Coronavirus situation at the University of Helsinki

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

You can ask more about the University’s new protective face mask recommendation in a Zoom chat organised on Friday, 2 October from 9.00 to 11.00. For more information and Zoom link, please see a Flamma news article (requires logging in with University credentials).

The next information session, scheduled for Monday, 2 November from 9.00 to 11.00, will focus on teaching and studies. More information on this info session will be posted on Flamma in late October.

Last updated on 1 October (Public examinations of doctoral theses), 30 September (Falling ill, occupational health, quarantineFor new students and staffProtective face mask recommendation).

Recommendation for teleworking 

The validity of the University’s recommendation for teleworking (including research environments) will be extended until 31 December 2020, unless the coronavirus situation changes significantly. 

Working on the University premises in a planned manner taking into account safety precautions continues to be possible. 

Travel 

The University continues to observe the Government’s guidelines for travel. 

The University does, however, make an exception from these guidelines in always recommending self-quarantine for staff and students arriving from abroad, if possible considering the nature of work duties and studies. 

How to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the university community

Updated on 18 September: Teaching in the spring term

Teaching in autumn 2020

In the case of teaching, the autumn guidelines published in June are to be observed.

  • In the case of teaching and supervision, remote teaching is recommended, and no mass events are to be held.
  • Contact teaching can be organised primarily for groups of no more than 50 individuals, taking safety regulations into consideration. In contact teaching, social distancing rules and hand hygiene are observed, in addition to which no one is permitted to visit the campuses when feeling unwell. When necessary, the relevant response centre will assess the necessity of contact teaching and prioritise facility use.
  • The effect of social distancing on the number of available seats in the teaching facilities will be taken into account when planning timetables and facility use (e.g., staggered classes, allowing for space between people in rooms).
  • It is recommended to organise a contact teaching period in some form for new students during the first teaching period to support the beginning of studies and to promote inclusivity.
  • At the response centre's discretion, traineeships can be completed in accordance with the instructions of the host organisation.
  • Whenever possible, students in at-risk groups can be offered options for independent study. No verification is required from students for at-risk notifications.
  • To enable compliance with social distancing rules, the use of independent learning facilities is restricted in terms of participant numbers. 

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

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

  • University’s teaching facilities can be booked primarily for groups of no more than 50 individuals.
  • 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.
  • Information on the capacity of teaching facilities has been updated with safe distance requirements in Optime (the software for timetabling and facility booking, requires logging in with University credentials) and on the facility introduction website.
  • 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.

More information on the facilities (incl. opening hours of buildings) can be found in the section University buildings. More information on the use of teaching facilities can be found in the Instructions for teaching.

Teaching in the spring term

Provisions for the planning of teaching for next spring will be specified by the end of October, and by early October for the Open University. The emphasis in the planning of teaching for next spring will likely be on remote teaching. If the second wave of the coronavirus epidemic does not take a strong hold, pedagogically justified blended learning methods can be recommended alongside remote teaching.

Flexible solutions for students and teachers

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

  • 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

See Faculty- and unit-specific instructions.

Have you been admitted to study at the University of Helsinki and are you commencing your studies in autumn 2020? Information pertaining to the coronavirus situation relevant to new students is available on the Instructions for Students website. The page is updated whenever new information becomes available.

Are you a new employee at the University of Helsinki? Ask your supervisor how the exceptional circumstances affect the beginning of your work. If arriving from abroad, a 14-day self-quarantine is recommended whenever professional duties allow, regardless of the country of departure. Please also consider the effects of the coronavirus situation on the residence permit application process abroad and the availability of public authority services related to entry to Finland provided in Finland. Using public authority services on site is not recommended during quarantine, but in-person appointments should be booked well in advance. Further information on restrictions related to entry to Finland (including quarantine regulations) is available on the website of the Finnish Border Guard.

Updated on 23 September (laboratory facilities) and 16 September: These recommendations are valid until 31 December and can be amended according to any future changes in the coronavirus situation.

Research activities

It is 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.

