Coronavirus: Information for employees
Coronavirus infections are still high and threatening to rise. An improvement of the situation is not yet within sight. The top priority therefore is the protection of everyone's health.
The following regulations and recommendations basically apply:
- Working from home is mandatory everywhere where it is possible and can be implemented with a reasonable amount of effort.
- If symptoms of illness occur, stay at home and avoid contact with other people (self-isolation).
- Masks are compulsory on the entire campus of the University of Bern. This applies to the entire perimeter of the institutions, i.e. not only inside the buildings but also their exterior spaces. (Information on masks, in German, PDF, 846KB)
- All in-person teaching will be replaced by distance learning. This also applies to further-education courses.
- Meetings will be conducted virtually.
- In order to be able to trace personal contacts closer than 1.5 meters for longer than 15 minutes in case of an infection with Sars-CoV-2, every person is obliged to keep a personal and daily updated logbook (digitally or by using this form). The logbook must be kept for 4 weeks.
- It is recommended to install the official Swiss Covid app. If it can be verified that all the people present have installed and activated the app, there is no need for a logbook entry.
- It is recommended to avoid large crowds of people and avoid public transport during rush hour.
Business and private trips abroad
Anyone entering Switzerland from a country or area with a high risk of infection must go into quarantine for ten days. You can find further information on this here.
Protection Concept of the University of Bern during Covid-19 for employees with an administrative function
The University of Bern's protection concept is the basis for the university unit’s ability to resume their activities in university premises and facilities. There is a separate protection concept for the research and continuing education areas.
The managing directorates are responsible for the implementation and compliance with the protection concept. The safety officers (GeSiBe, KOPAS) are authorised on behalf of the Managing Directorates to ensure compliance with this protection concept and have the right to issue instructions in this regard.
Keeping distance, limiting people per room and hygiene, wearing masks
- Employees and other people will keep a distance of 1,5m between each other.
- A general obligation to wear a mask applies for all indoor spaces of the University of Bern.
- Employees do not have to wear masks at their stationary workstations, provided that the minimum distance of 1.5 meters can be maintained. However, wearing masks is compulsory on the way to the workplace and during other movements in the building.
- For meetings, the standard area of at least 4m2 per person must be maintained.
- If the distance rules cannot be observed, a hygiene mask must be worn.
- Regular washing of hands is mandatory.
- At-risk employees and risk groups must be protected as far as possible (Prioritization of protective measures and risk groups)
- It is recommended to use public transport outside rush hours and to wear a mask when travelling.
Traceability and limiting of personal contact
- In the event of a Sars-CoV-2 infection, in order to be able to trace personal contact of less than 1,5 meters and longer than 15 minutes, each person is obliged to keep a personal and daily updated logbook (digital or by form). The logbook must be kept for 4 weeks.
- It is recommended that the Confederation's official "SwissCovid" tracing app is installed. However, it does not replace keeping a personal logbook. An entry in the personal logbook can only be dispensed with if it can be 100% guaranteed in certain situations that all persons present have installed and activated the app.
- It is recommended that employees be deployed in shifts or in strictly separated teams.
- Meetings and discussions should continue to be held via video or telephone conferences. Subject to the requirements of the protection concept, attended meetings can also be held again.
Holding events or activities on UniBE properties
- These are to be approved by the managing directors or - in consultation - with direct superiors.
Identification of infection and cases of illness
- University of Bern employees with possible Sars-Cov-2 infection or disease symptoms can be tested at the University Emergency Centre (UNZ) of the Inselspital on request. The University of Bern has made an agreement with the UNZ, in which this testing will be able to be carried out without complications. During service hours (daily 10:00- 17:00) you can report to the reception of the emergency unit and identify yourself with your UNICARD. Advance notification is not necessary. No costs will be incurred by employees. The invoice will be sent to the University of Bern. The results of the swab test are available within 36 hours. In the event of a positive COVID-19 result, patients will be informed by telephone. Negative results will not be reported. In urgent cases or when outside of service hours, a swab test can be performed as part of a normal medical consultation. Again, registration by telephone is not necessary, but a health insurance card will be required.
The institute directors and heads of department are responsible for occupational safety, health protection and environmental safety in their unit and have a health protection and safety officer (GeSiBe) at their disposal.
Depending on the size of the university unit, the directorates will appoint additional contact persons for occupational safety (KOPAS). Accordingly, they will define job descriptions for the GeSiBe or KOPAS, entrust a person suitable for the performance of the function with the corresponding tasks and competencies and grant sufficient time, financial and other resources to enable implementation of this task.
It should be noted that responsibility in the areas of occupational safety, health protection and environmental safety is necessarily the responsibility of the institute's management or the head of department and cannot be transferred to the GeSiBe or KOPAS. Corresponding information can also be found in the guidelines of the Executive Board of the University on the duties and employment of full and associate professors at the University of Bern dated 23 August 2011 (in German), and in the leaflet «Overview of the most important duties of the managing directors of the Institute» (in German) dated 20 December 2009/06.10.20152.
Further explanations of the responsibilities for safety arrangements can be found in the Safety and Environment Guidelines (in German) of the Risk Management Unit.
Working at home
Circumstances continue to demand flexibility, patience, and a pragmatic and caring attitude from all concerned.
What is meant by working at home?
Home office means simply that employees do their normal work from home. The usual terms of employment and mutual obligations still apply. Nothing changes in terms of an employee's duties when working from home.
How should I record my time?
Working time is recorded with the usual time recording system. If this is not available, working times are noted and subsequently recorded in the system.
What time can I record?
In principle, the actual working time is recorded.
I belong to a risk group. Can I be forced to be present?
In exceptional cases, when a function is absolutely necessary to maintain emergency operations and cannot be performed from home, the institution can require you to be present on site. However, you must ensure that the protection concept of the university and thus the protective measures according to the FOPH (washing hands, keeping distance) are observed.
Are there reserved or compulsory times when employees must be present while working from home? How is availability regulated?
Supervisors will regulate this in accordance with company requirements. Basically the same times and availabilities apply as at the normal workplace.
What technical infrastructure is used?
The university regulation, which is based on the legal requirements and practice of the Cantonal Administration, is as follows:
- Employees who work from home during the coronavirus crisis (i.e. due to official instructions) in principle use their personal (IT) infrastructure.
- If important elements that are necessary for the fulfillment of tasks are missing, employees are to contact their superiors. The superiors can provide necessary material (e.g. PC, laptop, monitors, consumables, ...) or purchase additional materials if required. The individual work situation of employees will be taken into account appropriately, and hardship cases will be taken into account accordingly. It should be noted that these items remain the property of the University and that there is no entitlement to use the same equipment as what is at the workplace.
- If there are additional costs for telephony and data traffic, we refer to the university's Corporate Mobile Network: CMN (in German)
If it becomes apparent that working from home cannot be adequately arranged, supervisors can instruct that the work be done on site on university premises. Of course, the protection concepts must be observed.
Lump-sum compensation for work done at home cannot be paid out - there is no legal basis for this.
For coordination and cooperation while working from home, the following links provide information and instructions on the use and offers of technical tools:
Further explanations and answers to frequently asked questions can be found on the website of the Canton of Bern (in German).
If you have any further questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Resolutions of the State Council (in German)