Information on the coronavirus (Covid-19)
As the Coronavirus Protection Regulations have expired, proof of 3G status is no longer required to access TH Köln’s buildings. As a public institution, TH Köln is still expected to monitor infection rates and thus strongly recommends wearing FFP 2 masks.
+++ This page is updated regularly. +++
Since April 19, 2022 TH Köln has resumed its regular opening hours:
Südstadt, Deutz and Gummersbach Campus
Mon - Fri: 6.30 am - 10.00 pm
Sat: 7.00 am - 7.00 pm
Mon - Fri: 6.30 am - 8.30 pm
Operational and hygiene concept: Face masks, ventilation information regarding events
In late May, the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs announced that, with regard to the continuously decreasing number of infections, the SARS-CoV-2 Occupational Health and Safety Regulation (Corona-ArbSchV) has expired on May 25, 2022. However, the ministry calls upon companies and public institutions to continue to monitor infection rates and to adjust their hygiene concepts if necessary. Thus, even though the Coronavirus Occupational Health and Safety Regulation has expired, TH Köln still assumes its responsibility as an employer. The university is asked to reflect its situation and to implement protective measures to ensure safe operations for everyone involved (students, teaching staff, employees and visitors).
Regarding TH Köln’s teaching operations, our recent experience with classes of all faculties taking place on-campus has shown that the verifiably effective protective measures, namely FFP 2 masks and regular, thorough ventilation of enclosed spaces, are accepted and implemented by most persons involved. With those measures, TH Köln achieves a high level of infection control, which ensures that classes can continue to take place on campus.
Since May 1, 2022, when the Coronavirus Protection Regulation for North Rhine-Westphalia of April 1, 2022 expired, proof of 3G status has no longer been required to access TH Köln’s buildings.
In light of this, TH Köln has updated its operational and hygiene concept.
Here is a summary of the amendments, which are in effect immediately:
Why is it strongly advised to wear FFP2 masks?
Since all faculties are offering their classes again on campus in the summer semester 2022 and the winter semester 2022/23, TH Köln is full of people again. We greatly appreciate that. However, this also means that, other than in the past winter semester, physical distancing will be no longer possible. FFP2 masks help to prevent that infections can easily spread. If many people are ill or in quarantine, they cannot offer or participate in on-site classes. A dependable infection protection concept is crucial for our plan to offer classes on campus.
Why should I still wear an FFP2 mask? They are expensive and exhausting to wear.
FFP2 masks have proven to be one of the best measures to prevent Covid infections. Their protection level is many times superior to that of surgical masks. Because it can be exhausting to wear masks for long periods of time, regular breaks will be offered: Classes of up to 90 minutes will be followed by a break of at least 30 minutes’ duration so that everyone can spend some time outside without masks. TH Köln will provide appropriate masks to ensure that students in need of one will be able to receive one.
I am a student - why does the Occupational Health and Safety Act apply to me?
Students are not considered employees. However, they are covered by the state accident insurance (Landesunfallkasse) in case of injuries that occur in the context of their university studies. Students would not be covered by this insurance if TH Köln applied different standards for its students than for its employees.
Forgot your mask?
If you forgot to bring an FFP 2 mask, you may still participate in on-site events. Masks are available at the door attendant’s desk or in classrooms.
Inside TH Köln’s buildings it is strongly advised wearing FFP 2 masks at all times in circulation areas such as hallways and lobbies, in offices or other units during service hours, in student work and study spaces, restrooms as well as during classes (lecture halls and all other rooms used for classes).
Additionally, it is strongly advised wearing masks in offices, laboratories or workshops if it is not possible to keep a distance of 1.5 meters to other persons or if people whose usual workspace is not in that room enter it. In courses, people who are presenting or speaking to the entire group may take off their mask for the duration of their presentation.
Proper ventilation must be ensured during all classes. CO2 monitors are available to measure the CO2 concentration in a room and thus have a reference point for ventilation intervals. Rooms are to be ventilated with windows fully open (impact ventilation). Airing with the windows in tilt position (“kippen”) is not sufficient because the air cannot circulate properly. In rooms where windows can only be opened to a tilt position but not completely, it is necessary to open doors at the same time (cross ventilation).
Breaks between classes
Due to the mask advise and the need for proper ventilation, regular breaks between classes (to take off masks) are necessary. For students this is only possible outdoors, due to TH Köln’s general regulations. Classes with a duration of up to 90 minutes are followed by a break of at least 30 minutes’ duration so that students may spend some time outside and take off their masks. Breaks are also to be used to ventilate the classrooms.
Measures to prevent infections
Come to work or classes only if you feel healthy
Please only come to TH Köln for work or classes, examinations, library visits etc. if you haven’t had any symptoms of a cold or flu-like infection for at least two days.
What should I do if I have symptoms?
