The first table in the following shows reported COVID-19 cases at the mdw between September 2020 and September 2021. These case figures correspond to the prevailing trends observed in Austria over the same period. Also included is an overview of the Austria-wide lockdowns and the lockdown in Eastern Austria as well as the numerous measures additionally imposed by the mdw. These measures applied to all individuals attached to the University. Special attention was paid to ensuring safe provision of in-person instruction at the mdw in conformance with the rules in force at any given time. In nearly all cases, it proved possible to provide 50 % of the normal amount of artistic instruction onsite. For faculty as well as students, the imposition and relaxation of restrictions in accordance with the general situation applied to both academic and artistic instruction. Administrative work was performed remotely to the greatest extent possible—and for onsite work, thousands of self-testing kits were distributed.
On a daily or weekly basis, the Working Group on Safety convenes and discusses COVID-19-related measures in effect at the mdw as well as any special rules that may be adopted in order to facilitate the conduct of individual examinations, events, and projects in the safest possible manner. The “Corona Taskforce” consults with all decision-making bodies at the mdw concerning appropriate measures. The mdw’s COVID-19 Safety Handbook was first published in September 2020 and then updated several times over the course of the twelve months that followed. This document bundles detailed information on the enacted measures that need to be observed in teaching, events, and general work depending on the current “Traffic Light” status.
A high degree of care and effort goes into handling every suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case. Per positive case, around 21 steps must be taken—and alongside contact tracing as well as requests for information from the affected department, these steps also include filing reports with the relevant authorities. In some cases, contact tracing entails informing up to 100 contact persons.
Since the beginning of 2021, the mdw has been making efforts to ensure that all individuals attached to the mdw have the opportunity to be vaccinated as soon as possible. To this end, the University has been in contact with the City of Vienna and has also conducted multiple needs assessments and surveys of the mdw community. As part of these efforts, individuals who have regular contact with students and people from the outside were given priority in vaccination appointment scheduling. Appointment dates were announced and issued centrally by the mdw beginning on 6 May—and by 14 July 2021, second doses had been administered to all those who had registered. Altogether, these vaccination appointments were taken advantage of by 422 individuals. Over the summer, work was also done in order to offer vaccinations to mdw students; these vaccinations were then administered directly on the mdw campus under the aegis of the City of Vienna on two days in early October.
November 2020 marked the start of efforts to develop and then continually expand an mdw-wide testing strategy. Initial antigen tests for special projects and examinations were administered by paramedics beginning on 11 November 2020. Later on, self-testing was introduced. March 2021 saw the mdw begin accepting the PCR gargle tests provided by the City of Vienna on a step-by-step basis.
The testing portfolio was expanded on 22 March by the mdw’s own on-campus self-testing centre staffed by around 20 individuals during opening hours. Self-testing kits distributed to administrative staff rounded out these offerings. And on 16 June 2021, the mdw implemented the Austria-wide 3G Rule.