Coronavirus: Current information

This website contains information from Bern University of Applied Sciences about the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on university operations and about specific measures taken by the BFH. For general information for the public, please refer to the information provided by the Federal Office of Public Health FOPH and the canton of Bern.

last amended on 2 july, 4 pm

Current information

Working from home arrangements  

BFH is transitioning to a hybrid teaching model that combines working from home and on-site. The heads of each organisational unit will decide on concrete arrangements for their particular area, taking into account the type of work involved, the situation of the team and employees, and the available space. Provided that distancing rules are observed, meetings and workshops may be held face-to-face, remotely or in a hybrid format. Colleagues must indicate in the calendar the days on which they will be working from home and must remain contactable on these days. BFH’s updated framework safety concept must be observed at all times.  
These arrangements will remain in place until further notice. The situation will be reassessed by the beginning of next semester in mid-September at the latest. Individuals who are particularly at risk should continue to work from home wherever possible. 

Face mask requirement on public transport

From 6 July, face masks must be worn on Swiss public transport. Colleagues are responsible for obtaining any masks they may require for their journey to work.

Classroom teaching from the autumn semester

In the autumn semester, full occupancy of the teaching rooms and hence normal face-to-face teaching will not be possible. The University Executive Board of BFH is currently assuming that at most half the seats will be usable. If masks are worn, social distancing does not need to be observed. The module enrolments in IS-Academia will be used for contact tracing; no additional collection of personal details is necessary. We ask for your understanding for the effect that this has on the preparation of teaching events. Students will be informed promptly of the form of teaching on a case-by-case basis. The BFH framework safety concept is being updated accordingly.

Staff surveys

Advance notification: from mid-August, BFH will be carrying out two staff surveys on working from home, mobile working and the need for support in distance learning. 

Contact

Counselling services

FAQ

The following information on the situation at the BFH is constantly updated. Please also note the information provided by the federal and cantonal authorities on the Corona pandemic:

All students and staff are urged to follow the FOPH’s guidelines.

Teaching

Updated: 03.07.2020, 1 pm

Distance learning will remain the norm until the end of the current semester.

Individual departments will make their own decisions regarding any exceptions and communicate these directly. Where classes or examinations are held on campus, participants must observe hygiene and distancing guidelines. The BFH framework safety concept (in german) is available on the Intranet.

Classroom teaching from the autumn semester

In the autumn semester, full occupancy of the teaching rooms and hence normal face-to-face teaching will not be possible. The University Executive Board of BFH is currently assuming that at most half the seats will be usable. If masks are worn, social distancing does not need to be observed. The module enrolments in IS-Academia will be used for contact tracing; no additional collection of personal details is necessary. We ask for your understanding for the effect that this has on the preparation of teaching events. Students will be informed promptly of the form of teaching on a case-by-case basis. The BFH framework safety concept is being updated accordingly.

Which regulations apply?

The coronavirus regulations remain in force. They take priority where they differ from previous regulations. This applies in particular to regulations governing competency assessments and exams, teaching arrangements, semester dates, delivery of continuing education, leave of absence, termination of matriculation and reimbursement of fees.

Who decides on changes to study programmes?

The head of the degree programme is responsible for implementing the measures, with the support of the staff members who are in charge of the individual modules.

I cannot pay BFH. What will happen?

An extension is in place until 30 June 2020. BFH has suspended the process of issuing warnings and pursuing debts until that date. The debt, however, must still be paid. 

The regulations do not take my situation into account. What can I do?

Contact the head of your degree programme and explain your case. A decision will be taken as to whether special arrangements can be made.

From what date would these special coronavirus arrangements apply?

The coronavirus regulations and, as a result, these special arrangements apply retroactively from 16 March 2020. This is designed to ensure that all situations arising since the Swiss government instructions came into force on 16 March 2020 are covered.

 

Will the university be making allowances for this semester when it comes to academic standards?

To receive your degree, ECTS credits or diploma, you must meet the regular requirements. If you fail a competency assessment, your attempt will be declared null and void and will not count towards the permitted number of resits. BFH admits that lenience may be applied in some individual cases.

Given the difficult conditions, what will this mean for this semester’s exams?

Competency assessments will also be conducted remotely, where possible and reasonable. Where this is not possible, the exams may be postponed. Exams that have already been scheduled may be held as planned, provided that the official protective measures can be observed.

Have the exam standards changed at all?

The standards remain the same.

Have the form and content of the competency assessments changed?

The form and content of the competency assessments may be adapted where necessary. You will be informed by those in charge in plenty of time.

I am due to take an entrance exam/aptitude assessment. Will it still take place?

If the examination or aptitude assessment has to take the conventional format, you must observe hygiene and distancing regulations. The format and content may be changed. You will be informed by the department in plenty of time if this is the case.

 

The University Teaching & E-learning Office has developed a guide to distance learning. If you have any questions, the Office will be happy to help you.

Does distance learning apply to all modules and teaching?

