Latest announcements to employees

Information to all staff and 6 November 2020

Dear staff,

On Thursday 5 November, the government introduced tough new restrictions in seven municipalities in northern Jutland that will remain in force at least through 3 December. For the majority of employees at AU, the restrictions will have no direct impact – but there will be consequences for a few of us.

The government is asking residents of the municipalities of Hjørring, Frederikshavn, Vesthimmerland, Brønderslev, Jammerbugt, Thisted and Læsø not to travel outside their home municipalities. This means that if you live in one of these seven municipalities and normally commute to an AU location in a different municipality, you must work from home.

And if you have planned activities in any of the affected municipalities within the next four weeks, you must cancel or postpone them.

The hard lockdown has been imposed on Northern Jutland because Statens Serum Institut has identified a coronavirus mutation (known as ‘cluster 5’) that has spread from mink to humans.

Naturally, we will monitor the situation closely, and we hope that this intervention will prevent the mutated virus from spreading beyond the seven municipalities in Northern Jutland.

 

Sincerely,

The senior management team

Information to all staff and students 28 October 2020

Dear students and employees,

Since our last announcement on 25 October, we have received additional clarifications of the government’s most recent COVID-19 restrictions from the Ministry of Higher Education and Science. As a result, we have adjusted our guidelines as outlined below.

But before we explain the changes, we feel it is important to emphasise that generally speaking, the conditions and guidelines for work and study at the university are unchanged by the government’s most recent announcement. The most significant change is that wearing face masks is now mandatory in certain locations.

Face masks – ‘communal areas’ are defined by management at local level

While on campus, students, employees and others must wear face masks when moving around indoors. For example, this applies in canteens, in hallways and in other communal areas.

However, the ministry has informed us that there may be areas where employees are not required to wear face masks, as the ministry defines ‘communal areas’ in the following way:

[Communal areas]...are areas to which both employees, students, etc. have access. For this reason, the individual institution may exempt administrative buildings/areas from the face mask mandate if students, etc. do not have general access to the particular area. This will still be subject to a concrete assessment at the individual institution.”

As an employee, you should contact your immediate supervisor for more information on where you are exempt from the face mask mandate.

Meetings with more than ten participants are possible after all:

In addition, the ministry has also clarified that the universities are exempt from the 10-person maximum limit for gatherings. This means that we are allowed to hold in-person meetings with more than ten participants. In-person meetings may be held if they:

  • are important and can be held in a safe manner, and if it is possible to adhere to the healthcare authorities’ social distancing and hygiene guidelines.
  • respect the maximum number of occupants set for the room where they take place.

Local management is still responsible for deciding whether an in-person meeting is appropriate based on an overall assessment of factors, including the importance of the meeting and the number of participants, and whether it is safe to bring people together from many different places.

It is still possible to hold academic events. However, the ministry has clarified that they must be held during the day (8:00 - 20:00).

Read more about meetings and events here.

Student association academic events – current guidelines extended through 2 January 2021:

Student associations may continue to hold academic events if they are sufficiently important and can be held in a safe way. The maximum number of participants at such events is still 50 persons, and participants must remain seated for the majority of the event. Read more. This will apply at least through 2 January 2021. 

As we have noted, most of the conditions and guidelines for study and work at the university are not affected by the government’s latest announcement of new measures. However, there is one significant exception: both students and employees must wear face masks when moving about in communal areas on campus, at least until 2 January 2021.

In addition, the ban on holding social events at or by the university will apply at least until the same date. This is a truly unfortunate consequence of the serious situation we are facing: that we cannot meet socially and enjoy lots of ‘hygge’ together as we normally do in the upcoming festive season, with Christmas and New Year right around the corner. And we could certainly do with some cheering up – more now than ever. Again: Let’s help each other keep our spirits up as best we can, and let’s hope that additional measures and restrictions won’t be necessary.

 

Kind regards,

Brian, Berit, Arnold, Lone, Thomas, Lars Bo, Kristian, Johnny and Eskild

Information to all staff and students 25 October 2020

Dear students and employees,

On 23 October, the Danish government announced that additional COVID-19 restrictions are required, and some of these restrictions will affect students’ and employees’ activities at Aarhus University.

FACE MASKS

As of Thursday 29 October, It will be mandatory to wear face masks in more situations than before. Currently, it is mandatory to wear face masks in the canteens. As of 29 October, students and employees must wear face masks indoors in the communal areas on campus.

When you are seated in the room you are going to stay in – e.g. a classroom or an office – you can remove your face mask. However, you must still comply with the distancing requirement of one metre and disinfect contact surfaces thoroughly.

Normally, teaching staff and speakers are not required to wear face masks or visor when teaching, but must, as before, comply with a distancing requirement of two metres to the nearest members of the audience. However, teaching staff who teach more than two classes during a day must wear face masks or visor in connection with teaching.

The rules for use of protective equipment in laboratories have not changed.

RESTRICTIONS ON GATHERINGS

The maximum size of gatherings has been reduced from 50 to 10 people. These restrictions enter into force on Monday 26 October and have, at this point in time, been set to continue the next four weeks. Meetings with more than 10 participants must therefore be held online.

The restrictions on gatherings do not apply to teaching activities, exams or similar where physical attendance is necessary.

Unfortunately, social events (including Christmas parties) cannot be held at the university up to and including 2 January 2021.

