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CORONA VIRUS: Employees FAQ

How does the university keep the employees up-to-date with regard to COVID-19

Jacobs University’s primary commitment, besides offering a first-class education, is to keep its community – students and staff – safe and healthy.
Regarding the spread of the coronavirus, our employees receive frequent and regular information through

  • Jacobs University’s intranet – where an information page on corona was set up
  • Posters, which were put up in all common rooms of our university
  • Update emails from the university’s leadership
  • Peer group and individual communication
  • Videoconferencing
  • Information from the works council

Can I do remote work?

Our overriding principle is to protect the health and safety of our employees AND our students – who not only learn, and research here, but also live on campus.

In March 2020, the university asked all employees to work remotely whenever possible. The option of mobile working will remain until 26 August.

Meanwhile, however, the situation in Germany has eased. At the federal as well as at the state level, precautionary measures are being gradually reduced. Therefore, Jacobs University is also striving for a gradual return to more presence work on the campus. The return to work on campus is also based on a voluntary basis.

A gradual return to campus work will be made in consultation with the direct supervisor, considering operational requirements and weighing up individual situations and health risks. All employees and external service providers must, of course, strictly observe the applicable safety and hygiene measures in all possible steps towards more presence work on campus:

  • Ensuring a minimum distance of 1.5 meters wherever possible
  • Adherence to a maximum number of people per room (one person / 10 sqm room area) wherever possible
  • Wearing mouth-nose covers if the safety distance or maximum room occupancy cannot be permanently guaranteed
  • Observance of the hygiene rules
  • Ensure sufficient and continuous ventilation or fresh air supply.

A comprehensive individual office occupation would be the ideal case for a return to more presence work. However, this is of course not always and not everywhere possible due to limited space, certain operational procedures and overlapping working hours. For this reason, each team should and can develop an appropriate solution in consultation with the direct superior based on the following modalities:

  • Flexible use of office space, especially in combination with mobile work (alternating)
  • Working in the office on a daily, phased or hourly basis
  • If necessary and where possible, changing the spatial division of the office in order to maintain safety distances

The responsible supervisors at Jacobs University have received guidelines on how to implement the above rules, which will enable them to discuss all necessary measures within the team and answer further questions.

What do I have to do to be able to work remotely? What are the technical requirements?

All necessary basic technical requirements and explanations for mobile working can be found on our teamwork page “How To Work Mobile at Jacobs University”.
Please keep in mind that when you work from home you also need to adhere to the principles of data protection and work safety measures. For more information please carefully read the information sheet.
Please do not hesitate to contact your HR contact partner should you have any questions.

What should I do if I come back from a coronavirus risk area?

At present, if you are arriving from a high-risk country, German health regulations require the following:

  • You have to quarantine in Germany for 2 weeks. In case you decide to quarantine in Bremen this involves the obligation to inform the respective Bremen authorities – for the city of Bremen the “Ordnungsamt” (mail to: infektionsschutz@ordnungsamt.bremen.de) and for Bremerhaven the Bremerhaven Health Department (0471/5902281). Please be aware that any breach of this obligation will result in the payment of a fine. With regard to the regulations of Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen) please visit these FAQ.
  • Or provide evidence of a recent negative test for COVID-19 (taken within the last 48 hours), in which case you would not need to quarantine. This test has to be provided either in English or German.

Please check here for up-to-date entry requirements into Germany. For details about the relevant regulations for the city-state of Bremen see here or the webpage from the “Senator for the Interior”: For a list of countries whose citizens are required to quarantine upon entry, if they do not have a recent negative test, please refer to the website of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI).

What precautionary measures and guidelines do I have to consider?

Jacobs University is taking all measures to slow down the further spread of the virus in the whole society – this is a question of solidarity within a society as a whole.
Jacobs University recommends its community members to take all precautionary measures available to stay healthy:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. In order to enable this, Jacobs University has installed hand disinfectant dispensers in all serveries, the coffee bar and all relevant administrative offices. Also free individual disinfection dispensers are available to all Jacobs affiliates.
  • Maintain mandatory social distancing: 1.5 meters distance between each party;
  • Refrain from touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Wear a mouth and nose cover if you can’t keep a minimum distance of 1,50 meters from any other person.
  • All our employees who can perform their services without being present on campus, have the option to work remotely in agreement with their supervisor until August 26.
  • Personal meetings on campus should be reduced whenever possible – keep the minimum distance of 1,50 meters.
  • Employees are currently not allowed to use Jacobs University’s catering facilities, due to the regulations agreed on with local authorities.

I do research at Jacobs University. What guidelines do I have to consider?

Your safety and the safety of the coworkers in your laboratories is our utmost concern. As an additional precautionary measure against the spread of the corona virus and in alignment with emerging requirements of the city of Bremen, please implement the following for the experimental research laboratories in order to allow a secure reduced operation:

1) Research work that does not require experimental laboratory work should be done through mobile work or in the offices.

