Coronavirus situation at the University of Helsinki

This page is updated with current information about the coronavirus situation at the University of Helsinki.

Last updated on 26 June (Travel, com­mut­ing and vis­it­ors) and 24 June (Latest: Crisis man­age­ment team an­nounce­ment, For stu­dents and teach­ing per­son­nel).

The second stage of the University’s recovery plan is expected to last until 16 August 2020, with the third stage of the plan expected to enter into force on 17 August 2020. The crisis management team is monitoring the status of the coronavirus pandemic and will add restrictions to the recovery plan if the pandemic situation worsens.

See the recovery plan timetable here (pdf).

The University conducted a staff survey on the impact of the exceptional circumstances caused by the pandemic. The results of the survey were published in a Flamma news item (requires logging in with University credentials).

The crisis management team will convene for its next meeting in late July.

Have a sunny and relaxing summer!

Updated on 24 June

Time-critical activities

Critical examinations and field courses (upon the decision of response centres) can be organised as of 1 June.

Teaching in autumn 2020

The planning of teaching for the autumn is currently based on the assumption that the University is able to transition to Stage 3 of the recovery plan on 17 August. If this is the case, no teaching-related mass events will be organised, social distancing rules will be observed and people are advised to avoid contact:

  • Remote teaching and supervision is recommended.
  • Where possible, contact teaching can be provided, taking into account the safe distances (1–2 metres) set for teaching facilities.
  • Whenever possible, independent studying are offered as options to people in at-risk groups.
  • The number of users in independent learning facilities will be restricted.

If the coronavirus pandemic worsens, teaching will be organised according to stricter safety and security requirements.

Updated 24 June: International degree programmes will independently decide, or follow faculty-specific guidelines, on the types of study alternatives they will offer students in autumn 2020 (remote teaching, suspension of the beginning of teaching, etc.)

Booking of teaching facilities in autumn 2020

  • In Stage 3 of the University’s recovery plan, starting on 17 August 2020, the University’s teaching facilities can be booked for a maximum of 500 people.
  • When making bookings, the number of people allowed cannot exceed 50% of the normal seating capacity in the rooms.
  • Moreover, room-specific restrictions on seating can be imposed based on safety and security recommendations.
  • Updated 16 June: Information on the capacity of teaching facilities has been updated with safe distance requirements in the Optime software for timetabling and facility booking. The number of seating places and other facility-specific information are also available on Flamma as an Excel file (requires logging in with University credentials).
  • When planning teaching timetables and facilities use for the autumn term 2020, the above-mentioned maximum numbers must be taken into account.
  • In the booking of facilities, teaching will be given priority.
  • The organiser of an event has the primary responsibility for the implementation of current safety and security recommendations and for  providing the participants with practical instructions. Social distancing must be practised in teaching facilities as well as, for example, lobbies.

Flexible solutions for students and teachers

The University of Helsinki is intensifying the use of flexible solutions to promote students’ progress and graduation:

  • Should teaching be cancelled, teaching periods may be extended where necessary to provide the cancelled teaching by postponing courses to summer 2020. 
  • Fee-paying degree students who are close to graduation in an international programme can, if necessary, continue their studies in the autumn term so that delays in graduation do not place an extra financial burden on them.
  • The transition period associated with the reform of first- and second-cycle degrees has been extended so that the deadline for graduating in accordance with the old degree requirements is 18 December 2020.
  • The University has decided to extend until the end of the autumn term 2020 the validity of studies completed in accordance with the old degree requirements, which would otherwise expire during the spring and autumn terms 2020, as prescribed by faculty-specific regulations. The extension will be taken into account in compiling students’ modules and degrees.
  • The University has decided to extend until the end of the autumn term 2020 the validity of studies completed in accordance with the new degree requirements, which would otherwise expire during the spring and autumn terms 2020. The extension will be taken into account in compiling students’ modules and degrees.
  • Doctoral candidates may complete their degree according to the old degree requirements, provided that
    - the preliminary examiners were appointed no later than in the first faculty council meeting of the year; the preliminary examination process ends with granting permission for a public defence, and the defence will be held within 12 months of the granting of permission; and all the required studies are completed and registered by 18 December 2020,
    - or, that all the required studies are completed and registered by 18 December 2020, and the public defence has been held before that date.
  • Applications are accepted for a further extension to study right extensions granted to ensure the completion of studies. All students whose right to study expires on 31 July 2020 can apply for an extension. When deciding on the matter, the impact of the exceptional circumstances will be taken into account.

