Coronavirus: Information for Employees

Work organisation: On Site, Remote Work or from Home

Many scientists and employees from all fields of activity still work primarily from home or alternately from home and on campus. As of the 2022 summer semester, Goethe University will return to presence. In order to create a good balance between the necessary or desired presence on campus, more flexible working conditions and coronavirus regulations, the Executive Board of Goethe University and the Staff Council had already agreed on a transitional phsae in which the current regulations on working remote or from home will continue to apply. This transitional phase applies from immediately until July 31, 2022.

The following transitional arrangements apply:

The possibility for employees to carry out at least part of their activities remotely or from home exist under the following cumulative conditions, that 

  1. Their respective task permits remote work / working from home, i.e. activities that can generally be performed remotely or from home using information technologies, 
  2. The decision oft he suitability oft he activities, taking into account any conflicting reasons, has been made by the direct supervisor, 
  3. The technical equipment allows remote work / working from home 
  4. The premises / working conditions of the employee in the domestic area allow remote work / working from home 
  5. There is a corresponding willingness on the part of the employee and an agreement with the supervisor to work remotely / from home, and 
  6. Remote work / working from home does not lead to longer processing times and delays in the operational process, especially in consideration of the planned 2022 summer semester 2022 and probably – depending on the development of the further course of the pandemic – increased possible and necessary presence work.

Good to know: 

  • Working time: for remote work or working from home, the daily target working time continues to apply for employees participating in the “DV flexitime“ until a corresponding technical option for mobile time tracking is provided. 
  • Costs: Any costs incurred in working from home or remote work can be reimbursed via decentralised funds upon application, with an itemization of these costs and the supervisor's approval.
  • Voluntariness: The option of working remotely / from home during the transition phase is based on the employee's own initiative and voluntariness, does not constitute an entitlement and can be revoked by the supervisor. In cases of conflict, the Staff Council may be consulted.
  • Telework: The currently already existing possibilities for teleworking according to the work agreement on alternating teleworking remain unaffected by the rules above. 

➔ Offers of the Hochschulrechenzentrum for the use of IT services from home: Information of the HRZ on the use of IT services from home.

➔ Recommendations for action by the Security Management Team (SMT) of Goethe University Frankfurt on the use of online and Internet services (PDF in German).

When working on-site, the specifications in the following section "New Infection Protection Act and SARS-CoV-2 Occupational Health and Safety Regulation of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs" must be observed.

All employees must be instructed repeatedly by their supervisor before starting work and when the specifications change. (Form: Instruction Sheet for Employees / Guest Researchers).

Infection Protection Act and SARS-CoV-2 Occupational Health and Safety Regulation of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs

With the amendment of the Infection Protection Act, effective as per 02.04.2022, the requirements for employees staying in the buildings of Goethe University, in event rooms and all publicly accessible areas (sanitary rooms, break rooms, tea and coffee kitchens, canteens, cafeterias, elevators, etc.) as well as at the direct workplace (monitor/office workstations, in laboratories, workshops, archives, etc.) will also change. 

  • Wherever the minimum distance of 1.5 meters cannot be safely maintained, a medical mask must be worn (surgical masks or protective masks of standards FFP2, KN95, N95 or comparable without an exhalation valve).
  • Good hand hygiene should be practiced (wash hands regularly with soap for at least 20 seconds).
  • Cough and sneezing etiquette (cough and sneeze into the crook of your arm).
  • Offices and evaluation rooms can be occupied by several persons if 
    • sufficient ventilation can be ensured (technical ventilation or shock ventilation every 20 min for at least 5 min) and 
    • the distance between face-to-face / diagonal / corner workplaces is at least 2.5 metres or a separating device ("spit guard") is installed between these workplaces as additional technical protective measure.
    • In compliance with the conditions above, the mask can be removed after taking the seat.
  • In rooms where the minimum distance between persons cannot be maintained continuously or where there are no separating devices, a medical mask must be worn during the stay.
  • Presenters at events where the participation of employees is compulsory may only remove their mask if a distance of at least 4 metres from the first row of the auditorium can be maintained.

Where masks are mandatory on the basis of the Corona-ArbSchV and the regulations of Goethe University, the masks are provided by the employer as personal protective equipment. For practical implementation, the departments, units, divisions, etc. are asked to order the medical masks (surgical masks or protective masks of the standards FFP2, KN95, N95 or comparable without exhalation valve) decentrally, since it is best known locally where, how many and which masks are needed and here the direct issue can also take place. The costs will be covered centrally. The departments are requested to submit their orders for the masks and to submit the invoices in bundles via the chancellor towards the end of the year.

Effective as per 02.04.2022, the 3G requirement at the workplace has been eliminated for employees. This means that GU employees no longer have to prove that they have been vaccinated, recovered or tested when they work on site.