ON-SITE WORK AND TEACHING

The current restrictions have not been changed. The university’s employees still work from home if this is considered possible and appropriate by the immediate supervisor. When considering whether working from home is appropriate, aspects such as specific task performance, psychological well-being and organisational cohesion can be taken into consideration.

As before, the immediate supervisor can clarify to what extent and how it is possible for the individual employee to go to work on campus.

Again, we have been asked to take special precautions to contribute to reducing the rate of infection in our society. We are fully aware that these uncertainties and changes are exhausting. These are the conditions we share with the rest of society and, unfortunately, we cannot change them.  However, we can continue to support each other as much as we can and keep our spirits up together. We therefore encourage all of you, students and employees, to reach out to your fellow students and colleagues, even without a direct work- or study-related purpose.

This is what we know right now. On Wednesday, there will be a partnership meeting in the educational sector which may lead to adjustments in relation to the guidelines above. Therefore, we ask you to keep an eye on the university’s corona website which will be updated regularly.

Kind regards,

The senior management team

 

 



Information to all staff 7 October 2020

Employees have received the following information from their management.

On 7 October, The Danish Ministry of Health extended the current COVID-19 restrictions and recommendations, which also affects the universities. They will remain in force until at least 31 October.


Here at Aarhus University, what that means is that:

  • we must continue to work from home wherever possible and feasible. 
  • academic and professional meetings and events both for and involving students and employees may be held, on condition that the event in question is sufficiently important and that COVID-19 guidelines are adhered to. Limits on the number of perticipants must also be respected. See more under meetings and events
  • no social events may be held at the university for students or employees. 

Information to all staff 30 September 2020

Employees have received the following information from their management.

On 25 September, the government extended the current COVID-19 restrictions and recommendations, which also affects the universities. They will remain in force until at least 18 October.

Here at Aarhus University, what that means is that:

  • we must continue to work from home wherever possible and feasible. 
  • academic and professional meetings and events both for and involving students and employees may be held, on condition that the event in question is sufficiently important and that COVID-19 guidelines are adhered to. Limits on the number of perticipants must also be respected. See more under meetings and events
  • no social events may be held at the university for students or employees. 

Information to all students and staff 18 September 2020

 

Dear students and employees,

The government has just introduced a number of new restrictions and recommendations that will also affect the universities. They will remain in force until 4 October.

New guidelines for students and employees outside the Copenhagen area

As a rule, in-person classes will continue as planned. In other words, the university will not shut down during this period. However, we must work from home to the extent that this is possible and reasonable given the nature of the work. Research activities and administrative support functions may still be performed on campus if physical attendance is important for the performance of the work in question. If you have doubts, we encourage you to discuss your situation with your immediate supervisor so that you can decide on the appropriate course of action together.

New guidelines for students and employees in the Copenhagen area

The restrictions for the Copenhagen area announced on September 7 and 15 have been extended until 4 October. This means that on-site classes will proceed as planned. Employees must continue to work from home as far as possible. You are welcome to contact your immediate supervisor if you need to discuss your situation.

For all employees and students

Work-related meetings and events may be held in person if they are sufficiently important and can be held in accordance with the COVID-19 guidelines. If you have questions, please contact your immediate supervisor. If you decide to hold a meeting or event in person, you are still naturally required to be particularly careful to adhere to the current healthcare guidelines and recommendations. Please also note that the maximum size of gatherings has been reduced from 100 to 50 people.

On the other hand, all social events, both for employees and students at the entire university, must be cancelled, for the time being until 4 October.

We very much hope that by making a rapid, effective and joint effort, we will be able to avoid the need to introduce additional measures. However, we will be monitoring the situation closely, and will keep you informed of any developments.

We recommend that you check the university’s coronavirus site regularly for up-to-date information on the situation.

 

Kind regards,

 

Rector’s Office

Berit, Arnold and Brian

Information from Rector's Office to all staff, 9 September 2020

Dear staff,

Due to the increasing rate infection in the Copenhagen area and Odense Municipality, the healthcare authorities have imposed a number of extraordinary restrictions in these areas, effective immediately and at least until 22 September.

As a consequence, employees in Emdrup and at the Grundtvig Centre in Copenhagen have been informed that they are to work from home as far as possible, and no social events are allowed. In Roskilde and Flakkebjerg, employees who live in the municipalities where the additional restrictions will be in force in the coming weeks, are also encouraged to work from home as far as possible. These restrictions will not affect teaching, which can proceed as planned for the time being. The same applies to planned research activities.

If employees from other locations have meetings planned in Odense or the Copenhagen area, we encourage them to reschedule them as online meetings, or alternatively postpone them until after 22 September or until the authorities issue new guidelines. If you have any questions, please contact your immediate supervisor.

We are now in a situation that requires us to accustom ourselves to fluctuations in the infection rate that may lead to changed guidelines at short notice, locally and nationally. We are regularly adjusting our general guidelines to make them as clear as possible – but there will continue to be exceptions, as we are currently seeing among our colleagues in the Copenhagen area.

We encourage you to read the general guidelines on meetings and events, which has just been updated. The guidelines on meetings with colleagues from other buildings and external partners, professional/academic events with physical attendance and selected social events have all been adjusted.

We must all continue to exercise great caution and remain vigilant about adhering to the COVID-19 guidelines on social distancing, hygiene and gatherings.

Everyone is making a big effort – thank you. Let’s continue to watch out for each other.

