Emergency measures for Berlin’s institutions of higher education and research to fight the spread of coronavirus

Pressemitteilung vom 11.03.2020

On 11 March 2020, in coordination with Berlin’s state institutions of higher education and after consulting with health experts at Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, the Governing Mayor of Berlin and Senator for Higher Education and Research, Michael Müller, approved the following emergency measures aimed at fighting the spread of coronavirus. A standing task force headed by the Permanent Secretary for Higher Education and Research, Steffen Krach, that includes representatives of Berlin’s institutions of higher education and non-university institutes will be set up and will meet regularly to discuss additional measures.

  1. Immediate cancellation of all conferences, meetings, and events in the current semester break and in the 2020 summer semester (until 20 July 2020). That also applies to events organized by third parties.
  2. Immediate cancellation of all classes being held in the current semester break that require student attendance. The institutions in question will look into online formats for these classes.
  3. Berlin’s institutions of higher education are requested to take the current risk situation into account, using the guidelines provided by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), in deciding whether to hold examinations that have been scheduled for the period up until 20 July 2020. The feasibility of holding state examinations will be coordinated with the relevant Senate Departments for Justice, Health, and Education. Whether students can do current or planned internships that are part of their degree requirements will depend on the decisions of the institutions where they are to take place.
  4. The beginning of the semester will be postponed until 20 April 2020 for Berlin’s institutions of higher education. These institutions will make necessary arrangements for postponing classes and examinations and for a shorter semester (e.g., compact seminars over several days, online formats, etc.).
  5. Other areas, such as research, the administration, and the libraries, will remain open for the time being.
  6. All students, faculty, and employees of higher education and research institutions who are returning from areas classified as “high risk” by the RKI are asked to quarantine themselves for 14 days after their return.
  7. Official trips, study abroad, and research trips to high-risk areas, as classified by the RKI, will not be approved.
  8. Institutions of higher education and research institutes are asked to communicate these measures to their members and to adapt these measures as the situation changes. The institutions’ individual pandemic plans have either already been updated or are being updated now.

Further measures will be agreed on with Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin and Studierendenwerk (Student Services) Berlin.