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Academic Staff Council

Teaching on campus in times of high incidence

Teaching

Unfortunately, we are still facing high numbers of Covid infections. Despite a gratifyingly high vaccination rate among faculty, even triple-vaccinated people are not immune to infection. For some, a positive Covid test merely means a temporary traffic restriction; their health is hardly affected. Others  contract Covid – despite triple vaccination – and struggle with symptoms such as fever, sore throat, headache and aching limbs. They are truly sick.

The information provided by the Vice Rectorate for Academic Programs and Student Affairs so far gives "permission" to temporarily switch to online teaching in the case of a Covid infection of the course instructor him/herself or if a large percentage of students are quarantined.

However, we would like to point out that in the case of a Covid infection, switching to online teaching is not the only option. Rather, we would like to remind you of earlier information on this topic, which we would also like to summarize once again:

If you fall ill with Covid – despite hopefully having been vaccinated – the consequences are the same as for any other illness: If you are physically unable to teach due to the infection and its symptoms, you  will report sick and have to cancel the teaching unit. Whether a teaching unit can be cancelled completely or has to be made up, is regulated by the WUPOL "Regulations for teachers in case of illness". According to this policy, a maximum of 15% of the attendance time (i.e. a maximum of 2 units for a weekly course with 15 units) can be cancelled. The course material alone must be made up, for example through reading assignments or homework. The same applies if parts of a block course cannot be made up within the same semester. In addition, course units missed due to illness with more than 15% of the attendance time must be made up, either by the lecturer him/herself or by a substitute. It is clear, however, that during the illness there is an entitlement to continued payment of remuneration (this is already required by the basic legal regulations), including any teaching allowance that may be due. If the teaching is then made up, this is considered as additional teaching, regardless of whether it is done by the course instructor him/herself or by a substitute. If this leads to an excess of the respective all-in teaching obligation (a list can be found here ), then a teaching allowance is due. This requires an application to the Academic Controlling in the Vice Rectorate for Academic Programs and Student Affairs (akadcont@wu.ac.at). However, in the case of an all-in teaching allowance, the payment is linked to the obligation to fulfill the allowance in full during the current academic year, otherwise the paid teaching allowance will be withheld again.

It is important to note that going to the lecture hall while sick or switching to online teaching while being sick cannot be in the interest of the health of WU employees!

If you are lucky and a positive test is the only sign of an acute Covid infection, then the quarantine rule may force you to stop teaching on campus for a while, despite the fact that you are basically able to work. If the appropriate technical equipment is available, then it is of course possible to switch to distance teaching for the duration of the official isolation. However, if this is not possible, the WUPOL "Regulation for teachers in case of illness" described above would have to be applied analogously. This is because even in the event that work cannot be performed due to quarantine, there is a claim for continued payment of remuneration against the employer, which also includes any teaching compensation. If, during a quarantine, teaching that has been justifiably cancelled is then made up for in presence (or also at a distance), this constitutes additional teaching which, depending on the exhaustion of the all-in teaching obligation in the academic year, will have to be additionally remunerated.

05.04.2022

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