 

Best regards,

The Rector’s Office

Berit Eika, Arnold Boon and Brian Bech Nielsen

Information to all staff 28 August 2020

 

Dear staff,

This afternoon, Mayor Jacob Bundsgaard announced that the authorities have lifted the special COVID-19 restrictions in Aarhus. This is truly excellent news for Aarhus University; it means that all of you who work at the university’s locations in Aarhus can return to work on campus on Monday. If you have any questions or doubts in this regard, we encourage you to discuss your situation with your immediate supervisor.

Naturally, we will all be required to adhere to the current guidelines for behaviour on campus, for the use of research labs, for holding meetings, for using offices, conference rooms and communal areas, etc. You will find all of the relevant guidelines here.

In relation to orientation week activities and teaching, the announcement means that they will proceed as planned.

Regardless of where and with whom we work, we must be careful to maintain social distancing, use sanitiser and so on. We are still in a situation that requires each and every one of us to contribute to keeping the infection rate down. In short: The better we are at maintaining social distancing, the more we can be together. We wish you all a great weekend.

Sincerely,

The Rector’s Office

Berit Eika, Arnold Boon and Brian Bech Nielsen

Information to all staff, 20 August 2020

Dear employees

Aarhus University is embarking on the autumn semester with moderation and consideration. As we explained in the mail you received on 7 August, extra restrictions were imposed on the university’s locations due to a local surge in infections. These restrictions were to remain in force through 23 August. On Wednesday 19 August, the Danish Patient Safety Authority announced that these restrictions will be extended through 4 September. However, we have been in dialogue with the Ministry of Higher Education and Science, and have confirmed that the extended restrictions do not apply to orientation week at Aarhus University.

Classes start Monday

This means that the semester will start on 24 August. And at Aarhus University, on-site teaching activities and academic intro activities will take place as planned. This also applies to the university’s locations in Aarhus.

On all of Aarhus University’s campuses, all activities must take place in accordance with the guidelines from the Ministry of Higher Education and Science. The most important of these are:

  • Making sure that everyone adheres to the social distancing guidelines
  • Making sure that hand sanitiser, hand washing facilities, etc. are available.
  • Limiting the number of people present in the same room at the same time as much as possible (for example, by dividing up classes).
  • Thorough cleaning.

All employees in Aarhus should continue to work from home as much as possible

The extension of COVID-19 restrictions in Aarhus means that all employees at AU locations in Aarhus must continue to work from home to the greatest possible extent through 4 September. The reason for this is to limit the spread of infection in the community.

Of course, if you need to go to campus to teach a class, you can go to campus. Many research activities are dependent on research facilities at the university; if you are a researcher, you may also work on campus if you need to, by agreement with your immediate supervisor. The same applies to administrative employees who need to be on campus to do their work. This is also by agreement with your immediate supervisor.

A shared responsibility

When you come to campus, please be very careful to maintain social distancing and practice good hygiene. You should also be careful about contact surfaces like door handles. We all have a responsibility to take care of ourselves and each other – and we have to help each other do the right thing. This is a shared responsibility.

We have asked for your patience and understanding a number of times already in connection with the pandemic. And we are doing so again. The university’s employees and students demonstrated truly commendable community spirit throughout the spring. And we must ask for your continued patience and understanding for some time yet. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 crisis will not be over any time soon – and is lasting longer than most of us could have imagined. This is why it’s still important that we as a community all do our part to get through this challenging time as painlessly and sensibly as we can. To do this, we have to adhere to the guidelines the authorities have made.

You can always find the latest guidelines from the authorities and Aarhus University on the au.dk/corona website.  

This may not be the last time we have to deal with a partial, local shutdown of activities in response to an increase in COVID-19 infections. Only time can tell. But for now, we need to focus on doing our best to stop the spread of infection wherever we are, so that you can come to campus for as many of your classes as possible. And the same goes for us employees: hopefully, we’ll be able to return to our offices soon –and to all of the benefits of be on campus, and not least of meeting face-to-face.

All employees will receive a mail with more detailed information from your head of department/school or deputy director.

We would like to welcome you all to a new semester at AU, despite the circumstances.

Sincerely,

The senior management team 

Information sent to students and staff 7 August 2020

Dear students and employees – in particular everyone in Aarhus

Effective immediately, the government has just strongly recommended that a variety of measures be implemented in the City of Aarhus to curb the spread of the coronavirus. These measures will remain in force for the next fourteen days. The current outbreak in Aarhus is the most severe since the coronavirus appeared in Denmark early this year. So it’s extremely important that all of us take the situation seriously.  

Unfortunately, these measures will have deeply regrettable consequences for Aarhus University – both for students and employees who study and work on campus in Aarhus.

Orientation week activities

As strongly recommended by the government, Aarhus University has decided not to hold orientation week activities of any kind for new students in Aarhus – for the time being, up to and including 23 August. In the coming period, we will be considering how orientation week activities can be held at a later time. The students affected will be notified directly. 

Exams

During this period, reading rooms and libraries may only be used by students who have exams in August. There will be increased focus on the heath authorities’ guidelines on distancing and hygiene for users of these facilities.

Work from home as much as possible

To the greatest possible extent, the university’s employees in Aarhus must work from home up to and including 23 August. Employees may come to campus to pick up equipment and materials if needed. Immediate supervisors are responsible for deciding the extent to which the employees are to work from home during this period. Employees will hear from their immediate supervisor as soon as possible. Once again, we must ask for your understanding and patience. Line managers need time to consider the situation. 

