New measures at UNIGE

Updated 26 June

The battle against the coronavirus pandemic is not over yet. However, the situation in Switzerland is improving and, in its COVID-19 Ordinance adopted on 19 June, the Federal Council eased some of the public-health restrictions. This includes relaxing the two-meter social-distancing rule to 1.5 meters.

Hygiene measures

Members of the University community, as well as anyone else present in University buildings, must maintain a distance of 1.5 meters. Where that is not possible, they must wear a mask or take other hygiene precautions if they are in contact with anyone for more than 15 minutes. If an in-person gathering is absolutely unavoidable and it is not possible to keep the necessary distance or wear a mask, the contact details of all those present must be taken down so that they can be traced if needed. Please note that there are no longer any specific measures for people at especially high risk. Further details of these measures are set out in the hygiene plan and restart plan, which have been updated for the period from 29 June to 31 August.

Remote working

The transitional rules will remain in force until 31 August. Their supervisors will use this time to plan out the return to on-site work.

Until 31 August, UNIGE employees can therefore request to continue working remotely provided that this is in keeping with the unit's needs and that the employee has all the necessary equipment and set-up at home. How and when they be allowed to work from home must be decided in agreement with their supervisors. They may be asked to work on site if one's unit's needs cannot be met otherwise. In this case, their workspace will have to be set up in accordance with hygiene rules. More information

The University is currently drawing up new remote working arrangements, based on the outcome of the test phase launched on 1 October 2019 and the lessons learned during the lockdown period that began on 16 March, when remote working become much more widespread. These new arrangements will be gradually introduced starting on 1 September 2020, and further details will be provided at a later date. The new remote working rules will take account of the feedback from the survey carried out among UNIGE staff members at the end-June and in early July. They will also cover cross-border workers, who will still be subject to Swiss social security regardless of the amount of time they spend working from home.

Access to UNIGE buildings

University buildings will once again be open to the public starting on Monday, 29 June.

Library

The Library reading rooms and other services will be open to the UNIGE/HUG community  and the general public starting on 29 June. Social-distancing rules will apply. The Library's maximum capacity has been significantly reduced as a result of the 1.5-meter rule. As the Library is likey to get busy during the exam periods, which start on 27 July, priority will be given to the UNIGE/HUG community, and they will be required to show their multiservices card. The "digitization on demand" service for book chapters and articles will remain available throughout the summer. More information

August/September 2020 exam session

The August/September 2020 exam session will involve a combination of online and in-person exams. The Rectorate recommends that retakes of exams from the January/February 2020 session be conducted in person and those from the May/June 2020 session be conducted online. The exams taken during the August/September 2020 session will count as attempts, and students will not automatically be excused if they fail to turn up for an exam. However, exceptions to these rules will be allowed. This will be left up to each faculty or center's dean's office or management team, which will set out the details of how their exams will be run.

New academic year

In September 2020, the new academic year will start off primarily on site – classrooms, lecture halls and other campus facilities will be open, although the hygiene rules in place at that time will apply. There will also be a large online component to the new academic year, as the University draws on the remote teaching skills developed this past semester to enhance the quality of the education provided at UNIGE. There will be specific rules governing the use of classrooms and lecture halls, based on the public-health recommendations issued by the authorities and in line with the needs of the University community. The new academic year will also not start off in exactly the same way as in previous years. The University will have to adjust to the public-health rules and further develop our online teaching tools. These tools should not be seen as an alternative to in-person teaching, but should complement it by offering additional functions and formats and leveraging the technologies available. More details will be provided as soon as possible, but at the latest two weeks before the start of the autumn semester.

Zoom license extended

As nobody knows exactly how the public-health situation will play out over the coming months, the University will continue to provide with the resources to teach and work remotely. This will ensure that the University can keep fulfilling its missions to teach, conduct research and support the local community. UNIGE plans to extend the Zoom license, which was initially acquired for one semester, until the end of the 2020/2021 academic year. Several major changes have been or will be made to the Zoom platform, allowing for this choice: there will be end-to-end encryption, and the default settings for certain functions – such as password management, waiting rooms and screen sharing – will be changed to afford better protection.

Travel outside Switzerland

Work travel is subject to UNIGE's air-travel policy, which seeks to halve the University's greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, UNIGE strongly recommends that staff members seek information from the destination country's embassy or consulate before traveling abroad. In all cases, they must be sure to comply with the hygiene and behavior rules issued by the federal and cantonal public-health authorities. They  should also make sure they are aware of UNIGE's policy on high-risk regions.

Events

Public events are once again authorized in University buildings, in strict compliance with hygiene rules. Given that the capacity of rooms and lecture halls has been reduced, the order of priority will be as follows:

  1. Teaching (e.g., classes and seminars)
  2. Other UNIGE academic events (e.g., symposiums, thesis defenses and other similar gatherings)
  3. Public events involving the local community (e.g., large conferences, debates and exhibitions) or organized by outside groups.

With some possible exceptions, events run by UNIGE will not resume until 1 September. More information