility. After two weeks of limited presence at the BTU and a favourable course of the infection in southern Brandenburg, business trips within Germany are possible from June 1st and from June 15th it is planned to extend the alternating presence throughout the BTU. The basis of this and any further steps towards normal operation is the consistent minimization of contact and the observance of protective measures towards oneself and others in order to avoid infections. This also includes wearing a mouth-nose cover in the publicly accessible areas within the BTU buildings.

In BTU-wide alternating presence operation, home office remains the first choice where meaningful work at home is possible and desirable. From June 15th onwards, all of you - in addition to teleworking - will also have the opportunity to work at BTU according to an occupancy plan that has been agreed upon in your area. Because daycare centres and schools are still open to a limited extent, the concerns of people with family responsibilities will continue to be taken into account. Supervisors are requested to draw up occupancy plans for shift work together with employees. Information on this and on local behaviour can be found in the current BTU pandemic action guidelines. You must take note of these guidelines and confirm them to your supervisor by e-mail.

apply from June 1st:

  • Necessary business trips within Germany are generally permitted according to the Business Trip Policy. Approval by the crisis management team is not required. Hygiene and protective measures must be considered. Business trip authorisations can also be issued electronically, e.g. by e-mail. These electronic approvals are to be enclosed with the accounting of the business trip.
  • Required international business trips must be approved by the superior, and approval must then be granted by the crisis management team.

As of 15 June (still) applies:

  • Principle of working from home on the basis of confidential working hours.
  • All employees have the opportunity to carry out their work at the BTU on the basis of a coordinated occupancy plan. The guidelines for action and documentation obligations must be fulfilled by every employee on site at the BTU.
  • Access to the BTU buildings will continue to be provided by the security services. Unfortunately, the ateliers and PC pools must still be closed.
  • Personal consultations and meetings will continue to take place online.
  • The BTU hotlines will remain in service.
  • The opening and services of the library will still be available.
  • Postal services will remain electronically. A decision will be made in the course of the coming week as to whether a limited physical postal service will be launched.

Further current information:

Since May 25th the Mensa on the central campus in Cottbus has reopened. Lunch and snacks are offered. Up-to-date information, including information on the other BTU sites if applicable, can be found on the Studentenwerk's homepage.

Tools for web and video conferencing have now become an integral part of our work, not only for online teaching but also for fulfilling tasks in research and administration. The IKMZ has put together an overview of the tools now available, so that you can choose the right tool for your purposes.

In order to provide practical support for compliance with the obligation to wear masks in BTU buildings, the crisis management team has ordered masks with the BTU logo. The masks are distributed centrally by the faculties and departments as needed.

The Executive Committee and the Crisis Management Team assume that these adapted conditions will enable you to achieve new flexibility in your everyday work. Before you start your well-earned summer vacation, we wish you a successful end-of-semester spurt.

Thank you very much for your great will to shape the future! We notice this every day anew and are very grateful for this.

On behalf of the entire Executive Committee, I wish you continued good health

Your

Christiane Hipp

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, updated on 8 January 2021)

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