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.

Status: 17.12.2021, 5 pm

Current information

Classroom teaching for bachelor’s and master’s programmes: COVID certificate and mask required

Students and lecturers are required to have a valid COVID certificate (proof of vaccination, recovery or testing) for courses and examinations in bachelor’s and master’s degree programmes. Random checks of certificates will be carried out.

=> New: Continuing education: distance learning or 2G

From 1 January 2022, advanced studies programmes will be offered online where possible (distance learning). For advanced studies programmes that require students to be present in person for pedagogical or methodological purposes, the 2G rule will now apply, including for teaching staff.

=> New: Examinations

  • The examinations for the autumn semester 2021/2022 will take place as announced.
  • For face-to-face examinations the 3G rule and mask requirement apply.
  • Presentation of a valid COVID certificate (vaccinated, recovered or tested) will be required on the examination date. Please allow enough time on the exam days for the certificate check.
  • The BFH test offer is still available free of charge. Plan well in advance due to the expected high number of tests. The BFH also recommends that vaccinated and recovering persons take a test.
  • Persons with a positive test result are excluded from on-site testing. The rules for an exam that is demonstrably missed through no fault of your own apply with regard to retaking the exam.

=> New: Working from Home Obligation

Until further notice, employees will work from home, as far as operational conditions and personal circumstances allow.

=> New: Libraries

Libraries are now only open to BFH members. The 3G rule and the obligation to wear a mask apply.

=> New: Cafeterias and canteens

If cafeterias and canteens are only open to BFH students and staff, the 3G rule still applies, as well as the obligation to wear a mask and to sit down when consuming. For all other cafeterias, the rules for catering establishments (2G) apply.

=> New: Events: 2G for indoor events

The 2G rule (proof of vaccination or recovery)  and the obligation to wear a mask apply to public events with an audience in the interior rooms of the BFH.  Any food and drink at the events must be consumed while seated (no standing buffets).

The restrictions for outdoor events (no COVID certificate requirement) are as follows:

  • No more than two thirds of the venue capacity may be used
  • A certificate requirement will now apply to outdoor events with over 300 people (before 1000 people). 

All events involving external participation must still be registered using the online form.

Christmas parties

Internal end-of-year social events, such as Christmas parties or receptions, whether indoor or outdoor, should be avoided.

General obligation to wear masks in all indoor rooms

It is compulsory to wear a mask in all indoor rooms of the BFH if more than one person is present in the room, i.e. also in all courses, at workplaces, in meeting rooms, libraries and at events. Lecturers are permitted to remove the mask during teaching, provided that sufficient distance can be maintained.

Testing at BFH

BFH students and staff will continue to have access to free testing at BFH an they receive a COVID certificate (valid for 72 hours from the time the sample is taken).

Testing during the holidays (24 December 2021 to 9 January 2022)

BFH will offer limited testing during the holiday period. Tests will continue to be analysed, but only certain sites will be open for test collection/drop-off. We recommend taking test kits home before 23 December 2021 and sending them in by post.

Vaccinated staff and students are also invited to take advantage of BFH testing. 

For further information, see the ‘Testing’ FAQs.

 

 

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.

University operations

Updated: 23.12.2021, 11 am

‘Corona Regulations 2’: these came into force in August 2020 and regulate exceptions in teaching and continuing education. 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. The coronavirus regulations allow BFH to depart from the standard regulations in justifiable instances. Departures must be proportionate and preserve equality of rights and they must be announced in advance. 

Framework safety concept

See in particular section 2 of the framework safety concept.

BFH cafeterias and canteens

From Monday, 12 October 2020, wearing masks will be compulsory in all indoor public spaces at the universities.

Cafeterias and staff restaurants 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.

Only if you have a doctor’s note to confirm that you are unable to wear a face mask for medical reasons, you will not have to wear a mask inside BFH buildings. You must carry the doctor’s note with you. You will be required to maintain 1.5-metre distancing at all times. If this is not possible, you will not be allowed in.