Faculty-specific instructions

Besides the Faculty of Medicine and the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, other faculties may provide their students with more specific instructions regarding the arrangement of studies and traineeships.

See Faculty- and unit-specific instructions.

Updated on 29 May: Research activities from 1 June 2020

The coronavirus management team has approved a four-stage recovery plan for University operations.

Research activities from 6 May 2020 (stage 1 of recovery)

In the first recovery stage, the gradual resumption of time-critical research will commence on 6 May, with the aim of ensuring the continuity of research. The response centres of faculties and units will draw up lists of time-critical research activities to be resumed in the first stage, including timetables. Due to general safety, security and health guidelines as well as restrictions on gatherings, no more than 10–20% of the staff normally working on University premises at the same time can occupy them simultaneously.

Furthermore, compulsory laboratory courses and demonstrations of competence can be resumed.

Safety and security guidelines have been drawn up for laboratory facility use.

Research activities from 1 June 2020 (stage 2 of recovery)

As of 1 June, it will be possible to conduct research work and stages of research which require on-site presence on the University premises. Working at the University premises is permitted based on personal notification, provided that the general safety and security guidelines pertaining to the prevention of coronavirus infections are observed.

Undertaking research and stages of research that require the presence of outsiders on the University premises should be avoided. In such cases, only time-critical research, permitted by the relevant response centre, is allowed.

As a rule, the University's staff will telecommute at least un­til 16 August.

Library resources for research

The borrowing of library resources required for teaching and research will be ensured. Further information will be provided on library websites. The National Library is open for research, study and the use of library materials from June 1.

The impact of coronavirus outbreak on research funding

Please see Research funding information on the Flamma intranet (requires login).

The University of Helsinki website on student admissions (available in Finnish and Swedish only) during the coronavirus outbreak offers the latest information on changes to admissions criteria and methods in spring 2020. The website provides degree programme-specific details of changes to admissions methods, information on the results of certificate-based admissions, and answers to the most frequently asked questions.

Updated on 29 July

University buildings are closed until 16 August

The large shared facilities dedicated to independent learning on the campuses, such as Aleksandria, will remain mainly closed at least until 16 August. At their own discretion, the response centres can open, to a limited degree, smaller faculty-specific independent learning facilities on the campuses.

The library's self-study facilities will be opened gradually in August as follows:

  • The self-study facilities in the Kaisa House, and Meilahti Campus Library will open on Monday August 10, 2020.
  • Kumpula Campus Library and Viikki Pop-up Library will open on Monday 17 August 2020.

Read more about the opening of the library’s self-study facilities.

Visits to the University premises are allowed only for the performance of necessary work. More information about telecommuting

Services supporting distance teaching (for example, Examinarium facilities and UniTube studios) are, as a rule, available for use on weekdays between 8.00 and 16.00. More information on the Instructions for teaching website.

No visitors will be allowed in the locked premises.

The University premises will be opened in Stage 3 of the recovery plan, from 17 August onwards. As a rule, events should continue to be held remotely, although gatherings not exceeding 50 people are allowed.

More information on buildings

Some of the buildings will keep their main entrance open for goods deliveries and assistance, but for a shorter period than normal.