Distance learning continues to apply wherever it can be implemented. The heads of degree programmes and those responsible for the modules will make their own decisions regarding any exceptions and communicate these directly.

Can I make unrestricted use of the new teaching resources and recordings?

No. Copyright and data protection apply. This means that any contributions by and images of fellow students must be treated as confidential. The work of others may only be used within the closed circle of the class.

Module evaluations in the 2020 spring semester

Because of the special conditions governing the delivery of teaching events in the current crisis, there will be no written module evaluations by means of the standard BFH questionnaire in the 2020 spring semester. Instead, members of the teaching staff will be individually responsible for collecting student feedback on module delivery via distance learning in a manner appropriate to the present situation. They can decide on the form and content of the procedure in the light of the specific module and delivery method. The Moodle page of BFH evaluation forms operated by the University Teaching and E-Learning Office (Fachstelle Hochschuldidaktik & E-Learning – HdEL) can be used for guidance if necessary. A BFH-wide survey of students on their experience of distance learning in the 2020 spring semester is planned for late summer.

Are the semester times unchanged? Can I expect my semester break (lecture-free time) as planned?

It may be that some of your courses and exams are postponed until the semester break or the next semester. This applies in particular to events that are not suitable for distance learning. You will be informed of any postponement by your contact person (director, person responsible for the module, Head of Degree Programme).

Do the previous module descriptions continue to apply?

Changes are possible if this is necessary for the conversion of modules and competency assessment to distance learning.

Bachelor and master’s students who are called up for unscheduled military service, civil defence or a hospital deployment in connection with the corona crisis and who for this reason are granted a leave of absence for the 2020 spring semester in accordance with Article 13 of the Corona Regulations L-WB will not be charged the leave of absence fee.

Incoming Students – What rules apply as of the 2020 autumn term?

Are you planning an exchange semester or a regular course of study at Bern University of Applied Sciences (BFH), but are uncertain about what is going to happen because of the current situation? Then you have come to the right place! We provide information on the latest developments to help you plan a successful exchange.

Last update on 08/07/2020

General information

It is assumed that classes at the BFH can take place in the fall semester 2020 in mixed forms (online and face-to-face classes).

Entry requirements

Switzerland has lifted all entry restrictions with the EU/EFTA countries. This means that freedom of travel and the free movement of people within the Schengen area are once again fully valid. Further easing with several third countries is expected to follow on 20 July 2020.

People who would like to complete education or training in Switzerland that lasts over 90 days can submit a corresponding application. The applications are being processed by the migration office again.

Third-country nationals will have to submit their application to the Swiss diplomatic mission responsible for their place of residence.

EU/EFTA nationals will have to submit the application to the cantonal migration authority responsible for their future place of residence in Switzerland.

Entry will be possible as soon as EU/EFTA nationals have a residence permit, or third country nationals have an entry permit with a visa issued by Switzerland.

IMPORTANT: Please always consult the entry requirements for your country of origin and examine the following list from the Federal Office of Public Health (in German > Document “Verordnung Personenverkehr” at the bottom of the site > list of risk countries on the last page of the document) to check whether you are entering from a risk country and therefore have to go into quarantine in Switzerland for 10 days upon arrival.

The International Relations Office of the BFH organises a quarantine service to assist students who must go in quarantine. Please consult your department's International Office for more information, if you belong to this group.

Further information: State Secretariat for Migration / Federal Office of Public Health

Classroom teaching

For up-to-date information please refer to the section ‘Classroom teaching (studies and continuing education)’.

Social life

The measures are gradually being relaxed and the colorful and appealing Bernese university environment is slowly but steadily returning to normality.

Up to 30 people may meet in public spaces, while maintaining the distance rules. Private and public events with up to 1000 people are allowed again under certain conditions. Mountain railways, campsites and tourist activities, such as toboggan runs or rope parks, are reopened and museum and amusement park visits, as well as cinema evenings, are possible again.
For further information see: The portal of the Swiss Government

IMPORTANT: Please note that wearing a mask is mandatory on public transport. (Further information: Federal Office of Public Health)

 

Outgoing students – What rules apply as of the 2020 autumn term?

Are you planning an exchange abroad in the 2020 autumn term? Then you should regularly check the information provided by your exchange university as well as the entry requirements of the country in question and, if necessary, contact the International Office.

Staff general

Updated: 06.07.2020, 4 pm

From 8 June to 14 September, BFH will be in a transitional phase as it slowly returns to normal operations. Please take note of the BFH framework safety concept and the FAQs below.

BFH is transitioning to a hybrid teaching model that combines working from home and on-site. The heads of each organisational unit will decide on concrete arrangements for their particular area, taking into account the type of work involved, the situation of the team and employees, and the available space. 

These arrangements will remain in place until further notice. The situation will be reassessed by the beginning of next semester in mid-September at the latest. Individuals who are particularly at risk should continue to work from home wherever possible.

Regulations for meetings

Provided that distancing rules are observed, meetings and workshops may be held face-to-face, remotely or in a hybrid format. 