This does not apply to employees of FB16 at the Niederrad Campus (areas of patient care, outpatient clinics, etc.), where the more far-reaching regulations according to IfSG and the University Hospital apply: 

  • Please note that the obligation to wear masks indoors at the University Hospital remains in place.  
  • With immediate effect, the obligation for fully vaccinated or recovered asymptomatic employees of the hospital to test themselves twice a week for the presence of infection with SARS-CoV-2 using rapid antigen tests is no longer applicable. However, the rapid tests will continue to be provided by the university hospital and can be performed on a voluntary basis. Corresponding documentation is thus no longer obligatory, but desirable due to better traceability. 
  • The daily testing obligation for employees of the hospital who have not been vaccinated or not been fully vaccinated continues to exist. In this case, documentation must also continue to be mandatory. 

Occupational Health and Safety Regulation – Rapid Antigen Tests for Employees 

Goethe University continues to offer its employees who do not work exclusively at home (working from home / remotely) a test (antigen rapid test AST) for direct pathogen detection of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus once per calendar week to reduce the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection at work. 

Rapid Tests at Goethe University

According to the manufacturer, the test must be stored at 2 – 30 degrees and protected from sunlight. When using the test, it should be at room temperature (approx. 20 – 30 degrees). After using the reagents (bottle with buffer solution), make sure that they are tightly closed again. If used properly, the reagents have a shelf life of up to 2 years (according to the manufacturer).

You can find detailed information on how to use the SARS-CoV-2 antigen self-tests on the package insert. 

What to do when you have the test result 

Negative test result
Even after a negative test result, you must continue to observe the distancing and hygiene rules and the current instructions on work organisation in full in order to protect yourself and others. 

Positive test result
There is an obligation to confirm the result immediately in a test center and to go immediately (i.e. without detours!) into domestic contact restriction in case of another positive result. The test center reports the result to the responsible health office. In addition, the respective supervisor and the crisis team (infektionsschutz@uni-frankfurt.de) must be informed immediately. See section "Self-Isolation at Home / Quarantine / SARS-CoV-2 Infection" and the form "Record Sheet for Employers per Infection Protection Law".

Departments / work groups, etc. can send bulk orders for rapid antigen tests to: krisenstab@uni-frankfurt.de. Please provide a delivery address.

Risk Groups, Protective Measures for Pregnant women, Childcare and Vacation   

Risk groups

Rules for on-site work for employees in high risk groups 

To employees, who belong to a risk group, special protective measures continue to apply according to the regulations of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and the regulations of Goethe University. https://www.bmas.de/DE/Service/Publikationen/arbeitsmedizinische-empfehlung-umgang-mit-schutzbeduerftigen.html 

A medical evaluation in the form of confirmation through a doctor's certificate (issued by a specialist or family physician) is therefore necessary. The doctor's certification certifies that you are “a person with an increased risk of severe COVID-19. The exact diagnosis should not be stated. The certification will not be put on file.

If you belong to the risk group and are therefore at increased risk of severe disease progression from SARS-CoV-2 infection, the following procedure for implementing protective measures applies to you:

  • Employees must submit the medical certificate to human resources (without specifying the illness) stating that they belong to the risk group.
  • The supervisor, together with Occupational Health and Safety and possibly the employee, decides on the necessary protective measures in accordance with the legal basis for employees requiring special protection (Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs).
  • After the protective measures have been implemented at the workplace and employees briefed by the supervisor, on-site work is possible again.
  • Changes to the legal provisions will be promptly put into practice by supervisors in consultation with Occupational Health and Safety after they become known.
  • Both parties supervisors and employees are obliged to comply with the protective measures decided on.
  • The trip to work and the choice of transport are not the responsibility (or duty of care) of the supervisor. This is the employee's private concern.
  • The SBV has the option of having the protective measures decided on explained to them by Occupational Health and Safety and, if necessary, to demand improvements on the basis of the regulations.
  • Responsibility for granting leave of absence lies solely with the supervisor or employer and may only be authorised by them.
  • The transitional regulations on remote work / working from home apply accordingly. 

Please note: Recent studies show that all COVID-19 vaccines are very efficient and can prevent severe illness. Persons who have been vaccinated with one of these vaccines and belong to one of the high risk groups defined by the Robert Koch Institute are also protected very effectively against a SARS-CoV-2 infection or a severe progression of the disease.

High risk groups who are vaccinated or have recovered can thus resume their work on site under the same conditions and with the same protection measures that apply for all Goethe University staff, insofar as this is possible and necessary in accordance with No. 6 of the transitional regulation.