Unless an infection with SARS-CoV-2 has been ruled out by a physician or through testing, individuals experiencing symptoms of a coronavirus infection are generally not allowed to be present in TH Köln’s buildings and outdoor areas. Employees who experience symptoms are to contact their physician and to subsequently contact their supervisor.
Wash your hands
Make regular and thorough hand washing part of your daily routine. Apply soap and wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, then rinse your hands well. Keep your hands away from your face and avoid touching your mouth, eyes or nose. If this is not possible, please use the disinfectants provided in all buildings.
Coughing and sneezing etiquette
Cough or sneeze into your elbow, not your hand. Keep as much distance as possible to other people and turn the other way when coughing or sneezing.
Employees who belong to risk groups (as defined by the Robert Koch Institute) may seek advice on how to create a safe working environment at TH Köln. Please get in touch with your supervisor or the university physician.
Exceptions to the recommendation to wear masks
For students who cannot wear masks for medical reasons and have a corresponding medical certificate, the recommendation to wear masks does not apply. Students who cannot wear masks for health reasons and who can also cannot take the risk of infection that comes with being inside the university buildings, despite the recommendation to wear FFP2 masks, are asked to get in touch with their faculties to find individual solutions.
There are no access regulations for events at TH Köln, including events that are not part of teaching operations such as presentations, conferences, workshops, work meetings and social events.
If infection rates give cause for concern again, access regulations may be reactivated for events that may potentially be “super spreading” events.
Persons who are organizing conferences or social events have the option to seek advice regarding sensible measures at any time. Please get in touch by email: firstname.lastname@example.org Please continue to use the familiar events checklist (“Checkliste für Zusammenkünfte und Veranstaltungen”). Self-tests for events are available.
Classes of the summer semester 2022 and the winter semester 2022/23 are to take place mainly on campus in order offer our students opportunities for social integration at TH Köln as well as to familiarize with their faculty culture. For this, direct interaction with teachers and students on site is a particularly important factor. To meet this goal, TH Köln offers face-to-face classes in all faculties since April 19, 2022.
Students will be provided details on semester schedules and on-site classes by their faculty.
Office of Student Services
- Any forms or requests can be submitted by email: Please complete and sign the respective forms at home. Then use your university email account (smail) to send a scan or picture of the form(s)/request(s).
Please note: It must be recognizable that the document carries a handwritten signature. It is not sufficent to electronically insert a scanned version of your signature into the document.
- Registrations for Bachelor’s or Master’s theses can also be sent by email to the responsible Office of Student Services. Please indicate if your registration request should be forwarded to your thesis advisor or be returned to you.
- Any certificates, confirmations or other documents issued by TH Köln can be sent to you by mail. Please provide your current mailing address and make sure your mailing address in PSSO is up to date.
Are students who carry out study-related activities at home covered by statutory accident insurance?
No. Students who carry out study-related activities at home are generally not covered by statutory accident insurance. This includes any practical experiments, which can, for example, be carried out with household supplies and are organized or instructed by teaching staff.
Additional information on accident insurance coverage for students is available on the website of the Unfallkasse-Nordrhein-Westfalen (UK NRW) [in German]:
Standard program duration (“Regelstudienzeit”)
Based on a regulation released by the state government, TH Köln has increased the individualized standard program duration for the following semesters:
- summer semester 2020
- winter semester 2020/21
- summer semester 2021
- winter semester 2021/22
For students and cross-registered students (Zweithörer) who were enrolled at TH Köln during at least one of the above mentioned semesters, the individualized standard program duration has been increased by one semester for each semester that they were enrolled during the above mentioned period.
BAföG certificates which are available for download in PSSO show the amended individualized standard program duration.
Financing your studies: BAföG
The BaföG webpage of the Ministry of Education and Research provides relevant information on special regulations that are in place due to the Covid pandemic. Please note that this information is currently only available in German.
Based on a regulation in place for all of North Rhine-Westphalia, TH Köln has increased the individual standard program duration for all students and cross-registered students (‘Zweithörer’), who were enrolled (and not on a leave of absence) in the
- summer semester 2020
- winter semester 2020/21
- summer semester 2021
- winter semester 2021/22
by one semester.
Update BAföG certificate are available for download in PSSO.
Financing your studies: Study loans and grants
Students who are in financial distress due to the Covid pandemic have different options to apply for loans and grants:
Please stay informed of the current regulations announced by public authorities, which are subject to change depending on the development of the corona crisis. Teaching staff and students have the option to use ILIAS and moodle. Students may also use Microsoft Teams which is available as part of Office 365 Education and Zoom.
Audio and video conferencing tool Zoom
TH Köln has acquired a license for the audio and video conferencing tool Zoom. It is support teaching and university operations in the summer semester as a reliable and powerful alternative to DFN conf.
