Information for employees regarding the coronavirus

Last update July 7, 12:00 pm

Latest updates:

  • 200707 12:00 pm, headline "tuition fees" removed.
  • 200703 12:30 pm, new headline "counseling".
  • 200702 6:00 pm, modified one question/answer (masks).
  • 200630 1:00 pm, new headline "risk groups".
  • 200624 2:00 pm, addded new question/answer. 
  • 200617 3:30 pm regarding working from home, meetings and conferences and and business travel. New headline: Planning, coordination and responsibilities. The headlines "meetings, conferences and visits" and "international travel" have been changed. Ten question/answers have been added, one has been removed.

On this page:

  • Working from home
  • Counseling
  • Meetings and conferences
  • Business travel
  • Planning, coordination and responsibilities
  • Studies and exams
  • Physical access to KTH
  • Welcome reception
  • Exchange studies
  • Thesis defence
  • Reporting sick leave
  • Risk groups
  • Questions and Answers

Working from home 

The Public Health Authority has advised people in the Stockholm region to work remotely. If operations allow, employees should work remotely from home. An agreement must be made between employee and manager. 

Starting 1st August 2020, employees can, in agreement with their line manager, work remotely if and when their work tasks so permit. Careful planning is required by the responsible manager to avoid crowding.

Counseling

Given the societal crisis we have had an abnormal time, which may have caused anxiety, stress and pressure beyond the ordinary. Do you need support to deal with concerns or to process thoughts? Employees can now receive counseling up to six times through our occupational health care Avonova. The counseling is conducted by behavioral scientists or professionals with relevant qualifications that Avonova deems appropriate. If you're a supervisor, management guidance is part of the support.

In normal instances, employees can visit Avonova three times on their own initiative and without feedback to their supervisor or HR. Visits to Avonova for other reasons than counseling are still limited to three times, before Avonova contacts the supervisor or HR for granting more visits. Meaning that now the counseling services is increased by three times.

Doctoral students with scholarships (and who are not employees) have the opportunity to contact the student health centre  if necessary:

The increase in the number of visits for counseling is valid until further notice and is a joint venture between the employer KTH and the local trade unions Saco-S, ST and Seko.

Phone number to Avonova: 08-120 125 00

Meetings and conferences

Physical meetings that gather larger groups of people (conferences, events etc.) shall be replaced with digital meetings or gatherings in smaller groups.

The government has, March 27, decided to ban all public events with more than 50 participants, effective from March 29.

Business travel

Work trips shall continue to be avoided. In the extent that they are still carried out, they shall be executed in line with the recommendations from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Public Health Agency of Sweden.

Planning, coordination and responsibilities

As an employer, KTH has a responsibility to prevent risks and deficiencies in the work environment and within this framework, take active measures to prevent the spread of covid-19. Employees and students are obliged to take the personal responsibility necessary in order to prevent the spread of infection by following government bodies’ regulations, general advice and recommendations as well as the local regulations at KTH, thereby contributing to an orderly and safe work environment.

As KTH will reopen for on-campus operations for the autumn semester 2020, physical presence will, in many cases, be required. Activities and operations will be planned so as to avoid close physical contact and crowding. There will be coordination around the use of common premises and general spaces where employees from several organizational units gather at the same time. Support and services will be adapted accordingly.

Actions to prevent the spread of infection and risks in the work place are executed in accordance with the delegation and distribution of work environment tasks. The responsibility for risk assessment in different aspects shall be done in each respective part of the organisation. This requires responsible leadership and management as well as responsible employeeship on all levels.

Organisational preparedness is necessary to manage new conditions according to potentially changed directives from KTH or responsible public bodies.

The Director of Personnel at KTH is tasked with providing support and guidance to managers, employees and safety representatives in issues regarding work environment in connection to actions to prevent the spread of covid-19. Continuous guidance is provided on these Intranet pages dedicated to covid-19.

Studies and exams

Autumn semester 2020

KTH is opening for on-campus education for the autumn semester 2020 and has decided to gradually give students access to all KTH premises starting Saturday 1 August 2020.

Teaching can be carried out on all KTH-campuses in accordance to the government’s information and the recommendations made by the Public Health Agency of Sweden. Educational programming that is normally held in lecture halls will be carried out in alternative formats from the autumn semester.

