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Tenth Open Letter from the President regarding the corona virus (SARS-CoV-2) from 1 October 2020

Dear Professors, Staff, and Students,

Dear Members of the University Community,

Today the 2020/2021 winter semester begins. Behind us lies a summer semester which, due to the Covid 19 pandemic, was in many ways a highly exceptional semester. Together, however, we have successfully overcome the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic: On the one hand, we have managed to protect our members of the University Community and their families in the best possible way and, on the other hand, we have – as good as possible and as responsible – been able to maintain our university life. I would like to take this opportunity to once again thank all those who have contributed to shaping this extraordinary semester and in doing so have helped to overcome the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Curriculum in the 2020/2021 Winter Semester

Teaching in the 2020/2021 winter semester will begin on 12 October 2020 and, as already outlined in the Ninth Open Letter on the corona virus, will largely be conducted digitally. However, it is important to note that the 2020/2021 winter semester – like the 2020 summer semester – will not be a purely digital semester. Thus, as already announced, courses that cannot be conducted digitally (e.g. due to the need for laboratory equipment) and as many courses as possible for first-semester students will be held (partially) on site – provided that the situation allows, the hygiene and safety regulations can be complied with, and given the necessary distance rules, the reduced room capacity allows.

After a query, central approval, and prioritisation by the Crisis Management Team and University Management, this involves around 500 courses. In our course catalogue, students can find out which courses are offered on site and which in digital form. In addition, a majority of the events during the orientation week will be held on site as well. These plans are, of course, subject to the condition that the infection situation allows for on-site meetings.

The prerequisite for the implementation of on-site teaching is the mandatory observance and compliance with the hygiene concept for the implementation of on-site courses. It regulates access to buildings during the lecture period, gives instructions on correct behaviour, and refers to the form for the collection of contact data of students participating in on-site courses and its handling (storage in the respective dean's office, office of the central institution, etc.). Should mouth-nose masks, disinfectants, etc. be required on site in the faculties, central institutions, or the central university administration in order to implement the hygiene concept for on-site courses, etc., please contact kontakt-corona@tu-chemnitz.de.

Second Stage of Selective and Limited Presence Operation

The principles defined in the Eighth Open Letter regarding the corona virus and modified in the Ninth Open Letter regarding the corona virus for the selective and limited presence operation continue to apply until further notice – as do the regulations communicated in the Ninth Open Letter regarding the corona virus for the defence of doctoral theses, studies involving participants, surveys, introduction lectures, and the holding of committee sessions, meetings, etc. From now on, however, lecturers are no longer to be counted towards the quota of an organisational unit during courses, practicals, etc. This is intended to relieve the quotas and to avoid having to make use of them for the increased number of lecturers on campus at the expense of research activity. The requirement to make use of occupancy and shift plans continues to apply during the 2020/2021 winter semester as well. However, in order to implement the above-mentioned regulation it is now necessary that lecturers are labelled accordingly.

After the end of the central examination period of the 2020 summer semester, a few events were made possible (partially) on site after a specific hygiene concept had been drawn up and approved by the Crisis Management Team and University Management. In the current winter semester, however, this is only possible to a very limited extent due to limited room capacities and an increased number of people attending prioritised on-site courses. The Crisis Management Team and University Management will decide on justified exceptional cases.

Further openings and relaxations are not possible for the time being. This is partly due to the start of the semester, which must not be jeopardised under any circumstances and (especially in the first few weeks) brings with it certain challenges. After all, around 1,500 students are expected to be present at Chemnitz University of Technology, which will lead to a significant increase in the number of students at our university. On the other hand, the rising number of infections is worrying. For example, the number of laboratory-confirmed new infections in the past seven days per 100,000 inhabitants in Saxony is 8.7 (as of the Eighth Open Letter regarding the corona virus of 26 May 2020: 3) and in the city of Chemnitz 13 (as of the Eighth Open Letter regarding the corona virus of 26 May 2020: 0.3). Additionally, 37 new infections occurred in the city of Chemnitz in the last week and by the end of last week there were more cases of infection, quarantine, and suspected cases than ever before at Chemnitz University of Technology (cases of infection: 4; cases of quarantine: 9; suspected cases: 3). Against this background, we must do everything possible to protect our students and staff as best as we can – and thereby avoid a lockdown in winter. After a successful start of teaching in the 2020/2021 winter semester and the establishment of the necessary routines, as well as after a close examination of the further development of the Covid-19 pandemic, a decision on the next steps will be taken in close internal coordination.

Strict Compliance with Hygiene and Protection Regulations

In view of the above-mentioned development of infection rates, and in the absence of a vaccine, it is absolutely essential that hygiene and protection rules are fully and strictly observed. This applies above all to the obligation to wear masks (in the buildings of Chemnitz University of Technology in case of possible personal contact, i.e. on all stairs, corridors and in jointly used rooms etc.). I urge you to observe the corresponding regulations. They serve to protect you and your fellow human beings – and at the same time to avoid a lockdown and to be able to maintain our university life in its current form.

Violations of the hygiene concept are not tolerable regarding the protection of our employees, students, and guests and must be punished with the means available. In appropriate cases, this includes notification to the City of Chemnitz to initiate fine proceedings in accordance with § 8 paragraph 2 of the Sächsische Corona-Schutz-Verordnung (Saxon Corona Protection Ordinance), disciplinary measures in accordance with § 17 paragraph 2 of the house rules of Chemnitz University of Technology (admonition, expulsion from the buildings and open spaces, house ban) and, with regard to employees, disciplinary measures (admonitions, formal warnings and – in particularly serious individual cases – extraordinary dismissals).

Employees and students who return to Chemnitz and to Chemnitz University of Technology after holiday trips or return from their home countries are also requested to observe the currently valid regulations on quarantine, notification, and testing obligations for travel returnees and to keep themselves informed on an ongoing basis. An overview of relevant information according to the current status can be found in the FAQ section of Chemnitz University of Technology. There employees will also find the applicable regulations for business trips, which must be observed.

Employees and students are of course still required to report quarantines, infections, and suspected cases without delay. Employees should contact the Human Resources Department (CC: kontakt-corona@tu-chemnitz.de), students should contact the Student Service Point (CC: kontakt-corona@tu-chemnitz.de). This also applies if you are not (yet) in Chemnitz or at Chemnitz University of Technology. In addition, the respective heads of the organisational units are still required to ensure, via occupancy or shift schedules including contact details (form for collecting contact details in the FAQ section), that contact chains can be tracked quickly and completely in the event of quarantines, infections, suspected cases or other incidents. Furthermore, I would ask you all to take note of the notifications already made and to consult the constantly updated FAQ section regularly.

I think we all long for a return to normality. Unfortunately, this normality will not be achieved in the 2020/2021 winter semester either. However, I am firmly convinced that, together, we will be able to successfully master this semester and its challenges! Thank you very much for your vital assistance and understanding.

I wish you all a good semester start – despite the existing restrictions – and would like to also take this opportunity to extend a warm welcome to our first-semester students at Chemnitz University of Technology.

Kind regards – and stay healthy!

Yours Gerd Strohmeier

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Hygiene Concept of Chemnitz University of Technology for Written Exams Regarding the Corona Virus (SARS-CoV-2) – Foundation for the Start of the Central Examination Period beginning 20 July 2020

On July 20, 2020, the central examination period will begin at Chemnitz University of Technology. The foundation for this is the strict adherence to the hygiene concept for written exams (version 1.2, as of 15 July 2020) of our university. It can be found in the FAQ section and must be observed by students, examiners, and exam supervisors. The currently published version of the concept includes the following changes among others: cancellation of the assembly point principle for selected buildings in the central examination period (20 July to 15 August 2020) as well as cancellation of the regulation on wearing mouth-nose covers for the duration of the examination, provided that the minimum distance to other persons can be maintained. In addition, a new form for the collection of contact details of students participating in examinations on site was published in the FAQ section. This form is also decisive for the central examination period and is to be deposited in the respective dean's office.

