COVID-19: Current information on teaching in the winter semester 2020/21

*** This website is updated regularly ***

As the current situation in Austria, Europe and throughout the world shows, we have not yet overcome the coronavirus crisis and we are still far from returning to life before COVID-19. BOKU is continuously evaluating the current situation and adapting the measures in place accordingly in order to continue ensuring the highest possible level of health and safety for our students, staff and guests. If you have any questions about the current situation at BOKU, please send an e-mail to corona(at)boku.ac.at.

Further information can also be found in the Information notice by the Vice Rector of Teaching.

Please respect the Code of conduct and hygiene standards that must be complied with during your visit to BOKU premises. 

Opening times of BOKU premises:

Muthgasse location: The main entrance on Muthgasse II is open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.; the entrance on Michael Neumanngasse, Bauteil A, Muthgasse III is open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Bauteil B is open all day, as usual. The janitor for Muthgasse II will be available from 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Türkenschanze location: The Gregor Mendel Haus is open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. The main entrance of Exnerhaus will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. You can access Schwackhöferhaus without an access card via Exnerhaus. The TÜWI building will be open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Simonyhaus and Guttenberghaus will be open from 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. The janitors for Gregor Mendel Haus and Exnerhaus will be on site from 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. The Cieslar Haus will be open from 6 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Tulln location: The main entrances for these buildings will be open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. The janitors will be available from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the UFT and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the IFA.

Library: The reading rooms are not available because of the current safety and hygiene regulations in operation. The latest information can be found on the library’s website.

Measures in place for teaching and examinations:
Face masks must be worn in public spaces and students must bring their own. When entering BOKU premises, students must disinfect or wash their hands (with soap for at least 30 seconds). We recommend that you reduce your visit to the university to the absolute minimum required.

Practicals can take place – individual Departments will develop safety plans for these in advance and the Rectorate will approve them. Students will be advised of the guidelines that have been developed and approved in advance; separate guidelines shall apply for each practical.

In the winter semester 2020/2021, priority should continue to be placed on online courses and exams; however, in-person sessions can also be held where possible. In lecture halls and seminar rooms, the capacity rates established recently as a result of COVID-19 shall apply as of 1 October 2020. These can be found on the website for recent updates on teaching plans.

In general, the following shall apply when planning the attendance of students at BOKU for the purpose of course management: 
As the rate of new infections is currently increasing again, it continues to be important to accurately track contact with those infected with COVID-19 and to be able to inform those affected as quickly as possible. Attendance must therefore be documented by the individual course managers. (Online) lists can be used for this and, if necessary, these should be provided at any time to the Rectorate, the Staff Unit for Employee Protection and Health and the health authorities, if applicable. Students are asked to facilitate the keeping of attendance lists, as well as to check and – if necessary – update their contact details on their BOKUonline account. In order to trace any contact with COVID-19, please make sure you enter your phone number under “term-time/home address”.

Measures for organising and holding courses with attendees in lecture halls or seminar rooms: 

Students may attend lectures and classes only if they have no COVID-19 symptoms. If students become infected with COVID-19 or are classed as potential carriers by the authorities, they must immediately inform the Staff Unit for Employee Protection and Health (Erik Griebl, MSc, Tel.: +43 (0)664 8858 6472, erik.griebl(at)boku.ac.at) as well as the course management. 

Lecture attendance will be recorded using BOKUonline. An attendance list for potentially tracking contacts should be kept in a suitable form for each lecture/class and should be stored for a month. 

Attendees must wear face masks inside BOKU premises and must disinfect their hands in the entrance area or wash their hands with soap for at least 30 seconds in the toilets.

Please keep a distance of at least one metre in public spaces.

Attendees should enter the lecture hall and take their seats maintaining a distance of at least one metre from others; please ensure a sufficient distance is maintained between you and those sitting nearby.

The lecturer must supervise seating arrangements.

Once all the attendees are seated, face masks can be removed.

Face masks must be put on again when standing up and leaving the room.

If possible, ventilation measures should be implemented (cross ventilation). 

Rooms should be cleaned/disinfected regularly by Facility Management.

