FAQ on the Coronavirus Pandemic

Last updated: 28 May 2020

Studying, Classes and Examinations

Are classes being held as planned?

In accordance with the “Corona Ordinance,” the classes already started will continue to be offered only in digital formats, likely until the end of the semester--unless an attendance phase is absolutely necessary. 

Classroom-based (in-person) classes that require special laboratory or work rooms at the University and are absolutely necessary are only possible under special protective measures. Preparations for this are already underway. You will be informed if and when your class will take place in laboratory or work rooms on campus. In addition, we are currently assessing in which form, for which courses and to what extent it will be possible to return to classroom formats in the course of the semester.

For the time being, however, there will be no classroom teaching at HSO.

Since it is still not possible to foresee how things will develop, the following options are being considered to enable students to be able to take the planned courses in the summer semester under the given circumstances:

- It is not yet foreseeable when presence formats will be possible again, so that for courses that require a presence format (e.g. in certain laboratories), attempts will be made to create various possibilities for students to file their papers. For example, this can also be in a blocked format immediately before the start of the winter semester. The possibilities are currently being examined in the departments and decisions will be made depending on developments. As far as possible, we are also accounting for dependencies such as the start of practical semesters. Those responsible are aware of this problem and are looking for solutions.

- At present, preparations are underway to ensure that events that must necessarily take place on campus can be held in compliance with all applicable safety and security regulations.

- The start of the winter semester will be postponed, so that catch-up appointments are also possible in principle until then.

- In the 2020 summer semester, students can have themselves exempted from examinations for all automatic registrations (including third attempt) with an informal application to the Registrar's office. However, the third-attempt interviews must be conducted in the 2020 summer semester so that students can be registered for the exam and thus be exempted from examinations at all.

- To ensure that students can study and take the planned courses in the summer semester 2020, alternative examination formats are currently being assessed for the summer semester. Students will receive timely information from their departments directly.

- The previously class-free week after Pentecost Weekend (2-5 June 2020) will now be used for regular classes.

- If necessary, Saturdays will be used additionally for block courses.

- In the period between 10 August and 12 September 2020, no courses or examinations will be held.

- Concrete regulations for the examination phase are to be decided depending on developments, so that no binding regulations can be specified at this stage. In principle, however, an attempt will be made to complete the examination phase by the beginning of August (8 August 2020), but in lower semesters (first to third) examinations may also be possible in a later period from 14 September 2020.

- Public access to the Hochschule remains suspended.

- The PC pools are closed.

- The university library is preparing for a gradual reopening.

- The student offices can still be reached by email.

Are alternative teaching formats offered?

Hochschule Offenburg remains closed to the public, and classes continue to be held online, until at least May 11, and probably throughout the 2020 summer semester.

Classroom-based (in-person) classes and exams are only allowed with special protective measures in place, and only if they are absolutely necessary. The preparations for this are underway.

You will be informed if and when any of your classes will take place on campus. In addition, we are currently investigating in which form, with which courses and to what extent it will be possible to return to classroom-based formats.

Does the currently restricted operation of the University mean that it is officially on a "lecture-free period", like during the semester break?

No, this is not equivalent to a semester break.

Can I work as many hours before the start of classes on 20 April as I do during the semester break?

No, the period until 20 April does not qualify as a semester break.

How does the situation affect the schedule for the summer semester?

- The start of the winter semester will be postponed, so that catch-up appointments are also possible in principle until then.

- In the 2020 summer semester, students can have themselves exempted from examinations for all automatic registrations (including third attempt) with an informal application to the Registrar's office. However, the third-attempt interviews must be conducted in the 2020 summer semester so that students can be registered for the exam and thus be exempted from examinations at all.

- To ensure that students can study and take the planned courses in the summer semester 2020, alternative examination formats are currently being assessed for the summer semester. Students will receive timely information from their departments directly.

- The previously class-free week after Pentecost Weekend (2-5 June 2020) will now be used for regular classes.

- If necessary, Saturdays will be used additionally for block courses.

- In the period between 10 August and 12 September 2020, no courses or examinations will be held.

- Concrete regulations for the examination phase are to be decided depending on developments, so that no binding regulations can be specified at this stage. In principle, however, an attempt will be made to complete the examination phase by the beginning of August (8 August 2020), but in lower semesters (first to third) examinations may also be possible in a later period from 14 September 2020.