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Ninth Open Letter from the President regarding the corona virus (SARS-CoV-2) from 6 July 2020

Dear Professors, Staff, and Students,

Dear Members of the University Community,

Fortunately, the situation regarding the spread of the corona virus (SARS-CoV-2) and the resulting infectious disease ("Corona virus induced disease", COVID-19) has further improved and to some extent stabilised: The number of laboratory-confirmed new infections of the past seven days per 100,000 inhabitants is 0.4 in Saxony and 0 in the city of Chemnitz; for more than a week there has been no new infection in the city of Chemnitz; for several weeks now, neither an infection nor a suspected case has been reported at our university. Against this background, the crisis management team and the University Management of Chemnitz University of Technology have decided to transfer Chemnitz University of Technology to the second stage of selective and limited presence operation from 13 July 2020, i.e. the last week of lectures, until further notice, provided that there is no significant deterioration in the infection situation in the Free State of Saxony, the city of Chemnitz, and Chemnitz University of Technology.

Second Stage of Selective and Limited Presence Operation

The principles defined in the Eighth Open Letter on the corona virus for selective and limited presence operation – the strict adherence to hygiene and protection regulations (update: 7 July 2020), the strict observance of a quota principle, the enabling of shift plans within the regulations on flexitime applicable at Chemnitz University of Technology, the guarantee of sufficient flexibility, and the decentralisation of implementation – continue to apply in principle, but are modified in the following points:

  • Quota principle: For urgent work that can only be carried out on-site, employees in the individual organisational sections (professorships, etc.) may work on-site up to a maximum of 40 percent (but at least 2 employees) of the regular number of staff (subject to the general rounding rules). In the Central University Administration, the Chancellor (or his representative) determines the quotas that are absolutely necessary in the departments to cover the demand in the second stage of selective and limited presence operation.
  • Hygiene and protection regulations (update: 7 July 2020):In order to respond to the improved situation on the one hand and the higher number of people in the second stage of selective and limited presence operation on the other hand, mouth-nose covers must still be worn in the buildings of Chemnitz University of Technology (but not outside) in case of possible contact with persons, i.e. on all stairs, corridors, and shared rooms, etc.
  • Flexibility: In the second stage of selective and limited presence operation, it must be possible, if the situation deteriorates, to switch to the first stage of selective and limited presence operation, to extended, or even to complete stand-by operation within a very short time-frame (24 hours) – depending on the extent of the deterioration – for which appropriate concepts must be provided in the individual sections.

In addition, the following regulations – some of which have been made in the meantime and communicated in the FAQ section – apply in the second stage of selective and limited presence operation:

  • Doctoral defences: To the extent that it is necessary and the hygiene and protection regulations can be fully observed, it is possible to conduct doctoral defences in (partial) attendance. The doctoral candidate, the members of the doctoral committee and the person taking the minutes can be present (if necessary, an additional person can be called in to provide technical support), while online transmission is offered for the (university) public.
  • Studies and surveys involving participants: Studies and surveys involving participants can be carried out on-site, as far as this is necessary and the hygiene and protection regulations can be fully observed. For this purpose, additional, special hygiene concepts or hygiene and protection regulations are required, which must be cleared with the company medical service via Ms Diana Schreiterer (e-mail: kontakt-corona@tu-chemnitz.de, phone: 0371 531-35267). Participants are not considered in the calculation of the reference value for the upper percentage limit – analogous to the regulation for student assistants – but are counted as part of the maximum number of persons permitted to be present in the respective section at a certain time.
     
  • Appointment lectures: As already stated in the Eighth Open Letter on the corona virus, it is possible to hold introduction lectures (including the discussion with the appointment committee) in (partial) attendance at the meetings of appointment committees, as far as this is necessary and the hygiene and protection regulations can be fully observed. The members of the appointment committee, the person taking the minutes, and the candidate may be present (if necessary, an additional person may be called in to provide technical support), while an online transmission is offered for the lecture part intended for the university public.
     
  • Holding of committee sessions, meetings etc.: In principle, committee sessions, meetings, etc. can be held in (partial) attendance up to a maximum of 10 participants, if they cannot be held online for good reasons, such as the infrastructure required on site or the scope of the topic, and if the hygiene and safety regulations can be fully observed.
     

Further information and details on the four points mentioned can be found in our FAQ section. Approval by the crisis management team or the university management is not required in the above-mentioned cases.

Plans for the 2020/2021 winter semester

Further developments with regard to the spread of the corona virus and the infectious disease it causes are difficult to foresee for the period of the 2020/2021 winter semester. It must, however, be assumed with a very high degree of probability that the risk of infection with the virus will continue to exist, that no vaccine is available, and that as a result, restrictions will (and have to) continue to exist. Against this background, we have decided to carry out teaching largely digitally in the 2020/2021 winter semester. This means that the courses to be offered in the 2020/2021 winter semester will generally be offered as digital courses. Exceptions to this rule are – after central approval or prioritisation – courses that cannot be held digitally, and as many courses as possible for first-semester students, provided that the situation permits and the hygiene and safety regulations can be observed. With regard to the holding of classroom courses in the 2020/2021 winter semester, a query from the Vice-President for Academic and International Affairs will follow.

Since we have considerably more lead time and preparation time for the 2020/2021 winter semester compared to the situation in the 2020 summer semester, we assume that all courses in the 2020/2021 winter semester will be offered either as classroom courses or in a digital format. For the implementation of digital courses, tutorials will continue to be offered and the technical infrastructure will be provided centrally.

According to the current state of planning, lectures in the 2020/2021 winter semester at Chemnitz University of Technology will begin on 12 October, 2020. From the end of August, students can consult the course catalogue to find out which courses will be offered as digital courses and which as classroom courses in the 2020/2021 winter semester.

With the second stage of selective and limited presence operation, which was defined on the basis of a general assessment of the situation, feedback from individual sections of our university, and coordination between all members of the crisis management team and the University Management, we continue to pursue the goal of providing the best possible protection for our members and their families, while at the same time maintaining our university life as far as possible and responsible.

Even if, as mentioned at the beginning, the situation with regard to the spread of the corona virus and the resulting infectious disease has further improved and to a certain extent stabilised, the corona crisis – as individual corona outbreaks and dramatic developments worldwide show – is far from over. Against this background, I would ask you to continue to take the situation very seriously and to comply fully with the existing hygiene and protection regulations. This includes, above all, that suspected cases of infection as well as cases of quarantine and infection of employees are reported immediately to the Human Resources Department (copy to kontakt-corona@tu-chemnitz.de) and of students to the Student Service Point (copy to kontakt-corona@tu-chemnitz.de) and that in the case of infection or suspicion, the chains of contact can be traced quickly and completely, which must be ensured by the respective heads of the organisational sections via occupancy or shift schedules including contact details. Please continue to observe the previously communicated measures, information, recommendations, as well as notes and inform yourself regularly in the constantly updated FAQ section.

For future inquiries and the submission of any kind of information on the corona crisis, please use the e-mail address kontakt-corona@tu-chemnitz.de.

Thank you very much for your understanding, your outstanding support and your perseverance! I wish our students much success in the upcoming exams!

