Coronavirus: What Can German Universities Do for International Students

In order to halt the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, everyone must do what is necessary to keep their community safe. The only way to do so, right now, is by taking safety measures seriously and respecting social distancing, as advised by the authorities. Universities are constantly overrun by people, including students, professors, and members of staff. This is the reason why universities are in charge of doing what is in their power to stop the possible transmission of the virus.

One of the main things that universities in Germany should do for their domestic and international students is to make sure university areas are properly cleaned and disinfected. Cleaning frequently touched objects is one of the main safety tips against COVID-19. Universities must disinfect doorknobs, desks, chairs, and whiteboards, among others. They must also place hand sanitizers and hygienic products in their hallways and bathrooms.

Some universities in Germany, more specifically in the states of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg have postponed the beginning of the summer term until April 20th, 2020. Universities are advised to start thinking about the possibility of online classes since avoiding face-to-face teaching must be considered essential to avoid increasing the number of infected persons in Germany. If classes cannot be postponed, for the time being, universities must focus on delivering quality online lectures.

At this time it is comforting, especially for international students, to be properly informed. Universities are also advised to keep their websites and official pages updated with the latest information regarding university-related-issues at the time of coronavirus. Many universities have already updated their websites as well as FAQs sections, with some of the most asked questions among students, staff, or parents. Universities should be ready to provide support services to their students, like numbers students can call when they want to inquire information about how coronavirus will affect their studies.

Finally, although information on how to keep safe from the transmission of the virus is everywhere, universities should also give their students advice on how to protect themselves and their peers against coronavirus (COVID-19). Apart from social distancing, students must also keep in mind the safety measures which include hand-hygiene above everything else.

Keep these COVID-19 safety measures in mind:

  • Wash your hands frequently and regularly, at least 20-30 seconds with soap.
  • Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance with people who are coughing or sneezing or showing other flu symptoms.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Since droplets spread the virus, respiratory hygiene is crucial. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when sneezing or coughing. Afterwards, dispose of the used tissue.
  • Clean frequently used/frequently touched objects before using them.
  • Seek medical care if you experience symptoms such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath.

If you’re an international student in Germany and are unsure whether health insurance will cover you in case of coronavirus, then you should know that since 28 February 2020, health insurance funds have been covering the cost of coronavirus. Private health insurance policies, made specifically for students, also include medical treatment of the virus.

If you want to get more information on how the current situation affects you as a student in Germany, take a look at our detailed article, which also includes a FAQ section.

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