Regulations for workshops (min. ½ day)

Workshops may be held on site as long as safety measures can be observed – otherwise they are to be held virtually.

BFH has adjusted its research operations to comply with the official measures for containing SARS-CoV-2. All research activities and services must be performed in compliance with the recommendations of the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH)

Cooperation with external project partners from the economy, society, culture and the public sector is guaranteed in order to further promote innovation. 

Project partners should contact their contact person at the BFH or the Corona Crisis Staff for questions and further information: corona@bfh.ch

BFH is transitioning to a hybrid teaching model that combines working from home and on-site. The heads of each organisational unit will decide on concrete arrangements for their particular area, taking into account the type of work involved, the situation of the team and employees, and the available space. 

Colleagues must indicate in the calendar the days on which they will be working from home and must remain contactable on these days. BFH’s updated framework safety concept must be observed at all times.

 These arrangements will remain in place until further notice. The situation will be reassessed by the beginning of next semester in mid-September at the latest.

Risk group

Particularly vulnerable people should wherever possible continue to work from home. Where this is not possible, the protection measures in accordance with the STOP principle in the protection concept should be followed.

Please observe the following safety measures for working in the office:

Hand washing

Wash hands regularly with soap, particularly on arriving at work as well as before and after breaks.

Maintain distance

The maximum occupancy per room must be calculated to allow adherence with the 1.5-metre distance rule.

Possible measures:

  • Rotations within and between teams, switching between on-site attendance and working from home
  • Part-time attendance on site
  • Switch to school premises if no face-to-face is teaching taking place

Cleaning of surfaces and objects

Ensure adequate regular ventilation in rooms (e.g. ventilate for around 10 minutes four times a day).

For shared usage of office rooms: regularly clean surfaces and objects (e.g. work surfaces, keyboards, telephones) with a standard cleaning agent.

Specific safety measures

Provide dedicated, partitioned rooms for particularly at-risk individuals.

Hand washing

Wash hands regularly with soap before and after breaks.

Maintain distance

Observe the maximum room occupancy (min. 4 m2 per person). Maintain distance when standing as well.

Cleaning of surfaces and objects

Ensure adequate regular ventilation in rooms (e.g. ventilate for around 10 minutes four times a day).

Paid short-term leave

Since 8 June 2020, paid furlough applied only to particularly vulnerable members of staff. It stops completely from 3 July 2020.

People with Covid-109 must be prevented from infecting others. The following measures must be observed:

  • People who are ill must not be allowed to work; they should be sent home immediately with a mask (obtainable at Reception at the various locations).
  • People who are unwell and people with symptoms of illness must stay at home.
  • Members of staff who have symptoms such as fever, feeling feverish, sore throat, coughing, shortness of breath, muscle pain, or sudden loss of sense of smell and/or taste should follow the instructions on isolation – see www.bag.admin.ch/isolation-quarantine
  • Members of staff should contact their doctor or perform the coronavirus check and follow the resulting recommendations for action.
  • Members of staff should be tested if the coronavirus check or the doctor recommends this and should stay at home until the test result is available.

When do I need a doctor’s certificate?

What happens if I can’t submit the doctor’s certificate in time?

Events + Operation

Updated: 06.07.2020, 4 pm

 

Events at BFH with up to 300 people are permitted provided that the measures set out in the Covid-19 Ordinance – special situation can be put in place.

  • A person must be designated for the event who is responsible for implementing the measures.
  • Participants’ contact details (surname, first name, telephone number, seat number if possible) must be collected and retained for 14 days, after which they should be destroyed or deleted.
  • Hand sanitiser must be provided at the entrances.
  • Seating must be arranged so that there is at least one empty seat or one metre distance between every two people.
  • At events at which people stand, the maximum number of participants must be calculated on the basis of the 1.5 m distancing rule.
  • The flow of people (e.g. when entering and leaving the hall and during breaks), must be managed so that a distance of 1.5 m between participants can be maintained.

For this purpose, “events” covers all occasions with visitors, including special examination formats (e.g. public concerts, colloquia). For teaching events (Bachelor, Master, continuing education) in the strict sense, the rules in Annex II apply.

Events with visitors must be notified in advance: Notification form

A specific protection concept must be drawn up for any event attended by more than 300 people. The rules as set out in the explanations in the Covid-19 Ordinance – special situation apply.

Libraries

BFH’s libraries will reopen their reading rooms. The hygiene and distancing regulations of the BFH framework safety concept apply to counter operations and (self-service) borrowing.

For information on individual libraries, please refer to their webpages: bfh.ch/libraries.  

BFH cafeterias and canteens

Cafeterias and staff restaurants may adjust their activities to reflect increased university operations. They will do so under the guidelines of the Covid-19 safety concept for catering. For information on individual cafeterias, please refer to the pages for the facilities in question on the internet or intranet.

BFH buildings can be accessed by staff and students. Access for external individuals is regulated individually for the various sites. For further site-specific information please visit: www.bfh.ch/en/about-bfh/locations-facilities/locations/