Please read the section in the framework safety concept. On this basis, an event-specific protection concept must be formulated, which in particular makes statements about the Covid certificate and its verification if it is to be used. It must also explain how the collection of participant data is secured (registration process).  

 

Outside BFH, the respective event venue’s rules apply.

From 20 September 2021, students and staff require a valid COVID certificate in order to access the libraries.

The Libraries are now only open to BFH members. The 3G rule and the obligation to wear a mask apply.

You can find information on the individual libraries online at www.bfh.ch/en/libraries

If cafeterias and canteens are only open to BFH students and staff, the 3G rule still applies, as well as the obligation to wear a mask and to sit down when consuming. For all other cafeterias, the rules for catering establishments (2G) apply.

he BFH cafeterias and canteens also follow the COVID-19 safety concept for catering.  

BFH offers convenient vaccination options in cooperation with the canton. Anyone who would like to get the vaccine and has not yet done so can drop in at certain times without making an appointment in advance. 

The vaccinations have already taken place.

Students without a COVID certificate will also need to be able to continue their bachelor’s or master’s studies. BFH will therefore provide these students with teaching materials/presentations on the learning platform at the minimum, and they will be informed in good time of the digital alternatives available to them. 

Due to the special requirements of the courses, a digital alternative is rarely possible at the Bern Academy of the Arts (HKB). 

Study trips abroad are open to those who are vaccinated or have recovered from the virus and can prove this with a COVID certificate. Under these conditions, study trips cannot be included as compulsory components of study programmes. 

Teaching and training

Updated: 7.12.2021, 11 am

You can find details of the hygiene and safety measures under ‘University operations’ and in sections 2 and 5 of the framework safety concept.

For teaching sessions, the module enrolments in IS-Academia are used for contact tracing. You do not need to enter your personal details anywhere else.

 

No. Copyright and data protection apply. Input by and images of lecturers/students must be treated as confidential. Work by others may only be used within the closed circle of the class.

You will not be allowed to enter BFH buildings (HKB excepted). Instead, you will be able to work through the course using the materials provided online.

As a first step, you should contact your Head of Degree Programme.

Sometimes it will not be possible to replace or compensate for teaching materials (e.g. in the case of excursions). Contact the lecturer.

Competency assessments can be postponed or the time allowed for them can be extended as appropriate. In the case of student projects (with the exception of bachelor’s and master’s theses), a new or adapted assignment may be requested. Students will be informed in writing in advance of any variations.

If the examination or aptitude assessment has to be taken on campus, hygiene and distancing rules must be observed. The departments will inform the applicants in good time if the form and content of the admission exam/aptitude assessment have to be changed. 

Bachelor’s and master’s students can take leave of absence or terminate their matriculation retrospectively if the COVID-19 pandemic led to their having to carry out military or medical service or similar or having to take on exceptional care duties or if the majority of their classes were postponed or cancelled. Applications must be made using the relevant form. Leave of absence of this kind will not count towards the maximum leave allowed.

Incoming students

Are you planning to come to BFH for an exchange semester or to take a degree programme but are not sure how to proceed given the current situation? We will keep you informed of all the latest developments here so that you can plan your perfect exchange.

  • Entry requirements
    Please note the rules for entering Switzerland and the list of countries with a variant of concern.
    • Anyone wishing to complete an education or training programme in Switzerland (longer than 90 days) must submit an application to the migration office. 
    • Third-country nationals must submit their application to the Swiss diplomatic mission responsible for their place of residence.
    • EU/EFTA nationals must submit their application to the cantonal migration authority responsible for their future place of residence in Switzerland. 
    • As an EU/EFTA national, you may enter the country once you have received your pre-approved residence permit. As a third-country national, you may enter the country once you have an entry permit with a visa issued by Switzerland.
  • Quarantine service
    If you need to quarantine on arrival, the International Relations Office at BFH offers a quarantine service. Contact your department’s International Office for more information. 
  • More information
    State Secretariat for Migration / Federal Office of Public Health
  • Social life
    To find out which measures apply outside BFH, please check the website of the Federal Office of Public Health.  It is important to remain flexible and informed in order to cope successfully with everyday life in Switzerland, particularly with restrictions in place.

