Coronavirus: Information for Employees

Dear Goethe University employees: Below you can find information on occupational health and safety in relation to the coronavirus. This will, of course, be updated and extended as the situation develops.

January 1, 2023: On January 1, 2023, the new service agreement on mobile working came into force. The transitional regulation on mobile working/working from home already in force before this date will be retained for a transitional period lasting until March 31, 2023. During the transition period, employees can familiarize themselves with the service agreement and its contents and submit an application for mobile working in accordance with these regulations, in part to enable the seamless continuation of mobile working once the transitional regulation expires.


December 1, 2022: Update on regulations concerning the SARS-CoV-2 virus
Based on the Coronavirus Protection Ordinance of the state of Hesse, Goethe University's Executive Board has adjusted the regulations for employees with a proven SARS-CoV-2 infection. At the same time, the regulations concerning the Occupational Health and Safety Standard were extended until April 7, 2023.

October 17, 2022: What is the legal situation regarding masks? 
It is currently recommended that both students as well as external visitors to Goethe University wear medical masks. Special occupational safety measures apply to employees: Wherever the distance of 1.5 meters cannot be maintained, employees must wear a medical mouth-nose protection. Special regulations apply to the Niederrad Campus; they are available on the website of the University Hospital. Should the current regulations change, students, faculties and other units will be informed immediately.  

September 21, 2022: The Executive Board, with the approval of the Staff Council, has extended the SARS-CoV-2 occupational health and safety regulations until December 31, 2022. As a result, the binding Corona protection regulations continue to apply.


Work organization: On Site, Remote Work or from Home

On January 1, 2023, the new service agreement on mobile working came into force. The transitional regulation on mobile working/working from home already in force before this date will be retained for a transitional period lasting until March 31, 2023. 

During the transition period, employees can familiarize themselves with the service agreement and its contents and submit an application for mobile working in accordance with these regulations, in part to enable the seamless continuation of mobile working once the transitional regulation expires.

The following transitional regulation applies:

The possibility for employees to carry out at least part of their activities remotely or from home exists 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 modern information technologies, 
  2. the direct supervisor has determined the suitability of the activities, taking into account any conflicting reasons, 
  3. the technical equipment allows remote work / working from home 
  4. the at-home premises / working conditions of the employee 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.

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: Employees can apply to have any costs incurred while working from home or during remote work reimbursed via decentralized funds, if they provide an itemization of these costs and if the supervisor agrees.
  • Voluntariness: The option of working remotely / from home during the transition phase is based on the employee's voluntariness and own initiative. It does not constitute an entitlement and can be revoked by the supervisor. In cases of conflict, the Staff Council may be consulted.
  • Telework: The existing possibilities for teleworking according to the work agreement on alternating teleworking remain unaffected by the rules above. 

➔ Offers of the University Computing Center (Hochschulrechenzentrum, HRZ) for the use of IT services from home: Information of the HRZ on the use of IT services from home (in German).

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

When working on-site, the specifications in the 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).

SARS-CoV-2 Occupational Health and Safety Measures for Employees

With the expiration of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs' SARS-CoV-2 Occupational Health and Safety Measures on February 2, 2023, the associated occupational health and safety measures for employees at Goethe University have also been lifted. 

Please note that other regulations may still exist at the University Hospital Frankfurt. Kindly check the Hospital's website to see which regulations apply. 

Rapid Antigen Tests for Employees
Goethe University still has antigen rapid tests for direct pathogen detection of the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). The tests have a shelf life until the end of March or mid-May 2023 and can still be ordered free of charge here by providing a delivery address: krisenstab@uni-frankfurt.de

Goethe University's Rapid Antigen Tests
According to the manufacturer's instructions, the test must be stored at 2-30 degrees and protected from sunlight. During use, the test should be at room temperature (about 20-30 degrees).

For more detailed information on the use of Rapid Antigen Tests for SARS-CoV-2 please refer to the instruction leaflet. 

What to do when you have the test result
Positive test result: For further procedure, see “Regulations for Persons with a SARS-CoV-2 infection"

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

Risk Groups

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

Special protective measures continue to apply to employees, who belong to a risk group, as per the regulations of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and Goethe University.

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

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

  • Employees must submit the medical certificate stating that they beong to a risk group to human resources (without specifying the illness).
  • The supervisor, together with the University's Occupational Health and Safety department and – if required – the employee and/or a works doctor, decides on the necessary protective measures in accordance with the legal basis for employees requiring special protection (as outlined by the 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 can resume
  • After changes to the legal provisions become known, these will be promptly implemented by supervisors in consultation with the Occupational Health and Safety department.
  • Both parties – i.e. supervisors and employees – are obliged to comply with the agreed-upon protective measures.
  • The trip to and from work as well as the choice of transport are not the responsibility (or duty of care) of the supervisor. This is the employee's private concern.
  • The University representative for severely handicapped employees (Schwerbehindertenvertretung, SBV) has the option of having the designated protective measures explained to them by the Occupational Health and Safety department, 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 authorized by them.
  • The transitional regulations on remote work / working from home apply accordingly. 