No events for the next fourteen days

As a general rule, no events that require physical presence at the university’s locations in the City of Aarhus can be held. At the present time, this applies up to and including 23 August. In certain circumstances, your immediate supervisor may grant permission for a planned event to be held. In such cases, the event must be held with increased attention to the heath authorities’ guidelines on distancing and hygiene. 

We deeply regret that it is once again necessary to impose limitations on our activities. But in light of the current rate of infection in Aarhus, we have a responsibility to follow the authorities’ recommendations.

We hope that a quick, effective intervention will contribute to curbing the spread of the infection, so that we can return to the university without limitations, and once again fill Campus Aarhus with life.

Check the university’s coronavirus site, which will be updated to reflect the latest developments, for up-to-date information on the situation.

Best wishes,

The senior management team

Information to all staff and students, 21 May 2020

The new political agreement reached on 20 May on the next phase of the reopening of Danish society will have a big impact on working conditions for Aarhus University staff. Under this agreement, it will now be possible for many of the university’s researchers and technical/administrative employees to return to work in the university’s buildings.

Employees who work at the university’s locations in Jutland and on Funen will have access to their workplace at the university. For the Capital Region of Denmark and Region Zealand, the parties to the agreement have limited this additional reopening to public sector research that requires physical attendance. As a rule, this applies to all researchers and the technical personnel who are needed for research to be carried out.

To reopen in a responsible way, we must comply with the guidelines laid down by the authorities, which will involve a number of restrictions. For example, in relation to how many employees may be at work at the same time and physical distancing, just as it will be necessary to exercise particular caution in relation to contact points like meeting rooms, lunch rooms, coffee machines and restrooms. Compliance will require very detailed planning at the local level, building by building, and this process will begin as quickly as possible. When it has been concluded, details on this phase of the reopening will be organised will also be announced at the local level. In other words, you will be informed by your management about when your place of work will be ready for you to return, and under what conditions.

This additional reopening of the university is a major step towards resuming our normal daily lives, which is extremely positive. Naturally, the reopening must take place in a responsible way, in compliance with the healthcare authorities’ instructions, out of consideration for the individual employee and society. 

If you have questions, you are always welcome to contact your immediate supervisor. However, we encourage you to wait a few days, because there is a lot of complex planning to be done, and this will take some time.

Access to campus for students is still limited    

But while daily life will return to something resembling normality for many employees under the agreement, on the other hand, advanced degree programmes will not fully reopen until phase 4 of the reopening in August. Unfortunately, what this means is that we can only give students access to AU’s campuses if they are involved in the selected exam and teaching activities that require physical attendance.

The agreement also states that “advanced degree programmes may conduct oral exams as well as teaching activities that require physical attendance”. This will only apply to a few selected exams. As part of phase 2, the university is already conducting exam and teaching activities on campus. This is taking place in full compliance with the healthcare guidance from the authorities.

We are well aware that many students have a keen desire to come back to campus. We share their desire to return to normal academic life, and we are very much looking forward to being reunited with our students on our campuses.

The Rector’s Office

Information to all staff from the senior management, 14 May 2020

Limited reopening of additional on-site activities at the university

From Monday 18 May, a limited number of students and academic staff will be allowed on campus for selected exam and teaching activities. This additional limited reopening of our on-site activities is a consequence of the government’s decision to proceed to phase 2 of the reopening of Danish society.

In phase 2, the government has given the universities permission to resume “teaching and exams that require physical attendance” to a certain extent. Read the agreement (in Danish)

After the announcement of phase 2 on 7 May, the Ministry of Higher Education and Science and Universities Denmark began discussing the type and scope of activities to be resumed. Universities Denmark presented the ministry with a proposal which has since been adjusted after dialogue with the ministry. The agreement means that each university has been allocated a quota for the number of students and employees who may be given access to campus during phase 2.

At Aarhus University, this means that the total quota for Arts and Aarhus BSS is 325 students, 153 VIPs and 40 TAPs. Each faculty receives half of the quota. At Health, Technical Sciences and Natural Sciences, we can give 747 students, 490 VIPs and 120 TAPs access to campus. This total quota is also to be divided equally between the three faculties. Finally, we can also give 14 central administration TAPs access to campus.

The department/school heads will contact each of the employees who will be given permission to carry out teaching and/or exam activities on campus. The affected student will be contacted directly by the studies administration office at their faculty.

What giving these academic staff and students access to campus will mean in practice is that a number of students will get to take exams that would have otherwise been postponed; that selected oral exams for which physical attendance is crucial may be held; and that some students and PhD students can participate in classes/supervision that require physical attendance. This is a welcome development for this group of staff and students. But unfortunately, there are many others who will not be included in this phase of the reopening.

As noted above, phase 2 begins on Monday 18 May. The university will remain physically shut down with the exception of the relatively small number of university staff who have permission to resume some of their on-site activities in phases 1 and 2, along with the very small number of staff who perform essential functions.

In the next phase of the reopening – phase 3 – the government will allow “full opening of public research activities that require physical attendance”. Phase 3 is set to begin on 8 June. We don’t yet know how this will be implemented in practice in our sector – or even if it will take place as scheduled at all. This will depend on developments in rates of infection over the coming days and weeks, in addition to political negotiations regarding priorities. But if phase 3 proceeds as planned, it will most certainly be an important step in the right direction. We are monitoring developments very closely.