These buildings are:

City Centre Campus

  • Helsinki Normal Lyceum (Ratakatu 6): Based on the teaching arranged
  • Porthania (Yliopistonkatu 3): Mon–Fri 8.00–16.00

Kumpula Campus

  • Chemicum (A. I. Virtasen aukio 1): Mon–Fri 8.00–16.00

Meilahti Campus

  • Biomedicum I (Haartmaninkatu 8): Mon–Fri 8.00–18.00, 29.6.–31.7. Mon–Fri 7:30–16:00
  • Biomedicum II U (Tukholmankatu 8): Mon–Fri 8.00–16.00
  • Dental Clinic (Kytösuontie 9): Mon–Fri 7.30–18.00, 3.6.–31.7. Mon–Fri 7:30–16

Viikki Campus

  • Building A (Latokartanonkaari 9): Mon–Fri 8.00–16.00
  • Cultivator (Viikinkaari 6): 8.00–16.00
  • Viikki Teacher Training School (Kevätkatu 2): Based on the teaching arranged
  • Veterinary Teaching Hospital: 24/7

Other services

For the updated opening hours of the University’s public attractions, such as Think Corner, the Natural History Museum, the Kaisaniemi Botanic Garden, the Helsinki University Museum and UniSport, see the relevant websites.

The borrowing of library resources required for teaching and research will be ensured. Further information will be provided on university's library websites.

The National Library is open for research, study and the use of library materials from June 1.

Updated on 18 June

For the most part, the University premises will remain closed until 16 August, and no public or other events will be held on the University premises. The University premises will be opened in Stage 3 of the recovery plan, from 17 August onwards. As a rule, events should continue to be held remotely, although gatherings not exceeding 500 people are allowed.

Pub­lic events

Many public events have moved online. See Event calendar for information about events with a live stream.

Planned public events at the University will be cancelled and no new events will be organised. No more than 50 individuals may be simultaneously present in teaching sessions and other events at the University, including course examinations and public examinations of doctoral theses. Safety requirements must also be considered. See Faculties' detailed instructions.

Conferences

The conferences to be organised at the University of Helsinki in the summer will be cancelled. The University’s conference and events team has instructed conference organisers in matters related to the cancellation and postponement of events. If an organiser has not received an email or has questions, they should contact helsinkiuniconferences@helsinki.fi.

Pub­lic ex­am­in­a­tions of doc­toral theses

See Doctoral defences and corona virus situation (Instructions for students).

Planning events for autumn 2020

Conferences and events not related to teaching and research to be held from 17 August 2020 onwards are prepared on the basis of the policies valid at this time. Holding events remotely remains the recommended option.

  • Gatherings of no more than 500 individuals are allowed. Social distancing must be ensured in both teaching facilities and, for example, lobbies.
  • In facility booking, preference is given to teaching.
  • Refreshments for coffee breaks and lunch will be arranged according to the relevant instructions.
  • The organiser must collect information on all event participants for potential contact tracing.
  • Whenever possible, events are planned to be held partly remotely, partly on location. The possibility of remote participation should be offered, since situations may arise or new restrictions imposed even on short notice which will prevent everyone/certain persons from attending an event held on location.
  • International events are primarily planned to be held remotely.

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

Updated on16 June: Procurement of cloth face masks or respirators

The University community will, as a rule, telecommute until 16 August

  • Working on the University premises is not allowed, unless the work in question has been identified as time-critical or cannot be carried out elsewhere other than the premises. In addition, the provisions of the recovery plan for University operations apply.
  • Staff will not return to work on the University premises after their summer break, unless their duties so require.
  • When necessary, staff must agree with their supervisors on the work duties to be performed remotely.
  • Work duties performed remotely may temporarily differ from regular work duties.

During Stage 3 of recovery, the extended opportunity to telecommute will still apply to positions which allow for remote work.

Staff may work on the University premises as of 1 June. Situations in which this is allowed include the need to

  • Perform work duties essential for the continuity of University operations which cannot be postponed, or attended to remotely. Such duties are separately decided on by the unit-specific response centres.
  • Collect research or teaching material, or use the University’s equipment or network to prepare or implement distance teaching. (For detailed instructions on teaching and examinations, see the Instructions for teaching website.)
  • Take measures to ensure the continuity of long-term research.
  • Attend a doctoral defence (See further details on the Instructions for Students website.)
  • Basic education in the teacher training schools will resume in the form of contact teaching on 14 May in accordance with government guidelines.
  • Occasionally perform other support duties when it is necessary to use the equipment, facilities or tools available at the University premises.