Kind regards – and stay healthy!

Yours Gerd Strohmeier

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Eighth Open Letter from the President regarding the corona virus (SARS-CoV-2) from 26 May 2020

Dear Professors, Staff, and Students,
Dear Members of the University Community,

as already announced in the Seventh Open Letter regarding the corona virus (SARS-CoV-2) from 4 May 2020, by now additional classroom courses have been approved – after additional requested information and individual clarification – as part of a second stage of extended stand-by operation and further work in laboratories, clean rooms, workshops etc. has been made possible to a limited extent (with an occupancy rate of max. 10 percent of the regularly worked hours) and under the defined and communicated conditions.

Now that the number of new lab-confirmed infections of the past seven days per 100,000 inhabitants is 3 in Saxony and 0.3 in the city of Chemnitz, hardly any new infections have occurred in the city of Chemnitz for several weeks, and neither infections nor suspected infections have been reported at Chemnitz University of Technology for a considerable period of time, the crisis management team and the university management of Chemnitz University of Technology have decided to transfer Chemnitz University of Technology from extended stand-by operation to selective and limited presence operation as of June 1, 2020. This step is being taken both in consideration of the urgency and necessity of on-site work at Chemnitz University of Technology and in compliance with strict hygiene and protection regulations until further notice, i. e. under the provision that no significant deterioration of the infection situation in the Free State of Saxony, the city of Chemnitz, and Chemnitz University of Technology occurs.

Selective and limited presence operation – which does not correspond to regular operation, not even limited regular operation – is based on the following principles:

  • the strict observance of hygiene and protection regulations (update: 3 June 2020). Further loosening (as indicated by the following remarks) is only possible if the existing hygiene and protection regulations can be fully complied with. Any special hygiene concepts or hygiene and protection regulations that may be necessary must be cleared with the works medical service via Ms Diana Schreiterer (e-mail diana.schreiterer@..., phone +49 371 531-35267). Since, according to the hygiene concept of Chemnitz University of Technology, every person at Chemnitz University of Technology is obliged to wear a mouth-and-nose cover for possible contact with people under 1.5 m, and since a higher number of people are to be expected in the context of the selective and limited presence operation at Chemnitz University of Technology, mouth-and-nose covers must be worn on the campus grounds (squares, walkways, corridors, etc.).
  • the strict observance of a quota principle. According to this principle, employees in individual organisational units (professorships, etc.) may work – for urgent work that can only be carried out on-site – up to a maximum limit of 25 percent of the regular staff employed there (student assistants are not taken into account when calculating the reference value for the upper limit, but are counted as part of the maximum permissible number of persons who may be present in the respective area at a certain time). It should be noted that the upper limit includes all employees working in the unit – including those previously working at Chemnitz University of Technology (core teams etc.) – and must be complied with at all times.
  • the enabling of shift schedules within the regulations on flexible working time at Chemnitz University of Technology. The fixed upper limit of max. 25 percent does not mean that a maximum of 25 percent of the employees of a unit may be tasked with urgent work that can only be carried out on-site, but that a maximum of 25 percent of the employees of a unit may be employed at Chemnitz University of Technology at the same time for the corresponding work. This means that, provided that the shift schedule is consistent and in accordance with the hygiene and protection regulations, overall more employees than 25 percent of the employees of an area may in principle – but not at the same time – work at Chemnitz University of Technology to carry out the above-mentioned tasks. Shift schedules should ensure that fixed teams are formed wherever possible, i. e. that always the same employees are present at the same time.
  • ensuring sufficient flexibility. Since the development of the next few weeks (number of confirmed and suspected infections, etc.) cannot be predicted and rapid intervention may be necessary if the situation deteriorates, it must be possible to switch back to extended or full stand-by operation within a very short time (24 hours). The individual units are required to have appropriate concepts in place to enable a rapid transition.
  • the decentralisation of implementation. The heads of the faculties, central institutions, and departments are requested to establish and ensure the transition from extended stand-by operation to selective and limited presence operation, if necessary in coordination with the responsible vice-presidents, as well as the implementation of this operational mode under the defined conditions on their own responsibility. However, the occupancy and shift schedules are to be forwarded to the crisis management team or university management for their information, so that it is clear who is in which area of the TU at what time. Furthermore, the plans in the individual units, including the contact data (address, e-mail address, telephone number) of the respective employees, are to be kept available and stored in such a way that they can be immediately forwarded to the university management for forwarding to the health authorities upon request.

Irrespective of this, it should be pointed out that even in selective and limited presence operation, no public access and no on-site events are possible until further notice. An exception to this is the holding of introductory presentations as part of the meetings of appointment commissions, provided that the existing hygiene and protection regulations can be fully complied with.

With regard to courses, as part of the implementation of selective and limited presence operation, there will be a last query by the Vice President for Academic and International Affairs for the 2020 summer semester, after which a few additional courses can be approved as classroom courses following central prioritisation, provided that sufficient justification is available with regard to the defined key questions (cf. the Seventh Open Letter regarding the corona virus (SARS-CoV-2) of 4 May 2020).

Regarding exams, the following applies...

  • Oral exams (including defences and colloquia of theses) may only be held as face-to-face sessions if they cannot be held online and if the hygiene and protection regulations can be observed.
  • Exams should, as far as possible, be offered as online exams. Appropriate procedures will be developed and communicated in June 2020.

Students can consult the constantly updated course catalogue to find out which other digital courses and classroom courses will be offered in the 2020 summer semester. Students are still required to enter the buildings and facilities of Chemnitz University of Technology only to attend the approved (on-site) courses. Students who belong to the risk group themselves or who do not want to attend classroom courses due to family members living in the same household who belong to the risk group are still recommended to use only online courses. The regulations already established and communicated in the previous Open Letters on the corona virus (SARS-CoV-2) regarding the withdrawal from exams and the extension of deadlines for the submission of term papers and theses remain unchanged until further notice.

For employees of Chemnitz University of Technology, the introduction of the selective and limited presence operation means that from June 1, 2020 (as before) ...

  • all employees of Chemnitz University of Technology are required to make use of mobile work as far as possible. All lecturers who can offer courses completely digitally are asked to do so accordingly.
  • employees who cannot or cannot fully continue to use mobile work are only to return to their workplace – after consultation with their line manager – if they are absolutely necessary for selective and limited presence operation and if infection protection is fully guaranteed (cf. the Sixth Open Letter regarding the corona virus (SARS-CoV-2) of 17 April 2020 and the hygiene and protection regulations (update: 3 June 2020)).
  • employees who belong to the risk group (definition according to the RKI) can be enabled, after consultation with the respective line manager, to remain at home even if they cannot make use of mobile work. They do not have to apply for leave, overtime compensation, or unpaid leave and in this case, they generally retain the right to remuneration. However, unless they have taken leave etc. or are on sick leave, they must be reachable via telephone and/or e-mail. The same applies to employees who do not wish to return to work for valid reasons related to the current corona crisis, such as family members belonging to the risk group and living in the same household.

With selective and limited presence operation, we want – as with the previous steps – to provide the best possible protection for our members and their families, as appropriate to the situation, while at the same time maintaining our university life as far as possible and responsible. Of course, the protection of the health of our employees and students is our highest priority. At the same time, however, this is also the best way to avoid having to undo various steps we have taken in recent months, or even to fall into a complete lockdown for a longer period of time.

The recent "corona outbreaks" in Germany and warnings of a second wave of infection show how fragile the current situation is. It is therefore necessary to ensure that the overall number of people at Chemnitz University of Technology is kept low, that the existing hygiene and protection regulations are and can be fully complied with, and that the chains of infection can be traced quickly and completely in the event of infection or suspected cases. For this reason, the crisis management team and the rectorate have agreed to selective and limited presence operation from 1 June 2020.