Once again, we would like to emphasise that a large proportion of the university’s activities are suffering due to the physical shutdown. Naturally, we respect that this is a matter of political prioritisation, in which an assessment of the universities’ contribution to society is just one piece of a bigger puzzle in the reopening of the country, and that developments in the rate of infection will continue to be decisive.

With regard to limiting the spread of infection at the university, the authorities expect to announce overall guidelines for the reopening in phase 2. However, we have not received them yet. You will be informed when we have received these guidelines. In any case, all staff and students who are given access to campus will still be expected to comply with the general guidelines and instructions from the public health authorities. In addition, special guidelines apply to the labs, and there will be an extra focus on deep cleaning in the buildings students and staff will be using. If you have questions about what this means for your work, you are always welcome to contact your immediate supervisor.

In our wildest dreams, none of us imagined that we would still be faced with such a comprehensive shutdown of the university two months after we closed down. The situation is a severe strain on everyone, and it requires incredible patience – a patience all of you continue to demonstrate. Thank you. We hope that all of you take some comfort in the fact that – despite everything – we’re beginning to see a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.

The senior management team

Information to all staff and students from the senior management, 8 May 2020

 

Dear students and staff,

On 7 May, a political agreement was made regarding phase 2 of a controlled reopening of Danish society.

With effect from 18 May, it will be possible for universities to expand the partial reopening to include teaching and exams which require physical attendance. This will mean that an agreed number of students and academic staff can access the universities.

In the coming week, the ministry and Universities Denmark will clarify and determine the specific details, guidelines etc in relation to the partial reopening. The opening will take place in a controlled way in accordance with the health authorities’ guidelines.

In addition, the political agreement on the plan for reopening states that the following initiatives may be a possibility in phase 3 with effect from 8 June:

  • Full opening of public research activities that require physical attendance 
  • Increased level of physical attendance at public workplaces

From August, there are plans for a full opening of all degree programmes.

The reopening initiatives above require that the epidemic is kept at a controlled level.

At AU, we are working hard to clarify what phase 2 specifically means for us. We expect to be able to give you more detailed information at the end of next week. 

We are, of course, pleased to see that we as a society are moving in the right direction. However, there is still a long way to go before we are back to normal at the universities.

In the management team, we are fully aware of this and we ask for your patience.

Again, we would like to express our appreciation for your exemplary efforts and willingness to make things work in this extraordinary situation.

Kind regards,

The senior management team

Announcement from the senior management, 22 April 2020

Partial, limited reopening from 23 April – research labs only

The Ministry of Higher Education and Science has now formally granted permission to Aarhus University and the rest of the universities in the country to begin partially reopening research labs. Note that the reopening applies to research activities above and beyond critical functions in addition to coronavirus-related research that is already in progress.

The partial, limited reopening will begin on Thursday 23 April. Affected employees will be informed directly on Wednesday 22 April. This applies to researchers, including postdocs and PhD students, at Health, Nat and Tech and to a lesser extent at Aarhus BSS. It also applies to lab technicians and other technical support staff.

A few Master’s degree students whose projects involve lab work will also be given access to the labs. These are students whose projects are particularly dependent on access to labs for their completion. Master’s thesis students will be given access by agreement between the head of department and the thesis supervisor.

Limited re-opening as directed by the ministry – all other work must still be performed remotely

We stress that this is a limited reopening, the scope of which has been determined by the ministry. This partial reopening will be extremely limited and closely coordinated, not only with the other Danish universities, but also across AU’s faculties. The limited reopening only applies to lab work. All other work than agreed lab work must still be performed from home.

An absolute, non-negotiable condition for the partial reopening is that we must take the necessary precautions to avoid spreading the virus. And the reason we are not being given full access to our labs is to help prevent the spread of the virus in society at large. In some places, it will be necessary to schedule access at different times of the day if having everyone present at the same time would be unsafe.

Staff will be required to comply with a number of rules in order to be allowed to resume their work in the labs. There will also be an extra focus on cleaning.

Initially, a total of approx. 400 researchers will be allowed to be present at AU simultaneously, in addition to a limited number of Master’s thesis students. This will be coordinated at the individual departments by agreement with the dean.

Full confidence that everyone will respect the conditions for the phased reopening

The faculty management teams will closely monitor work in the labs to ensure that the agreed limits on access are respected. We are fully confident that AU staff will respect the conditions for the gradual reopening.

This is a very limited reopening. We are well aware of the fact that there are research activities that do not take place in labs which are also increasingly challenged by the physical shutdown of the university. The senior management team at Aarhus University is monitoring the situation closely, and will regularly assess how the controlled, phased reopening of the university can be organised in a responsible manner, in relation to general developments and the instructions of the authorities.


Rules for using research labs

As a result of a national agreement on the expansion of the first phase of a controlled re-opening of society, a partial reopening of research laboratories for staff and students has been authorised.

Through Universities Denmark, special rules have been laid down for work in research labs effective as of 21 April.