I’m a new student. How do I get my student ID/”OSKAR” card?

Presently, you can NOT collect your student ID in person! Instead, you will receive it at the responsible Student Office on the first day of classes. In the meantime, as you’ve already been officially enrolled at Hochschule Offenburg since 1 March 2020, you can also identify yourself as a student with an enrollment certificate in combination with an ID card/passport. To obtain an enrollment certificate, go to Hochschule Offenburg's student portal.

For questions, contact the Student Office of your degree program by email.

Please do not come by in person! Student IDs are not issued for the time being, and the Student Office staff is not offering personal advising, but can be reached by email. The contact addresses can be found on the website of the respective course page or the respective departmental page:

Is the University Library open?

The library on the Offenburg Campus is reopening on May 25. Please review their rules in place for the time after reopening.

The library on the Gengenbach Campus remains closed.

I receive federal financial aid (“BAföG”). How is this affected by the current situation?

BAföG-supported students will continue to receive their funding even if schools and universities are closed or entry to other countries is blocked. This was regulated by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) on Friday, 13 March, in a decree addressed to the states that are implementing the law. Read more in the Press Release of the Ministry.

Has the deadline for submitting documents been postponed along with the postponement of the lecture period?

No, deadlines remain unaffected by the postponement of the start of classes. This is currently only a suspension of classes. We refer here to deadlines set by the Student Offices, e. g. applications for leave of absence, reimbursement of tuition and fees, application documents, and the like.

If you have any questions regarding deadlines in your degree program (e.g. for the submission of a final thesis), or if you are unable to meet a deadline, please contact your Student Office directly by email. You will receive an answer as soon as possible.

How do I submit my objection to the loss of the right to examination (due to exceeding the standard period of study or not achieving the required 60 credits from the first two semesters)?

Please send an email within the appropriate deadline, containing a formulated, substantiated objection together with a scan of the signed application for an extension of the deadline (“Antrag auf Fristverlängerung”), and address it to the chairman of the responsible Examination Committee and also in cc to the corresponding Student Office. Please also scan required documents such as medical certificates, and attach them to the email; then send in the documents with the original application to the Student Office by regular (postal) mail.

How can I submit other applications to the University?

Applications for leave of absence or applications for the recognition of examinations or similar can be signed and sent as a scan to the responsible Student Office by email. Then send the original application by post.

How can I presently de-register from the University (“exmatrikulieren”)?

Apply for de-registration informally by an email to your Student Office. The necessary paperwork will be done internally. You will receive the de-registration certificate by post, possibly with a delay. In justified cases, you may also receive a de-registration certificate in advance by email.

Do the current measures affect the application process for the next winter semester (2020/21)?

At present, the 2020/21 does not seem to be affected by any changes.

Practical semester: How does the current situation affect the attendance-day requirement for company internships?

Practical semesters can be started as far as possible.

The intern’s home-office days are regarded as normal attendance days, provided that home office has been ordered or offered. The scope and level of activities at the home office should correspond to the practical-semester requirements as detailed in § 4 StuPO. Supervision should be provided, however, and at least once a week an instruction and advising appointment should take place by telephone or video conference.

The decision whether an internship has been successfully completed can also be based on the competence achieved. The competence acquisition will be determined by the head of the internship office on the basis of the submitted documents (e.g. home-office documentation). In case of less than 75 attendance days at the internship, a sufficient acquisition of competence may not be given.

If the company closes and the intern has attended the company for at least 60 days, the practical semester can still be recognized if an additional written project work referring to the internship is prepared.

An insufficient acquisition of competence can be made up for by resuming work at the company, or at different companies, at a later date, until October 2021. The number of days of practical training required for this purpose must be agreed with the head of the internship office.

If the company closes and 60 days of attendance cannot be completed, or the intern is not able to start the internship at all, the practical semester will not be fully recognized as such. However, the days of attendance already completed can be credited to a new internship, so that the time spent at the new internship location is reduced by the days already completed.

How can I submit my Bachelor’s or Master’s thesis?