I would ask you all very sincerely to support the introduction and implementation of selective and limited presence operation. In addition, I would ask you to continue as usual to observe the measures, information, recommendations, and advice already provided and to regularly consult the constantly updated FAQ section.

The crisis management team and the university management will closely monitor further developments and decide on further steps as appropriate to the situation.

I thank you all very much – both for your understanding and for your outstanding and unwavering support. The corona crisis is a great test for our university, but also for each and every one of us individually. I am firmly convinced that we will master it if we show perseverance, respond appropriately and responsibly to the situation, and stand together as TUC family.

Kind regards and stay healthy!

Yours Gerd Strohmeier

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Seventh Open Letter from the President regarding the corona virus (SARS-CoV-2) from 4 May 2020

Dear Professors, Staff, and Students,
Dear Members of the University Community,

As announced in my Sixth Open Letter, starting today, stand-by operation at our university will be gradually relaxed and, taking into account urgency as well as the compliance with strict hygiene and protection regulations (update: 3 June 2020), switched to extended stand-by operation until further notice.

Both, the crisis management team and the university management are well aware that many of you would like to see more comprehensive, more far-reaching, and faster relaxation, and that some of you are waiting impatiently to be able to return to their workplaces at the TU as soon as possible. This shows that for many of us, working at Chemnitz University of Technology is much more than just a means of earning a living. Of course, we also know that working in (extended) stand-by operation is not possible for many of us, or only possible to a very limited extent, or even only under very great strain and effort. It is, of course, frustrating to be torn out of the university life and to be downright banned from the university campus; it is certainly depressing not to be able to continue an ongoing research project as planned, on which a lot depends and which perhaps also involves a lot of blood, sweat, and tears; undoubtedly, it is stressful to offer digital courses in one's own living room, not far from one's own children, who also need to be looked after.

We are well aware of all this in the crisis management team and the university management. We are also well aware that we all bear responsibility for research and teaching – a responsibility that must be taken very seriously, but which in the current situation is overshadowed by a responsibility that undoubtedly weighs more heavily: responsibility for people's health and lives – about which, as we know, many employees and students are currently very concerned. We all know, after all, that many people around the world have fallen seriously ill or even died from Covid-19 – and that it is by no means the case that young people would not fall ill and die from Covid-19, that long-term effects of infection could be ruled out, and that a vaccine is soon to be expected. I am firmly convinced that when this crisis is overcome, we can forgive ourselves for the lack of a proper semester, for not being able to advance research projects, and for losing valuable time to achieve our ambitious goals in research and teaching. However, we would definitely not forgive ourselves if, by loosening up too much, too far-reaching, and too quickly, we had put employees and students at great risk, and members of our university had fallen seriously ill or even died through our fault. Anyone who thinks of the terrible pictures from Italy and also from other countries, and considers the number of people who have died of Covid-19, knows that these words are definitely not exaggerated.

In the last few weeks, we have received numerous requests to resume various activities in research and teaching at Chemnitz University of Technology. These wishes are understandable without any doubt. However, their fulfilment would not correspond to extended stand-by operation, but rather to (limited) normal operation and would result in a considerable increase in the number of people at our university, in the dormitories, and in the city. To avoid this, we were forced to make clear specifications regarding extended stand-by operation and to apply very restrictive standards.

With regard to courses, we have asked for the wishes regarding classroom teaching and then prioritised these in the crisis management team – in this, the protection of the health of our employees and students had the highest priority and the following guiding questions were decisive:

  • Is there a clear need for a classroom-based course or is there the possibility for an online version?
  • Does the cancellation of the event lead to a significant delay (more than one semester) in the course of study?
  • Are the hygiene recommendations, especially observing minimum distances, realistically achievable?

Against this background, a certain proportion of classroom courses were approved and published in the course catalogue (German only). For all other registered and not approved classroom courses, we ask you to urgently check whether they can be held online instead. Should this definitely not be the case, we will – assuming a positive development possibly be able to approve some of these courses in a second stage in May, taking into account the additional information we requested.

With regard to exams, we have decided that...

  • exams can be planned for June at the earliest and the respective exam dates can only be announced with reservations. A final decision on whether they can take place will be made in the penultimate week of May.
  • oral exams may only be held face-to-face if they cannot be rescheduled or conducted online and the hygiene and protection regulations can be observed.

With regard to the opening of laboratories, clean rooms, workshops, etc., a similar procedure to that used for the approval of classroom teaching was chosen, in that the wishes regarding the opening were requested and then prioritised in the crisis management team whereby again the protection of the health of our employees and students was given the highest priority and the following criteria spoke in favour of a possible use:

  • Explicit information on maximum presence in the TU buildings
  • Presence of preferably only one person in the room (indication of precautions in case of several persons: very large laboratory with workplaces far away from each other, shift schedule etc.)
  • Explicit indications of urgency
  • PhD theses (e.g. carrying out measurement only), with the latest date for the graduation, if possible
  • Creation of instructional videos of laboratory experiments etc.; support of online teaching
  • Explicit justification for activities or partial activities that cannot be performed working at home

Against this background, limited access has been made possible and the relevant faculties have been informed. For all other requests that did not receive approval, we ask you to urgently check whether it is possible to carry out the work with a smaller number of persons present (with access authorisation) and a lower number of hours to be spent at the university. Additional openings of already registered areas may be possible – assuming a positive development – in a second stage in May, taking into account additional information we requested.

I ask the management of the faculties, central institutions, and departments to ensure the extended stand-by operation on their own responsibility, and if necessary in coordination with the responsible Vice Presidents, taking into account the above-mentioned decisions and the defined conditions. In addition, as already expressed in the previous Open Letters, I ask all of you to continue to observe the measures, information, recommendations, and advice already provided, and to consult the constantly updated FAQ section regularly.

On behalf of the members of the crisis management team and the university management, I would like to thank you all once again for your great and tireless commitment and your understanding of the decisions taken – which were anything but easy for us to make.

The corona crisis is without doubt the greatest challenge facing our university in recent university history. Together, and this is my firm belief, we will succeed in overcoming this challenge as well. To do so, we need not only strength, but above all patience. Thank you very much for this!

Kind regards and stay healthy!

Yours Gerd Strohmeier

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Hygiene concept of Chemnitz University of Technology regarding the corona virus (SARS-CoV-2) – basis for extended stand-by operation starting May 4, 2020

As announced in the President's Sixth Open Letter regarding the corona virus, Chemnitz University of Technology will enter into extended stand-by operation starting May 4, 2020. The basis for this is the strict adherence to the hygiene concept of our university. It can be found in the FAQ section and is displayed at or in all TU buildings.

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Sixth Open Letter from the President regarding the corona virus (SARS-CoV-2) from 17 April 2020

Dear Professors, Staff, and Students,
Dear Members of the University Community,

To protect the members of our university and their families in the best possible way and to counteract the spread of the corona virus (SARS-CoV-2), Chemnitz University of Technology was put into full stand-by operation on 23 March 2020, 5:00 p.m., and the start of classroom teaching was postponed to 4 May 2020 at the earliest.