Persons from outside the University participating in research

Carrying out research activities that involve individuals from outside the University community on University premises is not recommended. Whenever possible, research-related interviews are to be conducted remotely.  

Carrying out research activities that involve individuals from outside the University community on non-University premises requires a compelling reason. Interviews conducted outside the University should be conducted remotely.  

However, if physical examinations or interviews are carried out for reasons of necessity, at-risk groups should be left out.

These recommendations are valid until 31 December and can be amended according to any future changes in the coronavirus situation.

Laboratory facility use

When working in laboratory facilities, the University’s general guidelines pertaining to work in the exceptional circumstances must be observed.

50% of the staff present in normal circumstances can be allowed on the premises at the same time. Only one person can be present at any one time in small offices, laboratories and other small rooms, with the exception of laboratories in which at least two people must be present for safety and security reasons. The two-metre social distancing rule must be followed in laboratories. Equipment in shared use must be cleaned before and after use.

Some of the laboratories are also used in teaching, in which case one must also take into account the instructions for use of teaching facilities, which can be found in the Instructions for teaching.

If you observe activities carried out in contravention of the valid recommendations in any laboratory facilities, please contact the dean of your faculty. You can also contact the University’s Occupational Safety Officer Pirjo Kekäläinen.

The impact of coronavirus outbreak on research funding

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

Updated on 30 September

General

  • The use of protective face masks is strongly recommended for members of the University community, visitors and customers (e.g., in cafeterias, museums, libraries and sports facilities) visiting public University premises.
  • In addition, safe social distancing must be always observed whenever possible to prevent exposure.

Teaching, studying, guidance and supervision

  • Mask use is recommended in contact teaching, independent study as well as guidance and supervision situations. In laboratory teaching, mask use is required.
  • In the case of traineeships, the safety and security guidelines of the traineeship organisation (e.g., hospitals) are observed.   
  • The University is obtaining protective face masks for students and teachers involved in contact teaching.
  • The masks provided by the University are intended for learning situations only. 

Research and other work

  • Depending on the situation, mask use is recommended in circumstances where safe distances cannot be observed, or where a large amount of people are present in the facilities.
  • Protective face masks should be used in all research requiring personal contact.
  • The University is providing masks needed in professional duties for the staff.

Members of the University community, visitors and partners should take the extended protective face mask recommendation seriously and comply with it, unless there are special health-related reasons for not wearing a mask. The response centres will assist members of the University community and partners in interpreting the recommendation and promoting compliance with it. People with limited means can collect masks from mask distribution points organised by the Helsinki Metropolitan Area municipalities.

The University is unable to provide protective face masks for commuting between home and the place of work or study.  

The University is procuring both cloth masks and disposable masks. For the sake of the environment, the recommendation is to primarily use washable cloth masks.

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

 Instructions for using protective face masks

  • Put the mask on using clean hands.  
  • Do not touch the mask when wearing it.  
  • Remove the mask with clean hands by grasping the ear loops. Used cloth masks are put in a paper or plastic bag and washed according to the instructions. Disposable masks are disposed of. Finally, wash your hands.  

Further instructions: How to use protective face masks: video by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (in Finnish only) 

Protective face mask procurement at the University

According to need, University units can order disposable respirators and protective face masks. The University is procuring, in a centralised manner, cloth masks equipped with the University logo. Further information on the procurement of disposable respirators and protective face masks as well as on the distribution of cloth masks is available on Flamma intranet.

Updated on 18 August (opening hours of University buildings)

University facilities will be gradually reopened for regular use

No visitors will be allowed in the locked premises.

Instructions on the use of teaching facilities can be found on the Instructions for teaching.