You can submit your work in advance by email as a pdf file or using other storage media and send it by post (registered portal mail), or you can drop it directly into the mailbox in front of the A Building in Offenburg or at the monastery building in Gengenbach (in which case you will not receive a confirmation of receipt). To be on the safe side you can also scan the receipt of the mailing obtained at the post office and send it by email.

I'm currently doing my practical semester. If I’m ordered to telework by the employer, do these home-office days count towards the required attendance times?

Yes, if you are still able to work on your assignment, the required home-office days count towards the required 95 attendance days.

I'm currently doing my practical semester. What do I do if my company interrupts operation or is closed, and I cannot complete the internship?

In this case, please contact your student office by email to clarify the issue.

I’m currently completing a practical or study semester abroad. Am I required by the University to return to Germany?

Due to the German Foreign Office’s current worldwide travel warning regarding the spread of Covid-19 and the recommendation of the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts, Hochschule Offenburg generally recommends to return to Germany. Remaining in the respective country is at your own discretion and risk.

If you have not already done so, please register in the crisis prevention list (ELEFAND) of the German Embassy/ Foreign Office immediately .

According to the Federal Foreign Office, further drastic restrictions on international air and travel, quarantine measures and the restriction of public life can be expected in many countries. Please inform yourself regularly about current developments on the website of the Federal Foreign Office.

Practical semester abroad: Please clarify details regarding the recognition of your internship abroad with your program director and the internship office at Hochschule Offenburg. Please also remember to ask for a certificate of your internship abroad, including the number of already completed attendance days.

Study abroad: Find out about the possibilities of receiving credit for courses taken abroad by contacting the relevant international-relations officers/examination-board chairs at Hochschule Offenburg and ask about alternative online courses at Hochschule Offenburg and the partner university abroad.

The current regulation (as of 18 May 2020) is that anyone entering Germany from a non-EU country must be placed in domestic quarantine for 14 days. This also applies to entries from an EU member state, a Schengen-associated state or the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in the case that more than 50 COVID-19 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants have been detected there within the past seven days. Decisive for this assessment is the data available at the RKI, available online at: https://www.rki.de/DE/Content/InfAZ/N/Neuartiges_Coronavirus/Quarantaene_Einreisen_Deutschland.html. For further details and exceptions, please refer to the Ordinance of the Ministry of Social Affairs on quarantine measures for incoming and outgoing travellers to contain the SARS-Cov-2 virus.

How can international students stay informed?

International and exchange students at Hochschule Offenburg have been and will continue to be informed by email and through this website. They have received all instructions in English on what to do after a possible stay in a risk area or contact with an infected person and how to follow hygiene measures. International students have also been advised to contact their home university about their recommendations considering returning home.

What do I need for crossing the German border from France, Switzerland or Austria?

What do I need for crossing the German border from France, Switzerland or Austria?

Border controls between Germany and France, Switzerland and Austria are still conducted on a sampling basis, at least through June 15. For " justified reasons," which includes attendance at an educational institution, it is possible to cross the border. However, the border guards must be presented with a corresponding document on request:

Commuters: Please fill out this PDF form and email it to: herde@hs-offenburg.de. Please indicate your student ID, study semester number and degree program in your email.

One-time entry: Please send an email including your student ID, study semester number and degree program to: herde@hs-offenburg.de. You will receive an appropriate document by email to carry with you.

When crossing the border into Germany, also make sure to have both your student ID and identity card or passport with you.

If you experience problems with the documents, or have to enter Germany from a country other than France, Switzerland or Austria, send an email to: hotline-studierende@hs-offenburg.de.

Please include the instructor’s name responsible for the class you want to attend at the University.

I'm experiencing a financial difficulty. Who can I appeal to?

I'm experiencing a financial difficulty. Who can I appeal to?

The German federal and state governments have agreed on an interim aid program for students who have lost side-employment income as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and now find themselves in financial difficulties.

From the beginning of May, those affected will be able to apply, online and without any red tape, for an interest-free loan amounting up to 650 euros per month from the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW).

In addition, the State of Baden-Württemberg is setting up an interim aid fund through the student unions, providing eligible students with interest-free loans of up to 450 euros for the months of April and May (at a total of up to 900 euros). Students only have to prove that their earnings have been lost since April and that they do not receive any other sufficient benefits, such as BAföG grants or scholarships. They also have to be enrolled at one of the member universities of the Studierendenwerke Baden-Württemberg to be eligible. Applications can be submitted to the responsible Studierendenwerk and are promised to be processed as swiftly as possible.