Now that the rate of infection has decreased throughout Germany, the Chancellor and the heads of the state governments agreed on 15 April 2020 "to work in small steps to restart public life, to allow citizens greater freedom of movement, and to restore the disrupted value chains" - under the guiding principle of "protecting all people in Germany as best as possible from infection". To this end, guidelines were agreed upon and, for example, companies were asked to implement a hygiene concept as well as special hygiene and protection measures, and also to "enable work at home possible wherever possible". With a view to university teaching, it was agreed that "in addition to the acceptance of examinations, practical courses which require special laboratory or work rooms at universities can also be resumed under special hygiene and protective measures". At the same time, however, it was also made clear that prior to such openings, a period of preparation would be necessary.

Within the scope of this procedure, which has been coordinated between the federal states, and in accordance with the above-mentioned guiding principle, the current stand-by operation at Chemnitz University of Technology - with fortunately no corona virus-infected persons or suspected cases at present - will be gradually scaled down from 4 May 2020 onwards and, taking into account both the urgency of the situation and compliance with strict hygiene and protection regulations, will be transferred to an extended stand-by operation for the time being, which will allow for a moderate expansion of the presence at our university and which, of course, does not reflect regular operations.

Within the bounds of this extended stand-by operation, it will be possible from 4 May 2020 in compliance with in part special hygiene concepts or hygiene and protection regulations ...

  • to use the University Library exclusively for the purpose of (interlibrary) loan.
  • to use laboratories, clean rooms, workshops, etc. exclusively for urgent and non-postponable work in teaching (especially theses) and research.
  • to teach a small number of selected courses, as long as they cannot be taught digitally and are approved after central prioritisation.
  • to conduct examinations, defences, or colloquia of theses, if not postponable or otherwise feasible, as face-to-face meetings.

Please refer to our FAQ section (corresponding information will be available shortly) for information on specific procedures and requirements (e.g. maximum occupancy of laboratory rooms, courses approved for classroom teaching after central prioritisation) as well as specific hygiene and safety measures. Still not possible until further notice are face-to-face events of any kind (including committee meetings) and any kind of public access (e.g. in the Centre for Sports and Health Promotion, in the computer pools (training pools) managed by the University Computer Centre, in the Student Service Point, in the Central Examination Office, in the Central Course Guidance Service, in the International Office, in the Patent Information Centre, and in the Creative Centre).

I ask the management of the faculties, central institutions, and departments to ensure the transition from stand-by to extended stand-by operation, where necessary in coordination with the responsible vice presidents, as well as to ensure the implementation of extended stand-by operation under the defined conditions on their own responsibility, and to use the remaining time until 4 May 2020 as lead time.

For the employees of TU Chemnitz this means that from 4 May 2020 ...

  • all employees of TU Chemnitz are instructed to continue to make use of mobile work as far as possible. This also means that all lecturers who offer courses digitally and who can continue to offer them digitally or offer them completely in digital form are required to do so. At the same time, all lecturers are once again asked to offer courses digitally in the summer semester 2020, wherever possible and not yet done so.
  • those employees who cannot, or cannot fully, continue to make use of mobile work, only return to their workplace - after consultation with their line manager - when they are absolutely necessary for the extended stand-by operation and infection protection is fully guaranteed. This includes the presence of disinfectant dispensers at the entrances to buildings, the availability of (everyday) masks or mouth-nose covers (the wearing of which is explicitly recommended by the state government of the Free State of Saxony) and, if necessary, other protective clothing (protective gloves etc.). Employees are also required to strictly follow the recommended hygiene measures (update: 3 June 2020), to work in separate rooms (individual workplaces), to reduce contact with other employees to a necessary minimum (preferably communicate by telephone or e-mail) and otherwise to maintain minimum distances.
  • employees who belong to the risk group (definition according to RKI) can be allowed to stay home after consultation with their respective line manager, even if they cannot make use of mobile work. They do not have to apply for leave, overtime compensation, or unpaid leave and in this case they generally retain the right to remuneration. However, unless they have taken leave etc. or are on sick leave, they must be reachable by telephone and/or e-mail. The same applies to employees who do not wish to return to work for compelling reasons related to the current corona crisis, such as family members belonging to the risk group and living in the same household.

Students will soon be able to find classroom courses that will be offered from 4 May 2020 in the constantly updated course catalogue. They are required to enter the buildings and facilities of Chemnitz University of Technology only to attend the courses offered during the extended stand-by operation. Students who themselves belong to the risk group or who do not wish to attend classroom teaching due to family members living in the same household are recommended to use only online offerings. The regulations for students already made and communicated in the previous Open Letters regarding the withdrawal from examinations as well as the extension of deadlines for the submission of term papers and theses continue to apply unchanged in the extended stand-by mode.

The University Management has agreed, following a vote in the State Rectors' Conference, not to count the summer semester 2020 towards the standard period of study for all students in accordance with § 20 para. 5 SächsHSFG. Further measures regarding the winter semester 2020/2021 will be decided upon in due time.

The crisis management team will continue to monitor developments closely and, if necessary, adapt or modify the measures taken without delay. As I did in my last Open Letter, I ask you to continue to observe the measures, information, recommendations, and advice already communicated, especially with regard to suspected or confirmed diagnoses of infection with the corona virus and the return from high-risk areas, and to consult the constantly updated FAQ section regularly. In addition, it is explicitly pointed out that the above-mentioned protection against infection must be fully guaranteed even in the lead time for the establishment of the extended stand-by operation and that the recommended hygiene measures must be strictly followed. A large order of (everyday) masks was placed with a regional supplier. Distribution to the appropriate sites will take place as soon as possible after arrival of the masks. Until then, the core team currently working at the TU with personal contact is also instructed to stay at home and to make use of mobile work if possible. The management of the faculties, central facilities, and departments will be informed immediately about the arrival and distribution of the masks.

Taking into account the latest developments and decisions, the extended stand-by operation is intended on the one hand to continue to provide the best possible protection for the members of our university and their families, and on the other hand to maintain our university life as far as possible and reasonable at the present time. I would like to thank you all, also on behalf of the members of the crisis management team and the University Management, very much for your understanding with regard to the measures taken and your great and untiring support in overcoming the challenges for our university resulting from the corona crisis!

Kind regards - and stay healthy!

Yours Gerd Strohmeier

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Information on the press release of the Conference of Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of 3 April 2020

On 3 April 2020, the Conference of Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs (KMK) issued a press release (in German) which was partly misrepresented in the media. It was reported that the 2020 summer semester will begin on 20 April 2020 throughout Germany. This is not correct. The key points on which the KMK has agreed regarding the 2020 summer semester are in line with the procedures that were previously agreed upon in the State Rectors' Conference of Saxony:

  • conducting a successful 2020 summer semester in a reasonable manner
  • Start of the 2020 summer semester on 1 April
  • Start of classroom teaching on 4 May at the earliest
  • Offering alternative teaching formats (digital courses) as early as possible

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Fifth Open Letter from the President regarding the corona virus (SARS-CoV-2) from 1 April 2020 concerning the start of the 2020 summer semester

Dear Professors, Staff and Students,

Dear Members of the University Community,

Without doubt, it is unusual to start a semester in this way - with an open letter, but without publicly accessible facilities of our university. On the one hand, this clearly demonstrates the state of emergency in which we currently find ourselves. On the other hand, however, it also makes it unmistakably clear that despite the current situation and the extremely difficult general conditions associated with it, we are striving to make the best of the situation and to maintain our university life as far as it is possible and responsible. This is reflected in the start of numerous digital courses as well as the introduction of video conferences for our committees. In addition, we are committed to take appropriate measures to counteract the negative consequences of the restrictions and the stand-by operation of Chemnitz University of Technology. For example, we are currently setting up a psychological consulting hotline for the corona crisis at Chemnitz University of Technology in cooperation with Prof. Dr. Stephan Mühlig and the Psychotherapeutic University Clinic (PHA-TUC GmbH). I would like to inform you about these and some other points below.