It is important to carry forward the experience gained from the digitalisation of education and examinations in the spring 2020. The mission of the Working Group for the Digitalisation of Teaching will therefore be prolonged and renewed. This assignment to the working group is decided by the President.

Starting autumn semester, beginning 24 August 2020, examinations shall primarily be carried out through other methods than in-class examinations. In-class examinations may be carried out if it there are pedagogical reasons. Decisions regarding examinations will be taken by the Vice-President for Education based on the presentation by the Director of First and Second Cycle Education (GA) at each School at KTH. Written examinations supervised over Zoom will be phased out during the autumn semester. Deviation from established course plans regarding the format of examination will be accepted during the autumn semester 2020. The Schools shall maintain records of which courses have changed the format of examinations.

This decision is subject to change based on the information and recommendations made by the government and other public authorities.

Spring semester 2020

The President has May 13 decided that the re-exams in August will also take place remotely. It will not be possible to raise grades ("plussning") during these re-exams.

Studies and exams shall take place remotely for the rest of the semester, up until and including re-exams in June and August. The spring semester will not be extended, examination will be held as usual, but will be done digitally and remotely.

The course co-ordinator may, in cooperation with the appropriate GA, deviate from the official course syllabus, in regards to mandatory components and exams. The course co-ordinator shall make course material and lectures available online. It is important that the exams for students with disabilities with recommended support by Funka are taken into consideration so that they receive the support they are entitled to. Please contact funka@kth.se  for support.

No class-room-based examination will be given during the re-exam period in April, the ordinary exam period P4 or the re-exam periods in June and August. There is a possibility that the exam date for some courses will be changed in order to ensure that the exam is conducted. The examiner is responsible for adapting the exam’s content to a digital platform and for ensuring that appropriate security measures are in place.

The grading-scale for the various examination elements shall be the same as specified in the approved syllabus.

Registration for exams takes place through Ladok according to the normal routine, to make sure the correct students do the exams.

Physical access to KTH

As mentioned above, KTH has decided to gradually give students access to all KTH premises starting Saturday 1 August 2020. However, until then and due to the government recommendation of March 17, all entrances to KTH premises on all campuses are locked as from Wednesday March 18. Staff, including PhD students, still have access depending on individual keycard access.

KTH’s security function has re-enforced security measures in all KTH’s campus areas, to prevent vandalism, damage, theft and unauthorized access to KTH property.

Security guards will be increasingly visible in the areas and also conduct ID check-ups. Unauthorized persons will be evicted.

It is important for all employees not to grant access to KTH’s property to any unauthorized person.

Through KTH’s security number 08-790 (9900) you can report and leave information regarding any safety issue and get in contact with KTH’s security guards .

Parking

KTH's (Akademiska hus/Aimo Park) parking areas at KTH Campus and KTH Flemingsberg are exempt from parking fees at the moment. This can however change with short notice. Applicable fees can be found on the ticket machines.

Welcome reception

When KTH opens for on-campus based education in the autumn semester, some of the welcome activities for new students will be carried out digitally instead of in-person information sessions in auditoriums. Other parts of the welcome activities will take place on campus. KTH account details and access cards will be distributed on campus. All social activities will follow the recommendations made by the Public Health Agency of Sweden.

Exchange studies

Outgoing exchange students from KTH that are able to take their exchange place at the receiving university may do so. Those who are not able to participate in their exchange placement will be able to continue their programme at KTH in autumn 2020 and will be offered exchange studies in the following semester instead if possible. Incoming exchange students will be offered their placement at KTH as planned.

Thesis defence

The defense of doctoral theses may be held on campus from the beginning of the autumn semester. The opportunity to participate in a doctoral thesis defense remotely will remain.

See also thesis, thesis defence and qualification .

Reporting sick leave

The government has temporarily suspended the deduction from sick pay. For you as an employee, it is important to report sick leave in the self-reporting system according to usual routines. KTH will make a deduction as usual and you should then apply for compensation from the Swedish Social Insurance Agency. This applies from March 11.

From Friday, March 13, medical certificates during the days 1-14 during sick pay period will be temporarily canceled. You, as an employee, do not need to submit a certificate from calendar day 8.
From Friday, March 27, you do not have to give medical certificates during the first 21 days of the sick period.