2) Enhanced occupational hygiene measures must be in place, which include, besides the recommended 1.5-meter minimum distance between coworkers, regular disinfection of common surfaces such as door handles and keyboards. Mouth and nose covers should be worn and lab coats must be worn and cleaned regularly.

3) Please limit the maximum number of persons working in the laboratories. No guests are allowed in the laboratories. Please keep a presence book in your laboratories. Experimental work should be limited to project activities with upcoming deliverables and milestones.

What do I, as an employee, have to consider regarding mouth and nose covers?

Since Monday, 27 April 2020, it is mandatory to wear mouth and nose covers in Bremen and Bremerhaven – but also in neighboring Lower Saxony. This obligation applies when using local public transport (ÖPNV) and when entering retail shops or similar establishments.

  • Public space: What does this obligation mean for you as a participant in public life in Bremen? Where and how can you implement this duty? What do you need to consider?
  • Jacobs University: What does this obligation mean for you as an employee in the workplace? Which regulations apply at Jacobs University?

MOUTH-NOSE COVERS IN PUBLIC SPACES
Starting at the end of April 2020, all German states have an obligation to cover mouth and nose (-> wearing a mouth-nose cover) in situations where the recommended minimum distance of 1.5 meters cannot be maintained or is difficult to maintain. These are situations such as the use of local public transport (this already includes the waiting area at bus stops) and shopping situations. Children under the age of seven years and persons who cannot wear a mouth-nose cover because of a health impairment or disability are exempt from the obligation to wear mouth and nose covers.
The Obligatory wearing refers to textile coverings that can reduce the transfer capacity of droplet particles. Everyday masks (mouth and nose covers / community masks), scarves, shawls and similar products are therefore suitable. This obligation does NOT apply to the wearing of masks, which are reserved exclusively for the relevant specialist personnel (surgical masks, FFP Masks). To qualified personnel special conditions with special masks apply.
The new obligation order is an additional protective measure, especially for other persons in public life. Persons who are wearing an appropriate mouth-nose cover should therefore be sure to observe the following rules (see also this German BZgA video):

  • Even when wearing a mouth-nose cover the recommended safety distance of 1.5 meters to the next person should be maintained if possible
  • The current hygiene regulations (see recommendations of the Robert Koch Institute www.rki.de and https://www.infektionsschutz.de) must be consistently followed.
  • When putting on a mouth-nose cover, please make sure not to touch the inside thereby contaminating it. Hands should be washed thoroughly with soap before putting on the mouth and nose cover.
  • The mouth-nose cover must be positioned correctly over the mouth, nose and cheeks and must fit as tightly as possible around the edges to minimize air ingress at the sides.
  • The first time you use the mouth-nose cover, check that it allows enough air to pass through to minimize the risk of obstructing normal breathing.
  • A damp mouth-nose cover should be removed immediately and replaced if necessary.
  • The outside of the used mouth-nose cover is potentially infectious. To prevent contamination of the hands, do not touch them.
  • After removing the mouth-nose cover, please wash your hands thoroughly in accordance with general hygiene rules.
  • The mouth-nose cover should be stored in an airtight bag or similar after removal, or washed immediately. It should only be stored for as short as possible to avoid the formation of mold.
  • After a single use, washable mouth-nose covers should ideally be washed at 95 degrees, but at least at 60 degrees, and then dried completely.

Further answers on the subject of "Protecting yourself and others". BZgA provides a detailed (German) information sheet on the topic of mouth-nose covering.

MOUTH-NOSE COVERS AT JACOBS UNIVERSITY
In Jacobs University buildings, the principle of maintaining a minimum distance of 1.5 meters from other people (employees, students, service providers, visitors, guests) applies. There is no basic obligation to wear a mouth-nose cover.
However, if it is not possible to maintain this distance, especially through regular personal contact, employees in these areas of the building are obliged to wear a mouth-nose cover.
In order to minimize the obligation to wear a mouth-nose cover and as additional protection for employees and students, Jacobs University will promptly install Perspex partitions and distance markings in areas with regular movement of persons.
To employees who, despite these precautionary measures, cannot permanently maintain a minimum distance of 1.5m from other people in their work area the following regulations apply:

  • Jacobs University provides those employees who regularly work in an area where a permanent distance of at least 1.5 meters to other people (employees, students, guests, visitors) cannot be maintained with a sufficient number of suitable mouth-nose covers.
  • The application and provision of those mouth-nose covers is carried out solely by the respective division manager (mail to j.moerler@jacobs-university.de with the details for the division and the number of employees).
  • Employees are responsible for cleaning and for observing other recommendations for use and storage.
  • The obligation to wear the mouth-nose cover applies only at times when people are around.

In the spirit and understanding of a mutually protective community, we would like to ask you to follow these guidelines and regulations, both in public spaces and at Jacobs University.