            ***

Start of Digital Courses

Although the preventive measures taken against the spread of the carona virus (SARS-CoV-2) mean that, as already announced, it is not possible to start the semester with a simultaneous start of classroom courses, it was and is our clear goal to offer as many alternative teaching and learning formats as possible already at the start of the semester - i.e. to transform the traditional courses into digital courses as far as possible and reasonable.

Thanks to the unbelievably great commitment of countless employees of our university, courses in the 2020 summer semester at Chemnitz University of Technology can begin on April 6th at all eight faculties as well as the Centre for Teacher Education with currently well over 700 digital courses. Please note that the list of digital courses will be updated continuously and supplemented with additional courses.

In order to enable direct contact between teachers and students - similar to face-to-face courses - the University Computer Center has been working hard in recent weeks to set up a server cluster for the BigBlueButton video conferencing system. A first stage of this video conference system is already usable and will be successively expanded to provide sufficient capacity. It is now possible to create individual virtual conference rooms with password protection in order to realise courses, oral exams, working group meetings etc. via video conferencing without complications. For the use of the video conference system BigBlueButton virtual training courses are offered this and next week.

In order to provide optimal support for lecturers in didactic, conceptual, or technical questions, a number of offers have been established, which are summarised on the university websites in the teaching section. In addition, the FAQ pages of Chemnitz University of Technology contain a separate FAQ area for teachers and a FAQ area for students with further information on digital teaching and the organisation of studies at Chemnitz University of Technology.

Of course, the counselling services for students will be available by telephone. Especially for international students, the IUZ, in cooperation with the Chair of German as a Foreign and Second Language, organizes virtual language cafés where students can speak German in an informal atmosphere and improve or develop their knowledge of the German language.

I would like to express my sincere thanks to all lecturers for making a virtual start to teaching in the summer semester 2020 possible in a very short time and despite extremely difficult circumstances. I would also like to thank everyone who supported this in the background - especially the University Computer Centre, the Central Examination Office, the Student Service Point as well as the staff of TU4U, Lehrpraxis im Transferplus and Digital Higher Education.

Availability of Video Conferences for TU Committees

Due to the missing possibility of holding committee meetings and reaching decisions in the conventional way during stand-by operation, we and the State Rectors' Conference (LRK) have approached the State Ministry of Science, Culture, and Tourism of Saxony (SMWK) in order to examine legally secured possibilities of holding and passing resolutions of university committees during the current stand-by operation, especially the option of video conferences.

The SMWK noted in this regard that it does not necessarily follow from the wording of § 54 (1) sentence 1 SächsHSFG ("organs are competent to pass resolutions if the meeting has been duly convened and more than half of the members entitled to vote are present.") "that the members must be physically present". Against this background, the Ministry considers that, if the existing legal options (which are sufficiently known and practised in normal operation) are not appropriate in view of the current situation, the implementation of video conferences by means of secure and data protection-compliant transmission is legally justifiable, "as long as, on the basis of the Protection against Infection Act, leaving home accommodation and events as well as other gatherings are prohibited".

The SMWK explicitly points out that...

  • video conference meetings should be limited "only to the absolutely important points" and to those cases "in which circulating procedures or reduced numbers of members and reconvening do not lead to success".
  • in the case of video conference sessions, a situation "similar to a personal session" is to be created wherever possible. This means that all participants can see each other and ensure and assure that no unauthorised participants are present. In addition, the minutes of the meeting should be carefully recorded.
  • a possible requirement of public accessibility is also taken into account for video conferences (since according to § 56 SächsHSFG the Senate and the Extended Senate meet publicly at the university level and the faculty councils meet publicly at the faculty level). Either the respective public access could be established with technical support or the public could be excluded pursuant to § 56 para. 1 sentence 2 SächsHSFG - for which a balancing of interests is necessary: "between the weighted interest to leave the formation of opinion transparent and open" and "the weighted interests that speak for an exclusion", in which case reasons of health protection can be taken into account.

Of course, the legal requirements must be observed in video conferences as well, e.g. majority requirements for resolutions in matters of the organisation of studies (cf. § 88 paragraph 5 SächsHSFG).

The above-mentioned video conferencing system provided by the University Computer Centre can be used for committee meetings of Chemnitz University of Technology as well. It meets the above-mentioned requirements and allows the organization of video conferences for a specific public or part of the public by assigning passwords.

Detailed information on video conferencing by committees of Chemnitz University of Technology will soon be available in the FAQ section.

Establishment of a Psychological Counselling Hotline at Chemnitz University of Technology to Help Dealing with the Corona Crisis

The Rectorate supports the establishment of a psychological counselling hotline at Chemnitz University of Technology concerning the corona crisis in cooperation with Prof. Dr. Stephan Mühlig and PHA-TUC. This all-day hotline is staffed by highly qualified psychotherapists for people who need help or advice in dealing with the corona crisis.

Through the hotline, affected persons can be advised on the telephone and persons in need of treatment can be identified, admitted as patients of the PHA-TUC, and receive psychotherapeutic care. As there is a current special permit for psychotherapeutic consultation, this can be carried out in the form of video chat therapy via dedicated secure lines. As a result, patients currently have the choice of coming in person or taking advantage of online therapy.

As soon as the counselling hotline is operational, you will be informed separately by Uni aktuell and through our FAQ pages regarding the corona virus.

            ***

Finally, I would like to point out that disinfectants are now available at Chemnitz University of Technology - partly also from "in-house production" of our Institute of Chemistry, for which we have obtained permission from the State Ministry of Social Affairs and Social Cohesion of Saxony. I would like to take this opportunity to thank our Institute of Chemistry and especially those involved. The disinfectants and the disinfectant dispensers are now being placed step by step in the different buildings (mainly at the building entrances) and thus made available for the core team which continues to be active in the rooms of Chemnitz University of Technology.

I would also like to inform you that, as already announced, there is one student at Chemnitz Technical University who tested positive for the corona virus and currently 32 suspected cases known to us. Fortunately, the number of infected students has not increased, and the number of suspected cases has even decreased slightly.

I ask you to continue observing the measures, information, and recommendations outlined in the previous Open Letters regarding the corona virus and to regularly consult the continuously updated FAQ section.

Of course, the measures listed above are no substitute for a "normal" start to the semester, but they do enable the best possible start of the semester under the given circumstances - thanks to the great commitment of the TUC family.

I am firmly convinced that with these and other measures we will master the challenges associated with the corona crisis together in the best possible way. With this in mind, I wish you a good "virtual start" to the 2020 summer semester.

Kind regards - and stay healthy!

Yours Gerd Strohmeier

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Fourth Open letter from the President regarding the Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) of 20 March 2020

Dear Professors, Staff and Students,

Dear Members of the University Community,

I regret to inform you that by now a student of Chemnitz University of Technology from the Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences has been tested positive for the corona virus. The infected person belonged to a travel group of 32 students and employees who returned to Chemnitz after an excursion abroad and whose members are now in domestic isolation. As a result, there are currently 35 known suspected cases among the members of Chemnitz University of Technology.

Now that the faculties, central institutions, and the central university administration have defined their requirements for the absolutely necessary minimum level of operation and have passed them on to the crisis management team, the team has agreed together with the Rectorate to put Chemnitz University of Technology into full stand-by mode from Monday, 23 March 2020, 5 pm, until further notice.

This means that...

