• Covid-19

    Coronavirus – What is happening in the Brain City Berlin?

Berlin's universities want to continue to maintain attendance in the winter semester 2021/22. However, on December 6, a joint task force of the Landeskonferenz der Rektoren und Präsidenten der Berliner Hochschulen (LKRP) and the Berlin Senate Chancellery reached supplementary agreements to a key issues paper adopted in July. According to this, the universities will use additional protective measures - depending on the circumstances on site - in order to be able to maintain face-to-face teaching.

Current operational restrictions for the Berlin universities

In the winter semester of 2021/2022, the majority of teaching and learning at Berlin's universities will once again take place in the presence of students. The Berlin Senate Chancellary and the Berlin universities agreed on this on July 30 and laid down key points in a paper. Protection against infection is to be ensured with established hygiene measures and tests, the highest possible vaccination rate and appropriate contact tracking. Only those who are vaccinated, recovered or tested will be able to take advantage of on-site university services and access their services. Analogous to the other educational institutions, while strictly adhering to these protective measures, the goal is to eliminate the minimum distance of 1.5 meters in order to ensure the space requirements for teaching and studying in presence. 

As a result of a task force's deliberations on November 24 and December 6, 2021, the following agreements were added to the key points:

  • The universities and the Senate Chancellary view the general pandemic development with great concern. Against the background of the recommendation of scientific experts, there is an urgent need for action in the fight against the pandemic, to which the universities will continue to make their contribution. At the same time, as educational institutions, they see it as their duty to be open and accessible to all people in principle.
  • Berlin's universities and the Senate Chancellery therefore maintain that face-to-face teaching will continue to be enabled and offered. Given the importance of face-to-face encounters in the educational process, a return to online-only operation at universities should only be considered as one of the last measures to reduce contact. Institutions of higher education will decide the proportions of face-to-face offerings based on their local situation.
  • The vaccination rate among students is above average, the universities implement comprehensive hygiene measures, students and lecturers observe the rules given for face-to-face teaching with great responsibility and make very good use of the possibilities for combining face-to-face and online courses. 
  • In order to continue to establish a high level of infection control while maintaining face-to-face teaching opportunities, universities are taking several or all of the following additional measures, depending on local circumstances:
    • Intensify review of 3G regulation at the universities beyond random sampling.
    • Extending the requirement to wear FFP2 masks in enclosed spaces.
    • Application of the minimum distance requirement, where feasible
    • Expansion of testing and vaccination services
    • Further development and expansion of concepts for the ventilation of teaching rooms
    • The Berlin Universities are evaluating where additional events with large group sizes will be held temporarily in online formats in the coming weeks
  • To make an additional contribution to pandemic response, colleges may temporarily expand online teaching and self-study portions immediately before and after academic vacations. Academic infrastructures, especially libraries, PC pools and workstations, will remain at current levels outside of the academic vacations.

Press release of the Berlin Senate from December 8, 2021(German only)
Download key points for the winter semester 2020/2021 (German only)

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)


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