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"Now comes the big test!"

The President of the University of Erfurt, Prof. Dr. Walter Bauer-Wabnegg, has welcomed all students and employees in the winter semester in a letter and has prepared them for the corona-related restrictions. The letter reads...

Prof. Dr. Walter Bauer-Wabnegg
Prof. Dr. Walter Bauer-Wabnegg

Dear students, dear professors and lecturers, dear colleagues, dear everyone,

these days we start together into our second Corona semester. I would like to welcome you all and especially our freshman students.

Of course we would have wished for better starting conditions, but the world is still in a state of emergency. The novel corona virus has a firm grip on our everyday life and demands great efforts and sacrifices from all of us. All the more I urge you and you to be patient and persevering. While we were able to gain initial experience under pandemic conditions in the summer during the largely online semester and mastered the situation very well, we are now at the start of a so-called hybrid semester with both presence and online operation, while at the same time the infection figures are rising sharply and announce a hard winter. So now comes the big test.

That's why I want to make an explicit appeal to us all today and at the same time encourage us. It really depends on each and every one of us if we want to prevent an unchecked increase in the number of cases and thus save our semester operations. Because it is no longer just individual clusters that are driving the infection process, but an increasingly granular distribution is emerging, the responsibility is becoming individualized for each and every one of us. In order to keep schools and businesses open, to keep the university business running, not to slow down economic life too much and especially not to overload health care facilities and hospitals, we all have to adjust our everyday behavior to this and reduce and limit our contacts as much as possible. The spread of the virus depends entirely on contacts between people.

Especially the private sphere is increasingly coming to the fore. The infection incidents at neighboring universities also confirm this. Student graduation ceremonies and farewell parties of lecturers in catering establishments and in the private sector had triggered major outbreak incidents there, while the teaching activities worked quite well without cases of illness. The greatest danger of infection lurks in the private sector and at celebrations, especially indoors.

On campus, we adjust our hygiene rules as best we can to the respective situation and do everything we can to ensure responsible attendance. But here, too, everyone must urgently comply with the necessary rules, so:

  • wear everyday or protective masks where they are required;
  • maintain minimum distances of 1.5 meters;
  • regular hand hygiene;
  • and ventilation, ventilation, ventilation.

Furthermore, please limit your social contacts to the urgently needed minimum. The dramatic and rapid increase resulting from an exponential rise in the number of cases no longer needs to be calculated in advance. We now know this from many warning messages.

Large groups and contacts in general are what this highly infectious and airborne virus loves. This is the best way for it to spread. But this is exactly where our chance lies. Therefore I ask you all cordially to have the necessary patience and perseverance this winter, so that we arrive together as unscathed as possible in spring and keep the number of cases within a tolerable range. Until then, we can also hope that, thanks to the enormous efforts of the specialists, there will be new successful medical offers in treatment and prevention and that we can hope for a more and more relaxed everyday life. First of all, however, we must master the coming winter months as well as possible.

You will find all important information on our hygiene concept and important new announcements on the University of Erfurt's website. Please check there regularly for the latest news. And please, please don't lose heart for the best possible winter semester. Because together we have a great chance of mastering this challenge of the century in the best possible way if we stick together in solidarity and care, keep our nerve and don't give up our good mood even in depressing moments. That is what I would like to ask of us all. We have our possibilities in our own hands, let's use them and not listen to frivolous trivializations and conspiracy phrases.

In this sense, I would like to welcome you all warmly to this second unusual and challenging Corona semester and send you the best and warmest wishes of the entire Presidium. We are here for you and will do everything we can to work with you to make this winter semester a success for our students.

Your Walter Bauer-Wabnegg