Opening hours of University buildings

City Centre Campus 

  • Athena (Siltavuorenpenger 3 A): Mon-Fri 7.45-18.00 
  • Aurora (Siltavuorenpenger 10): Mon-Thu 7.45-20.00, Fri 7.45-18.00  
  • Economicum (Arkadiankatu 7): closed 
  • Fabianinkatu 24: Mon-Fri 7.45-16.00 
  • Fabianinkatu 32: closed 
  • Helsinki Normal Lyceum (Ratakatu 6): Mon-Fri 7.45-17.00 
  • Language Center (Fabianinkatu 26): Mon-Fri 7.45-18.00 
  • Learning Centre Aleksandria
  • Main building (Fabianinkatu 33): Mon-Thu 7.45-17.00Fri 7.45-16.00
  • Main Library (Kaisa house) 
  • Metsätalo (Unioninkatu 40): Mon-Fri 7.45-18.00  
  • Minerva (Siltavuorenpenger 5 A): Mon-Thu 7.45-20.00, Fri 7.45-18.00 
  • Learn­ing Centre Min­erva
  • Porthania: Mon-Fri 7.45-18:00   
  • Psychologicum (Siltavuorenpenger 1): Mon-Fri 9-16 
  • Svenska social- och kommunalhögskolan (Snellmaninkatu 12)Mon-Thu 7.45-18.00, Fri 7.45-16.00 
  • Unioninkatu 33 / Aleksanteri instituteMon-Thu 9.00-16.00, Fri 9.00-15.00 
  • Unioninkatu 35: Mon-Fri 7.45-16.00 
  • Unioninkatu 37: Mon-Fri 7.45-16.00 
  • Unioninkatu 38: Mon-Fri 7.45-18.00 
  • Vuorikatu 3: Mon-Fri 7.45-16.00 
  • Vuorikatu 5: closed 

Kumpula 

  • Chemicum (A.I. Virtasen aukio 1): Mon-Fri 7.45-18.00 
  • Exactum (Pietari Kalmin katu 5): Mon-Fri 7.45-18.00  
  • Physicum (Gustaf Hällströminkatu 2): Mon-Fri 7.45-18.00 
  • Helsinki University Library

Meilahti 

  • Haartman Institute (Haartmaninkatu 3): Mon-Fri 7.45-18.00  
  • Biomedicum I (Haartmaninkatu 8): Mon-Fri 7.30-19.30 
  • Biomedicum II U (Tukholmankatu 8 B): Mon-Fri 8.00-16.00 
  • Hammasklinikka (Kytösuontie 9): Mon-Fri 7.30-18
  • Helsinki University Library

Viikki 

  • Building EE (Agnes Sjöbergin katu 2): Mon-Fri 7.45-16.00 
  • Laboratory building (Koetilantie 5): Mon-Fri 7.45-16.00
  • Oppilasrakennus (Koetilantie 7): Mon-Fri 10.30-13.30  
  • Building C (Latokartanonkaari 5): Mon-Fri 7.45-16.00 
  • Forest Sciences Building (Latokartanonkaari 7): Mon-Fri 7.45-16.00 
  • Building A (Latokartanonkaari 9): Mon-Fri 7.45-18.00
  • Biocentre 1 (Viikinkaari 9): Mon-Fri 7.45-18.00 
  • Biocentre 2 (Viikinkaari 5): Mon-Fri 7.45-18.00 
  • Biocentre 3 (Viikinkaari 1): Mon-Fri 7.45-18.00 
  • Infocentre Korona: closed 
  • Viikki Teacher Training School (Kevätkatu 2): During the teaching 
  • Helsinki University Library

Self-study facilities and facilities for distance teaching

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, the National Library and UniSport, see the relevant websites.

For the updated opening hours of UniCafe, please see UniCafe website.

Updated on 1 October: Public examinations of doctoral theses

Gatherings are allowed primarily for groups of no more than 50 individuals, provided that the social distancing rule is observed in both rooms and, for example, lobbies.

In the case of conferences and events not related to teaching and research, remotely organised events remain the best option.

International events are primarily planned to be held remotely.

The organiser must collect information on all event participants for potential contact tracing.

Instructions on the use of teaching facilities can be found in the Instructions for teaching.

Pub­lic events

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

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

Public examinations of doctoral theses should continue to be held remotely.

