FAQ About the Coronavirus


For information on regulations currently in place at RWTH, such as work from home arrangements, as well as guidelines on holding courses and events, please visit: Measures Currently In Effect to Contain the Spread of the Coronavirus

On this web page, we provide you with FAQ sections on the following topics:


General Questions About the Coronavirus

What do I have to be aware of when entering University premises?

The AHA Rules (distancing-hygiene-mask) are part of RWTH’s safety concept to protect against infection in everyday working life when dealing with colleagues, students or visitors.

Obligation to wear a mouth and nose covering in all RWTH buildings from August 10.

Since we cannot guarantee that the minimum distance can be maintained in the corridors or rooms at all locations, all members, visitors, and guests of the University will be required to wear a mouth and nose covering from August 10 onward.

If not enough mouth and nose coverings are available for employees, these can be ordered in the RWTH Purchasing Portal. Mouth and nose coverings count as so-called occupational health and safety equipment, which must be financed by the employer, i.e. the individual university institution. 

Please actively support the implementation of this regulation, which is intended to protect all university members.

How can I protect myself?

Good hand hygiene, covering your coughs and sneezes, and avoiding close contact with others can protect against respiratory diseases.

The "AHA Rules" (Distancing-Hygiene-Mask) are part of RWTH's safety concept and help prevent infections when dealing with colleagues, students, or visitors.

Please abide by the following recommendations for good cough etiquette:

  • Keep a distance of at least two meters from other people when sneezing and coughing.
  • Sneeze and cough into a disposable tissue.
  • Always wash your hands after blowing your nose, sneezing, and coughing.
  • If you do not have a tissue to hand, you should keep the crook of your arm in front of your face when coughing and sneezing.

What are the possible signs of infection?

The incubation period for infection with the coronavirus is about ten days (1 to 14 days). Please be aware of the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Sore throat
  • Body aches
  • General malaise
  • Changes to, or loss of sense of taste or smell

What should I do if I have any symptoms?

It is hard to tell the coronavirus apart from other respiratory illnesses and influenza due to its unspecific symptoms.

If you notice you have one or more of the symptoms above, we strongly recommend that you contact your family doctor by phone to discuss how to proceed.

Avoid all unnecessary contact with other people and, if possible, stay at home. You can contact the University Medical Center for advice via or by telephone at +49 241 80 94444. We can include an interpreter, if the need arises. Please refrain from unannounced visits to the University Medical Center.

How can I tell if I have been infected?

If you have any symptoms, you should get tested using PCR diagnostics.

Please make sure you contact a family doctor in advance to request this test. You can find local family doctors on the website of the Kassenärztliche Vereinigung Nordrhein. The public health department also does testing. To contact the local Aachen branch, call +49 241 5198-5300 or send an .

What should I do if I test positive for Covid-19 disease?

If you have been diagnosed with Covid-19 disease (no suspected cases), please contact the University Medical Center immediately at +49 0241 80 94444. Please inform your supervisor if you are employed by RWTH. Please also note that you are not allowed to enter Uniklinik RWTH Aachen if you have Covid-19 symptoms or an acute case of Covid-19 disease.

What can I do if I am affected by quarantine measures?

The quarantine measures mandated by the responsible authorities must be followed in any case.

What do I have to do as a "contact person"?

The public health department will order RWTH employees with category 1 status to go into quarantine for 14 days from the time of last contact with the infected person. The employee must inform their supervisor and work from home, making sure to clear up any necessary technical matters (computer, VPN, etc.). The HR Department will also be happy to answer your questions.

If all safety precuations were implemented at the workplace (mask, distancing), the contact persons at the University are assigned category 2 status and can continue to work in compliance with the safety measures and self-observation as well as reduction of contact with third parties, where possible.

You can find information on the different catgories of contact persons here in German.

What do I have to do if I receive a warning from the Corona-Warn-App?

The app distinguishes between red and green warnings.

If your smartphone displays a red warning, in other words, an increased risk of infection, this means first of all that there’s a chance you may have been infected, not that you’ve been infected for sure. The app gives this initial advice:

  • If you are employed: Inform your supervisor (if possible without meeting face to face)
  • Go home immediately
  • Reduce encounters with other people
  • Call your doctor's office, the public health department, or your health insurance company's on-call service. You can reach the SHI-accredited medical on-call service by calling 116 117.

