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Information for employees regarding the coronavirus

Last update September 30, 4:30 pm

Latest updates:

  • 300930 4:30 pm, "risk groups" and "parking" updated.
  • 200918 9:00 am, new question/answer.
  • 200917 4:30 pm, new headline, "if a student falls sick".
  • 200915 10:00 am, new headline, "if you feel sick".
  • 200910 8:30 am, link added under "meetings and conferences".
  • 200909 4:30 pm, headline "business travel" updated.
  • 200901 10:00 am, headline "welcome reception" removed.
  • 200825 11:00 am, headline "business travel" updated regarding domestic travel, information regarding spring semester 2020 removed from "studies and exams", two question/answers regarding exchange studies spring semester 2020 removed.
    12:30 pm headline "parking" updated.

On this page:

  • If you feel sick
  • If a student falls sick
  • Working on campus and remotely
  • Counseling
  • Business travel
  • Meetings and conferences
  • Planning, coordination and responsibilities
  • Studies and exams
  • Parking
  • Exchange studies
  • Thesis defence
  • Reporting sick leave
  • Risk groups
  • Questions and Answers

Om you feel sick

If you start to have symptoms indicating a possible COVID-19 infection it is important that you immediately go home, avoiding contact with other people.

It is important for everyone with symptoms to be tested to verify if there is an ongoing infection or not. This is not only for your own sake, but it gives the people you might have infected a possibility to also be tested. This way you contribute to lowering the infection rate. You are not obliged to have a test, but you need to be careful not to infect others, and therefore it is important to know if you are infected or not.

Call 1177 (Healthcare Guide) for advice if you have symptoms.

If you test positive for Covid-19 you need to participate in contact tracing. You will get the necessary instructions in the event of a positive test result.

If a student falls sick

When it is known that a student who has participated in campus-based teaching has tested COVID-19 positive, then all courses that the student is registered for will revert to 100% distance-based teaching for a period of two weeks. Laboratory exercises or similar planned within such a course or courses during this period will resume after these two weeks.

Any student who has tested positive for COVID-19 should contact the corresponding study counselor (who is bound by professional secrecy) or course leader/examiner, who in turn will report to the school’s educational administration manager. Note that KTH faculty and staff shall treat such cases as confidential.

Working on campus and remotely 

As KTH has now opened for on-campus teaching, there is a need for more employees to be on site. There will also be people working remotely. It should, however, be taken into consideration that there are psychosocial health issues connected to extended periods of working remotely. The Public Health Authority also points out that it is very important that the employer takes its responsibility regarding occupational health during extensive periods of working remotely.

To counteract problems that might occur during extended remote work, KTH as employer estimates that being present at KTH at least two days a week is compatible with social distancing at work and on public transport and should be seen as the basic principle. The managers, in cooperation with the employee, should plan this based on operational needs and conditions. 

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

Business travel

By adapting the President’s decision from the 16:th of June to the changed travel recommendations by the Public Health Agency regarding domestic travel, it is now possible to make business trips within Sweden. Such trips can be made by employees after agreement with their manager and a filed travel request. The business trip must adhere to recommendations by the Public Health Agency.

International business trips should still be avoided, but can be made in special cases after agreement with the nearest manager. The trips must adhere to recommendations by the Public Health Agency and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

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.

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.

KTH has reopened for on-campus operations the autumn semester 2020. Activities and operations will be monitored and if necessarily adjusted so close physical contact and crowding are avoided. We will continously coordinate the use of common premises and general spaces where employees from several organizational units gather at the same time, and we will ensure that support and services are adapted to on-campus operations.

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 provides 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

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 has therefore been 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.

Parking

From the 1:st of September 2020 a valid parking sticker is needed for free parking at KTH's (Akademiska hus/Aimo Park) parking areas at KTH Campus and in Kista and Solna. Otherwise fees apply.

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 2020. 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 December 2020. Today you can get compensation for up to 90 days, but the Government is planning to extend this period to 180 days. More information at Försäkringskassan .

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

Does KTH follow the Swedish Public Health Agency's recommendations saying that we should work from home?
Yes. The Swedish Public Health Agency recommends that you work from home if possible, but at the same time states that there can be negative consequences of long-term homework, and that the employer who has the responsibility for the work environment must take this into account. It is therefore important to find a balance between working remotely and in the workplace, that enables operations to function while a good working environment is maintained. At the same time work must be able to be carried out in a way that prevents the spread of infection and without the load on public transport becoming too great. The assessment is that this can be fulfilled with two days of work at the workplace combined with good planning and personal responsibility.
The Swedish Public Health Agency writes in its recommendation on remote working:
“As before, work from home must be chosen in agreement with the employer so that operations do not suffer from negative effects. For the employer, it is important that work from home is carried out with work environment aspects in mind. ”
Chief epidemiologist Anders Tegnell also answered at the government's press conference on July 30 to questions regarding work environment problems during long-term homework: "That is why we point out that the employer must think about how to set this up, it is not the case that all people should be at home all the time, not even that some people should be at home all the time, but you can think a little innovatively here by looking at shift work and still keep down travel and presence at work, but still make sure that everyone can be at work sometimes. ”
President Sigbritt Karlsson develops this in the article “ We need each other at work ”.

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 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: Sep 30, 2020