If you have any further questions or wish to apply, please contact the responsible officers at the Studierendenwerk Freiburg, as listed here: https://www.swfr.de/en/corona-faqs/.

Faculty and Staff

I’m planning a business trip. What do I need to know?

No more business trips are approved, given the current circumstances, and all trips that were already approved earlier are revoked. If a trip is believed, and can be proven, to be of the utmost necessity, we ask you to contact the hotline listed on our website for an individual assessment.

I’m a contract lecturer (“Lehrbeauftragte”). What does the postponement of classes and other restrictions mean for me?

In-person teaching (in the classroom) continues to be suspended at the University. The current status is that the contact restrictions will remain in place until at least 10 May. Decisions on how to proceed beyond this date will be made regularly depending on developments. However, the Corona Ordinance stipulates that students should be able to complete all the courses planned for the summer semester of 2020 and at the same time ensure that they can study. For this reason, teaching activities in the summer semester 2020 are to be conducted online as far as possible.

Telework: What are the rules concerning availability and childcare?

The possibility of teleworking has been extended significantly given the circumstances. The regulations sent out by email on 16 March 2020 [in German only] apply. The necessary operability of each department and staff unit must remain intact, however. Availability at the home office must also be ensured at all (working) times.

Single parents/guardians may make full use of the regulations on teleworking and/or working time compensation and/or leave arrangements. Families with both parents/guardians working must find a balanced arrangement where the burden of childcare is not borne exclusively by the partner employed at Hochschule Offenburg. To this end, all the above-mentioned possibilities should also be exploited. This requirement for a balanced arrangement does not apply to those whose partner works in a so-called critical-infrastructure field. This includes the police force, fire service, medical and nursing staff, manufacturers of medical products necessary for the supply, food production and food retail, waste collection, and energy and water supply, among others.

General Information / Rules of Conduct

I have been to a risk area, but don’t exhibit symptoms of a coronavirus infection. What do I do?

You may not access Hochschule Offenburg until 14 days after the last day of the stay in a risk area (cf. list in section 1 on this page). After that, if you still do not show any CORVID19 symptoms, you may return to the University.

I have been to a risk area and do exhibit symptoms of a coronavirus infection. What do I do?

Please obtain information from the relevant authorities, e.g. the Ortenau Health Office.

Please understand that the University is not allowed to issue directives on this subject, especially in view of the rapidly changing situation. In principle, the urgent request applies: limit your social contacts and avoid contact with other people wherever possible (e. g. when you’re waiting somewhere). This applies all the more if you suspect symptoms of a coronavirus infection.

I have been in contact with an infected person. What do I do?

As it currently stands, you will need to be placed in domestic isolation. Please check the instructions and regulations of the authorities, e.g. Ortenau Health Office.

I had contact with a person who had visited a risk area within the previous 14 days. Do the restrictions apply to me now, too?

No, they don't; contact persons of someone who has stayed in areas classified as risk areas by the RKI do not have to go into domestic isolation. However, you can help to slow down the spread of the disease by voluntarily reducing your social contacts and avoiding or keeping away from others (e. g. when waiting somewhere).

Save lives and help keep our health system capable by making these personal sacrifices!

How do I protect myself and others?

You can help slow down the spread of the virus by voluntarily reducing your social contacts and avoiding or keeping away from other people.

Otherwise, the usual well-known hygiene measures apply: frequent, thorough hand washing with soap and water (for 20 to 30 seconds) or the use of a hand disinfectant, especially after going to the toilet and before eating. Do not touch your mouth, eyes or nose with unwashed hands. Cough and sneeze into a handkerchief or, if that is not possible, into the crook of your arm. Keep your distance from others as much as possible. Stay home if you feel ill.

Take the situation seriously, but stay sensible and calm. Panic does not serve anyone.

Further Questions / Contact

I have further questions. Whom do I contact?

Faculty and staff members please contact hotline@hs-offenburg.de

Students please contact hotline-studierende@hs-offenburg.de