High-risk groups

For high-risk groups, solutions will be sought to minimise their exposure. If no workable solutions can be found, agreements can be made with the relevant supervisor on part- or full-time unpaid leaves of absence.

If you need to work on the University premises

Keep in mind that you are responsible for the following:

  • Staff will telecommute whenever possible.
  • Do not enter the University premises if you are ill or experience even the slightest symptoms of a cold or the flu, or if you have been in close contact with a person suffering from a respiratory infection. If you start feeling unwell while on the premises, leave immediately and notify your supervisor.
  • A self-quarantine may be in order upon return.
  • No more than 50 individuals may be simultaneously present in the same room (safety requirements must also be considered).
  • To increase the safety and security of work facilities, staggered working hours should be agreed within the limits of work duties and the expanded flexible working hours.
  • The two-metre social distancing rule must also be observed. In practice, only one person may be present at any one time in small break rooms and kitchen facilities. The users of break rooms and kitchen facilities must keep them tidy. If the two-metre social distancing rule cannot otherwise be observed, only one person at a time can use a lift. Please also remember good hygiene and safe distances in sanitary and social facilities.
  • In work facilities, everyone must be mindful of good hand hygiene by carefully washing their hands or, if that is impossible, using hand sanitiser. Remember the general instructions on coughing, sneezing and blowing your nose.
  • If you use public transport, remember to observe safe distances whenever possible, practise good coughing and sneezing hygiene and avoid touching surfaces with your bare hands. Whenever possible, work-related travel should be conducted by, for example, walking or cycling.
  • Wear your ID card.
  • If necessary, staff can contact their supervisor, head of human resources or occupational health staff if they have questions about returning to work.

Procurement of cloth face masks or respirators

Guidelines set in June 2020 (will be updated if the situation or instructions by the authorities change).

At their discretion, units can procure face masks or respirators for duties where the currently valid rules on social distancing cannot be observed or other protective measures employed (e.g., protective Perspex screens). Such circumstances can include contact teaching or other situations where people have to be in close contact with each other.

Please note the potential limitations regarding the use of face masks: Using a face mask may be difficult or impossible for people suffering from pulmonary diseases. Make sure that breathing normally is possible through the mask (Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare).

Before procuring masks or respirators, the general instructions pertaining to the coronavirus situation must be considered, and the unit must assess the necessity of mask use.

Teachers and students may use masks at their own discretion. When procuring and using face masks or respirators, read the product manual (is the device disposable or washable, and what is the recommended useful life of the mask).

Staples, with which the University has concluded a framework agreement, supplies cloth masks and, possibly, respirators as well. Please see the instructions on procurement of goods and services on the Flamma intranet (requires logging in with University credentials). If you have any questions, please contact hankinnat@helsinki.fi.

Please read also the instructions by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare and the instructions by the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health.

Instructions for telecommuting

As a rule, the University's staff will telecommute. If necessary, research, distance teaching arrangements and related support activities as well as customer service activities may also be carried out on the University premises. Specialist and support staff can use the University premises for work that cannot be performed while telecommuting. These duties have been identified and the relevant individuals have been personally notified, or the relevant decisions will be made at a later date on the basis of proposals made by the response centres.

If you have small children at home or a situation that requires your presence, you can agree with your supervisor to work flexibly on a part-time basis or to take an unpaid leave of absence (applications for leaves of absence are submitted through the SAP HR system). If you have to take an unpaid leave of absence to care for your child due to the coronavirus pandemic, you can apply to the Social Insurance Institution of Finland (Kela) for temporary financial assistance due to an epidemic outbreak.