If you have any questions, please contact the BFH International Relations Office:
international@bfh.ch
Studying abroad
Contact details for the departments’ International Offices
 

Outgoing students

Are you planning to study abroad? Make sure to keep checking the information provided by your exchange university and the travel regulations for the country in question. If necessary, contact the International Office.


 

 

If you have any questions about your classes/your timetable, contact the person in charge of your module and/or your department’s Head of Degree Programme. 

Counselling on coronavirus issues and mental health/well-being is offered by: 

Counselling Centre Universities of Bern
www.inclousiv.ch 
www.dureschnufe.ch 

Staff

Updated: 23.12.2021, 11 am

Please take note of the BFH framework safety concept and the FAQs below.

Until further notice, employees will work from home, as far as operational conditions and personal circumstances allow.

If working form home is not possible due to the nature of the activity or due to the use of infrastructures (for example, work in laboratories and workshops, housekeeping, reception, library lending, presence teaching), the general protective measures apply.  

BFH offers people who have to work on site the opportunity to be tested regularly.  

Employees who are particularly at risk work in home office if the operational needs allow it. If on-site work is absolutely necessary for operational reasons, the protective measures according to the safety concept apply at the workplace. In addition, special precautions must be taken to prevent close contact with other persons (separate rooms or clear demarcation of the work area).  

Meetings are held online. In the event of special requirements, meetings may exceptionally be held on site. In this case, masks are compulsory.

The following employees are required to hold a certificate on site:

  • Lecturers in the Bachelor's and Master's degree programmes (3G) and in continuing education (2G).
  • Staff members who are in regular contact with students and lecturers
  • as well as staff in libraries and caeterias/canteens

We strongly recommend that you are vaccinated before travelling abroad.

Paid short-term leave in the event of self-isolation

If you are officially ordered to self-isolate – for example via the cantonal contact-tracing programme – your supervisor will check with you whether you are able to work from home. If this is not possible, you have the option of taking paid short-term leave. Your supervisor will approve leave for the required time period. This shall not extend beyond the official duration of self-isolation.

Employees who are officially required to self-isolate may only be granted paid short-term leave once they have used up all of the annual overtime they have accrued. This regulation also applies to members of staff working on an RAZ basis (positive ILV balance).

What are the rules for early Christmas holidays for pupils? 

The schools offer childcare services. If the children are cared for at home, this is done outside working hours. GLAZ-Time or holiday days can be used for this purpose. There is no possibility to take this time as paid short leave. 

Child isolating: paid short-term leave?

If you are unable to attend your workplace because your own children or any other children in your household have been instructed to self-isolate, your supervisor will check with you whether you are able to work from home. If this is not possible, you have the option of taking paid short-term leave. Your supervisor will approve leave for the required time period. This shall not extend beyond the official duration of self-isolation.

Until further notice, positive balances of annual working time are to be reduced to a balance of 0 hours before (extraordinary) paid short leave can be granted accordingly in the event of an officially ordered quarantine.

Pregnancy: paid short-term leave?

Pregnant members of staff may be granted paid short-term leave if their doctor has instructed them not to attend the workplace because of the coronavirus risk and they are unable to work from home.

Their entitlement to paid short-term leave is not affected by any annual overtime they may have accrued. This regulation also applies to members of staff working on an RAZ basis (positive ILV balance).

Paid short-term leave denied

Paid short-term leave will be denied if you are shown to have flouted the hygiene regulations/code of behaviour issued by the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) or cantonal protective measures. Paid short-term leave will also be denied if you are required to self-isolate as a result of travel to an area that was already on the list of countries and areas with an elevated risk of infection at the time of your departure.