In this phone call, you will determine whether or not you need to get tested for Sars-CoV-2. It will be necessary, for example, if you are showing the typical symptoms of an infection, have contact with risk groups, or work in daycare centers or schools.

If your phone shows a green warning, you do not need to contact your doctor's office, self-quarantine, or get tested – as long as you don’t have any symptoms. Nevertheless, the Robert Koch Institute recommends that you:

  • Reduce your contacts with others for the next two weeks
  • Observe the AHA rules: Keep your distance, observe hygiene guidelines, and wear an everyday mouth and nose covering

I am worried about my mental health; I suffer from anxiety or depression. Who can I turn to?

If you have any questions about mental health topics, the experienced psychological counselling team at RWTH is available to all students. The counselling service is also available in English.

Further contact points for psychological counselling emergencies can be found here.

Who can I contact if I have any questions?

RWTH has set up a hotline for urgent questions by staff and students: .

Please note that our hotline staff are not in a position to provide any medical advice – we recommend that you contact the medical on-call service by phone at 116 117 or the local public health department (Gesundheitsamt).

For citizens of the city of Aachen and the StädteRegion Aachen, an additional coronavirus hotline has been set up in addition to the 115 number. It is only to be used for general information on the subject as well – not for personal medical advice. This hotline is available Monday to Friday from 9am to 3pm, at +49 241 510051.

The NRW Ministry of Health has also set up a hotline for questions on the coronavirus at +49 211 9119 1001 (Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm).

The authorities expressly request that the emergency numbers 110 and 112 are not used unless there is an actual emergency.

It is important that you closely follow the latest information provided by the German Federal Foreign Office, the Robert Koch Institute, and the German Federal Centre for Health Education, BZgA for short. The BZgA also provides information on protecting yourself from the coronavirus.

The Rectorate is monitoring the situation carefully in order to initiate further appropriate measures in case of acute need.

The website of the Commissioner for Migration, Refugees and Integration offers links to documents in various languages, including English and Turkish, on its coronavirus (de) information web page. Furthermore, it recommends the Handbook Germany website which provides comprehensive information on the coronavirus in several languages.

I need signage. Who can I ask about this?

If you are missing coronavirus-related signage in an RWTH building, please feel free to email


FAQs about the workplace

Under what conditions is working from home permitted?

If working from home is not possible, the workplace has to meet specific requirements. See below, How does the workplace have to be set up?

How can I use the central IT services when working from home?

The IT Center has summarized all the relevant instructions and further information.

How does the workplace have to be set up?

The management of the respective university institution must create the conditions required to comply with the existing distance and hygiene regulations. Due to the existing legal requirements, this action must be documented by carrying out the general risk assessment for the workplace.

Both managers and employees in the respective university institutions are responsible for complying with the distance and hygiene regulations.

Staff should be spread out as among the offices as far as possible. All available rooms should be used in order to avoid several employees working in just one office, while other offices go unoccupied. When it comes to shared offices, we recommend employees alternate between working from home and at the office (work duties permitting) in order to keep the number of individuals present in one place at the same time as low as possible. If this is not possible, the distance and hygiene regulations must be observed and special protective measures must be taken (partitions, face masks in case of temporary inability to comply with the minimum distance, room size, etc.)
In laboratories, workshops, etc., appropriate measures must be taken to ensure that employees can work in a low-risk environment, as specified above. If necessary, you can contact the Occupational Safety and Radiation Protection Staff Unit for further advice on this matter.

Employees in at-risk group for SARS-CoV-2 or who have additional childcare duties due to the restricted opening of schools or daycare centers, should primarily work from home, provided this is compatible with their work duties.
The human resources departments at RWTH will be happy to provide you with further information if necessary.

When working from home, please also refer to the available guidelines. In addition, we would like to encourage you to take a look at the offers of the Family Services Center.

Regarding the at-risk groups mentioned above, RWTH assumes the definition of the Robert Koch Institute. According to the University Medical Center’s assessment, employees with the following pre-existing conditions in particular are in at-risk groups for the coronavirus.