  • At any given time, a maximum of 25 per cent of normal staffing may be present in each lab (for example, max. three people in a 12-person lab).
  • Labs must be booked online to ensure coordination and registration of access.
  • Everyone must wear gloves in all labs, regardless of classification.
  • Staff may not work side-by-side, and staff must comply with the authorities’ recommended social distance of 1.5 -2 m.
  • An agreement with the individual employee’s immediate supervisor must be made regarding how lab work is to be organised, with due consideration for the situation of the individual.
  • Only one person at a time is allowed in rooms under 10 sqm.
  • After completing work, employees must disinfect all contact surfaces, including light switches, handles, keyboards, equipment, etc.
  • Reduced lab service.
  • Touching other people in the lab is NOT permitted. Employees must perform their activities in isolation. 

In addition, the partial reopening of the labs is conditional on compliance with these instructions from the Danish Health Authority:

  • Maintain social distancing, practice good hand hygiene, and cough or sneeze into your sleeve.
  • Do not come to work if you feel unwell or if you have coronavirus symptoms.
  • If you develop symptoms of the disease, you must stay at home until you have been asymptomatic for at least two days. If you start getting symptoms at work, you must go home immediately.
  • Avoid spending longer periods of time in the same room with people.
  • Take breaks in separate rooms and maintain social distancing.
  • Only one person in the elevator at a time.
  • Access to break rooms and the like is prohibited.

Information to staff in the academic environments, 19 April 2020

 

An update on the reopening of the research labs

Together with the other Danish universities and the Ministry of Higher Education and Science, Aarhus University is still engaged in clarifying to what extent and under what conditions researchers (including PhD students and postdocs) and Master’s degree students will be given access to research laboratories, as announced by the Prime Minister's Office on 17 April. It is clear that we will only be granted permission to reopen research labs to a limited extent and in accordance with guidelines that apply to all Danish universities.

These common deadlines are still in the process of development. The purpose of these guidelines is to ensure that the partial reopening takes place in a responsible manner that safeguards employees’ health. As soon as the guidelines are finalised, the affected researchers and students will be informed when and under what conditions they may resume working in the labs. They will be informed by their departments/schools.

When we are allowed to reopen the labs, we will also make sure that the necessary support functions are available, including lab service and cleaning. We are not allowed to reopen the labs until we receive a response from the ministry. We hope and expect that this will take place next week.

Information to staff in the academic environments, 17 April 2020

A gradual resumption of lab research – possibly as early as next week

We are very pleased to announce that the Prime Minister's Office (In Danish) informed us this morning that it will now be possible to partially reopen research labs for researchers and students.

The statement from the Prime Minister’s Office stresses that this must take place in a responsible manner, and that guidelines applicable to all Danish universities must be agreed on.

Via Universities Denmark, Aarhus University participates in the discussions of these common guidelines with our own ministry starting today.

 

As soon as the guidelines are in place, I will provide you with more information about how we will approach this here at the department. I hope that I will be able to do so by the middle of next week. Until then, you should continue working from home. In other words, we have not been given the go-ahead yet. However, it’s good news that we can begin planning a gradual resumption of lab research.

Information sent to all employees, 7 April 2020

Dear employees,

As the prime minister announced on Monday 6 April, the universities will not be part of the first wave of the reopening of Danish society. The physical shutdown of the university has been extended until 10 May.

This new date brings us even closer to the exam period. We would have liked to give as many of our students as possible the opportunity to take the type of examination they have been preparing for. But this is not compatible with the prime minister’s most recent announcement.

For this reason, we have decided to convert exams to digital exams wherever possible this semester, so that we can conclude the semester as planned. However, there will be a very few exams which must be postponed because they require physical attendance. We are aware that this will have regrettable consequences for some of our students, and we must do everything we possibly can to prevent them from having problems in relation to the active enrolment requirement or maximum degree completion time as a result of COVID-19.

If it becomes possible to open the university physically later this semester, your boards of studies will have the option of administering your exams in the original form in cases in which there are strong arguments in favour of doing so. In this event, we ask that you notify the students at least three weeks in advance.

It is no easy task for teaching staff and boards of studies to convert so many exams to digital formats. But we must ask you to start planning immediately after Easter.

The continued physical shutdown will also be a challenge for a number of research activities. Now and in the first few days after Easter, each department/school will assess which activities will become very critical as a result of the extended shutdown period. The ministry will enter into a dialogue with the university about this right after Easter, but emphasises that there is very little room for manoeuvre. Please contact your immediate supervisor if you have specific questions about how you should deal with your activities.

Despite this situation, which can be challenging for all of us, we hope that you will have a pleasant and relaxing Easter holiday. I hope that it will be a welcome break during challenging times.

On behalf of the senior management team,

Berit Eika and Brian Bech Nielsen

Information to employees from the Rector 24 March 2020

Dear employees at Aarhus University,

Well, it certainly didn’t come as much of a surprise that Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen extended the physical closure of the universities by an additional fourteen days last night – up to and including 13 April. 

This means that Aarhus University will remain closed. But only in a physical sense. Because in the digital sphere, everyone is giving their all to keep our core activities going as much as humanly possible. Once again, I’d like to express my admiration for how you’ve tackled the situation. It’s simply impressive to see such a large university switch gears with such speed and keep on operating. This is only possible because you’ve been putting in an enormous, committed effort to make the best of things under the given circumstances.

The university’s physical closure has given rise to new questions – and will continue to do so. And we will continue to attempt to find satisfactory answers and solutions as quickly as possible. 

