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uni’news: Corona No. 11/2022, 05/27/2022

Dear employees, dear students,

In today’s issue of the Coronavirus Newsletter, we inform you in particular of the lifting of the mask mandate in study operations and at the workplace on 28 May 2022. However, this lifting of the mask mandate is combined with an urgent appeal to continue wearing masks voluntarily indoors.

The number of new SARS-CoV-2 infections has sunk noticeably in the past weeks, and it is possible to identify a clear trend toward lower infection rates, probably also due to seasonal effects. This allows the university leadership to further reduce the mandatory regulations currently in place at the University of Freiburg. 

Nevertheless, measures are still necessary to keep the infection and disease rates as low as possible. Wearing an FFP2 mask or a medical mask has proven to be a particularly effective measure in the pandemic.

Appeal to wear a mask in university buildings

Regular medical masks already reduce the risk of infection, but closely fitting FFP2 masks provide particularly good protection. This is also demonstrated by a study conducted at the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization. The university therefore urges students and employees as well as visitors to continue wearing an FFP2 mask or a medical mask inside buildings. Posters at the entrances to university buildings will draw attention to this appeal. You can also print out this poster and hang it up at university departments yourself.

The persons responsible may still establish a mask mandate with the approval of the Rectorate for special situations at the workplace, in teaching and study operations, and at events in which it is absolutely essential for people to convene in close proximity. The Office for Safety, Environment, and Sustainability, Division of Safety (SUN1), is available to provide support and advice on this matter. This provides a verifiable basis for evaluation on the one hand and a centrally available and up-to-date overview of areas where masks are mandatory on the other. If you consider a mask mandate necessary on the basis of a risk assessment, please send an email request to SUN1 will examine and evaluate the requests and present them to the Rectorate. This procedure has proven to be effective in the approval of in-person courses. 

The 2022 summer semester is a semester of in-person courses. The lifting of the mask mandate will not have a fundamental impact on the guidelines for courses. 

The university continues to urge all university members who are still unvaccinated to get a vaccination and all those who are vaccinated to get a booster shot. Vaccination is and remains the only rational way out of the pandemic. Those who are deliberately unvaccinated are not just putting their own health at risk; they are putting others at risk as well.

For further legal background, please consult the current hygiene regulations.

Courses held at the facilities of the university medical center are subject to the current guidelines of the medical center, which may differ in terms of access regulations.

Current home office regulations

An in-person semester also requires an increased physical presence of employees. The regulations described in the University of Freiburg’s existing telework and home work service agreement will therefore again apply as of 28 May 2022 for work performed at home. Employees may file a request to work from home in accordance with the aforementioned service agreement using form P500. Employees who require special protection according to the occupational health recommendations issued by the Occupational Health Committee, “Dealing with employees in need of special protection due to the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic“ (in German), will continue to be permitted to work from home in a simplified procedure. Further details on this matter as well as on room occupancy are described in the hygiene regulations (version 13) under point 2.1. The following transitional period applies: Employees who file a request with form P 500 by 5 June 2022 may work from home to the extent stated in the request until a decision is reached. Superiors are asked to pass requests on to the Personnel Services Department immediately.

Business Trips

Restrictions for business trips will be reduced. Measures are currently only planned for travel to states/regions/countries that are designated by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) as high-risk or virus variant areas at the start of the trip. In these cases, it is still necessary to explain the urgency and importance of the trip and to obtain the rector’s approval. Currently (as of 24 May 2022), no countries or regions are designated as high-risk or virus variant areas. However, the designation by the RKI can still change at short notice.

Maternity Protection

The restrictive protective measures for pregnant women laid down by the Freiburg Regional Council will remain unchanged. According to the regulations of the Maternity Protection Act, which applies equally to employees and students, pregnant women must not be exposed to increased and frequently changing personal contact, either occupationally or for educational reasons.

Therefore, attendance of in-person courses or work in an office with multiple occupancy is generally not possible. This also applies to pregnant women who are fully vaccinated or have recovered from a confirmed case of SARS-CoV-2. 

With regard to teaching, it must be examined in accordance with the requirements of the Maternity Protection Act whether it is possible for pregnant women to participate through a redesign of the respective course.

Wearing face masks is generally not a suitable protective measure for pregnant women, for whom official regulations limit the duration of wear to a maximum of 30 minutes per day.

These and other recommendations are provided in the leaflet “Employment of pregnant (nursing) women with regard to an infection with the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2)” (in German) published by the maternity protection specialist team of the regional councils.

Please also feel free to contact the University Representative for Maternity Protection if you have other questions concerning maternity protection.

The hygiene regulations of the University of Freiburg and the currently applicable regulations of the University of Freiburg are posted on the university’s coronavirus website, including information on new developments in the form of frequently asked questions and answers (FAQ). The Coordination Office is happy to answer any questions that cannot be answered on the basis of this information.


The editorial team of the Coronavirus Newsletter