On 6 April, the federal government presented a step-by-step plan for starting to return to a state of normality – on the basis that the measures announced so far prove effective and that social distancing rules are still fully complied with. Yesterday, the federal minister of education, science and research outlined a pathway for universities, giving us yet further guidance for our future approach. Even now, we have to plan in small steps, because fundamental regulations are not being lifted and new ones are still being added almost daily.
Until 30 April, all employees who can work from home should continue to do so. How to proceed afterwards will be announced in due course!
If it is not possible for you to perform any of your duties from home, any existing time credit that you have built up must be reduced in a spirit of solidarity with our university. Holiday allowances, especially any unused holiday from previous years, must also be used up.
For employees with care obligations, the Vice Rector for Human Resources and Gender has compiled a factsheet, opens an external URL in a new window outlining (on the basis of different personal circumstances) which possibilities exist under the legal provisions in order to best accommodate your personal situation, especially with regard to care obligations, and the requirements of TU Wien. This factsheet has already been sent to you or will be sent to you shortly.
All measures taken in the field of teaching remain unchanged. In addition, our primary focus here is on creating the organisational and logistical conditions necessary to allow exams that cannot be held remotely to take place, and also enabling lab exercises to be held in conjunction with the deans and deans of studies. All of these steps will only be possible in compliance with the most stringent safety regulations, so they need careful preparation.
On 6 April, the Rector's Office decided to launch a pilot phase to prepare for the resumption of laboratory operations, which will last from 20–30 April. All deans are currently being asked to draw up lists of researchers and technical staff who absolutely need to use TUW infrastructure to conduct their scientific work, so that they may be granted access to the laboratories. Access will initially only be permitted in a highly controlled form and limited number, as research operations can only be carried out in compliance with the prescribed social distancing rules. In other words, the relevant safety precautions must be observed. You will of course be supported by TUW when implementing the necessary safety measures. Provided the legal framework set out by the federal government does not change, the experience gained from the pilot phase will help us to take the right steps toward resuming normality.
The project managers among you bear an additional responsibility and FTI support staff will assist you as much as possible. Furthermore, we would like to support your efforts by announcing that large parts of the cost reimbursements for the months of March and April 2020 will be waived. Specifically, this concerns the cost of jobs and the flat rate on personnel costs. Only the costs of materials and investments for these two months will be due for reimbursement. The flat rate will therefore be raised to cover the material costs and investments recorded in March and April only. Reimbursements for costs (job costs + flat rate on personnel costs) that have already been taken for March 2020 will be credited back to the individual project internal orders the next time that these payments are due. The waiver on job costs applies across the board, thus also for research funding projects. This policy will be re-evaluated in light of how we arrange future access to our buildings.
Please refer to the websites for further details:
Teaching: https://colab.tuwien.ac.at/display/CORONA/CORONA+Information, opens an external URL in a new window
Research: https://colab.tuwien.ac.at/display/CORONA/CORONA+Information#CORONAInformation-InformationenforResearchersandCoordinatiorsofThirdPartyFundedProjects, opens an external URL in a new window
The success and sustainability of the steps taken after the Easter holidays will depend a lot on the discipline of all involved.
For almost four weeks now, you have been making a significant contribution to implementing the measures announced by the federal government to combat COVID-19, while also maintaining the day-to-day operations of TU Wien under the associated restrictions. I would like to thank you for that.
Despite the challenging conditions, we wish you a relaxing Easter period.
Rectorate of TU Wien