SAP time sheets in the event of paid short-term leave

In all of the above cases, staff with annual working hours should report the paid short-term leave under  ‘Caring for dependants’. As of 1.1.2022, the entry will be made under "Pandemic Absence".  As a rule, this will be entered under the master cost centre. The usual specifications for reporting absences apply:
•    Do not exceed a daily total of 8.4 hours (do not generate overtime hours)
•    Do not exceed the weekly total (do not generate overtime hours)
•    Do not combine ‘from–to’ entries and fixed totals (e.g. 3 hours)
•    In the Information section, enter ‘Corona’
•    Part-time employees may only report the working hours and/or ‘Caring for dependants’ or  as of 1.1.2022,  "Pandemic Absence" on their agreed/customary working days.

Further information on cantonal personnel legislation relating to the coronavirus pandemic can be found in the canton’s FAQ
 

The cantonal government resolution of 31 March 2021 states that employees of the Canton of Bern taking the coronavirus vaccination are entitled to be credited up to one working hour per working day and per visit to the vaccination venue (cantonal vaccination centre, pharmacy, doctor’s surgery, workplace vaccination, etc.), irrespective of their level of employment. At present, this measure applies indefinitely.

Symptoms an illness

Any staff member or student who is experiencing obvious 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 complete the FOPH coronavirus check and follow the relevant instructions on what to do next: https://check.bag-coronavirus.ch

If the symptoms occur on campus/in the workplace, inform the person in charge of your module/your supervisor and return home immediately, wearing a face mask.

Proceed as described in section 4 of the framework safety concept.  

 

Testing

Updated: 3.12.2021, 9 am

Questions about the testing process

The following BFH locations serve as test collection and drop-off points (listed alphabetically):

Bern

  • Brückenstrasse 73 (reception)
  • Dammweg 3 (for BFH employees)
  • Eigerplatz 5 (reception)
  • Falkenplatz 24 (reception)
  • Fellerstrasse 11, Bern (ground floor reception)
  • Hallerstrasse 8 
  • Holzikofenweg 8
  • Murtenstrasse 10
  • Ostermundigenstrasse 103 (first floor reception)
  • Papiermühlestrasse 13a (first floor, space by the photocopier)
  • Schwarztorstrasse 48 (reception)
  • Schwarztorstrasse 102 (reception)
  • Wankdorffeldstrasse 102 (reception)
  • Zikadenweg 35 (red foyer, ground floor)

Biel/Bienne

  • Burg Biel, Jakob-Rosius-Strasse 16 (reception/administrative office, first floor)
  • Quellgasse 21 (reception)
  • Rockhall, Seevorstadt 103
  • Rolex, Höheweg 80
  • Swiss Literature Institute Biel/Bienne, Seevorstadt 99 (reception/administrative office, first floor)
  • Solothurnstrasse 102

Burgdorf

  • Gsteig, Pestalozzistrasse 20 (reception)

Vauffelin

  • Hauptstrasse 127

Zollikofen:

  • Länggasse 85 (HAFL, reception)

With the exception of Saturday, 25.12.2021 and Saturday, 01.01.2022, the post office box will be emptied continuously Monday to Saturday.  

In principle, last sample drop-off before the holidays at the drop-off points on Thursday 23.12.2021, first drop-off in the New Year, on Monday 10.01.2022.

Additional sample collections will take place at the following drop-off points (each at approx. 10h00):

  • Hallerstrasse 8: Tuesday 4 to Thursday 6 January 2022
  • Brückenstrasse 73: Monday 3 to Thursday 6 January 2022
  • Falkenplatz 24 and Zollikofen: Monday 27 to Thursday 30 December 2021 and Monday 3 to Thursday 6 January 2022

 

You collect the saliva sample for the PCR test yourself and hand it in at any of the BFH collection and drop-off points from Monday to Thursday by 10 a.m. at the latest and on Friday 3.30 p.m. at the latest. There are drop-off points at the receptions of most of the larger BFH locations. You can also collect test kits from here.