Despite the provision of the tool on short notice we were able to make a few data-protection friendly basic settings and will continue to improve them. The main points are:
- Tracking: The “attention tracking” feature was disabled.
- Encryption: Simple encryption is used for audio and video streams. End-to-end encryption is activated for chats, thus third parties do not have access to any contents of the chat. However, no personal details or sensitive data should be disclosed in chats.
- Zoom Bombing: If virtual conference rooms are created without password protection it is possible that unauthorized persons access the room with an automated meeting ID. To prevent this, the option to create conference rooms without a password was disabled.
- Recording: Meetings can be recorded using the Zoom app and can be saved to your computer or in the Zoom cloud. The automatic recording option was disabled, since all participants, dialogs and shared screens are recorded and all participants must explicitly agree to the recording.
Studying as a parent during the Covid pandemic
TH Köln offers various counseling services for student parents:
Exams and papers
Examinations on-campus may only take place if hygiene measures and infection protection regulations are observed.
Based on the second amendment of the Regulation for Higher Education Institutions during the Coronavirus Pandemic (Corona-Epidemie-Hochschulverordnung) TH Köln's Executive Board has determined the regulations for examinations in the summer semester 2022. It is still possible to withdraw from an examination until its start.
Further information on examinations during the Covid pandemic is available on our info page Examinations during the Covid-19 pandemic. The current "Regulations established by the TH Köln's Executive Board to meet the challenges posed by the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 pandemic for the university’s teaching operations and academic affairs" are also available on this page.
Will there be make up classes for those classes canceled?
You will receive additional information from your faculty shortly. Please make sure to check your university email account (smail) regularly and read the information provided on TH Köln’s and your program’s website.
North Rhine-Westphalia’s Ministry of Labor, Health and Social Affairs (Ministerium für Arbeit, Gesundheit und Soziales, MAGS) has released quarantine regulations, which apply to all of TH Köln’s employees and students. Details are provided on the website of the Ministry [in German]. Additionally, an overview of the current regulations in English is provided below.
Covid-19: Regulations on quarantine and self-isolation in North Rhine-Westphalia (MAGS Translation)
As of January 16, 2022 new regulations on quarantine and self-isolation during the Covid pandemic are in place in North Rhine-Westphalia.
Below is an overview of the most relevant regulations:
1. If you have tested positive for Covid-19 infection (official antigen rapid test or PCR test) you are required to self-isolate immediately for 10 full days (calculated from the day of the positive test-result or the first symptoms). This is to be followed, even if you do not receive specific instructions from local health authorities. It is possible to end self-isolation after 7 days if you have been symptom-free for at least 48 hours. An official negative antigen rapid test or PCR test (CT > 30) is required to end self-isolation early. Make sure to keep your negative test result for at least one month, since you may be required to present it to local health authorities upon request.
Additionally, you must notify anyone with whom you have had close contact in the past 48 hours. This includes anyone with whom you have had contact for more than 10 minutes, without masks and without keeping a distance of at least 1.5 meters or people with whom you have shared a poorly ventilated room for a longer period of time.
2. If you share a household with someone with a confirmed Covid infection, you must also stay home and quarantine immediately for 10 days (calculated from the day of the positive test or first symptoms of your contact). If you do not experience any symptoms, you may also end your quarantine after 7 days with a negative test result. Should you experience any symptoms during your quarantine, you are required to undergo a PCR test immediately.
3. If you were exposed to Covid, e.g. if you met or shared a room with an infected person who does not live in the same household, you do not need to quarantine automatically. In this case, you only need to stay home and quarantine if so instructed by local health authorities (Gesundheitsamt). In this case, quarantine duration and requirements to end quarantine early are usually the same as for people who share a household with a confirmed Covid case. If you do not need to quarantine, you are still expected to act responsibly, i.e. reduce contacts, wear a mask, self-isolate if you are not vaccinated.
Exemptions for contacts:
According to the new regulations, you are generally exempt from quarantine as a contact person if you belong to one of the following groups:
- Persons who have received a booster vaccination,
i.e. anyone who has received three vaccinations, irrespective of the vaccine used.
- Persons who are vaccinated and have recovered from Covid,
i.e. anyone who has recovered from Covid and has received at least one vaccination, either before or after the confirmed Covid infection.
- Persons who have received two vaccinations are exempt from quarantine from day 15 to day 90, calculated from the day of their second vaccination.
- Person who have recently recovered from Covid are exempt from quarantine from day 28 to day 90 after their infection, calculated from the day of the positive test result.
In case of an infection, please consider the following information:
What should I do if I tested positive for Covid?
Persons who have tested positive for coronavirus need to self-isolate immediately without being explicitly instructed to do so.
Not to visit TH Köln during this time is more than just a kind request: In the interest of all members of TH Köln, the university has issued a house ban for all individuals with a suspected or confirmed infection with coronavirus.