During the exceptional circumstances, telecommuting is also permitted without a telecommuting agreement concluded in the SAP HR system.

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. 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 in the spring. 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.

Telecommuting connections

Zoom and Teams are good tools for holding virtual meetings. In the current situation, it is advisable to consider whether video is required or whether audio would suffice. Using video consumes considerably more network capacity compared to audio only.

The University of Helsinki utilises the Funet Miitti (Zoom) service by CSC, implemented through NORDUnet in cooperation with other Nordic countries. The NORDUnet environment is not associated with the same information security risks as those related to the Zoom service in public use. Read more about the Zoom information security in a Flamma news article (requires login with University credentials) and and more generally about the information security in video conferencing on the Helpdesk instruction website.

Use a VPN connection only when needed, and remember to switch it off when you no longer need it. Due to the exceptional circumstances, there is a shortage of VPN connections at the University. Further information: Instructions for remote working (Helpdesk instructions)

If you need, for example, a camera or microphone while telecommuting, please write to helpdesk@helsinki.fi. With the permission of the relevant supervisor, new equipment can be requested from Helpdesk, which will procure it, but your unit will be responsible for the equipment costs. For this, you need the WBS code of the unit paying for the purchase.

Meetings at the University

Until further notice, the meetings of University bodies are primarily held online. Other meetings, such as small-scale work community get-togethers, are also primarily held online. Data security must always be taken into consideration in the meeting arrangements.

Other work-related meetings should not be held on the University premises either, nor on premises outside the University of Helsinki (staff development days, visits, etc.).

The University has extended the coverage of its occupational accident insurance for telecommuting from 30 March 2020

LähiTapiola’s supplementary insurance for telecommuting applies to work carried out remotely indoors as well as outdoors in the immediate vicinity of the telecommuting location when going on and returning from a break. The insurance also covers lunch and coffee breaks. The insurance does not cover breaks during which the employee leaves the telecommuting location, for example, to go buy groceries or to take a walk.

The supplementary insurance is valid until further notice and regardless of the country from which employees are telecommuting. The insurance covers harm caused by an accident, death and a per-diem allowance after an accident. The insurance does not cover equipment.

Flexible working hours

Until 31 August 2020, specialist and support staff can work more flexibly, on weekdays between 5.00 and 22.00. If necessary, they can also work on Saturdays until 18.00 and take a day off during the week. This makes it possible to rotate working hours in units, when necessary, upon an agreement between the supervisor and employee. Working hours must be clocked in as usual. Remote work must be clocked in as remote work.

Leave

Summer holidays will be primarily held between 1 June and 14 August 2020, with exceptions allowed only on work-related grounds.

Flamma news: Members of specialist and support staff: Plan your annual leave now

Recruitment and new employees during the exceptional circumstances

Instructions for supervisors: Recruitment during the current exceptional circumstances at the University (on the Flamma intranet, requires login with University credentials)

Stay home when experiencing symptoms of a cold or the flu

If you experience any symptoms of a cold or the flu, you must stay at home until you have not experienced these symptoms for at least 24 hours. For those working in healthcare, this limit is 48 hours.

For the duration of the exceptional circumstances, you can be absent from work due to any illness without a medical certificate for five days. This also applies for taking care of a sick child at home. After this, you must present a certificate, which can be acquired from a doctor or nurse, primarily via a remote appointment. Further information is available in Mehiläinen’s OmaTyöterveys service or the Digital Clinic.

Those requiring medical care should primarily contact their public healthcare provider. Helsinki residents can call the City of Helsinki helpline at 09 310 10024.

Persons who have a coronavirus infection must

  • Seek medical care from their public healthcare provider if their symptoms require treatment
  • Notify their supervisor of their illness immediately
  • Absences due to illness are reported normally in the SAP HR system, and a scan of the medical certificate must be submitted to Payroll Services (palkka@helsinki.fi). The employer will pay your salary for the duration of the absence and apply for the relevant per diem allowance from Kela on your behalf.

