Getting started in the winter semester under Corona conditions: From teaching sessions to reporting chains

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Münster University welcomes students to the beginning of academic term on Novemb

Münster University welcomes students to the beginning of academic term on November 2. The winter semester will also take place under corona conditions. © WWU - Sophie Pieper

Münster University welcomes students to the beginning of academic term on November 2. The winter semester will also take place under corona conditions.

Whether its teaching requires attendance by students or is given digitally or in hybrid form, the University of Münster starts the winter semester, which begins on November 2, with a study programme complete as possible. After a digital summer semester, the winter semester is set to be “fully operational, but with restrictions’.

The various institutions at Münster University have used the past weeks and months to put the semester on as secure a basis as possible, taking precautions in case there is a rise in the number of infections. So what does “fully operational, but with restrictions? mean for students, for teaching staff and for University life? What requirements, rules and restrictions are there? An overview:

Attendance

Whether it’s a seminar or a lecture, teaching requiring attendance by students is currently subject to legal requirements. As a result, the number of participants has been greatly reduced. The faculties decide which teaching is done with students needing to be in attendance. The faculties have drawn up individual concepts for their students. Compulsory attendance has been suspended for most of the teaching normally requiring attendance.

Booking a place

The University is obliged by law to ensure traceability, so that infection chains can be traced. This means that students will have to register for any teaching they attend in person. Each place in a lecture hall or seminar room will be provided with a sticker with a QR code and a link. With this, students can register using their smartphone or laptop by entering a verifiable ID (registration tool “WWUplatz?). As an alternative to digital registration, there will always be forms available for collecting data on paper.

Digital and hybrid

For digital teaching and hybrid teaching (partly attendance, partly online), the University’s IT department (WWU IT) has provided a number of lecture halls with the relevant technical equipment and is offering support for recordings (best possible audio recordings, different camera angles) or high-quality audios by teachers for lectures. Tried and tested formats such as Learnweb and Zoom meetings will still be used.

Accommodation

Which is better: to have accommodation in Münster itself, or to commute because a lot of teaching is being done digitally? This is a question which some students are asking themselves - but there’s no one single answer. It always depends on the individual situation of each student, and on the subject they’re studying. The faculties will be managing the semester’s business for their subjects and will decide which teaching takes place digitally or in hybrid form, and which requires attendance.

Freshers

New in Münster, new at the University - and then, because of Corona, University life is probably different from what you had once expected. To make it easier for freshers to get used to life in Münster, the student bodies in each University department have been busy in the past few months, drawing up a lot of different Corona-compliant formats enabling freshers to meet and get to know one another. The orientation week from October 26 to 30 gets things started, and in addition a lot of student bodies have set up special Instagram profiles and WhatsApp or Facebook groups for freshers.

Facemasks

Since September, wearing a facemask covering the mouth and the nose has been compulsory in all circulation areas and common rooms in Münster University buildings.

Refectory

The refectory and the bistros run by the Student Support Services (Studierendenwerk) are resuming operations step by step. The refectory at Lake Aa is open again for in-house meals, but under strict hygiene rules. Other places are to follow, initially offering a takeaway service. Depending on how demand develops - which itself depends on online teaching, working from home and infection rates - it is possible that services will be expanded.

Libraries

The University Library (ULB) at Krummer Timpen extended its opening and service times at the beginning of October and is now open again at weekends and, during the week, up to 9.30 pm. Times for using places in the reading room will have to be reserved online. The groupwork room will be opening again - with restrictions - for meetings involving several people. Students will also have an opportunity to seclude themselves in order to take part in digital teaching. In addition, the University Library is continuing to increase the electronic media it has on offer and is providing more advisory services online.

Events

Since July, it has once again been possible to hold fairs and congresses, exhibitions, public talks, concerts and performances. The organisation in detail is subject to the latest Corona protection regulations, and the event organiser(s) must, in advance, submit to the healthcare authorities a plan covering hygiene measures and infection protection. The organiser(s) are responsible for compliance with regulations.

Reporting chains in the case of infections

Any student who has a Corona infection must immediately contact CoronaMeldekette@wwu.de. If the student has attended a teaching session in person, the Health Department (Gesundheitsamt) will inform the Rectorate and start tracing other persons with whom the student had contact, beginning with the student’s direct neighbours in the teaching session. University staff with a Corona infection must report to the in-house Medical Service (Arbeitsmedizinischer Dienst). In case of any infection, the person affected must self-isolate.

Plan B and Plan C

Or rather; Stage 2 and Stage 3. If the number of Corona infections in Münster or at Münster University rises, the University will move into Stage 2, i.e. restricted operations. Teaching will then switch over to a digital format, as far as possible. In the case of a lockdown, the University will reduce operations to a minimum.


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