  • all buildings and facilities of Chemnitz University of Technology will be closed from that time on and no more public traffic, committee meetings, or examinations can take place on site.
  • Chemnitz University of Technology is switched to an absolutely necessary minimum state of operation, which includes only the absolutely necessary technical and administrative basic services.
  • only a core team, which is necessary to maintain the stand-by operation on site, will be working at Chemnitz University of Technology. The respective employees are specifically named and informed by the Rectorate as well as the management of the faculties, central institutions, and departments in coordination with the respective supervisors - taking into account social aspects. They are required to strictly follow the recommended hygiene requirements (update: 3 June 2020), to work in separate rooms (individual workplaces), to reduce contact with other employees to a necessary minimum (preferably communicate by telephone or e-mail) and otherwise to maintain minimum distances.
  • all other employees who are not necessary to maintain standby operation are instructed to no longer appear at their workplace or to enter the buildings of Chemnitz University of Technology. They do not have to apply for leave of absence, overtime compensation, or unpaid leave and generally retain the right to remuneration in this case. However, unless they have taken leave etc. or are on sick leave, they are required to be reachable by telephone and/or e-mail, to make use of mobile work if this is possible and reasonable, and in principle to remain available for work on site. The assignment of tasks is still the responsibility of the respective line managers, subject to the restrictions described above.

I ask the heads of the faculties, central institutions and departments to establish and ensure the above-mentioned stand-by operation mode on their own responsibility and to maintain communication with both the university management and the local staff and, if possible or necessary, with the staff at home.

Information on the basic administrative services provided by the ZUV - both for employees and students - as well as on all other current questions is provided in the constantly updated FAQ.

We will, of course, continue to make every effort to create the right conditions for studying successfully in the coming summer semester. As announced in the last open letter, deadlines for withdrawing from exams have been lifted or extended for the submission of assignments and theses. In addition, the chairmen of the examination committees have been asked to consider alternative types of exams favourably. Furthermore, the Rectorate has opened up the possibility for them to allow oral examinations and defences or colloquia of theses via video conference. Further information on this as well as on the switch to digitalised teaching with instructions, recommendations, and also training courses can be found in the FAQ. Soon you will also find a list of courses that will be offered online in April.

I kindly ask all employees and students to regularly check the website of Chemnitz University of Technology as well as your TU e-mail address even during full stand-by. Furthermore, I ask that the information given in the previous open letters regarding the suspicion or confirmed diagnosis of an infection with the corona virus and the return of travel from risk areas has to be strictly adhered to.

I would like to thank you all very sincerely for your support and your understanding for the measures taken - which are intended to protect the members of our University and their families in the best possible way and to counteract the spread of the corona virus.

I wish you, also on behalf of the Rectorate and the crisis management team, from the bottom of my heart that you and your families remain healthy and that you get through this extremely difficult situation well.

With kind regards and best wishes

Yours Gerd Strohmeier

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Third Open letter from the President regarding the Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) of 17 March 2020

Dear Professors, Staff and Students,

Dear Members of the University Community,

Yesterday, the Saxon State Rectors' Conference, together with the Saxon State Ministry of Science, Culture and Tourism, held a conference call to discuss how to deal with the worldwide spread of the corona virus (SARS-CoV-2) and the infectious disease ("Corona virus induced disease", COVID-19) caused by it. As a result of this discussion, a joint approach and appropriate measures were agreed upon, as announced in a press release by the Saxon State Rectors' Conference.

The crisis management team, which has been set up at Chemnitz University of Technology and which includes members of the University Management, the Staff Council and the Student Council (StuRa), yesterday dealt intensively with the implementation of the measures resolved by the Saxon State Rectors' Conference and those that are additionally necessary.

The Saxon State Rectors' Conference agreed that the first step will be to work towards "carrying out a successful summer semester 2020 in a responsible manner". This will start on 1 April 2020, but the start of face-to-face classes will be postponed until 4 May 2020 at the earliest. At the same time, teaching formats in which the presence of professors/lecturers and students is not necessary should be offered as early as possible. Corresponding solutions for alternative teaching and learning offerings are currently being examined.

In addition, it was agreed that the universities should go into "stand-by mode", ensuring proper administration, the respective technical facilities and laboratories in such a way "that their efficiency is maintained and scientific results are not jeopardised as far as possible". This means that operations at Chemnitz University of Technology will be reduced to the absolutely necessary minimum and that only a core team will be active at Chemnitz University of Technology.

In accordance with the agreement of the Saxon State Rectors' Conference, the facilities for events and visitors as well as the reading rooms of the libraries will be closed until further notice. Furthermore, the entire University Library, the Centre for Sports and Health Promotion (ZfSG), the computer pools (training pools) managed by the University Computer Centre (URZ), the Student Service Point, the Central Examination Office, the Central Student Advisory Service, the International Office, the Patent Information Centre and the Creative Centre for have already been closed public access at Chemnitz University of Technology.

In order to bring Chemnitz University of Technology down to the absolutely necessary minimum level of operation in a targeted and rapid manner, specific measures are currently being defined and the necessary prerequisites created in close cooperation with the various departments of our university. Employees who are not necessary to prepare or maintain "stand-by operation" are required, after consultation with their supervisor, to stop coming to work immediately and until further notice - they do not have to apply for leave of absence, overtime compensation or unpaid leave and in this case they retain their right to remuneration. All other employees should strictly follow the recommended hygiene conditions (update: 3 June 2020), work in separate rooms (individual workstations), reduce contact with other employees and public traffic to a necessary minimum (preferably communicate by telephone or e-mail) and otherwise maintain minimum distances.

Current examinations should be postponed as far as possible. If this is not feasible, the recommended hygiene conditions (update: 3 June 2020) must be strictly observed. Examiners are asked to make accommodating arrangements in view of the situation, to inform the Central Examination Office in individual cases and to reliably inform the participants of scheduled examinations about the postponements of dates and to be available for further questions. Students may withdraw from examinations with immediate effect and without giving reasons until the resumption of normal teaching activities. Furthermore, the deadlines for handing in homework and final papers have been extended by the period from the cancellation of courses on 11 March 2020 until one week after resumption of regular teaching activities.

Further information for employees and students can be found in the continuously updated FAQ section of the Office for Security at Work and Environment Protection (BfAU) of Chemnitz University of Technology.

I would like to explicitly point out that the situation at Chemnitz University of Technology has not changed at the present time. These measures, too, are exclusively preventive, but urgently necessary steps to delay the further spread of the corona virus (SARS-CoV-2).

Of course you will be informed immediately about further developments on the website of Chemnitz University of Technology.

I hope you understand the measures taken and thank you very much for your cooperation!

The worldwide spread of the corona virus and the infectious disease it causes is confronting us with a situation that we have never experienced before in this form, that can hardly be compared with other challenges and that of course fills everyone with great concern. I am firmly convinced, however, that we will be able to deal with this situation in the best possible way if we do not face it in a panic or frivolously but adequately, if we implement the above measures consistently and do what the TUCfamily has always done in difficult times and when faced with particular challenges - stick together.

With kind regards

Yours Gerd Strohmeier

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Preventive measure regarding the Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) of 13 March 2020

Dear Professors, Staff and Students,

Dear Members of the University Community,

After consultation with the Chemnitz Department of Health the following areas will be closed immediately for visitors until further notice:

Again I would like to make clear that all measures being instituted are exclusively preventive.

With kind regards

Yours Gerd Strohmeier

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Second Open letter from the President regarding the Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) of 11 March 2020

Dear Professors, Staff and Students,

Dear Members of the University Community,

A meeting took place this afternoon with representatives from the Chemnitz Department of Health, and it was recommended that the entire university make use of the capability to telecommute or work from home, if it is at all possible and if it does not affect core processes of the university. This temporary measure will enable working remotely after consultation with the respective supervisor, without any other special application or approval required.

