Coronavirus situation at the University of Helsinki
This page is updated with current information about the coronavirus situation at the University of Helsinki.
Main instructions
  • Ob­serving com­mon rules re­mains the top pri­or­ity in pre­vent­ing the spread of the coronavirus.
    • Do not come to the campuses when ill or when experiencing symptoms of the coronavirus disease. Assess the need for testing on the basis of local guidelines (the Koronabotti service for the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa) and, when necessary, perform an at-home test.
    • Be sure to practise extremely careful hand and coughing hygiene.
    • Leave room for others whenever possible.
    • See Protective face mask recommendation.
    • Do not shake hands or hug people.
    • Plan physical appointments together with your work community based on your work tasks.
    • Please remember to clean any equipment in joint use after using it. Overall, cleaning activities at the University have been intensified.
    • We recommend getting vaccinated against coronavirus.
  • A flexible transition to multi-location work (hybrid model) has taken place at the University. More information on Flamma: Working hours, work plan, hybrid work and telecommuting.
  • All attendance restrictions pertaining to contact instruction and on-site examinations are lifted.
  • University premises can be used for events without restrictions. Event organisers are responsible for taking relevant health and safety matters into consideration.
  • Travel is once again permitted. However, any restrictions, guidelines and warnings valid in the destination country must be taken into consideration when planning trips.

Last updated on 15 May.

Decision by the crisis management team, 20 April 2022

The protective face mask recommendation updated to follow the recommendations of THL and Helsinki Metropolitan Area coronavirus coordination group: the University continues to recommend the use of protective face masks at your own discretion and in situations where several people are present in facilities and social distancing is impossible.

The University continues to recommend the use of protective face masks at your own discretion and in situations where several people are present in facilities and social distancing is impossible. By wearing a mask in congested situations, you protect yourself and others. Consider wearing a mask for your personal health and safety, especially if you are in a high-risk group. 

Surgical masks, cloth masks and FFP2 respirators remain available to staff and students.   

Detailed instructions for ordering face masks and respirators are available on the Flamma intranet (requires login with University credentials). 

Read also other coronavirus guidelines on transmission and protection by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare.

The University’s face mask recommendation will be updated, when necessary, according to national guidelines. 

The national face mask recommendation for public spaces and transport ended on 14 April 2022.

According to the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, office work and contact instruction are low-risk activities.

Teaching and examinations

All attendance restrictions pertaining to contact instruction and on-site examinations are lifted.

The University recommends flexible teaching arrangements to make it possible for everyone to attend teaching.

Sufficient and spacious self-access facilities are ensured for students on all campuses.

Students should check the information pertaining to teaching in Sisu and on the My Studies website (if already registered for courses), or on the Courses website (if not yet registered). Further information: Where can I find courses?

Attendance in teaching in the academic year 2021–2022

Compulsory class attendance does not apply to contact teaching, unless the completion method in question requires physical presence (such as laboratory courses, patient encounters, skills courses). In addition, attendance in contact instruction may be required in accordance with the curriculum, if attaining the approved learning outcomes of the degree programme requires attendance. If the course completion method requires attendance, degree programmes decide on alternative procedures for teaching.

Students who are absent due to coronavirus (illness, exposure, quarantine) should be offered substituting assignments, where possible. Whenever possible, students in at-risk groups must be offered independent study alternatives. No verification is required from students for at-risk notifications.

Do not attend contact instruction if you are ill. For instructions on illness and exposure situations, see the Instructions for Students website.

Attendance in remote teaching sessions may be required as specified in the curriculum.

If a student feels ill

Instructions for situations when someone feels ill can be found in the Instructions for students (students) and in the Instructions for teaching (teachers).

Use of teaching facilities

The teaching facilities and the Examinarium facilities are in normal use.

Compliance with the relevant health and safety recommendations is required in all University facilities.

Flex­ible solu­tions for stu­dents and teach­ers

The impact of the exceptional circumstances will be taken into account when deciding on extensions to the right to study.

Other instructions

See Opening hours.