We are entering a new phase of the closure; in coming weeks, the energy, sense of duty and initiative that helped us through the first phase will be put to the test. The coronavirus lockdown has been extended by fourteen days. But in light of predictions that the epidemic may not peak until just after Easter, it’s not inconceivable that an additional extension will be necessary. So we may be in this for the long haul – which will wear away at our patience and our core activities. 

The situation is beginning to have seriously detrimental effects on research projects, for example. I completely understand that it is becoming more difficult to postpone your plans as the days go by – but we have to continue respecting these restrictions. In part because we, as a public sector institution, are of course supportive of the authorities’ recommendations, but also because we are conscious of our responsibility. We are staying home to protect our most vulnerable fellow citizens and to help the country’s healthcare system avoid the overload that would occur if too many people become ill at the same time. While staying at home doesn’t feel like a heroic thing to do, it’s the most valuable contribution most of us can make in this critical situation.

It’s a challenging time for the country and for all of us. Once again, I’d like to urge you to take good care of yourselves and the rest of us – by following the public health authorities’ recommendations, of course, but also by finding a good rhythm for your work and family life. And remember to take breaks for exercise during your working day. At some point, we will come out on the other side of this, and when that happens, we will need to be in decent shape, both physically and mentally, so that we’ll be ready to return to our beautiful university full of energy and drive.

I wish you and your families all the best,

Brian Bech Nielsen

Video greeting from the rector Brian Bech Nielsen, 18. marts

Information to employees 14 March

Information to employees
14 march
Information will also be sent by email in the course of the day


Dear employees,

At the moment, there is a lot of information as the coronavirus precautions are changed on an ongoing basis. This was also the case last night, Friday 13 March, when the authorities made the announcement regarding travels to and from Denmark. Based on this, Aarhus University takes the following position in relation to travelling.

Employees at Aarhus University

Aarhus University strongly advises against official trips abroad, and we also strongly encourage all members of staff who do not live abroad to return to Denmark as quickly as possible. If in doubt, please contact your immediate supervisor for an assessment of your situation. It becomes increasingly difficult to get to Denmark, and capacity problems may occur also in the healthcare system in other countries. Members of staff must stay informed via The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark’s guidelines

Members of staff living abroad are not recommended to return to Denmark unless they feel unsafe or fear that it will not be possible for them to return to Denmark. In this case, it is also important to stay informed via The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark’s guidelines (link above).

Information in relation to students

Students and PhD students who are on long-term stays abroad are recommended to consider whether they want to continue their stay abroad or they want to return to Denmark – both options exist. In making this decision, the following should be considered:

  • The quality and the capacity of the local healthcare system in case you get sick.
  • The specific time of your planned return to Denmark. If you are planning to return to Denmark in the near future, there may be a risk that a lot of planes are cancelled when it is time for you to go home.
  • Is it still possible for you to participate in teaching at your host university? If not, it may be a good idea to come home now.

If you choose to stay, you must follow the instructions from the local authorities and your host institution. You must stay informed on The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark’s website and sign up on the ‘danskerlisten’ to ensure that you receive the latest updates about your host country. 

This information is available for students on au.dk/corona which is updated on a regular basis. And for AU staff as well. If you have questions, please contact your immediate supervisor. 

This quite unusual situation is difficult to handle in many ways. We must do the best we can. This was one of the messages from Rector Brian Bech Nielsen in the news from the senior management team yesterday. See the video from Brian Bech Nielsen

Video greeting from the rector Brian Bech Nielsen, 13 March

Information from the senior management to employees, 11 March 11:45 pm

 

Dear employee, 

Based on the government’s and the authority’s announcements tonight the senior management team at Aarhus University has decided that you should not come to work starting tomorrow March 12, 2020 and – until further notice – ending on March 27, 2020. If you carry out a critical function such as animal keeping, special research infrastructure etc. we ask you to come in tomorrow in order to agree with your manager on how best to handle the situation during the university closedown.

We need to focus on critical activities in the coming weeks, and we realize that the situation begs a number of questions. We ask for your patience in not being able to provide all answers with such a short notice, but we will work hard to provide all needed clarifications. We will ask you to keep informed at the AU corona webpage or through your immediate manager.

To everyone who teaches: As we communicated earlier today, the university is working to prepare digital solutions in order to offer distance learning online. We are working determinedly to get it up and running within a short span of time. Again, we ask for your patience. We are in the process of testing the technology. We expect to be ready in the beginning of next week to ensure the continuation of your teaching activities to the extent possible.

We ask you to work from home to the greatest degree possible. The university offers infrastructure that makes it feasible to work from home and together at a distance. We will speedily compile information about this infrastructure in order to make it easily available. As soon as possible, you will find a link for this information at the AU corona website.

Kind regards,

The senior mangement team

Information from the senior management to employees, 11 March at 8:00

Information is also sent by email


Dear Aarhus University employee,

As I’m sure you’re aware, the coronavirus outbreak in Denmark right now is a serious situation. As an educational and state institution, we have a special responsibility to do our part to limit the spread of the virus, which is the government's very clear focus right now.

To live up to our responsibility, we have decided to introduce a number of measures that will be described below.

If you have any symptoms that can be attributed to the coronavirus, you must immediately contact your own doctor by phone and follow his or her recommendations. If you have had or are in close contact with someone who has a coronavirus infection, you must also contact your own doctor by telephone and follow his or her recommendations.

As a university, it is crucial that we continue to perform our core activities to the greatest extent possible in relation to society, education, research and public sector consultancy.