Risk groups

The government has decided on a new regulation aimed at facilitating for those in risk groups in three different ways. The provision applies as of the 1st of July 2020 and expires at the end of September 2020.

Sickness benefit as a preventive measure: On 25 June, the Government adopted an additional budget and the government decided on a new regulation. The change takes aim at those who are at risk and has tasks that prevent them from working from home. These workers may be entitled to sickness benefit as a preventive measure. This applies on condition that the person in the risk group has of one of the diseases listed in the Regulation (see Section 2 of Regulation on certain sickness benefit for preventive purposes and certain quarantine allowance in relation to the disease covid-19). If applicable, the manager/local HR should be contacted and will from there take the employee’s medical certificate to KTH Human Resources Department Salaries. The employee seeks compensation from the Swedish Social Insurance Agency.

Increased possibility of temporary parental allowance for guardians of children who have recently been ill: For parents, the government's decision means that, under certain conditions, you can get compensation if you need to give up gainful employment in order to care for a child who has recently been seriously ill and needs to be protected from infection by the virus that causes the disease covid-19. Parents may also receive compensation if they give up gainful employment in order to avoid infecting a child referred to above. The need for protection against infection shall be demonstrated by a medical opinion. In order to be able to receive compensation in this case, the same conditions are laid down in respect of the work as in the case of compensation for persons at risk and their relatives.

The compensation to parents is paid at the same amount as for temporary parental allowance for the care of a sick child.

Quarantine allowance to relatives in the same household as a person in a risk group: This is regulated by the same regulation as mentioned above (see Section 5). This regulation quarantine allowance applies specifically to those who work in the home as a personal assistant to their loved one and at the same time to some extent gainfully work outside the residence. As a further condition, the work, which is not work as a personal assistant, cannot be carried out from home and that the employer cannot offer alternative tasks. The human resources department's assessment is that this specific situation is not currently very common among employees at KTH.

Questions and Answers

Will the employer still call for employees continued social distancing of 1.5-2 meters and other rules of conduct from the Swedish Public Health Agency?
Yes, both the employer KTH and the education provider KTH should encourage employees, students, guests and visitors to keep 1.5-2 meters apart, to wash their hands thoroughly with soap and warm water often, to cough and sneeze in the arm fold and to stay at home if you feel symptoms or are sick and to remain at home for 48h after you are no longer showing or experiencing symptoms.

Can we receive visitors from abroad? If yes, what are the rules and regulations? Should you be quarantined if you arrive from certain countries?
KTH complies with the directives of the EU and the Swedish Public Health Agency. There are currently no directives on e.g. quarantine. If you have symptoms, you should stay at home, and you should remain at home for an additional two days after no longer experiencing any symptoms.

How does the employer view the use of oral protection (e.g. masks) among employees? Is it ok for employees to work on their own initiative with masks covering their mouth?
It's OK for employees to wear masks. It is up to each one as long as the mask does not pose a work environment risk any other way. As always, workers and students have a responsibility to comply with safety regulations in the work- and study environment. Keep in mind that the use of masks eliminates the ability to read lips for people with hearing loss, which means that they may find it difficult to make us of teaching and information. KTH complies with the authorities' directives on oral protection and KTH has not yet made a decision on a central level to order safety gear or masks for employees

Some employees sit in open office landscapes/ chares offices and we need to ensure that there are sufficient distance between colleagues. Can we be as many as before in the same room?
If the recommended distance of 1,5-2m between employees to prevent the spread of covid-19 cannot be assured, the employer needs to take action. The employer shall evaluate the risks in the workplace.

Is it ok to mark up an appropriate distance in the lunch room?
If employees’ don´t have enough space to keep a distance of 1.5-2 meters apart, the employer needs to take action. The employer shall evaluate the risks in the workplace and this also applies to the kitchens, pantries, dining areas and communal spaces. If necessary, preventive procedures shall be put in place to prevent the spread of Covid-19. It is the local employer who looks over their own premises. If several organizational units share premises, the employer representatives shall coordinate the preventive measures. Marking up distance in the lunch room can be a good measure to create safety and security. Information about cautious approaches and local health and safety practices in the lunch room are other optional measure.