In the case of public examinations held on University premises, the audience cannot be larger than half the maximum capacity for the room, taking into account the social distancing rule of one to two metres and other safety guidelines.

Opponents arriving from abroad (from countries other than Sweden and Estonia, from where work-related travel is permitted without special arrangements) must have taken a coronavirus test no longer than 72 hours before arrival in Finland if their visit to Finland lasts no longer than 72 hours. Further instructions pertaining to travel

Read more about the guidelines for public examinations of doctoral theses (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 are allowed primarily for groups of no more than 50 individuals. 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 on 16 September: Telecommuting is recommended until 31 December. Until 31 December 2020, specialist and support staff can work more flexibly, on weekdays between 5.00 and 22.00.

Telecommuting is recommended until 31 December

Due to the change in the coronavirus situation, the telecommuting recommendation is valid until the end of December or until the pandemic situation makes it possible to return to normal working practices.

Ob­serving com­mon rules re­mains the top pri­or­ity in pre­vent­ing the spread of the coronavirus  

Guidelines for plan­ning work­ing on University premises

1. Safety and se­cur­ity

In the case of duties that require working at the workplace, the facilities should have sufficient space to ensure safe working conditions on University premises.

As a rule, roughly half of the people normally working in a certain facility or in the same group can be present at the same time in their work facilities, provided that they are able to keep a distance of one to two metres between each other.  Supervisors see to it that facilities are not occupied above their capacity.

Instructions on the use of teaching facilities can be found in the Instructions for teaching.

When necessary, response centres will provide further instructions.

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.  

If a facility is shared by several individuals, it is recommended that a weekly rota be established:

  • The facility is shared according to odd and even week numbers, agreeing on the periods when each individual is allowed to work on University premises.
  • Signs are added to the workstations not available due to social distancing rules.
  • Whenever possible, each employee uses the same workstation throughout the day/week.

Commuting by bicycle or foot is recommended, whenever possible. Using public transport should be avoided during the busiest hours.

Meetings and development days are to continue to be held primarily remotely.  

In breakrooms and kitchen facilities, each individual is responsible for observing safe distances and ensuring that the facilities are not used over the room capacity. Visiting only one breakroom when working on University premises is recommended.

2. Smooth­ness of work

  • As a rule, only duties whose completion requires a presence on University premises or duties whose smooth completion is best achieved on University premises (requires specific equipment, material, etc.) should be carried out on the premises.
  • Working entirely or part-time (alternate weeks) on University premises is agreed with the supervisor.
  • If duties can easily be completed remotely, telecommuting is recommended.

3. Health and cop­ing at work

4. Re­li­ab­il­ity

Groups/teams are not present at the workplace at the same time in their entirety.

Employees involved in the same duties or substituting for one another, and employees in similar circumstances must not be present at the workplace at the same time or in close contact with each other.

In the case of, for example, research groups, teams and management groups, face-to-face meetings for all are not recommended to avoid situations where the entire group is exposed/several individuals are infected at the same time.

  • Working according to a weekly rota must be taken into account.
  • In the autumn, meetings are primarily to be held remotely.
  • Informal get-togethers and other similar events should not be organised, unless necessary for work.

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.

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 December 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.

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)

Updated on 30 September: Coronavirus and quarantine

Em­ploy­ees’ ab­sences due to ill­ness

During the exceptional circumstances, you can, exceptionally, be absent from work for five days of illness without a medical certificate.  

After five days, please call the OmaTyöterveys service or contact the Digital Clinic. A doctor or nurse can provide a medical certificate, primarily via a remote appointment. During the exceptional circumstances, an occupational health nurse can provide a medical certificate up to the 10th day of absence.  

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).

Fall­ing ill and con­tact tra­cing – University of Helsinki / ​oc­cu­pa­tional health / ​pub­lic health­care

If you suspect you have contracted the coronavirus or you have related symptoms, book a coronavirus test appointment (complete a check-up at omaolo.fi).

  • Do not arrive at your place of work or study before receiving the test result.