Further information on teaching is available in the section For students and teaching personnel.

The leasing of University facilities to external parties can be resumed, and visitors can be admitted on the premises in compliance with the valid health and safety guidelines. External renters must ensure compliance with official regulations.

Lib­rar­ies, museums, Think Corner and UniSport

Helsinki University Library website

National Library website

Luomus public attractions, Helsinki Observatory and Helsinki University Museum

UniSport website

Think Corner

University premises can be used for events without restrictions. This also applies to public examinations of doctoral theses and conferences.

Event organisers are responsible for taking relevant health and safety matters into consideration.

Further information and instructions: University of Helsinki conference and events team, helsinkiuniconferences@helsinki.fi, helsinkiunievents@helsinki.fi

According to the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, office work and contact instruction are low-risk activities.

In the spring time, a transition will be made to the practices of multi-location work (hybrid work). More information on multi-location work can be found on Flamma: Working hours, work plan, hybrid work and telecommuting.

Tele­com­mut­ing con­nec­tions

Instructions for remote working (Helpdesk)

Er­go­nom­ics and tele­com­mut­ing

University staff have been provided with adequate tools and ergonomic aids for working at home when this is necessary for the performance of work duties or employee health. Tools needed for work can be borrowed to facilitate telecommuting. This applies to display screens and small ergonomics aids, but not furniture. Detailed instructions on ergonomics are available on the Flamma intranet (requires logging in with University credentials).

When returning to work at the University premises, any ergonomics-related equipment must be returned to the University. Supervisors must ensure that any work equipment taken home is returned to the workstations they were borrowed from. When continuing part-time telecommuting after the exceptional circumstances, employees must independently acquire any work equipment needed for telecommuting, while the employer is responsible for equipment needed at the workplace.

Flex­ible work­ing hours

Specialist and support services staff can work more flexibly.

  • Flexible working hours are on weekdays between 6.00 and 21.00. Working on Saturdays is permitted between 9.00 and 18.00.

Telecommuting will continue to be clocked in as telecommuting (remote work) in the system for monitoring working hours.

Detailed instructions are available on the Flamma intranet (requires logging in with University credentials).

Coronavirus vaccinations and work­ing hours

Coronavirus vaccination appointments are not included in working hours, but those working under the annual workload or the flexible working hours scheme can book an appointment at a suitable time. Those working according to fixed hours must notify their supervisor of their vaccination appointment time to make the necessary work-related arrangements.

Coronavirus vaccinations

We urge members of the University community to get vaccinated against coronavirus, since extensive general vaccination coverage in the population enables in-person encounters and normal University operations (read THL’s webpage Vaccines and coronavirus).

Vaccines are available from your municipality’s public healthcare services. Check the instructions provided by your municipality. Instructions by the City of Helsinki.

Information about vaccinations is considered personal health information, which supervisors or teachers cannot require employees or students to share. Neither can such information be collected. Naturally, voluntary discussion about vaccinations is permitted.

Coronavirus vaccination appointments are not included in working hours, but those working under the annual workload or the flexible working hours scheme can book an appointment at a suitable time. Those working according to fixed hours must notify their supervisor of their vaccination appointment time to make the necessary work-related arrangements.

Exposure and contracting the disease

If you have been exposed to coronavirus

According to the guidelines of the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, exposed individual may visit the University if telecommuting or distance learning is not possible.

Exposure does not constitute grounds for absence due to illness.

