Practical instructions for the exceptional situation at the Faculty of Medicine

13.3.2020
Page last updated March 27th | An exceptional situation has been declared at the University of Helsinki in the evening of 12 March 2020. This news contains information on the special measures taken into use at the Faculty of Medicine.

The latest University-level information on the coronavirus situation is updated here: Coronavirus situation at the University of Helsinki.

This page will only contain specified further instructions concerning students, staff and visitors at the Faculty of Medicine. Last updated March 27th at 14.13 o'clock.

University buildings

Haartman institute's (Haartmaninkatu 3) doors will be closed on Friday 27 March at 4 pm onwards. Employees who need to have access to the building are required to use their own keys. General information about the University buildings can be found here

Research

On 16 March, the Finnish government announced that it would take the measure of closing down universities. This measure does not, however, apply to research premises or research activities. In other words, experimental research work can continue in a limited fashion, complying with general precautions.

Recommendations to be followed at the Faculty of Medicine (Specified on 25 March 2020)

  • Research groups must postpone experimental work if possible. 
  • Telecommuting must be used for all tasks that can be completed remotely. Laboratory staff must also telecommute whenever their work does not require their presence in the workplace.
  • Employees must agree with their supervisor on telecommuting.  Work duties performed remotely may temporarily differ from regular work duties.  More information on the University-level information page here
  • The Faculty of Medicine and the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa (HUS) will together establish how University of Helsinki employees who have completed vocational education in healthcare can sign up to work, for example, at HUS sample collection sites following the required training. In such cases, the employees must take an unpaid leave of absence from the University of Helsinki for the duration of their employment contract with the healthcare unit.
  • Staff must not present themselves at their workplace if they experience even the slightest symptoms of a cold or the flu, and if they develop such systems during a working day, they must immediately leave.
  • Due to the exceptional circumstances, staff must follow careful hygiene practices in the workplace.

Impact of the coronavirus on research funding

  • Negotiations can be conducted on an individual basis to extend the research funding granted by the Faculty of Medicine.
  • In externally funded projects, the external funding is used to pay salaries, regardless of whether staff can be assigned tasks suitable for remote work.
  • The University has gathered information on the impact of the coronavirus on the practices of research funders. This information and links are in Flamma

Teaching 

The University of Helsinki has decided that regulations concerning compulsory attendance in teaching are abolished. We will observe the instructions for teaching arrangements provided by the University of Helsinki coronavirus management team. As far as possible, teaching will be provided remotely from 18 March to 13 April 2020. Individual course teachers may use their discretion in replacing clinical courses with distance teaching. It should be noted that the recommended abolishment of compulsory attendance in teaching is not possible in the case of (small) group teaching at Faculty of Medicine courses requiring direct doctor-patient contact, interaction and manual skills. Teaching can be provided for groups of no more than 10 participants.

Course teachers may use their discretion when making teaching arrangements in order to minimise any risk of students and patients contracting the virus. Only healthy students may participate in contact teaching. Any course changes will always be separately notified to the students. 

Compulsory courses are given priority when making teaching arrangements. 

Degree programme situation as of 25 March

In the degree programmes in psychology, logopedics and translational medicine, all teaching in the spring will be provided remotely and using alternative learning methods.

In the Degree Programme in Dentistry, simulation lab teaching will continue within the current limitations and focus on the most central learning outcomes. All clinical teaching at the Oral Diseases Teaching and Dental Care Unit is suspended until the end of April. The degree programme is currently looking into ways of providing alternative methods of completing the required clinical studies, so that students can find positions to work as dentists during the summer or move on to complete advanced practical training. Teaching can be provided for groups of no more than 10 participants. Other teaching on offer will be provided using remote connections.

In the Degree Programme in Medicine, the most important clinical studies requiring direct patient contact will be organised in accordance with the decision made by the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa (HUS) on 17 March (in Finnish only). Simulation lab teaching will be provided. The practical course in anaesthesia will be replaced with simulation teaching.  Efforts will be made to arrange the clinical service periods at hospitals in accordance with the teaching programme. Should the traineeship period be cancelled due to the operations of the traineeship organisation, the traineeship will be substituted with simulation and other teaching supporting practical skills. Teaching can be provided for groups of no more than 10 participants. Other teaching on offer will be provided using remote connections.

Instructions for examinations: Examinations, including resits and make-up examinations, will be arranged remotely in, e.g. the Examinarium facilities, or using another alternative completion method until 31 May 2020. The Examinarium facilities remain open until further notice. Teachers should contact the Faculty Examination Services at meilahti-exams@helsinki.fi with any questions concerning examinations.

Instructions for teachers: Coordinate any teaching rearrangements with the course coordinator. Prepare to provide alternative methods for teaching, learning and completion as well as independent study for your courses (including examinations). Inform your students of any changes using, for example, Moodle. Also inform the degree programme director and education planning officer or academic affairs coordinator of the changes.

All lectures and seminars will be streamed either live or as video recordings. The recommended platform is Zoom: www.helsinki.fi/zoom. Help and support in questions related to educational technology are available on: https://blogs.helsinki.fi/medi-peda/ (Medipeda, in Finnish). For University-level instructions for teachers, please see https://teaching.helsinki.fi/en/article/effect-coronavirus-teaching.

For University-level instructions for students, please see the coronavirus page on the Instructions for Students website

As outlined by the University on 17 March, faculties may extend teaching to continue in the summer of 2020 when necessary.

Dissertations

Dissertations can be arranged within the 10-person gathering limit and so that both the opponent and larger public are connected with remote access. Please note that due to the exceptional circumstance, it is only possible to hold events in Centrum Campus and in certain pre-designed facilities from Monday 23rd of March. Please also follow the university-level student guidelines that are updated continuously here

Travel

New guidelines on telecommuting after returning to Finland from abroad

The Faculty will adopt the University of Helsinki guidelines in force concerning overseas travel in the current exceptional circumstances. Staff and students returning to Finland from abroad must telecommute for 14 days starting from the day of their return. During this time, it is forbidden for them to work or study on the University premises This decision repeals the decision of 11 March 2020 concerning telecommuting by staff and students returning to Finland from abroad for seven calendar days.

Questions:

If you have any questions about measures to be taken at the University as a result of the coronavirus, please send an email to coronavirus@helsinki.fi.
 

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The most up-to-date information on the coronavirus situation at the University of Helsinki is updated here: Coronavirus situation at the University of Helsinki

Only additional information meant specifically for students, personnel and visitors of the Faculty of Medicine is updated in this news.