Should I contact TH Köln directly?
If you tested positive for coronavirus (official antigen rapid test or PCR test), please get in touch with the Office of Student Services https://www.th-koeln.de/en/academics/office-of-student-services_5902.php on your campus, ideally by email. Please include the following information:
• Your name, student ID number and program
• Which courses you have attended at TH Köln in the past five days?
Please get in touch with the responsible colleague from the HR department as well as your supervisor if you tested positive for Coronavirus.
If reporting sick to your HR person and supervisor, please always mention if this is due a (suspected) corona infection or not.
I am in quarantine as a contact or have been in contact with a person who tested positive for Covid. What does that mean for me?
In this case, please also inform your supervisor and the Department of Human Resources. Please contact your supervisor to discuss which tasks you can and should carry out from home.
In case it is not possible for you to work from home due to the nature of your tasks, you will still receive your remuneration as per sect. 56 of the Infection Protection Act (Infektionsschutzgesetz). Additionally, the following regulation of the Ministry of Labor, Health and Social Affairs is to be observed: https://www.mags.nrw/pressemitteilung/neue-isolierungs-und-quarantaeneregelungen-bei-sars-cov-2-infektionen [in German]. An overview of the current regulations in English is available here: Covid-19: Regulations on quarantine and self-isolation in North Rhine-Westphalia (MAGS Translation)]
If you have been in contact with a Covid case but are not in quarantine, it is still advisable to reduce contacts and work from home if possible. Please discuss this with your supervisor.
For the time being, all students may withdraw from an examination until its start (i.e. before examination tasks are distributed), no explanation required. Of course this also applies to situations where students are in quarantine.
If the quarantine has other effects, e.g. on registration times, submission of papers, etc., you are requested to contact your lecturers immediately to discuss possible solutions.
Studying abroad in the summer semester 2022
In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, TH Köln’s Executive Board has made a decision on international mobility (outgoing/incoming) of students and staff for the summer semester 2022.
Long-term mobility (more than four weeks)
- Outgoings: Physical long-term mobility of students and staff can be carried out as planned, provided that visa/entry regulations and the individual provisions made by partner universities allow this.
- Incomings: The admission of exchange students or visiting scholars and researchers from European and non-European countries is explicitly possible in the summer semester 2022. However, TH Köln continues to explicitly point out potential restrictions.
Short-term mobility (up to four weeks)
- For short-term mobility of up to two employees, the regulations on international business trips (as a specific form of business trip) apply, which are regularly reviewed by TH Köln’s Crisis Management Board and adjusted, if necessary.
- Short-term mobility of up to two students together should only take place if there are no quarantine regulations in place upon entry to the country of destination or upon return to the home country.
- Students and/or staff taking part in a short-term group mobility must additionally provide proof of a complete Covid-19 vaccination (incl. Booster shot) or recovery from Covid.
Information for employees and teaching staff
TH Köln intern
TH Köln’s business operations are continued and employees continue to be on duty. The regulations on hygiene measures and access regulations, which have already been announced, are to be observed.
Information for teaching staff on digital teaching options and formats is available on TH Köln’s website, section ZLE - Digitale Lehre [in German]. On this page, TH Köln’s Zentrum für Lehrentwicklung (ZLE) and Campus IT provide information, advice and guidance as well as quick and straightforward training options. We also recommend to visit the ILIAS forum. The forum provides questions and answers on the topic of digial teaching options. If you have any further questions, please get in touch with the ZLE: email@example.com.
Further information for teaching staff and examiners
Information for professors and staff of TH Köln is also updated regularly.
Further information and contact points
You can find answers to frequently asked questions at several designated institutions.
Robert Koch Institute (RKI)
Federal Centre for Health Education
[Information in German]
State of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW)
The state of NRW is monitoring the situation and providing social information via the Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Affairs. In addition, the state has set up a service center on the subject of coronavirus, which can be reached at 0211 - 9119 1001. Please note that you will not receive any medical information or assessments here. These are reserved for physicians or the local health authorities.
City of Cologne
Many cities and districts have set up their own information pages, and some have also set up a citizens' hotline. You can reach the Citizens' Telephone of the City of Cologne at 0221 / 221-33500 (Mon-Fri, 8.00 am - 6.00 pm).
Crisis Management Board
TH Köln’s Executive Board asks you to handle the current situation with calm and prudence.
Under the direction of the Vice President for Financial Affairs and Human Resource, TH Köln has set up a Crisis Management Board which met for the first time on March 9, 2020. The Crisis Management Board is constantly monitoring and evaluating the situation in Cologne as well as in Leverkusen and Gummersbach. We are in close contact with the respective health authorities and agencies responsible for infection control. Any measures recommended by these authorities will be implemented at TH Köln.