The President of the German Rectors' Conference, Prof Dr Peter-André Alt, has just commented in Berlin on the results of yesterday's "Vaccination Summit" between the Federal Chancellor and the Prime Ministers of the Federal States:
"The prospects for progress in COVID-19 vaccination in Germany seem positive overall. The nationwide ending of prioritisation starting the week after next demonstrates that. However, this must now be combined with organisational support for students as a special group.
What is at stake is almost three million students who have been in a state of emergency for three semesters now, largely without face-to-face lectures, with very limited contact with fellow students and without the lively personal exchange so central to academic life. As successful as the extensive transition to digital delivery has been, the concentration on this type of study, which has now lasted for so long, is a burden for students and teachers alike.
University teaching does not take place in class groups, but in changing constellations and often with a high degree of mobility between locations. Universities can therefore only return to regular operation with a correspondingly high vaccination rate among students and teachers; this cannot be achieved through testing alone.
For this reason there is an urgent need for special support for students in the vaccination campaign. This is because a comprehensive vaccination scheme only until the end of September would not guarantee the immunisation of a sufficiently large number of students for the coming winter semester. Keeping vaccination centres open especially for students, involving the universities, and in particular university medicine, in the vaccination campaign for students and using in-house university physicians also for students could be possible solutions.
The federal states, with the Federal Government's support, should immediately come to an agreement with their universities on appropriate measures and the necessary resources."