Measures for organising and holding courses with practical elements (laboratories, workshops, etc.):

Masks must be worn in public spaces (auditorium, hallways, communal rooms, toilets, etc.).

The previously established hygiene measures still apply (ventilation, hand washing, hand disinfection).

On top of the existing safety regulations for the areas in question (laboratory, workshop, etc.), COVID-19 regulations must also be followed. Students should be made aware of these and receive appropriate instructions.

You must keep a minimum distance of one metre. If this distance cannot be guaranteed at all times, face masks (or face shields) must be worn.

Face masks worn in laboratories must be made of cotton (flame-resistant).

After a maximum of two hours, there should be an opportunity to take off the face mask outdoors.

Breaks should be arranged in such a way as to avoid busy areas.

If participants show symptoms of COVID-19 within two weeks of the start of the practical or if they have had contact with those showing symptoms, they must opt out of the practical, citing this as the reason. If symptoms of COVID-19 appear during the course of the practical, these students must absolutely stay at home and immediately inform the course management and the Staff Unit for Employee Protection and Health

Measures for excursions within Austria: 

If students have symptoms of COVID-19 in the 14 days leading up to the start of the excursion or have been in contact with people showing symptoms, these students should opt out of the excursion, citing this as the reason. 

Per car: max. 2 people, in different rows (driver in front left, passenger in back right), both wearing face masks. 

Per BOKU bus: max. 3 people, 1 person staggered per row. Everyone must wear a face mask. 

Particular care should be taken with drivers who wear glasses; the mask should sit flush on the face so that the glasses do not steam up.

Regular breaks must be taken to allow everyone to take off their face masks if necessary and to avoid fatigue.

If travelling by private coach or by public transport, the safety regulations set by the transport company in question should be observed. 

At the place of study, you must comply with the general hygiene standards such as social distancing, hand hygiene, etiquette for coughing, etc. If it is not possible to keep a distance of at least one metre, face masks must be worn.

When visiting external companies, the measures in place there must be observed. 

Overnight stays are allowed in compliance with the applicable official provisions.

Measures for excursions abroad: 
These must be evaluated individually and they require prior consultation with the Staff Unit for Employee Protection and Health. They must then be sent to vr-lehre(at)boku.ac.at for further authorisation.

Measures for students staying abroad for their studies 
As the situation remains very volatile, particularly abroad, international stays should generally be avoided. Study trips organised by BOKU to countries classed as safety level 5 or 6 (as per the travel warnings issued by the Federal Ministry of European and International Affairs) are prohibited. If such a trip is absolutely essential, it will require an individual assessment by the Staff Unit for Employee Protection and Health.

Overnight stays are possible in compliance with the local provisions.

The official quarantine regulations must be followed on returning from a foreign country.

The following shall apply to supervised study trips abroad: the students’ supervisors are responsible for planning the entirety of the study trip and must advise on compliance with the applicable regulations (hygiene measures, contact details and address management abroad, etc.). In doing so, it is important to maintain discussions with the students and work together closely.

The latest information on Erasmus and other programmes can be found on the website for BOKU International Relations Outgoings.

Measures for students from abroad: 
These students must comply with the applicable official regulations when entering Austria.

Catering options

Türkenschanze canteen: The Türkenschanze canteen shall continue to be available from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; hot meals will be provided from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Muthgasse canteen: A delivery service has been arranged with the canteen. If you order before 1 p.m. the day before, you can collect your lunch between 11 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. from the canteen counter. Please pay in cash. You can find the menu on the canteen’s website. The menu for Türkenschanze also applies for Muthgasse. Please send your order to: h17300_essensbestellung(at)boku.ac.at

Measures for university members who are part of at-risk groups: 
Here, the individual case must be assessed and, if necessary, the Staff Unit for People with Particular Disabilities should be consulted. This also applies for students who live with people in at-risk groups. Information on at-risk groups can be found on the website for the Ministry of Social Affairs.

BOKU staff can find comprehensive information on the general safety rules and code of conduct, as well as hygiene standards on the website for the Staff Unit for Employee Protection and Health.