We believe that larger meetings should continue to be held digitally. The number of people to attend meetings physically should be limited. Is that true?
For larger meetings you should use digital meeting forms where appropriate to prevent the spread of covid-19. Other meetings are assessed by the employer who makes risk assessments and amends any fixable flaws and/or risk factors.

What about travels between home and KTH?
The employee is responsible for the way he is to get to and from the job/training provider. Keep in mind that it is possible for the employer and workers to review working hours. The manager assesses whether it is possible to shift the working time so that the worker avoids rush hour traffic.
KTH follows the recommendations from the Public Health Authority which currently states:
“If possible, you should travel in a different way than by public transport, e.g. walking or cycling. Those who need to travel by public transport should first and foremost choose an alternative where you can book a seat, e.g. train.
We advise as many people as possible to avoid travel by public transport where it is not possible to book a seat, e.g. trams, subways and city buses. If this is not possible, it is important to keep a distance from other people and follow the instructions that apply for public transportation."
( COVID-19 FAQ 2020-06-16 )

Do I have to come to the workplace now as a worker? What are the opportunities to work from home?
Employees can, in agreement with their immediate supervisor, work temporarily from home if and when the tasks allow. The assessment of tasks and their suitability for work from home is done by the employer/supervisor.

What measures does my supervisor take to ensure my safety at work?
The work environment is everyone’s responsibility. This becomes clear when each and every one has the responsibility to prevent spreading Covid-19. Supervisors are tasked with providing a good work environment. Employees needs to point out risks and safety flaws as well as following the given safety instructions in order to improve the work environment. Safety representatives has a legal right to attend and cooperate with supervisors, in planning of/making improvements and changes in the work environment.
At KTH’s work environment web forums  you will find information and guidelines for you in your role as a supervisor, safety representative or employee. More information regarding the different roles

How does the janitorial staff and cleaners adjust the cleaning of our workplace?
The janitorial staff and cleaners will temporarily extend the basic cleaning so that high risk surfaces such as handles, bathrooms, and railing are cleaned more often.

What is KTH’s approach to arranging and paying for covid-19 tests for its employees?
KTH does not arrange or pay for covid-19 tests for its employees, rather refers to general healthcare and the tests that are available through this.

I am at my workplace and do not feel sick, but not quite well either. What should I do?
Talk to your manager and go home straight away. It is about protecting both colleagues and operations.

What are the procedures for incoming exchange students who are ordered to return to their home countries?
The incoming exchange students who have been ordered to return to their home countries should be given the opportunity to complete their studies remotely. In some cases the learning agreements need to be adjusted as there are some courses that require physical presence at KTH.

What are the procedures for KTH students who were supposed to study abroad but never made it to the country or returned sooner than planned?
These students should be given a spot on a course within KTH and examiners should approach this generously. For guidance, please contact GA and UA. The school in charge of the programme is responsible to plan the studies with the affected students.

What will happen with the public defense of doctoral theses that are planned?
Public defense of doctoral theses will be conducted as planned. If the opponent or members of the examination committee are unable to attend, they should participate remotely. For more information, see Thesis, thesis defence and qualification . For questions, contact the schools research education committee.

I have a good internet connection in my summer cottage, can I work from there?
Working remotely should normally be done in your home. As an employee you must be available to come to your physical working place within the normal time frame if you are asked to do so by your employer.
After agreement with your manager it is also possible to work from other locations than your home, for example a summer cottage within commuting distance from KTH. It is important to remember that the PSA agreement (workplace insurance) does not cover work in any other remote location than your home.

Zoom is currently being used a lot in teaching and for meetings. But Zoom is a US cloud based service, is it really OK for KTH to use it?
The Zoom service used by the universities in the Nordic countries is not the same as the public service, but a separate installation within NORDUnet. NORDUnet is an association between the university data networks in the five Nordic countries, including Swedish SUNET. The physical servers are located in the Nordic countries, and so is the cloud service being used as back-up. The installation is GDPR compliant and personal data is stored within the EU. NORDUnet is responsible for the agreement with Zoom and monitors its compliance with rules and regulations.

Kjell Carli, Communications and Business Liaisons, GVS
Jill Klackenberg, Management Communications officer

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Last changed: Jul 07, 2020