If you have contracted the coronavirus (positive test result)

  • You will receive a call from the healthcare service provider and a quarantine order, in addition to which you will be questioned about potential exposure among your immediate circle.
  • We ask you to immediately notify your supervisor or teacher of your coronavirus infection. This enables us to quickly react and prevent the spread of coronavirus infections.
    • Details relevant to the work and study community include whether you have visited your place of work or study when infectious, when you have visited your place of work or study and whether you have stayed in the same facility for more than 15 minutes with other individuals (and their identity, if known).
  • Individual infections are not disclosed by supervisors and teachers.
  • Supervisors must notify potentially exposed colleagues as well as visitors and customers who have spent a longer time at the relevant facility of any infections and potential exposure, directing them to work or study from home. Furthermore, supervisors must contact the relevant porter and, when necessary, the unit director to arrange cleaning of the facilities. This task falls on the supervisors because the University of Helsinki wishes to act responsibly and ensure the health and safety of all its employees at the workplace. The detailed tracing of infection chains is not the responsibility of University employees, as this will be handled by the authorities.
  • Update 10 September: Teachers must contact the head of academic affairs of their faculty to receive instructions on the measures to be taken. For more information, see Instructions for teaching
  • The relevant authority, in this case the unit responsible for epidemiological operations under the social services and healthcare division of the municipality will identify chains of infection and contact the relevant individuals (supervisor, teacher), depending on the circumstances, to carry out contact tracing. For the authority to be able to identify chains of infection and contact exposed individuals, the identity of the persons present at the facilities at the same time as infected individuals is important.
  • When necessary, on-site HR Services or student services staff will assist in communicating to the work community and providing contact details to the municipality’s epidemiological operations unit for contact tracing.
  • When necessary, personal data (name, contact details) will be disclosed to the municipality’s epidemiological operations unit in order to protect the vital interests of employees, students or other individuals.
  • Exposed individuals are quarantined for 14 days and can arrange to work or study remotely.
  • We recommend that all members of the University community download and install the Koronavilkku application. Follow the instructions provided by the app.

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.

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

When arriving from abroad, a 14-day self-quarantine is strongly recommended regardless of the country of departure.

Coronavirus testing and shortening the duration of quarantine when arriving from abroad

If it is necessary to shorten the duration of the 14-day self-quarantine, entering University premises is permitted after receiving a negative result from two coronavirus tests. The testing should be carried out as follows:

  1. A test taken at the airport (negative result), followed by a quarantine of three days (telecommuting).
  2. A second test three days later (negative result) by the occupational health provider Mehiläinen (staff) or paid for privately or provided by public healthcare (grant-funded researchers and visiting scholars). If the employment contract has not yet started at the time of getting tested by the occupational health provider, the employee will be provided with a payment commitment by on-site HR Services. After the second negative result entering University premises is permitted.

If you are experiencing symptoms you must get tested. When symptomatic and waiting for the test result, self-quarantine is strongly recommended. Do not enter University premises if you have symptoms.

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 17 September: Self-quarantine is always recommended for 14 days after arriving in Finland regardless of your travel destination, if possible considering the nature of your work duties.

Travel

Travel abroad or in Finland must be limited to necessary travel only. The guidelines for travel restrictions set by the Finnish government must be observed. Always check the current situation of the regions where travel restrictions apply before booking a trip and travelling.

A 14-day self-quarantine is always recommended regardless of your travel destination, if possible considering the nature of your work duties. 

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 (14 days).

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.

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

Visiting scholars and teachers as well as visitors required for carrying out University operations can, when necessary, arrive at the University in the autumn. However, safety and security guidelines and a 14-day quarantine after arriving in Finland, as stipulated in the guidelines set by the Finnish government, must be observed.

 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.

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

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

Helsinki University Library

Library Services at the Exceptional Situation Caused by Corona Virus

Finnish Museum of Natural History

The effects of the coronavirus situation at the Luomus public attractions

Updated 25 August: survey results

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.

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.