Corona Pandemic: All information about the situation at SMARTments student

October 2020 - A message of success in advance: The SMARTis community is alive, even during the Corona pandemic. Yet, there haven’t been any Covid-19 outbreaks in our houses so far. The sense of responsibility of the "SMARTis", the caution of our tutors, and our hygiene concept are paying off: #socialdistancing is no problem in our apartments with bathroom and kitchen – but you’re still part of a community. You’re digitally connected with your neighbours, and - where contact restrictions permit - you can also get together in "real life", participate in our events, or start your own project.

In this overview, you’ll find everything you need to know about infection protection and community life at SMARTments student. General information on prevention, on symptoms and risks of an infection, can be found here.

As a matter of course, we continuously adapt our measures to current developments and political decisions, in order to ensure the best possible protection for our tenants as well as our employees - and at the same time to guarantee reliable operation.

Our effort #1: The hygiene concept

Caretakers and cleaning staff are still on duty for you! Surfaces that are frequently touched - door handles in the entrance area, elevators, laundry rooms - are cleaned often and thoroughly. For common areas - e.g. laundrette, common rooms, corridors - the usual rules of distance apply. We also recommend wearing an everyday mask. This overview highlights what we consider important in our everyday life to minimize the risk of infection and related quarantine measures.

For us as well, the incidence value is a key figure: If the 7-day value for a house’s location rises above 50 and results in a classification as a "risk area", we will, for example, restrict the use of the common room and suspend our event program.

Operation during the Corona pandemic: An overview
Moving in and out You can move in and out as planned. However, when you’re moving in from abroad, quarantine regulations often apply, or a negative corona test must be presented. Inform yourself before entering the country, e.g. here (https://www.bundesgesundheitsministerium.de/coronavirus/current-information-for-travellers.html), about current regulations, and check if you are entering from a risk area. If you have to isolate yourself first, secure your supply with daily needs (see "Suspected or actual infection case or quarantine after entering from risk areas"). Under certain circumstances the caretaker may not be present at the handover. You will be informed in advance how to get the key for your apartment and how to fill out the handover protocol - or where you can leave the key when you move out.
Removal help Our motto is "Move in and start living" - you don't need a lot of stuff to make yourself at home in our furnished apartments. Please do without a larger moving team, let max. 1-2 close confidants help you, and mind the contact restrictions.
Visitors To protect the community, we ask you to bring as few external visitors as possible into the house and the common rooms. For "risk areas", we recommend that you restrict yourself to a "favorite person" - and remind you to mind the contact restrictions.
Elevator The elevators should be used by a maximum of 2 persons at once. We also recommend wearing an everyday mask.
Caretakers Caretakers and cleaning staff are on site at the usual times and ensure that frequently used surfaces are cleaned often and thoroughly. At best you contact our caretakers by phone or e-mail - in any case you keep the usual distance and wear an everyday mask while dealing with them.
Repairs For necessary repairs we ask you for an authorization/proxy so that the craftsman can work at a time when he can be alone in the apartment.
Common rooms The common rooms can be used during the caretaker’s office hours. The usual rules regarding distance and hygiene apply. There is also a record of attendance so that contacts can be tracked. In "risk areas", the common rooms may only be entered for the use of the printer.
Events / Community meetings Where contact restrictions allow, the tutors organize open community events, for which we have developed a hygiene concept. Our event program also runs with smaller group sizes, to introduce you to nice people and unknown places in your city. In "risk areas” we don’t do events in "real life". The tutors and our event team are focusing on digital alternatives during this time.
Tutors Our tutors continue their efforts for the community. In "risk areas" they cannot organize gatherings in larger groups, but they are available to you as contact persons - and will gladly meet you for a coffee!
Printer The printers can be used during the caretaker’s office hours.
Laundry The washing machines and dryers are still at your disposal. We ask you to clean the operating surfaces and handles thoroughly before and after use.
Parcels / Deliveries Try to arrange deliveries for times you’re at home or order them to a pickup station. If that's not possible, try to arrange via your WhatsApp or Facebook group that the person who accepts a package leaves it outside the door at a specific time so you can pick it up.
Suspected or actual infection case or quarantine after entering from risk areas You suspect an infection? Follow these guidelines (https://www.zusammengegencorona.de/en/inform/recognize-symptoms/) and avoid contact with others while organising a test or medical check. You are under official quarantine as a traveller from abroad, a suspected or positive case, and you need support in everyday life? Contact the tutors or caretaker - we will find a solution!
Cancellation of the tenancy agreement The usual three-month notice period (usually after a minimum period of six months) applies. See FAQ (https://www.smartments-student.de/en/faq) for further information.
Renewals or extensions of the tenancy agreement Contact us if you wish to extend your stay with us! In this exceptional situation, we try our best to offer extensions, even for individual months and after completion of your studies, subject to availability.
Change of plans after cancellation You have already quit your tenancy agreement, but due to the current situation you’ve had to change your plans and would like to stay longer? Contact us as early as possible so that we can try to find a solution.

Our effort #2: Digital Community

We’re aware that #socialdistancing is tough, particularly for SMARTis. Our apartments are comfortable and convenient, but not too spacious. Especially in times of closed universities and "home office" regulations, it might get lonely in your own four walls in the long run. That’s why, wherever the infection rates allow, we make the common rooms available as study and recreation spaces. Our event program, which puts you in contact with nice housemates, also takes place within the framework of valid contact restrictions.

In addition, we’re connecting with you online, providing recommendations and advice to make this challenging time entertaining, or at best even enriching. At our "Digital SMARTis Club", a forum to meet with interesting guests, we’ve already questioned a Lord Mayor about his job, and learned during a live cooking session from a chef how to cook Asian treats on a student budget. Also, the tutors have increased their social media activities. A virtual common room has gone live in Essen, and Berlin’s “German Speaking Club” is planning online sessions. We are also active on our blog, Instagram and Facebook.  

Reliable sources in the flood of information: Further links

Official information for Germany can be found at the Federal Ministry of Health. You can find information about the situation in Austria on the website of the Federal Ministry of Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection.