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: 7.10.2021, 3.30 pm

Current information

Classroom teaching for bachelor’s and master’s programmes and in continuing education: COVID certificate required

Since 20 September 2021, students and lecturers have been 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, as well as in on-site continuing education. This enables locations to be utilised to full capacity, and masks do not need to be worn once students have reached their seats.

Random checks of certificates will be carried out; if requested, the COVID certificate must be shown together with photo identification (e.g. student ID, identity card, passport, SwissPass).

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). Classroom teaching will therefore continue here without full application of the COVID certificate rules, but in compliance with the current mask and social distancing requirements. Teaching areas may be filled to two-thirds of capacity only.

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. 

Testing at BFH

The Federal Council has proposed that people who wish to obtain a certificate must cover the costs for the required tests (rapid antigen tests/PCR tests) themselves from 11 October 2021 (from 1 December 2021 for people who have received their first vaccine dose). This does not affect the serial PCR tests performed at our university. 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).

With three tests per week, a certificate can be obtained for the following study days (e.g. Fridays up to 3.30 pm for on-site presence on the following Monday; Mondays up to 10am for on-site presence on Tuesday and Wednesday; Wednesdays up to 10am for on-site presence on Thursday and Friday). 

You have the option to submit results from tests performed at BFH by post. BFH is doing this to accommodate students who cannot be tested on-site daily because they are part-time students, have work commitments or would have to travel long distances.

For further information, see the ‘Testing’ FAQs.

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

Vaccinations at BFH

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

The first vaccinations have already taken place.

Second vaccination
When: 2 and 3 November 2021 / 3 and 4 November 2021 (in Bern); more information to follow.

Please register in advance at be.vacme.ch. A health insurance card and identity card must be presented at the vaccination appointment.  For more information, please refer to the info sheet ‘Impfaktion an Ihrer Institution/Uni/Schule’ issued by the Canton of Bern’s Health, Social and Integration Directorate (under Downloads).  

You can also receive your second vaccine dose from your doctor. 

Libraries

Students, staff and visitors require a valid COVID certificate for the entire library. Available workstations can be used. Masks must still be worn in the entrance and borrowing areas.

Cafeterias

In BFH cafeterias, certificates are mandatory for guests and cafeteria staff. Random checks of COVID certificates together with photo identification (e.g. student ID, identity card, passport, SwissPass) will be carried out.

Mask requirements

Masks must continue to be worn in all BFH buildings in principle. Masks do not need to be worn at workstations and in meeting rooms if the distance of 1.5 metres can be reliably maintained. Masks will not be required in areas to which only persons with a COVID certificate have access (e.g. cafeterias, library work areas, etc.).

Home office

Home office work is still recommended for employees. Employees discuss the implementation with their superiors.

University sports BFH

COVID certification will be compulsory for university sports programmes from 20 September 2021.

Working from home recommendation retained

The Federal Council continues to recommend working from home. Staff should discuss how best to implement this recommendation with their supervisors. 

Events

A valid COVID certificate will be required in order to attend indoor public events (i.e. with an audience) held on BFH premises. The organisers will inform the attendees in advance. No further restrictions apply to events of this kind. 

COVID certificates are not required for work meetings with external partners.

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

  • No more than two thirds of the venue capacity may be used
  • Max. 500 people where attendees are not required to be seated; no stipulations if food and drink is consumed
  • Max. 1,000 people where attendees must be seated

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

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: 07.10.2021, 3pm

‘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.

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, staff and visitors require a valid COVID certificate in order to access the libraries. The workstations can be used. Masks must be worn in the entrance area and at the circulation desk. You can find information on the individual libraries online at www.bfh.ch/en/libraries

In BFH cafeterias and canteens, guests and cafeteria/canteen staff require a certificate from 20 September 2021. The 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 first vaccinations have already taken place.

Second vaccination 
When: 2 and 3 November 2021 / 3 and 4 November 2021 (in Bern); more information to follow.

Please register in advance at be.vacme.ch. The registration requirement relates to the login in the COVID-19 portal for the Canton of Bern – no advance registration is required for walk-in vaccination appointments. A health insurance card and ID must be presented at the vaccination appointment. 

For more information, please refer to the info sheet ‘Impfaktion an Ihrer Institution/Uni/Schule’ issued by the Canton of Bern’s Health, Social and Integration Directorate (under Downloads).  

You can also receive your second vaccine dose from your doctor. 

Teaching and training

Updated: 30.08.2021, 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: 30.08.2021, 10 am

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

Home office work is still recommended for employees. BFH offers people who 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).  

 In on-site meetings, masks are mandatory if the distance of 1.5 metres cannot be maintained. 
Work meetings with external partners are not subject to the certificate requirement.  

As of 20 September 2021, lecturers must have a valid COVID certificate (proof of vaccination, recovery or testing) for courses and examinations in bachelor’s and master’s programmes, as well as in on-site continuing education. Staff members need the certificate to use the libraries and cafeterias/canteens. 

We 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).

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.

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 absence code 0714, ‘Caring for dependants’. 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’ 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: 07.10.2021, 4pm

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)

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).

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 to the laboratory via a website (a procedure similar to registering in a restaurant). BFH has neither a list of participants (except for HKB theatre) nor will it receive data on the test takers from the laboratory. For contacting in case of a positive test, the laboratory will inform the cantonal contact tracing authority (Cantonal medical office) and provide it with the contact data.

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.