  • Cardiovascular diseases requiring treatment (e.g. coronary heart disease, high blood pressure)
  • Lung diseases (e.g. COPD, bronchial asthma)
  • Chronic liver diseases
  • Kidney diseases
  • Oncological diseases
  • Diabetes
  • Weakened immune system(e.g. due to a disease resulting in an immune deficiency, or regular medication intake that can weaken the immune response, such as cortisone).

For pregnant women, the specific risk assessment for SARS-CoV-2 is carried out as part of the general risk assessment when the pregnancy is announced.

To announce they are at risk, employees simply have to declare this fact to their superior in text form (an email is sufficient) if their superior is already aware of their health condition. Otherwise, employees must submit a medical certificate confirming they would face serious health complications if they got infected with coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 due to their particular condition. For data protection reasons, the pre-existing condition should not be specified.

If necessary, employees and university institutions can discuss any queries on this matter with the University Medical Center.

If employees of an at-risk group are working at the office, suitable protective measures must be agreed upon with the Occupational Safety and Radiation Protection Staff Unit and the University Medical Center if necessary, so that their risk of infection is low.

Are there any restrictions for cross-border commuters?

If, freedom of movement is restricted in neighboring countries, commuters can request a so-called commuter certificate via their designated HR administrator, who will then send it as a scan by email.

Are there any policies and regulations for holding events?

For up-to-date information on policies and regulations for holding events, please visit: Regulations and Effective Dates

What continuing education offerings are currently available?

Due to the coronavirus crisis, many continuing education events at RWTH cannot be held as in-person events. However, in order to enable all employees to benefit from educational offerings, many events are now available in digital formats. To make it easier for you to see which events are offered online, the events database can now be filtered according to the formats "Online," "In-person," and "Blended (Online & in-person)". If you have any questions about specific course offerings, please get in touch with the organizers of the course.

Are there any restrictions to the service offerings provided by RWTH's central administration?

Due to limited staff availability, the Waste Management Service Center (SCA) in Mathieustraße has to offer a reduced service. Only the following measures can guarantee waste disposal for time-critical issues at RWTH at present:

  1. The SCA is not staffed on Monday and Friday.
  2. The SCA is staffed from 7:30am to 12noon and from 1 to 3pm Tuesday through Thursday. During this time, waste can only be accepted if the disposal has been arranged by telephone beforehand.

During normal office hours, SCA staff can be reached by telephone and email.

Individuals may only enter the building if they are wearing a mouth and nose covering. The minimum distance must be maintained at the depot. If the minimum distance cannot be maintained, a mouth and nose covering must be worn here as well. This is the only way to guarantee that time-critical issues at RWTH can be promptly disposed.

Does the current situation have an impact on University sports?

As a consequence of the new Coronavirus Protection Ordinance (Coronaschutzverordnung), all sports facilities at the University Sports Center (HSZ) will be closed from December 16, 2020, to at least January 31, 2021.

All facilities of the University Sports Center are affected by the closure with absolutely no exceptions. At the same time, a ban on entering the facilities will apply for the specified period. The reopening of the sports facilities and the resumption of sports operations will depend on future developments and will be communicated on the HSZ website at short notice.

The HSZ is offering on-demand and live workouts for everyone. The workouts will pause over the Christmas Break from December 18. The next round of "Digital Workouts Live" will then resume on January 6, 2021. The varied offerings can be booked from January 5. All participants will then be able to start their day in a sporty way again with the "Early Bird", get moving at lunchtime, or take part in a wide variety of individual course offerings in the evening. All offerings remain free of charge and will be broadcast live via Zoom. Further information

What can I do if I am affected by the limited hours offered by childcare facilities, pre-schools, and schools?

If our employees have difficulties coming to work as normal because childcare facilities, schools, and other institutions are only open limited hours, please get in touch with your superiors to find a solution.

RWTH is determined to contribute to ensuring that all employees who are faced with the challenge of meeting care responsibilities during regular working hours due to the limited services of the above-mentioned facilities are enabled to meet this challenge.

However, in this certainly exceptional situation, it is not only RWTH that is responsible for finding a solution, but also our employees, their partners, and possibly also their partners’ employers. Sensible, fair solutions can be found quickly if all parties involved contribute their share. The HR Department is not able to propose a generally applicable solution, since a fair solution must always be based on the situation of the individual employee and their respective university institution. For this reason, a specific solution can only be found between the respective superior in the university institution and the employee.