For the moment, the university’s five faculties will continue to carry out planned teaching activities, both in relation to classes and exams. However, there is one exception: medical Master’s degree students must not participate in physical lectures and classroom instruction at the university hospital. For the time being, this will apply for the month of March. Read more here

We will also keep libraries, study spaces and cafeterias open for the time being. We are doing so to make sure that students have access to study spaces. However, we strongly emphasise that users of these facilities must show consideration for each other, for example by maintaining social distance and washing or disinfecting their hands when entering and leaving the room. In this way, we can contribute to limiting the spread of the virus (read more on the coronasmitte.dk website – in English)

Digital teaching platforms

We are preparing for the eventuality that we will be unable to conduct teaching as usual, and are in the process of setting up digital teaching solutions that will enable remote teaching. We expect to be able to introduce remote teaching for the majority of teaching activities in a very short time in the event that this becomes necessary.

Research

Research activities at the departments and centres will continue as usual at present. If the situation makes this impossible for you, inform your immediate supervisor.

Events including conferences and seminars

Effective immediately and until further notice, events such as conferences and seminars will only be held if they are critical to the core activities education, research and consultancy.

Events that are not critical to education, research and consultancy must be cancelled or postponed. This also applies to events with under 1000 participants, and to events organised by Aarhus University as well as events held at Aarhus University by external organisers. If you are in doubt about whether an event for which you are responsible as an employee should be held, you must discuss and clarify this with your immediate supervisor.

If an event is considered critical to education, research or consultancy and should be held for that reason, the authorities’ instructions regarding the necessary precautions must be followed carefully (link to coronasmitte.dk). Please note that naturally, the authorities’ recommendation not to hold events with over 1000 participants must still be followed in all cases.

As a natural consequence of these precautions, social events at the university should be cancelled or postponed. If you are in doubt about whether an event should be cancelled or postponed, discuss and clarify this with your immediate supervisor.

We are already seeing that many participants in events at the university are cancelling, just as there are external speakers and partners who do not wish to visit the university under the current circumstances.

We encourage all employees to exercise caution in relation to what work-related activities you participate in. If an activity is not critical to education, research or consultancy, as a general rule, you should refrain from participating.

Work-related travel abroad

For the time being, all work-related travel abroad should be postponed or cancelled. This applies to work-related trips to all countries. This may seem drastic, but we are introducing this measure to limit the spread of infection to and from Denmark.

Until further notice, there will be no travel abroad for administrative employees and members of management.

Domestic work-related travel

Aarhus University advises employees and students to follow the government’s instructions regarding public transportation carefully.

Study trips

Teaching staff and students should cancel any study trips for the time being.

Transportation to and from the university

Aarhus University advises employees and students to follow the government’s instructions regarding public transportation carefully.

Non-work-related travel

The University advises employees to comply with the Danish authorities’ recommendations concerning trips to other countries (In Danish only)

Task force

We have a corona task force at the university that is monitoring the situation closely, and which is in regular contact with the other Danish universities.

On behalf of the senior management team,

Arnold Boon, Berit Eika and Brian Bech Nielsen

Updates before 11 March

Update – 10 March at 11:00

The university’s teaching activities will continue as usual – with one exception. Students on the medical Master’s degree programme may not attend physical lectures and classroom instruction at the university hospital. At present, this applies to the rest of the month of March. Read more here


Update – 9 March at 11:00

At this point, teaching and research activities at Aarhus University will continue. We are monitoring the situation closely and will continue to follow the instructions from the authorities.

We still encourage all employees and students to take the situation seriously and to contact the health authorities if they experience any signs of coronavirus. Please inform your immediate manager as soon as possible, if you have been infected or placed in quarantine. In general, we encourage everyone to be particularly vigilant. If you have any questions about how to avoid infection, please see the Danish National Police’s website on the coronavirus. Among other things, you can find good advice on how to avoid infection – for example avoiding physical contact such as kisses, hugs and handshakes. 

We ask that all AU employees who are going on official trips in the near future follow the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark’s guidelines on travelling abroad https://politi.dk/coronavirus-i-danmark/hvis-du-skal-ud-at-rejse.

In relation to large gatherings, Aarhus University will continue to follow the Danish government’s instructions and cancel or postpone events with more than 1000 participants.

In relation to events with less than 1000 participants, please see the recommendations from the authorities on https://politi.dk/coronavirus-i-danmark/seneste-nyt-fra-myndighederne/myndighedernes-opfordring-vedr-arrangementer. As a member of staff, if you have any questions, please contact the head of your department/school. As a student at AU, if you have any questions, please contact your local studies administration unit.


Update – 6 March

Organisers are advised to cancel all events with more than 1,000 participants, the Danish government just announced. For the time being, this applies to events taking place in Denmark in March.

At this point in time, the government’s announcement does not apply to classes and exams at Aarhus University. Exams and classes will continue as scheduled.

In addition, at the present moment it will not be necessary to cancel events for employees and visitors to Aarhus University, because no events with more than 1,000 participants are planned for this month. Aarhus University is currently working to determine whether the government’s advice will affect events for students.

We are monitoring the situation closely, and the university will act on the advice of the Danish Health Authority and other relevant authorities. We also advise everyone to be particularly vigilant and to follow the health authorities’ advice about physical contact, in order to avoid exposing yourself or others to infection.


Update - 4 March