Requirements and regulations for the 2020/21 winter semester
In late May 2020, the application and admission procedure through the Stiftung für Hochschulzulassung (HfS) (Trust for Higher Education Admissions) has been facilitated for the 2020/21 winter semester thanks to the joint efforts of the universities, the Stiftung für Hochschulzulassung (HfS) and the federal states. The following dates have been established:
- On 1 July 2020, the Stiftung für Hochschulzulassung (HfS) will open its application portals. The final application date for new school leavers with the Abitur for the centralised procedure is 20 August 2020 for the 2020/2021 winter semester. This date is also valid for other study programmes for which the allocation of study places is coordinated by the Stiftung für Hochschulzulassung (HfS).
- In spite of final examinations being postponed due to the coronavirus, this will enable those leaving school this year with the Abitur to apply for the winter semester. 2 November 2020 is the target start date for lectures for new students in these study programmes.
- The federal states, the universities and the Stiftung für Hochschulzulassung (HfS) are working flat out to clarify the final details. As of 2 June 2020, applicants who acquired their higher education entrance qualification in previous years (those who left school with the Abitur in previous years) can find out about the amended dates for the centralised allocation process on the website of the Stiftung für Hochschulzulassung (HfS) at www.hochschulstart.de.
In view of the rules of physical distancing and the hygiene regulations that still apply in autumn and winter, courses in the 2020/21 winter semester – again – only take place to a limited extent as physical meetings at the universities. The German states and universities prepared for a mixture of digital and classroom teaching; with a clear priority on digital, online teaching. This has been done by taking into account the specific needs of the universities, of the subjects and the respective teaching and learning formats, while respecting the priorities of health protection.
On October 28, 2020, the Prime Ministers of the German states, together with the Federal Chancellor, decided on new measures in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, it was agreed on to provide online teaching as the general rule for the higher education sector in November and December. Classroom teaching has been reduced to the epidemiologically justifiable and absolutely necessary minimumn (e.g. for practical exercise and laboratories).
In the course of extended contact restrictions in force since December 16, 2020, higher education institutions in the Federal Republic of Germany were ordered back to minimum operation: i.e. only the administrative work that is absolutely necessary for operation was carried out on site; refectories and libraries were closed (including options to take away food or borrow literature); face-to-face teaching and examinations were reduced to the absolute minimum or were held digitally (examinations may also be postponed); the premises are not open to the public. On 5.1., 19.1., 10.2., 3.3. and 22.3.2021, theses agreements were prolonged, in part tightened and, hence, in force for the remaining lecture period of the winter semester. The specific implementation of the relevant provisions based on respective state regulation was the responsibility of the individual universities.