HRK President on the Infection Protection Act: “Previous achievements of universities are in jeopardy”

20. April 2021

The HRK has strongly criticised the sweeping and unfit regulations for teaching and courses of study at universities in the draft amendment to the Infection Protection Act currently being discussed by the CDU/CSU and SPD coalition fractions for a second and third reading in the Bundestag.

In Berlin, HRK President Prof Dr Peter-André Alt has just stated his views on this:
“The recent news from the committees of the Bundestag is very unsettling for universities. The current status of the draft ignores the specific features, requirements and possibilities of university teaching during the pandemic and puts the previous achievements of universities in jeopardy.

A sweeping prohibition of all classroom formats without exception from an incidence threshold of 165 would negatively impact a significant number of students. The HRK demands that the previous, already minimal practical options in teaching and learning are preserved. Laboratory work, practical training periods, artistic tutorials and examinations, as well as access to the collections of university libraries, must and can also be maintained during higher levels of incidence. Universities have continuously proven that this can be done responsibly whilst adequately protecting all those involved. For those affected, vital services of universities for successful studying are at stake here, and for society, the qualification of future physicians, among many other aspects.

The previously planned undifferentiated regulation to switch to “alternate teaching” at universities from an incidence threshold of 100 represents a completely irrelevant transfer of the school model to academia. University teaching does not take place in class groups. Some activities can be held completely digitally, whereas this is not an option at all for others. So far, universities have found appropriate solutions independently with the utmost care and having regard to the respective possibilities and needs.

I expect and demand that the federal government and states arrive at appropriate regulations.”

The HRK had already formulated its demands to the legislator in a communication prior to the start of the legislative process.