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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, staff, external partners and guests – 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
  • Video conferencing
  • Information from the works council

Can I do remote work?

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Jacobs University has made it a top priority to protect the health and well-being of our community and to prevent the further spread of the virus. A major component was the approval of and recommendation for mobile work in those areas of activity where it was possible, which was communicated in March.

Despite the increased requirements for on-campus presence for the upcoming Fall Semester 2020, and taking into account the current corona pandemic situation, the Executive Board decided together with the Works Council to extend the option to work remotely until 31 December 2020, where it is operationally possible.

We kindly remind all employees and external service providers to strictly observe the applicable safety and hygiene measures. We ask all of you to take these rules into account when working on campus:

  • Observance of the current hygiene rules.
  • 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 – this applies to office spaces but also to any kind of event.
  • Take flexible use of office space into account – for example alternating mobile work and office hours. If you need additional office space, please talk to your supervisor, who can contact our colleague Pia Behrens (p.behrens@jacobs-university.de). She will be happy to support your team in finding a suitable solution.
  • Ensure sufficient and continuous ventilation or fresh air supply.
  • Parents, who need more flexibility due to the childcare situation, please talk to your supervisors to find a suitable, individual solution.
  • People with respiratory ailments should not come to campus on the advice of their family doctor or our company doctor.
  • Employees with previous illnesses or members of a risk group (this is decided by the family doctor) should discuss the further procedure with their doctor and their direct superior.
  • If there are cases that cannot be easily solved, please contact our HR department.
  • MANDATORY MOUTH-NOSE COVER – As a further component of our protection and safety concept, an extended obligation to wear a mouth-nose cover is now mandatory on campus. This applies to all employees, students, external partners and service providers in the publicly accessible indoor areas – such as the corridors or lecture halls as well as residential college serveries and common rooms.

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?

A new regulation for entering Germany from a Corona risk country/area came into force on Saturday, August 8, 2020.
This regulation provides for a mandatory COVID-19 test for all persons entering Germany from a corona risk country or area. The test will be carried out at German airports or other central facilities – free of charge and without the need for a German health insurance if it is taken within 72 hours of entry. This obligation applies to all persons entering the country, irrespective of the type of entry by air, car or train, who at any time during the last 14 days prior to entry have stayed in an area in which there is an increased risk of infection with the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (risk area)
The obligation will not apply to persons who have only transited through a risk area and have not stopped over there.
Incoming travelers from risk areas may also present a medical certificate that was issued before the entry. The certificate must be written in German or English and be based on a molecular biological corona virus SARS-CoV-2 test (PCR). The test must be carried out in a member state of the European Union or in another state listed by the Robert Koch Institute on its website not more than 48 hours before entering Germany.

For more information on the designation of international risk areas check out this RKI information page.

Please check here for up-to-date entry requirements into Germany.
You can find the latest official Q&A from the Federal Ministry of Health here.

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.
  • 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 31 December 2020. 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.
  • Employees with symptoms of upper respiratory tract disease or with fever should see their family doctor and not appear at work until then.

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

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

1) 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.

3) In case a 1.5 meter distancing cannot be permanently secured, face masks (mouth-nose protection) must be worn. The coworkers/students are responsible for cleaning/disinfecting their own face masks. In “wet” labs, lab coats must be worn and cleaned regularly.

Is there a recommendation or an obligation to wear a mouth-nose cover at Jacobs University?

Since the end of 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?

In preparation of the new Fall 2020 Semester and as a further component of our protection and safety concept, an extended obligation to wear a mouth-nose cover is mandatory on campus since end of August. This applies to all employees, students, external partners and service providers in the publicly accessible indoor areas – such as the corridors or lecture halls as well as residential college serveries and common rooms.

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.