Protective Measures for Pregnant Women

Special protective measures that supervisors must take into account when continuing to employ pregnant employees

  • Risk assessment (Gefährdungsbeurteilung [GB]) according to maternity protection
    (Instruction manual [in Germanhttps://www.uni-frankfurt.de/72376191/Handlungsanleitung.pdf and https://rp-giessen.hessen.de/sites/rp-giessen.hessen.de/files/MuSchG%20-%20Betriebliches%20Besch%C3%A4frigungsverbot%20bei%20Corona-Epidemie.pdf)
  • In addition, evaluate whether the risk of infection with SARS-CoV-2 from activities with special personal contact, is increased:
    • professional activity with many contacts, e.g. activity with a particularly high number of contacts with people
    • occupational activity with little distance to persons (less than 1.5 m), especially also occupational activity with physical contact (especially in the field of medical care)
    • occupational activity with only insufficient possibility of compliance with hygiene regulations for pregnant women (e.g. reasonableness of wearing protective masks)
    • professional activity in areas with probable contact with infected persons and thus a particularly increased risk of infection (e.g. in the hospital sector) 

If any of the activities above with special contact with people apply:

  • Check "YES" in item 18. of the GB checklist and consult the company physician and occupational safety specialist for further assessment (please send request for consultation by e-mail at arbeitsschutz@uni-frankfurt.de).

Childcare

In agreement with the supervisor, the option of working from home or remotely may continue to be used insofar as this is possible and necessary in accordance with No. 6 of the transitional regulation.

If, due to the lifting of compulsory attendance at schools and/or the (partial) closure of childcare facilities, work cannot be performed or can only be performed in part due to the childcare situation, (partial) leave of absence is possible under certain conditions:

Updated information (01.02.2022) on the procedure, including the respective requirements and the necessary documentation, can be found here (in German).

Forms (German):

Please follow the reporting procedure for confirmed infection with SARS-CoV-2 or suspected infection.



Vacation

Vacation already approved is to be taken as planned – also for reasons of solidarity with other employees regarding the distribution of work and free time. There is no right to cancellation. In exceptional cases, a mutual agreement can be reached between employees and supervisors for a different vacation period if that employee's work is urgently needed during the originally planned vacation period. 

Vacation and Risk of Quarantine

When planning holidays, staff should bear in mind that the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) classifies certain countries to be areas of variant of concern for SARS-CoV-2 infections.

When returning from an international high-risk area or an area of variants of concern, staff must observe the official rules regarding home quarantine in accordance with the statutory regulations applicable at the time as well as the respective testing obligations.

> Further details are available on the pages of the Federal Ministry of Health

We therefore request that you take foreseeable quarantine periods into account when planning holidays – also out of consideration for your colleagues and their interests. Staff are obliged to take leave or reduce overtime hours for the duration of foreseeable quarantine if, after prior consultation with their supervisor, it is not possible for them to work from home or remotely. Staff are only entitled to continued remuneration from the employer if they were obliged to quarantine through no fault of their own. Anyone who travels to a region designated by the Robert Koch Institute as a high-risk area / area of variants of concern accepts that this entitlement will become null and void.

If a country is not declared an area of variants of concern until after entry, there is no fault on the part of the member of staff. The quarantine period should then be used for remote work / working from home if possible and in consultation with the supervisor.

Virtual Teaching: Access to Zoom Licenses for University Teaching Staff 

To support virtual teaching, Goethe University has concluded a licence agreement with the video conferencing provider Zoom. This contract allows Goethe University lecturers and staff to use the service with their personal HRZ account. The Zoom video conferencing system is still intended exclusively for use during teaching events. We therefore ask users to focus their needs on this and to use other services, in particular Vidyo or BigBlueButton (BBB), for other purposes (such as committee work or meetings). Further information can be found at: 


In-House Events / Conferences and Congresses / Committee Work / Work Meetings

The provisions of the Corona ArbSchV apply to all events at Goethe University in which Goethe University employees participate and whose attendance is mandatory (internal events, work meetings, advanced training, job interviews, etc., with the exception of teaching events):

  • Keeping a minimum distance (1.5 meters; face-to-face / diagonal / corner workplaces at least 2.5 meters)
  • If the minimum distance of 1.5 meters cannot be safely maintained, a medical mask must be worn (surgical masks or protective masks of standards FFP2, KN95, N95 or comparable without an exhalation valve).
  • Good hand hygiene should be practiced (wash hands regularly with soap for at least 20 seconds).
  • Cough and sneezing etiquette (cough and sneeze into the crook of your arm).
  • Sufficient ventilation must be ensured (technical ventilation or shock ventilation every 20 min for at least 5 min).

The rules that apply to courses / for students can be found here (in German):

Goethe-Universität — Informationen für Lehrende (uni-frankfurt.de) 

Goethe-Universität — Informationen für Studierende (uni-frankfurt.de) 


Events with external guests, receptions, conferences and congresses 

can take place again without restrictions in all buildings, also with national and international guests, in accordance with the current legal provisions. 


Committee meetings 

can also be held again without restrictions in accordance with CoSchuV.