The coronavirus testing services offered by the University's occupational health provider can be used in exceptional cases only, see Travel and visitors.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19/cold or the flu, or a positive test result
  • Read the guidelines of the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare.
  • If you receive a positive result from a coronavirus test (including home tests) or if you have symptoms, do not visit the University.
  • If you receive a positive result from a coronavirus test  but you have no symptoms and are fit for work, please agree with your supervisor or teacher to work or study remotely.
    • Notify your supervisor/teacher if you have received a positive coronavirus test result.
    • If another member of the University community has been exposed due to your visiting the University, please agree with the relevant supervisor whether you or the supervisor will notify those exposed in order for them to be aware of the onset of symptoms, if any. Supervisors cannot reveal anyone’s identity when notifying employees.
  • Report your absence as usual. Absence from work due to any illness without a medical certificate for up to five calendar days is permitted. The five-day rule for absences due to illness also applies to caring for a sick child at home (in such cases, salary is paid for the first four days of absence). After this, you must present a doctor’s certificate. If you have a coronavirus infection, you can obtain a certificate for an absence due to illness in accordance with the Communicable Diseases Act from either a general practitioner or an occupational health doctor at occupational healthcare (online booking or the Digital Clinic).
  • Read more: Kela: Allowance on account of an infectious disease

Also read the guidelines by the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa.

If your child has contracted coronavirus

Temporary leave to care for a sick child can be applied for according to usual University practices. See instructions on Flamma (requires login).

If your family member has been exposed

According to the guidelines by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, you need not refrain from going to work/study.

Health care without municipality of residence

Persons without a municipality of residence in Finland are entitled to  COVID-19 testing, vaccination and treatment, usually also without charge. You can find more information on this KELA website.

Tracing of exposed individuals

COVID-19 contact tracing by the authorities ended in the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa on 10 January 2022. If, after contracting coronavirus or the onset of symptoms, you have spent time in work or study facilities when other people were present, immediately notify your supervisor or teacher of your coronavirus infection. Read the guidelines by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare.

Be prepared to

  • Say whether you have visited your place of work or study when infectious and, if so, where and when
  • Assess potential high-risk exposure situations (see below) if you have visited the workplace

High-risk exposure situations:

  • Face-to-face encounters at a distance of less than two meters lasting more than 15 minutes
  • Physical contact
  • Unprotected contact with the sputum or other secretions of a person with COVID-19
  • A stay of more than 15 minutes in a closed space (not necessarily continuously, but within 24 hours), for example, in the same household, or work, meeting or waiting space. In the case of large spaces, the risk extends only to individuals who were close to the infected person.

A person may not have been exposed if the person infected with coronavirus or both the infected person and their close contact wore a face mask, disposable surgical mask or face shield.

When assessing exposure situations, consideration must also be given to the circumstances, that is, the size and ventilation of the space as well as the nature and duration of exposure.

In accordance with the guidelines of the Regional State Administrative Agency (in Finnish only), employers are obliged to maintain a list of employees who have been exposed to coronavirus in their work (see the criterias of high-risk exposure above). These details are to be listed retrospectively as of 15 November 2020 as accurately as possible.

Employment matters for supervisors: Notification of those exposed to THE COVID-19 virus (on the Flamma intranet, requires login with a university user name)

Coronavirus and official quarantine

Quarantine and isolation instructions of the Finnish Institute of Health and Welfare

Quar­ant­ine in Fin­land
  • Notify your supervisor immediately of the quarantine and its estimated duration.
  • Agree on any potential absences, telecommuting and holiday arrangements. Read more about telecommuting in the section Telecommuting, working on the University premises, working hours, leave.
  • Apply for the sickness allowance paid on account of an infectious disease from Kela. Kela can pay a sickness allowance on account of an infectious disease for the period of the employee’s absence from their work due to an official quarantine.This allowance compensates for the loss of income incurred to the employee for the absence without pay. Further information on the Kela website
  • Submit a medical certificate within 10 days to Payroll Services and a leave of absence application in the SAP HR system. In the application, specify the reason for your absence as ‘quarantine’.

Occupational health can provide infected and quarantined individuals with support in the form of someone to talk to. Contact the OmaTyöterveys service either by calling 010 414 0777 or using the OmaMehiläinen app.

Persons who record their working hours for externally funded projects must check whether their tasks in the project can be completed by telecommuting. Other tasks must be agreed on separately with the relevant unit director.

Quar­ant­ine when ar­riv­ing from abroad

Latest travel instructions of the Finnish Institute of Health and Welfare

Quar­ant­ine abroad
  • Notify your supervisor immediately of the quarantine and its estimated duration.
  • Agree on any potential absences, telecommuting and holiday arrangements.
  • If you agree on an absence, apply for a leave of absence in the SAP HR system.