Information on the current disease situation

Further information on the latest developments as well as on the symptoms associated with the coronavirus and relevant protective measures is available on the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare website.

Instructions have also been published by Mehiläinen, the University’s occupational health provider.

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.

Other occupational healthcare matters

You can book an appointment with an occupational health nurse through the online booking system. In this system, all bookings can be made for a phone consultation. In the field Additional information specify that you wish to book a phone consultation, and the occupational health nurse will call you.

You can also send a message to your designated occupational health nurse or doctor through the occupational healthcare tab in the OmaMehiläinen app.

To book an appointment for any other health specialist, you must call the OmaTyöterveys number 010 414 0777. Mehiläinen prefers remote consultation whenever possible.

Coronavirus and quarantine

A self-quarantine is recommended to all those arriving in Finland from countries that are still subject to internal or external border control. For a list of the countries for which no self-quarantine is required upon arrival in Finland, please see the website of the Finnish Institute for 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.
  • Apply for the sickness allowance paid on account of an infectious disease from Kela.
  • Submit a medical certificate within 14 days to Payroll Services and a notice of absence in the SAP HR system. Specify the reason for your absence as ‘quarantine’.

Those in quarantine can also be provided dialogue-based support by occupational healthcare. Contact the OmaTyöterveys service either by calling 010 414 0777 or using the OmaMehiläinen app.

Kela will pay a sickness allowance on account of an infectious disease for the period of the employee’s absence from their work due to a quarantine. This allowance compensates for the loss of income incurred to the employee for the absence without pay. Further information on the Kela website

Whenever possible, an agreement on telecommuting should be made with the supervisor. If telecommuting is possible only partially, the employee may apply for a part-time leave of absence in the SAP HR system and, to compensate for the loss of income, independently apply for a sickness allowance on account of an infectious disease from Kela. Read more about telecommuting in the section Telecommuting, working on the University premises, working hours, leave.

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.

What if a family member is quarantined?

Notify your supervisor immediately of the quarantine and its estimated duration. Agree on any potential absences, telecommuting and/or holiday arrangements.

If you agree on an absence, apply for a leave of absence in the SAP HR system.

Kela will pay a sickness allowance on account of an infectious disease to the parent of a child under 16 years of age who has been ordered to stay home to prevent the spread of an infectious disease, causing loss of earnings. Apply for the sickness allowance from Kela.

In conjunction with telecommuting, persons who record their working hours for externally funded projects must check whether the assigned project-related tasks can be completed by telecommuting.

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.

Instructions for supervisors

Falling ill and occupational health, instructions for supervisors (on the Flamma intranet, requires login with a university user name)

Updated on 26 June: 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 of Helsinki does not recommend work-related travel outside Finland. When travelling, the general travel recommendations issued by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland must be taken into account.

Decisions on overseas travel undertaken for essential work are taken by the University’s units. The University’s travel guidelines must be followed when making travel arrangements. A self-quarantine may be in order upon return.

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

Visitors

At least until 16 August 2020, the University of Helsinki is not receiving visitors at its premises. 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.

As an exception, the University of Helsinki will receive visitors whose visit is essentially linked to the continuity of support services for research and education, such as necessary equipment maintenance and deliveries. Visits must be planned and timed so that contact with University staff is as limited as possible. Visitors are sent general safety and security instructions in advance pertaining to the exceptional circumstances at the University.

Cancelled work-related travel

The University’s travel insurance covers cancellations of trips to areas which the authorities classify as areas where all travel should be avoided for the planned duration of the trip. See the latest detailed information on the grounds for reimbursement on the website of the If insurance company. The travel insurance company If has announced that it will not compensate any work-related travel costs for trips cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic after April.

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.

Scenario A

The third stage of the University’s recovery plan is expected to enter into force on 17 August 2020. See the recovery plan timetable here (pdf).

Do not come to work if you are ill.