Technical Equipment for Events

Pocket transmitters / headsets can be borrowed and used. However, it should be remembered that it is not possible to disinfect the microphones, so there is a risk of contact infection. 

Handheld microphones can still be used without restriction. 

Additionally, the Media Technology staff at the University Computing Centre can help all faculties/teaching staff planning to purchase their own headsets at the faculty's expense. 

Please simply order the headsets via mt-support@uni-frankfurt.de

Once the headsets have been purchased, the costs are charged via the cost transfer form. Please complete it (including the cost centre) and send it to mt-support@uni-frankfurt.de. The Accounts Department will then transfer the costs.

Headset models used in university buildings/rooms: 

  • In the rooms of H1-H6 in Otto Stern Centre, “ARS Akustika HS790SO" headsets can be used. They cost about € 110.00 including VAT.
  • In all other rooms on the Westend, Riedberg, Bockenheim and Ginnheim campuses, we rely on “Beyerdynamic TG-H56" headsets, which cost about € 150.00 including VAT. 

Should you have any questions, please contact mt-support@uni-frankfurt.de.

Official Travel

Official travel outside Germany

No official travel may take place to regions with a travel warning from the Federal Foreign Office or which have been classified as areas of variant of concern by the Robert Koch Institute. If a travel warning is issued by the Foreign Office or if it is classified as an area of variant of concern by the Robert Koch Institute after approval has been granted for official travel, the approval is deemed revoked and the journey may not be undertaken. Persons undertaking official travel are required to check travel warnings and risk classifications of areas of variant of concern for themselves prior to travelling.

If the travel destination is declared as an area of variant of concern during the journey itself (by either the RKI or the Foreign Office), employees may themselves decide whether to continue or terminate their visit.

Self-Isolation at Home / SARS-CoV-2 Infection 

To protect staff, the Executive Board of Goethe University has adopted additional measures in relation to the Coronavirus Protection Ordinance of the Federal State of Hessen.

Goethe University employees, irrespective of their immune status (vaccinated / recovered / boosted), are not permitted to enter Goethe University premises if they:

  • are suffering from an acute respiratory infection or fever (In the case of allergy-related symptoms, corresponding proof must be presented (e.g. allergy passport or an up-to-date medical certificate.)
  • are obliged to self-isolate at home by order of a public health department due to an infection with SARS-CoV-2 or in whose household a member is obliged to self-isolate at home by order of a public health department due to an infection with SARS-CoV-2.

Staff must observe the following rules:

Employees obliged to self-isolate at home by order of a public health department must present a negative test (either a RT-PCR test or a rapid antigen test from an official testing centre) at the end of the self-isolation at home / quarantine period prior to resuming on-site work at the university. 

Employees in whose household a member is obliged to self-isolate at home by order of a public health department may not work on site at the university. After the end of the self-isolation at home, it must be ensured that no infection is present (either a RT-PCR test or a rapid antigen test from an official testing centre).

Information on warning messages on the Corona-Warn-App: 

The Corona-Warn-App is informal only, so a warning message will have no effect on the work-related area.


Reporting procedure for Goethe University employees  

In case of a confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection on the part of a member of staff or someone in their household, staff are obliged to provide the relevant information to infektionsschutz@uni-frankfurt.de using the Record Sheet in the following circumstances.

For the period during which no on-site work is permitted, staff should work from home or remotely, where possible. If this is not possible, paid leave of absence will be granted. 

If working from home is not possible due to illness, then there is an incapacity for work. As usual, the standard procedure for internal sick and health notifications applies, but the medical certificate can also be submitted in digital form. If timely submission of the medical certificate is not possible after the third day of illness due to a SARS-CoV-2 infection, the certificate must be submitted as soon as possible. Failure to submit the initial or follow-up certificate on time will not result in any consequences under labor law until further notice. In other respects, the standard procedure for internal sickness and health notifications will remain in place as usual. If there is no incapacity for work and there is no possibility to work from home or remotely, a leave of absence is granted. 

Staff are obliged to inform their supervisor and infektionsschutz@uni-frankfurt.de without being asked. 

>> Please use this record sheet to inform the crisis team

Information on current legal provisions can be found on the website of the Hessian state government (in German): https://www.hessen.de/Handeln/Corona-in-Hessen/Quarantaene


Campus

Guided tours for external visitors on the campus – also in the buildings – are again possible without restrictions.

Questions concerning official matters

For any urgent further questions concerning official matters please send an email to krisenstab@uni-frankfurt.de. Please include your full details and a telephone number for queries.

Questions concerning Occupational Safety

You can contact the offices for Occupational Health and Safety and for Biological Safety under 069/798-23688.

Hotline State of Hessen

The State of Hessen has set up a hotline for citizens' questions regarding coronavirus, Tel.: 0800/555-4666, Monday to Friday, 08:00 to 20:00.