Kela will pay a per diem allowance to persons in isolation or quarantine within the EU. A certificate of quarantine or isolation from a doctor authorised to order such restrictions in the country in question is required. Employees quarantined outside the EU are in a more complicated situation, for evidently Kela will not pay a per diem allowance for them.

Employees quarantined during a work-related trip will receive their normal salary during the quarantine (doctor’s certificates must be submitted to Payroll Services), in addition to which the employer will compensate any necessary costs incurred by the prolongation of the trip.

Whenever possible, an agreement on telecommuting should be made with the supervisor. Read more about telecommuting in the section Telecommuting, working on the University premises, working hours, leave.

In the case of employees quarantined during a holiday trip, the absence will be considered an absence without pay, unless otherwise agreed. At the moment, in cases of employees quarantined abroad, agreements on part-time telecommuting or holidays can be made.

Persons who record their working hours for externally funded projects must check whether their tasks in the project can be completed by telecommuting. Other tasks must be agreed on separately with the relevant unit director.

Men­tal sup­port

If you are anxious and worried about the situation, support is available from occupational healthcare. The Huolikulma chat service offers easy-to-access support for staff. Early chat-based support may prevent concerns from developing into a major problem. The chat can be accessed in the Digital Clinic of the OmaMehiläinen application.

Occupational healthcare also offers dialogue-based support organised through remote services. Further information is available from Mehiläinen’s OmaTyöterveys service, contactable by phone at 010 414 0777 or via the OmaMehiläinen application.

A national coronavirus helpline has been established and can be contacted free of charge by calling 02 9553 5535. The helpline is open on weekdays from 8.00 to 21.00 and on Saturdays from 9.00 to 15.00. The service is available in Finnish, Swedish and English. The helpline provides general information about the coronavirus, not advice pertaining to health in general.

Mielenterveystalo’s digital support material relating to concerns and uncertainty due to the coronavirus epidemic (in Finnish only)

Travel

Travel is once again permitted. However, any restrictions, guidelines and warnings valid in the destination country must be taken into consideration when planning trips. Travellers must independently determine the pandemic-related requirements and situation in the destination country.

Employees must book trips through the CWT travel agency, making sure that the trip can be cancelled. Further travel information is available on Flamma.

The University’s travel guidelines and the restrictions set by the Finnish government must be followed when making travel arrangements. Always check the current situation of the regions where travel restrictions apply and instructions of the Finnish Institute of Health and Welfare before booking a trip and travelling. When travelling, the general travel recommendations issued by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland must also be taken into account.

If you need a negative test result for a work-related trip, the coronavirus testing services offered by the University's occupational health provider can be used. You must have a valid travel plan approved by your supervisor.

A referral to a coronavirus test can be obtained from the occupational health nurse assigned to your unit via the Digital Clinic.

If you need to travel on a personal matter to a destination to which travel restrictions apply, agree in advance with your supervisor on telecommuting, a holiday or an unpaid leave of absence for the duration of your quarantine.

Travel insurance coverage in the case of coronavirus infection

The travel insurance provided by Pohjola Insurance will cover

  • Treatment costs if you are infected by coronavirus during your trip
  • Costs incurred from cancelling a trip if you are infected by coronavirus before leaving on the trip

The travel insurance provided by Pohjola Insurance does not cover extra travel and accommodation costs incurred due to a quarantine. Since the insurance does not cover such quarantine-related travel or accommodation costs, reimbursement for them must be requested, for example, by submitting a travel expense report, which assigns responsibility for these costs to unit/project.

Vis­it­ors

Visitors are welcome at the University.

See THL’s webpage about COVID-19 certificate.

Visitors are sent general safety and security instructions in advance pertaining to the exceptional circumstances at the University and information about the FINENTRY service and guidelines related to entry in Finland set by the Finnish Institute of Health and Welfare.