The HR department is happy to advise all employees and anyone with staff responsibility on acceptable solutions. We would therefore like to give a few general recommendations at this point, which hopefully contribute to ensuring that individual solutions can be found quickly.

Wherever possible, employees are asked to work from home (“situative mobile work”). Here, part-time solutions are possible. Depending on the age of your children, for example, the children may be able to be at home on their own until noon, so that you can work for four hours at your workplace at RWTH and work from home for the rest of the day. If working from home is not possible due to the requirements of your job role and childcare responsibilities require you to stay at home, the burden of the situation shall be equally borne by the employee and the employer. In this case, the employee should check whether he or she is able to distribute the weekly working hours on fewer than five working days – due to the extraordinary situation, employees are allowed to work for up to ten hours per day.

An example may serve to illustrate possible solutions. If in a care situation lasting three weeks, the partner is able to take on one week of care responsibilities, a solution for the remaining two weeks must be found. The employee has to bear a part of the burden, e.g. by reducing overtime hours, taking vacation days, making up for lost working hours at a later time, or taking unpaid leave. RWTH is willing, depending on the individual situation, to grant up to three days of paid release from work to contribute to a solution that is acceptable to all. If these three days turn out to be insufficient, in individual cases, a longer period of paid leave is possible, if this is required for a sensible, fair solution. These cases are to be arranged in consultation with the HR department. Our staff are advised to go to great lengths to find a solution.

Under special circumstances, for example in case of single parents with very young children or a comparably difficult situations, a fair, more comprehensive solution is to be found in agreement with the HR department.
In general, decisions on work arrangements can be made at the divisional or departmental level without involving the HR department. Only if the employee is to be released from his or her work responsibilities – either paid or unpaid – in agreement with his or her superior, a formless application (keyword: “childcare”) is to be submitted to the HR department. The employee does not have to submit any further documents. The aim is always to find a solution tailored to the individual care situation at hand.

Overview of possible solutions:

  • Redistribution of working hours/day
  • Situative mobile work: working from home (full-time or part-time).
  • Reducing accumulated overtime hours, taking vacation days
  • Making up for lost working hours at a later time
  • Release from work (pair or unpaid)

Can I obtain compensation for lost income due to only partially reopened schools and daycare centers or being banned from working on the premises?

If you are unable to go to work because childcare centers and schools are only open limited hours and you have lost earnings because you have to look after your child(ren), you can apply for compensation. This also applies if you have to look after your child(ren) due to a quarantine order. The compensation scheme has been put in place to protect you against excessive loss of income.

Entitled to compensation are parents or guardians who have to stay at home because of only partially reopened schools and daycare facilities or a quarantine order and who lose income as a result.

The terms and conditions are as follows:

  • The child(ren) is/are under twelve years old or in need of care due to a disability.
  • Remaining overtime and leave from 2019 must have been taken, and the entitlement to “undertime hours” (that is, working time owed) must be exhausted
  • You don’t have any entitlement to emergency care
  • There are no acceptable alternative care options available
  • “Situative mobile work” or working from home is not possible or reasonable
  • The salary compensation amounts to 67 percent of net income, but not more than 2,016 euros per month.
  • The payment is available for a maximum period of twenty weeks from the date of the first application.
  • There is no salary compensation for vacation periods during which schools and daycare centers would have closed anyway. They are therefore not counted towards the twenty-week period.

These regulations do not apply to civil servants.

You will be released from your work duties for the period of your childcare responsibilities as outlined above. The compensation for lost income will be paid out by the NRW Salaries and Pensions Office LBV. The LBV will also pay social security contributions, based on 80 percent of your regular salary.

For further information, please refer to the web pages of the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth and of the NRW Salaries and Pensions Office LBV and the Landschaftsverbands Rheinland LVR.

What do I have to do as a single parent to get a childcare placement for my child/children?

The state of NRW has extended its regulations for special childcare needs. As of now, single parents who are in gainful employment can also use the special care infrastructure for their children.

This requires a certificate from the employer confirming the existing employment relationship and stating the number of hours worked. The single parent needs to submit this together with a written request stating their situation to the respective childcare institution, who will then decide on their application or otherwise help with placement. Since there are no standard forms for the employer's certificate, it is recommended that parents clarify in advance with the respective childcare institution what information the certificate should contain. Some institutions may also provide their own forms for this purpose. The HR departments of RWTH Aachen University are happy to help issue the required certificate.


