• Covid-19

    Coronavirus – What is happening in the Brain City Berlin?

Berlin's universities are currently closed to the public. Teaching is only taking place online. Despite the pandemic-related restrictions, many top-class experts from Brain City Berlin are doing important work: They are conducting research and providing vital information and advice to policymakers and society at large. Where can you find more information? And what measures does the current phased plan for Berlin's universities involve? Here's an overview:

The pandemic continues to shape the operations, research, teaching, and administrative work at Berlin's universities as well as its independent research institutions. In the course of the nationwide lockdown decided on December 13, the Senate Chancellery for Higher Education and Research and the Berlin universities agreed on December 14 to implement further measures to reduce contacts and the risk of infection. The measures have been extended until April 24, 2021. Deadlines for submission of final papers and term papers have been extended to May 31. The 2021 summer semester is scheduled to start between April 1 and April 12 – in digital mode. 

On 20 October 2020, The State of Berlin’s Phased Plan for Reintroducing Normal On-Site Operations with Pandemic-Related Protective Measures at Universities came into force after having been agreed by the Senate Chancellery for Higher Education and Research and the Berlin universities. The plan has three phases. Its objective is to give the universities the greatest possible planning security for the implementation of teaching and research while ensuring protection against infection. Currently, the universities are at Phase 2. This reflects the fact that two of the three key pandemic parameters were already on red in the State of Berlin in October.   

Current operational restrictions for the Berlin universities (update, according to the joint decision of March 30, 2021)

  • Until April 24, 2021, there will be no face-to-face classes at the universities.
  • Exceptions: Already scheduled face-to-face exams as well as mandatory practical formats that can not be conducted in digital form. The number of participants must be kept to an absolute minimum. Participation is voluntary for students; non-participation does not result in any disadvantages for them. For final papers and term papers, the universities will extend the processing times by 4 weeks or make comparable arrangements in accordance with their respective applicable framework regulations.
  • Deadlines for submission of final papers and term papers have also been extended to May 31.
  • Unpostponable medical practical formats of the Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin may continue to take place.
  • Scientific libraries will be open until April 24, 2021 for borrowing only.
  • To protect university members, contacts and possible travel will be further restricted. 
  • Employees whose activities do not necessarily require a presence on campus for organizational or technical reasons continue to work in their home offices as far as possible.

On February 24, the Senate Chancellery for Higher Education and Research and and Berlin's universities also agreed that the 2021 summer semester will start on schedule between April 1 and 12. Lectures will initially continue to be held digitally. 

Press release of the Senate Chancellery Berlin from March 30, 2021, German version only)

Berlin Phased Plan, Phase 2: What does this mean for Berlin universities?

  • State, private, and religious universities in Berlin will remain closed to the public until 31 March 2021 (end of the 2020/21 winter semester).
  • Courses will generally take place digitally. 
  • Exceptions:  Practical formats that cannot be carried out digitally and examinations may take place face-to-face taking into account general obligations, infection protection and hygiene rules, and the special provisions applicable to the universities. These include, for example, laboratory or workshop practicums, sports practicums, arts lessons at art schools and conservatories, practical lessons in medical-clinical courses, and face-to-face formats for new student orientations. A maximum of 25 students are allowed to participate in such practical formats.
  • Masks covering both the mouth and nose are mandatory in all university buildings. Cf. SARS-CoV-2 Infection Protection Regulation
  • Examinations and courses will only take place [in person] if they cannot be carried out in digital form.  
  • Research and administrative operations will continue, provided they are in compliance with the applicable hygiene and distance requirements and university-specific regulations.

Coronavirus mitigation measures at Berlin's universities and research institutions

Information and actions of the Berlin scientific community regarding the Coronavirus

Berlin's scientific institutions are making an important contribution to research on the coronavirus. In addition, the universities and non-university institutions in the Brain City are doing important work providing information and helping people understand the nature of the pandemic. Experts are working to keep the public informed and are providing advice to policymakers and society in general in an effort to counteract the spread of the disease.

Here is an overview of information being posted online by prominent scientific institutions about their projects, measures, offers of help, and current case numbers.

  • Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin is continuing to research how to fight the virus. You can find the latest news on their coronavirus information page.
  • Intense research into Sars-Cov-2 is also underway at the Max Delbrück Centre (MDC).
  • The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) is currently the research institution in Germany most often quoted in connection with the pandemic. The RKI is providing information about the number of cases and risk areas and is issuing current risk assessments. 
  • What effects will the pandemic have on the economy and society? The expert service on the COVID-19 pandemic at Freie Universität Berlin (FU Berlin) provides contacts to experts who can address non-medical topics.
  • The spread of the virus has resulted in many questions being raised. Brain City-Ambassador Professor Dr Christian Drosten, Director of the Institute for Virology at Charité Berlin, answers them in his coronavirus podcast on NDR Info. He also provides a daily update on the current situation. 
  • The CovApp provided by Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin offers specific recommendations for action and other information about the coronavirus. A questionnaire can be filled out online. Individuals should be able to better assess for themselves whether a visit to the doctor or a coronavirus test is necessary.
  • The coronavirus page of the Berlin Senate Chancellery also gives a comprehensive overview of the current situation in the capital. In addition, it provides information on measures, quarantine regulations, investigation centres, and much more. (vdo)


More Stories