If University operations are carried out in the facilities of other organisations, they may have practices of their own. Particularly in Meilahti, special attention should be paid to the instructions provided by the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa.

Booked and can­celled work-re­lated or conference trips

When cancelling or postponing a trip, you should contact the CWT travel agency, as they have booked the trip. If the time to departure is less than 48 hours, please call CWT customer service at +358 20 5615 635. In other cases, detailed instructions for related communication are available on Flamma (requires login with University credentials).

Primarily, reimbursement of the conference fee for a cancelled conference must be claimed from the conference organiser.

If certain expenses have not been reimbursed after the above claims, any such costs will be covered by the University and allocated to the project which would have covered the trip expenses in the first place.

The university acts responsibly and helps society in its efforts to battle the Corona COVID 19 epidemic. The University wants to ensure staff and student safety and at the same time enable everybody to continue their studies and research in these exceptional circumstances. Under the authority of the Rector, the Coronavirus Management Team will make necessary decisions required by the situation.

The University follows the recommendations and regulations of the Finnish State, the University Central Hospital (HUS) and the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL).

A pandemic planning committee is active at the University. The chair of the committee is Vice-Rector Tom Böhling.

Furthermore, a management group has been established on the University level in accordance with the University's preparedness plan for emergencies, tasked with managing and coordinating practical matters related to preventing the spread of the coronavirus, as well as making decisions pertaining to the issue. This group is chaired by Director of Administration Esa Hämäläinen.

Read latest updates, symptoms caused by the coronavirus and ways to protect against it on the National Institute for Health and Welfare website: How to protect yourself against the Covid-19 -coronavirus.

The website also provides information to those arriving in Finland made by the National Institute for Health and Welfare.

Residents of Helsinki can call the city’s telephone advice service on the telephone number (09) 310 10024 if they experience symptoms or want to ask for advice regarding the coronavirus.

A national coronavirus helpline has been established and can be contacted free of charge by calling 02 9553 5535. The helpline is open on weekdays from 8.00 to 21.00 and on Saturdays from 9.00 to 15.00.

Common safety guidelines must be taken into account on all restriction levels. The University complies with policies set by the authorities and regional coronavirus coordination groups. Support activities will be restored in stages according to operational needs. If the situation worsens, recovery will be suspended and the relevant restrictions imposed.

The University has resumed normal operations.

Restriction level 3

Decision-making: crisis management team and response centres

Associated with the community transmission phase of the epidemic, taking into account the prevention measures on tiers 1, 2 and 3 set by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health

  • Telecommuting recommendation valid to an extent that matches with the relevant tier of prevention measures
  • Research: On-site research activities in accordance with the notification procedure and guidelines set by the relevant response centre
  • Teaching: Only necessary teaching and examinations can be held on site, public examinations of doctoral theses held online
  • Events not organised, buildings mainly closed, self-access facilities closed, significant restrictions to travel

Restriction level 2

Decision-making: crisis management team and response centres

Partial lifting of restrictions to University operations

  • A partial telecommuting recommendation valid, working on site possible upon agreement with the supervisor
  • Research: Research activities in University facilities can be increased at the discretion of the relevant parties
  • Teaching: Teaching is mainly provided online, teaching for small groups and public examinations can be held on site, taking into account the number of attendees and the relevant safety restrictions
  • Large-scale events are not organised; public attractions, customer service desks and self-access facilities can be opened at the discretion of the relevant parties; restrictions to travel

Restriction level 1

Decision-making: normal management system. Crisis management team and response centres, as authorised by the rector

Partial restrictions remain in place on University operations

  • Extended telecommuting arrangements utilised, working on site permitted
  • Research: Research groups transition to almost normal activities
  • Teaching: Contact instruction can be organised; public and mass lectures are not organised
  • Public attractions, customer service desks and self-access facilities can be opened
  • International activities (including travel) increased wherever possible

Normal operations

Decision-making: normal management system

University operations in the new status quo

  • The University operates in accordance with the conditions prevailing in the new normal
  • Integration of experiences gained in the pandemic into the University identity