Please note: Recent studies show that all Corona vaccines are very effective and can prevent severe illness. Persons who have received one of these vaccines and belong to one of the high-risk groups defined by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), Germany's public health institute, are also very effectively protected against a SARS-CoV-2 infection or a severe progression of the disease.

This means that as a rule, persons belonging to high-risk groups, who either have been vaccinated or have recovered, can resume their work on site under the same conditions and with the same protective 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 supervisors must take into account for pregnant employees

  • Risk assessment (Gefährdungsbeurteilung [GB]) according to maternity protection
    (Instruction manual [in German])
  • In addition, evaluate whether the risk of infection with SARS-CoV-2 from activities with special personal contact, is increased:
    • professional activity with a particularly high number of contacts with people
    • professional activity with little distance to persons (less than 1.5 meters), especially activity with physical contact (particularly in the field of medical care)
    • professional activity with insufficient possibility of compliance with hygiene regulations for pregnant women (e.g. reasonableness of wearing protective masks)
    • professional activity in areas with likely contact with infected persons and a resulting 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 Risk Assessment (Gefährdungsbeurteilung, GB) checklist and consult the works physician and occupational safety specialist for further assessment (please e-mail the request for consultation to arbeitsschutz@uni-frankfurt.de).

Childcare

In 2023, parents with statutory health insurance will again have the option of claiming child sickness benefit for 30 working days (single parents for 60 working days) for each child with statutory health insurance. If there are several children, each parent is entitled to claim child sickness benefits for no more than 65 working days, and single parents for no more than 130 working days (cf. Section 45 (2a) Code of Social Law V). 

In agreement with the supervisor, the possibility for home office remains an option within the transitional regulation for mobile working, valid until March 31, 2023, or, from April 1, 2023, provided that the requirements for mobile working in accordance with the works agreement for mobile working at Goethe University are met.

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, the following procedure applies up until April 7, 2023 at the latest:

The procedure (as of February 1, 2022), including the respective requirements and the necessary documentation, can be found here (in German).

After April 7, 2023, special rules no longer apply to the SARS-CoV2-related care for children.


Forms (German):



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 the 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 area of variants of concern, staff may have to observe the official rules regarding home quarantine in accordance with the currently applicable statutory regulations (including the Coronavirus Entry Regulations; valid until April 7,2 2023) as well as the respective testing obligations.

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

Virtual Teaching: Access to Zoom Licenses for University Teaching Staff 

To support virtual teaching, Goethe University has concluded a license 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 purpose 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

Any remaining restrictions on events were lifted as of February 02, 2023. In accordance with the current legal requirements, events can therefore once again be held without restrictions in all buildings, including with national and international guests.

Technical Equipment for Events

Pocket transmitters / headsets can be borrowed and used. However, it should be remembered that it is impossible 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 (HRZ) can help all faculties/teaching staff planning to purchase their own headsets at the faculty's expense. 

Please 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 the 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 for which the Federal Foreign Office has issued a travel warning as areas of Corona virus variants of concern or which have been classified as areas of variants of concern by the Robert Koch Institute. If a travel warning is issued by the Foreign Office or if the destination is classified as an area of variants of concern by the Robert Koch Institute after approval for official travel has been granted, this approval is deemed revoked and the journey may not be undertaken. Persons undertaking official travel are required to independently check travel warnings and risk classifications of areas of variant of concern prior to travelling.

If the travel destination is declared as an area of variants 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.

Regulations for Persons with a SARS-CoV-2 Infection 

Based on the Coronavirus Protection Ordinance of the state of Hesse, Goethe University's Executive Board has decided to adjust the regulations for employees with a proven SARS-CoV-2 infection, effective February 2, 2023 (information on current legal requirements are available on the website of the federal government of Hesse). As a result, the following regulations apply: 

1.) Goethe University employees are obligated to inform themselves about and comply with any applicable isolation obligations in the state of their residence. If there is an obligation to isolate in their federal state of residence, there is no incapacity for work and provided there is no possibility to perform work activities in the home office or mobile, a leave of absence will be granted. 

2.) In accordance with the current regulation of February 2, 2023, of the State of Hesse, the following regulations apply at Goethe University for persons with a proven infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus: 

a) These persons are urgently requested to take advantage of the possibility to work either mobile or from home during the period of infection. 

b) They are required to wear at least a medical facemask (mouth-nose protection) for a period of five days after taking the underlying test. Wearing a respirator mask (FFP2, KN95, N95 or comparable) is strongly recommended on Goethe University premises and grounds. 

c) The mask requirement does not apply to these persons outdoors if a minimum distance of 1.5 meters from others can be safely maintained. 

d) The mask requirement does not apply to these persons indoors if either no other persons are present in the room, or if all others present in the room have also tested positive. 

e) If infected individuals show symptoms, it is recommended that they isolate in their own homes for a period of five days after taking the underlying test and that this isolation not be discontinued until having been symptom-free for at least 48 hours or if ten days have passed since the initial test. 

3.) Entry bans for medical facilities and places of mass accommodations must be observed. That is why infected persons are banned from entering facilities on the Niederrad Campus in particular as well as from Goethe University's Center for Psychotherapy. 

4.) The standard process for internal sickness and health notifications continues to apply, and can be accessed here (in German).


Campus

Guided tours for external visitors on the campus – including in the buildings – are once 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.