No. The testing concept at BFH does not operate on a departmental basis. Tests can be picked up and dropped off at any drop-off point. 

As an alternative to handing them in at a BFH drop-off point, the tests can also be sent in by A Mail (from Monday to Friday) (no express-delivery).

Address:

Kontrolltestannahme BFH
Postfach 656
2501 Biel/Bienne

The samples must be packed in leak-proof packaging.

Scanning the QR code, taking the sample and posting it should be done in quick succession.The test result is valid for 72 hours from receipt of the sample (scanning of the QR code on the tube).

The samples may only be sent by post if there are currently no symptoms - if you have symptoms, please consult a doctor or an official test centre immediately (tests with symptoms remain free of charge).

=> New: If the test is sent in, a pre-stamped envelope can be obtained at the reference and distribution points (while stocks last). 

 

=> When sending in your own envelopes, make sure that they have sufficient postage and are also marked "A-Post". 


The offer is only valid for students (incl. continuing education) and employees of the BFH.

No. Test kits must be collected individually on campus. No appointment is required. The official opening hours of the relevant locations apply. 

Test samples can be handed in at the BFH collection and drop-off points at any time during opening hours from Monday to Friday and are generally taken to the lab after 10am on Monday to Thursday and after 4pm on Friday. Exact timings depend on the location.  

No. You can get a test kit directly from the collection and drop-off points. You must bring your health insurance card with you. 

You can get a test kit directly from the collection and drop-off points. You can take the test anywhere (including at home), but you must hand the sample in within two hours of taking the test. The idea is for people to collect a test kit for their next test every time they drop a test off. As you carry out the test yourself and do not need to register, there should be no waiting times.

Yes, you need your health insurance number for the initial registration of the test. If you do not have one (e.g. if you live abroad) or cannot find your card, you can enter "0" 20 times instead of the number.

There is an internet address under the QR code (e.g. mtkb.ch/fppnktyw). The test can be registered at this address. Please note: A test can only be registered once. 

The lab refers to a maximum of 24 hours from receipt of the sample. It can currently be assumed that if a sample is handed in at one of our drop-off points before 10am, the result will be ready before classes start the following day. 

The test result is valid for 72 hours from receipt of the sample (scanning of the QR code on the tube). 

The data is transferred by the test takers directly via a website to the laboratory “ender diagnostics, which carries out the tests at the BFH (a procedure similar to registering in a restaurant). For the processing of personal data, consent is required at the time of registration. BFH has neither a list of participants (except for HKB theatre, but only with the consent of the persons concerned) nor does it receive data on the test takers from the laboratory. The BFH receives an evaluation of the number of tests carried out, positive test results, negative test results and invalid test results. In the event of a positive test result, the laboratory informs the cantonal contact tracing (cantonal medical office) and provides it with the contact details for making contact.

In case of a negative test result, a link will be sent to download the COVID certificate. The certificate is valid for 72 hours from the time the sample is taken (scan of the QR code on the tube).

General questions

Please read the FAQ first. If you have any further questions, contact our coordination office at testungen@bfh.ch.

The cost of mass testing at BFH is borne by the federal government and BFH. Employees and students have to cover any costs arising from tests taken outside the BFH testing programme themselves.

Testing is recommended but voluntary. Participation in certain events or staying in specific places may be subject to being in possession of a certificate (vaccinated, testet or recovered).

People who have tested positive for COVID-19 within the last three months cannot take a PCR test, as this would nullify the test result.

Yes, testing is now also recommended for people who have already been vaccinated.

Yes. Every test helps identify potential chains of infection at an early stage.

Yes. The testing programme is open to all students in education and continuing education at BFH. 

Yes. The testing programme is also open to associate lecturers at BFH.