FAQS about teaching and learning

What do students enrolling at RWTH for the first time have to do?

Students coming to RWTH from a risk area are subject to a 14-day quarantine period in accordance with the legal requirements for those entering Germany from abroad.

Students have to enroll online. They will be informed by email about the necessary steps. For further information, or if you do not receive said email within 10 working days of receiving your notification of admission, please contact Division 2.1 – International Office at +49 241 80 90670 or by .

Are any of the study and reading rooms open and available?

For up-to-date information on regulations for Study and reading rooms, please visit: Regulations and Effective Dates



Are there any policies and regulations for holding courses?

For up-to-date information regulations for holding courses, please visit: Regulations and Effective Dates

What support do lecturers have in order to adjust to the situation?

The Center for Teaching and Learning Services, CLS for short, offers central video recordings and other forms of support, so that teaching can continue despite the restrictions related to the Coronavirus. The CLS website offers detailed information on distance and online teaching.

Does the current situation have an impact on University sports?

As a consequence of the new Coronavirus Protection Ordinance (Coronaschutzverordnung), all sports facilities at the University Sports Center (HSZ) will be closed from December 16, 2020, to at least January 31, 2021.

All facilities of the University Sports Center are affected by the closure with absolutely no exceptions. At the same time, a ban on entering the facilities will apply for the specified period. The reopening of the sports facilities and the resumption of sports operations will depend on future developments and will be communicated on the HSZ website at short notice.

The HSZ is offering on-demand and live workouts for everyone. The workouts will pause over the Christmas Break from December 18. The next round of "Digital Workouts Live" will then resume on January 6, 2021. The varied offerings can be booked from January 5. All participants will then be able to start their day in a sporty way again with the "Early Bird", get moving at lunchtime, or take part in a wide variety of individual course offerings in the evening. All offerings remain free of charge and will be broadcast live via Zoom. Further information


I am an international student and have questions about the organization of my studies or stay abroad.

If you missed the virtual Welcome Week for international students, you can find all video presentations, FAQs, and further information on the Latecomer website. For all other questions, please contact the Info Service Center of the International Office.


What networking opportunities are available to international students?

If you are looking for ideas for digital leisure activities, follow the International Office on Facebook and Instagram, where they regularly post tips and new online offers. The Facebook group RWTH Welcomes Internationals is another great networking opportunity.


Where can international students who need support due to the current situation get information on individual topics?

If you have any questions regarding your studies or your stay here, please contact the Info Service Center of the International Office. The advisory team will be happy to assist you in clarifying your questions.



FAQS about research

Are there any policies and regulations for holding events?

Die aktuellen Regelungen zu Veranstaltungen finden Sie hier.

What does this situation mean for my third-party funded research project?

RWTH will communicate any information and news regarding the current restrictions in the university’s official business and the associated possible delays in the implementation of projects funded by third parties to the project managers as soon as possible. For time-sensitive questions, project managers are also welcome to contact the Management of Third Party Funds team via .

What are the consequences for academic staff in qualification positions?

If the current restrictions in RWTH Aachen University's service operations could have an impact on academic qualifications, the supervisors should be contacted promptly so that necessary measures can be agreed upon at short notice. RWTH will make every effort to ensure that there are no avoidable delays.

Who can international researchers and doctoral candidates contact if they have questions about the organization of their research stay or doctoral studies?

The International Office's Welcome Center is available for all general questions concerning the organization of the stay of international researchers or doctoral candidates.


Are there virtual networking opportunities for international researchers, doctoral candidates, or their partners?

The Welcome Center of the International Office provides up-to-date information on online services for international researchers. The closed Facebook group Welcome Center RWTH offers a good networking opportunity for international researchers. The closed Facebook group Aachen International Spouses is aimed at the partners of international researchers who have joined them in Aachen.




FAQs on travel

Which regions are currently considered risk areas?

Risk areas are being identified by the RKI on a continual basis. For an up-to-date overview, please visit: RKI – Risk Areas (de). The website also provides English-language information, including a PDF document on current risk areas in English..

What do I need to consider when traveling or returning from travel?

Up-to-date information for travellers returning from abroad are available here.