Coronavirus - Current situation

On this website you will find the latest information from the University of Bern on how to deal with the corona epidemic.

The university is in reduced presence mode

The virus has not disappeared yet and there is still no vaccine. The top priority therefore remains the protection of everyone's health.

The following regulations and recommendations basically apply:

  • Presence at the workplace is possible again, subject to compliance with distancing and hygiene regulations in accordance with the protection concept. The target is a presence of 50 percent of working time as a benchmark.
  • A distance of at least 1.5 m must basically be maintained.
  • For meetings, the standard area of at least 4m2 per person must be maintained.
  • Where, for operational reasons, the distance rules cannot always be complied with, wearing a face mask is compulsory or the people present must be reduced.
  • Working from home is still possible in consultation with superiors.
  • In order to be able to trace personal contacts closer than 1.5 meters for longer than 15 minutes in case of an infection with Sars-CoV-2, every person is obliged to keep a personal and daily updated logbook (digitally or by using this form). The logbook must be kept for 4 weeks.
  • At-risk employees and risk groups must be protected as far as possible (Prioritization of protective measures and risk groups). 
  • Meetings and discussions should continue to be held via video or telephone conferences.
  • It is recommended to use public transport outside rush hours and to wear a mask when travelling.
  • The ticketing system for research is being suspended. Further information at "Information for researchers".
  • The university is planning to offer attended courses for the 2020 fall semester. However, a digital alternative must be planned for each event. Further information on this for students and lecturers (in German).
  • The university buildings are basically open again.
  • Events outside of teaching and continuing education on university premises can be held again with a clear justification and protection concept. Permission for this is granted by the General Secretariat (form, in German)
  • Unisport has resumed the majority of its training and courses. You can find further information on this here (in German).
  • The university libraries are largely open again as normal, in compliance with the protection concept. You can find further information on this here.
  • The attended events in continuing education are being held again in compliance with the Protection Concept Continuing Education at the University of Bern.

All measures taken by the University of Bern apply until further notice.

Procedure for those who show symptoms of disease

1. If symptoms of illness occur, stay at home and avoid contact with other people (self-isolation).

2. Inform your doctor. Your doctor will decide whether a test is appropriate.

3. If you are tested and the result is positive, you must continue to isolate yourself. The competent cantonal authority will contact you and discuss all further steps. The cantonal authority will also inform you when the isolation can end.

4. If the test result is negative, you can leave isolation 24 hours after the last symptoms of the disease have subsided.

Procedure in case of a positive test result

In case of a positive test result, you will be contacted by the competent authority of your canton of residence and receive strict instructions on mandatory isolation and contact tracing.

Procedure in case of absence related to COVID-19

If students belong to a risk group or are unable to attend due to a prescribed quarantine, they must verify it by providing a doctor's note or other alternative document. In this case, the lecturers must guarantee that the students have access to learning materials. For all other students, the usual rules of course attendance apply.

Further information can be found on the website of the Federal Office of Public Health.

People arriving in Switzerland who have been in a state or area with an increased risk of infection with the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 according to the FOPH recommendations for travelers at any time within 14 days prior to their arrival are obliged to go directly to their home or other suitable accommodation immediately after they arrive. They must remain there permanently for 10 days after entry (quarantine).

For employees the following also applies:

Employees arriving from risk countries are excluded from working in UniBE properties for 10 days.

Before travelling to countries at risk, the return and commencement of work activities must be arranged with superiors.

Return travelers from risk countries are not entitled to paid short holidays if the basic assignment cannot be fulfilled by working from home.

It is recommended that you restrict travel abroad and avoid travel to risk countries.

Further information can be found at State Secretariat for Migration (SEM).

FAQ (corresponding with BE-Info-Flash)

Despite a travel warning from the federal government, I spend my holidays in a risk area. What consequences can this have after returning home?

Since 6 July 2020, people entering countries designated as risk areas by the Confederation must spend 10 days in quarantine upon their return. The list of countries will be continuously updated. Anyone who travels to these countries in spite of travel warnings is not entitled to payment of their salary during the quarantine period if the work cannot be carried out from home. The lost working time must be compensated through balances of annual working time, holiday time, long-term account, or with unpaid leave. If the employee becomes sick, the cantonal personnel office may, at the request of the appointing authority, reduce an employee's salary or stop it completely due to gross negligence.

Under what circumstances is the salary also paid in quarantine?

If it was not known at the time of departure that the country travelled to was on the list of areas with increased risk of infection, the first thing to be checked is whether working from home is possible during the quarantine period. If this is not possible, this time can be booked as planned working time. If the employee becomes ill, they are entitled to continued salary payment as for any other illness.

I have not spent my holidays in a risk area, have no symptoms of illness and voluntarily go into quarantine. Am I still entitled to sick pay?

No. The lost working time must be compensated through balances of annual working time, holiday time, long-term account, or with unpaid leave.

Can the employer require me to undergo a COVID-19 test when I return from a risk area?

No. If the Confederation orders quarantine for returnees from certain countries, a COVID-19 test would be excessive. However, in this situation it is permissible to measure the person's temperature. If illness is suspected, the employer can send employees home.

Reporting of absences due to coronavirus

Supervisors are obliged to immediately report employees who tested positive for COVID-19 to the Risk Management Unit (