  • However, if, despite your symptoms, you feel well enough to work, discuss the possibility of telecommuting with your supervisor.
  • If a person living in the same household has a respiratory infection, discuss the possibility of telecommuting with your supervisor.
  • If necessary, persons in high-risk groups as defined by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare must discuss their return to work as well as possibilities for related arrangements with their supervisor.

When possible, work will be performed by taking advantage of the extended opportunity to telecommute. Discuss with your supervisor the options of working on the University premises and telecommuting.

  • The intention is that during Stage 3, telecommuting will no longer be the only form of working.
  • When devising schedules for remote work, consider the safe use of University facilities (i.e., certain days may be designated for telecommuting/working on the premises).

All in all, the opportunities offered by flexible working hours may be exploited in the planning of work.

Working on the University premises in the autumn requires more careful planning than before.

  • The number of staff simultaneously present in a given space depends on its size and must not compromise the other safety and security instructions set out below. Follow the instructions applicable to the premises of your own unit.
  • When working in multipurpose offices, avoid using several different workstations during the day. Equipment in shared use, such as keyboards, must be cleaned before and after use.
  • The use of shared work facilities must be agreed between the relevant teams and their supervisors.

Ergonomics and equipment of workstations: Staff are advised to discuss, when necessary, the ergonomics of workstations with their supervisors, especially in the case of shared equipment. Staff must also agree with their supervisor when to return work equipment to the premises.

It is recommended that meetings be held remotely. Meetings that require presence on the University premises must be arranged with consideration to the safe use of meeting rooms (e.g., the maximum number of participants may not exceed 50% of the normal seating capacity of the room).

In-house training will primarily be organised remotely.

The one- to two-metre social distancing rule must be observed in staff break rooms. The users of break rooms and kitchen facilities must keep them tidy.

Everyone must be mindful of good hand hygiene by carefully washing their hands or, if that is not possible, using hand sanitiser.

If you use public transportation when commuting, consider all relevant safety issues as far as possible. You can avoid the worst rush hours by taking advantage of the flexible working hours.

If necessary, staff can contact their supervisor, head of human resources or occupational health staff if they have concerns about returning to work.

Scenario B

The instructions for Stage 2 will apply.

City Centre Campus

City Centre Cam­pus re­cov­ery plan from the ex­cep­tional cir­cum­stances caused by the coronavirus

Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry

Prac­tical in­struc­tions for the ex­cep­tional situ­ation at the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry

Faculty of Arts

Prac­tical in­struc­tions of the Fac­ulty of Arts for the ex­cep­tional situ­ation

Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences

Prac­tical in­struc­tions of the Fac­ulty of Biological and Environmental Sciences in the ex­cep­tional cir­cum­stances

Faculty of Educational Sciences

Prac­tical in­struc­tions of the Fac­ulty of Edu­ca­tional Sciences for the ex­cep­tional cir­cum­stances

Policy of the Fac­ulty of Edu­ca­tional Sciences on teacher train­ee­ships

Fac­ulty of Law

Prac­tical in­struc­tions of the Fac­ulty of Law for the ex­cep­tional cir­cum­stances

Fac­ulty of Medicine

Prac­tical in­struc­tions for the ex­cep­tional situ­ation at the Fac­ulty of Medicine

Faculty of Pharmacy

Arrangements in the Faculty of Pharmacy due to coronavirus

Fac­ulty of Science

Special instructions on Kumpula Campus

Faculty of Social Sciences

Practical instructions of the Faculty of Social Sciences for the exceptional situation

Fac­ulty of Veter­in­ary Medicine

Practical arrangements at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine during the coronavirus outbreak

Independent Institutes

Helsinki Institute of Life Science: Prac­tical in­struc­tions for the ex­cep­tional situ­ation at HiLIFE

Open University

Latest information for Open University students

Finnish Museum of Natural History

The effects of the coronavirus situation at the Luomus public attractions

Ex­cep­tional circumstances at the University of Helsinki due to coronavirus

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.

The log of coronavirus crisis management team decisions can be found on the Flamma intranet. Flamma intranet access requires login with a university user name.

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 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.