Courses will be canceled until further notice. Sessions, committee meetings, etc. should be reviewed to ensure that their taking place is absolutly necessary.

According to current assessments of the situation, class will not be in session on 6 April 2020. Further information will be announced at a later date.

Events with more than 1,000 participants will be prohibited, according to the decree made by the Saxon State Ministry for Social Affairs. This will come into effect as of 12 March 2020 at 8:00am and will continue indefinitely. All other events must be reviewed to ensure that they need to take place. Otherwise, the procedures as noted above will, in continued consultation with the Chemnitz Department of Health, apply until further notice.

If you have returned from trips to high-risk areas, I ask that you please avoid contact with other people, do not come into work, and contact a doctor by phone and ask for advice. In addition, I ask that you contact our human resources department by telephone (+49 371 531-12200) and only come back to work after the threat of being infected with the virus has been ruled out. If this is the case, we will see to what extent we can make it possible for you to work from home.

I would like to make it abundantly clear that the situation in the city of Chemnitz as well as at Chemnitz University of Technology has not changed at the present time. All measures being instituted are exclusively preventive.

We will certainly inform you immediately of any changes or new developments.

With kind regards

Yours Gerd Strohmeier

+++

Current updates regarding the coronavirus in Chemnitz:

(10 March 2020, 4:20 pm) There are now three confirmed cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Chemnitz. According to the city's public affairs office, the virus is unlikely to be passed on, as the affected people were immediately put into quarantine upon their return.

In addition, an employee from the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration is currently being tested for infection with the coronavirus. He will, in any case, be staying at home until the test results are returned (no quarantine). As a preventative measure, work in this area will be done remotely until 11 March 2020.

We will update you immediately when any new information arises. (10 March 2020, 4:20 pm)

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First Open letter from the President regarding the Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) of 9 March 2020

Dear professors, staff members and students,

dear members and adherents of Chemnitz University of Technology,

The novel Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) and the infection disease caused by it („Corona virus induced disease“, COVID-19) continue to spread globally. Meanwhile, there are also confirmed cases of Coronavirus-infections in Saxony.

This evokes naturally uncertainties and anxieties. In this context, it is important to take the situation seriously but also to estimate it at the same time in an appropriate way and to react in a careful manner. The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) still assesses the danger for the health of the population in Germany as moderate but also points out that this estimation may change due to new information.

In Chemnitz and Chemnitz University of Technology, no confirmed case of Coronavirus-infection emerged yet. For this reason, also the activities at Chemnitz University of Technology had not been restricted.

With regard to the implementation of events, the Health Authority of the City of Chemnitz had elaborated a checklist for assessment and decision. This checklist is provided for download on the website of the Office for Security at Work and Environment Protection (BfAU) of Chemnitz University of Technology. Internal as well as external organizers of events are asked to declare events at Chemnitz University of Technology, regardless of their size, and to send the filled checklist in due time prior to the start of the event to the Department of Facility Management and Technology (Email: vermietung@verwaltung.tu-chemnitz.de), which forwards the document to the Health Authority of the City of Chemnitz. Subsequent to respective evaluation, the Health Authority will inform the Department of Facility Management and Technology about a decision or recommendation for implementation or cancellation of the event – which then – after internal decision, if necessary and appropriate – is communicated respectively to the respective organizers of the event. Already projected lectures for the upcoming summer term are exempted from these regulations. According to the current status, they do not have to be declared by the checklist.

In case of changings regarding the current situation (risk assessment etc.) at Chemnitz resp. Chemnitz University of Technology, the university will, in coordination with the City of Chemnitz, in particular with the Health Authority of the City of Chemnitz, react without any delay as well as in an appropriate way and will inform you about that respectively.

Apart from that, I would like to ask you to continuously consult the existing information sources in order to adapt as best as possible to the current situation in your private as well as in your professional sphere and to protect yourself respectively. You get continuously actualized information regarding the Coronavirus and its way of contamination, concerning the current spreading, protection and security measures, on how to react in the case of suspicion of infection resp. disease of the Coronavirus or in the case of return from regions, in which the virus was transmitted as well as travelling indications on the websites of the Robert Koch Institute, the Federal Ministry of Health, the Federal Foreign Office, the Saxon State Ministry for Social Affairs and Societal Cohesion  (in German only), the Health Authority of the City of Chemnitz (in German only) as well as via the Federal Emergency Information and News App, abbreviated: warning app NINA (in German only).

Current information may be found as well on the website of the Office for Security at Work and Environment Protection (BfAU) of Chemnitz University of Technology established exclusively for this topic. 

In the context of protection measures, all buildings of Chemnitz University of Technology will be equipped step-by-step with disinfectant dispensers. Unfortunately, also our university is affected by the existing comprehensive shortages of availability of products of that kind. I would like to ask you cordially to pay strong attention to all protection measures recommended by the institutions mentioned above. Currently, the Robert Koch Institute recommends to pay special attention to careful hand hygiene, to comply with rules for coughing and sniffing, to keep a distance from persons affected of at minimum one to two meters as well as to renounce from shaking hands. Furthermore, all persons suffering from diseases of the respiratory tract should, according to the recommendations of the Robert Koch Institute, stay at home as far as possible.

It is strongly dissuaded to travel into areas of risk. In this context, it is indicated that a business trip may only be approved under the condition that it is not opposed to current travel warnings. In this respect, please pay attention to the respective travel and safety information of the Federal Foreign Office (in German only). In case of doubt regarding the implementation of already confirmed business trips, a consideration in consultation with the supervisor resp. the responsible for the approval should be done in order to evaluate if the business trip is still absolutely necessary. In the case that it is decided in individual cases to renounce from an already confirmed business trip, travelling services which cannot be cancelled anymore may be claimed with the common calculation of business trip costs. Insofar fairs, conferences etc. are cancelled by the organizer, also costs for non-reversible travelling services in this regard may be declared within the calculation of business trip costs.

In case of symptoms similar to a flu, please stay at home and contact immediately a physician. In the case that you have travelled to an area determined as risk area for Coronavirus-diseases within the past 14 days or that you had personal contact with a person affected by the Coronavirus, please contact the Health Authority of the City of Chemnitz by telephone (phone: +49 371 488-5302, 06:00 am to 10:00 pm) without any delay, also if no disease symptoms are visible. Until then, you should stay at home and avoid unnecessary contacts with other persons. Please pay also attention to the further indications of the Health Authority in this respect  (in German only).

In cases of suspicion of infection with the Coronavirus mentioned above as well as naturally in the case of a confirmed diagnosis of a respective infection, I would like to ask to inform the University Management of Chemnitz University of Technology without any delay. Your central person of contact in this respect is Ms. Diana Schreiterer (phone: +49 371 531-35267, Email: diana.schreiterer@verwaltung.tu-chemnitz.de).

In addition, also Ms. Monique Kautz from the Office for Security at Work and Environment Protection of Chemnitz University of Technology is at your disposal (phone: +49 371 531-34254, Email: monique.kautz@verwaltung.tu-chemnitz.de).

Naturally, you will be informed about all significant changings and amendments without any delay. In case of eventually emerging further questions regarding staff regulations, a respective FAQ-area will be established on the website of the Office for Security at Work and Environment Protection (BfAU) of Chemnitz University of Technology.

I hope very much that the situation not aggravates further – and that you all stay healthy!

With kind regards

Yours Gerd Strohmeier

Mario Steinebach
01.10.2020

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