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16 March 2020

Information from the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences and the University of Cologne

The constantly changing situation regarding the current spreading of the coronavirus (COVID-19) is leading to great uncertainty. On the part of the University of Cologne, the Rectorate provides continuous updates on current developments and measures:
Information page University of Cologne on the Coronavirus

This information page is continuously updated.

The faculties are in close contact with the university management on how to protect the health of our students, teachers, and staff. The staff members are regularly informed about the relevant regulations.

Teaching

The NRW Science Ministry has postponed the start of the semester to 20.04.2020. At the same time, it has authorized the universities to offer on-line teaching before the newly established start of the lecture period. Currently, the faculties are working on the conversion of lectures to online teaching.

All currently running or planned courses with attendance in person that take place before 20.04.2020 are cancelled or postponed with immediate effect.

Already started individual practical courses and thesis projects should if possible be done without the need for presence (i.e. theoretical work). For laboratory based activities, the regulations are the same as for employees (see below).

 

Examinations

All upcoming examinations are cancelled until 20.04.2020. The examination offices decide on hardship exemptions individually. The faculties are developing alternative online procedures for examinations. Further information will follow.

Bachelor- und Master thesis

Registration and start points of Bachelor and Master projects requiring in-person presence (for instance laboratory work) are suspended until 20.04.2020.

The deadlines for handing in bachelor and master theses are postponed by 5 weeks. The submission is done electronically or by regular mail. Everything else is regulated by the examination offices.

Bachelor and Master colloquia can be taken electronically. For this purpose, it must be ensured that the examinee is clearly identified, the examinee and examiners/secretary agree to the procedure, and a protocol of the entire examination is recorded. A recording of the examination is not allowed (not by the examiner neither by the examinee).

Doctoral examination

All doctoral examinations scheduled before 20.04.2020 are cancelled. The doctoral exam committee decides on individual hardship cases.
The examination periods and deadlines are cancelled until further notice.

 

Closure of central work areas and libraries

All central and decentral areas open to the public are closed.

The service units of the faculty will discontinue personal consultation hours and consultations with immediate effect. Communication will be done by phone or email only, and should be limited to the strictly necessary.

All public meeting and study areas, including those in department libraries, are closed until further notice.

Employees

The faculty and university management request all group leaders to check which employees can carry out their activities in home-office mode and to make appropriate recommendations. Especially persons belonging to the risk groups (over 60 years of age, pre-existing conditions according to the information provided by the RKI) should be strongly encouraged to work in home-office mode. The group leaders should propose solutions tailored to the individual.

The group leaders make sure that there is sufficient communication, documentation, and control of completion of tasks for those employees working in home-office mode.

Please note that the restrictions in teaching and research operations do not mean that the entire operation of the UoC is discontinued or switched to an emergency mode. The closure of entire institutes or working groups is not permitted. Please take all possible measures to ensure safe working conditions at the institute and that the operation of the infrastructure remains secured. 

Group leaders are also recommended to adapt the work processes of the remaining employees in such a way that the risk of infection is minimized or eliminated. The social rooms should only be entered individually or, alternatively, closed althogether. Working hours in shifts are recommended.

 

 

General

It is presently not possible to make precise forecasts of the further developments. In the event of further measures, students and staff will be informed by the Dean's Office and the university management as early as possible through the websites and where needed by email. Like the university management, the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences also asks for prudence in dealing with the current situation as well as a prudent and non-discriminatory approach to each other.