On account of the spread of the coronavirus, the NRW state government decided today (13 March) that teaching at NRW universities will not begin until 20 April 2020. This decree therefore also applies to the University of Münster (WWU). As things currently stand, 17 July will remain the final day of teaching in the summer semester. “This measure is appropriate and necessary in order to slow the spread of the virus and to protect everyone’s health“, Rector Johannes Wessels emphasised, in line with the approach of the state government.
The University Library (ULB) will reduce its services from Saturday (14 March) onwards and, for example, close all reading rooms and study spaces in its main building at Krummer Timpen. Opening hours will also be restricted.
The WWU crisis committee headed by Johannes Wessels has already developed further specific measures for when teaching begins again, which will be elaborated further in the coming days. As the summer semester will be two weeks shorter than usual, the Whitsun week, traditionally a holiday, will be incorporated into the semester. Until further notice, excursions may not be undertaken.
Currently, examinations are not affected and will continue to be offered to mitigate the negative impact to students as best possible. Examinations with more than 30 participants will be spread over several rooms and there will have to be a set distance between examinees. For any required preparatory courses for the summer semester, the same conditions apply.
No courses and events offered by the University Sports may take place before 20 April. At the beginning of March, the WWU had already cancelled all public events that do not form part of the regular teaching schedule until the end of the month. This ruling is now extended for the time being until the end of May.
Due to the reduction in teaching weeks, the WWU University Management is currently examining to what extent students can be provided with teaching materials for self-study purposes in a digital format before the beginning of the semester.
The WWU will offer its staff flexible options to help them combine familial duties such as childcare with their work in the best possible way and reduce the risk of infection. IT measures are being developed that will enable researchers and other members of staff to work from home.
The University has directly informed all researchers, students and staff in detail of these measures by email and via the special website set up for this purpose: www.uni-muenster.de/en/coronavirus-information.html.
On 11 March, the first confirmed coronavirus infection in a WWU institute became known. A staff member of a natural science institute had returned home sick from a journey and immediately had been placed under quarantine at home by the local health board. She no longer entered the institute. All other members of staff at the institute are symptom-free and can carry on with their work as usual. If necessary, they will be advised by the WWU In-house Medical Service.