Current directives

The aim of this directive is to set forth the guidelines for the “new normal” on campus. Unfortunately, the public-health situation remains a major concern. These new measures are designed to guide students and employees in their day-to-day activities – so that the campus can continue to foster interaction – and to prevent the virus from spreading, as that could lead to new, more restrictive measures.

All the directives we’ve issued and measures we’ve taken, and all the efforts we’ve asked of people, are guided by these objectives, and we appreciate your cooperation.

All staff members, students, guests, non-EPFL people and visitors must comply with this directive and with the framework measures set out at the federal level and in the canton in which they work.

  • Safeguard EPFL students and staff members by spelling out the health and safety requirements that must be implemented.
  • Enable EPFL’s protection plan to be implemented in a decentralized manner by unit and laboratory heads.
  • Maintain and restore ties among all members of the EPFL community.
  • Achieve the best possible balance between in-person activities, remote working and compliance with health and safety measures.

The following measures must serve as a guide to implementing the protection plan:

  • Staff members must work remotely whenever they are not absolutely required to be on campus.
  • Everyone must wear a mask in EPFL buildings at all times and at all EPFL sites, including while seated in their workplace and in the lecture halls (see Appendix 1).
  • Room occupancy must be organized so that a distance of at least 1.5 meters can be kept between people at all times.
  • Meetings must be held by video conference whenever possible in order to limit gatherings and travel.
  • In order to prevent the virus from spreading on campus, anyone with COVID-19 symptoms (see Appendix 1) is not permitted on campus.
  • Measures will be put in place so that we can carry out a contact tracing survey if so requested by the public health authorities.

Detailed information on the health and safety guidelines can be found in Appendix 1 or on Hygiene and behaviour rules page.

Each unit is responsible for setting up a work schedule that complies with the measures contained in this document. The main points to keep in mind are as follows:

  • Staff members must work remotely whenever they are not absolutely required to be on campus.
  • Starting on 1 October 2020, staff members who work remotely must do so from Switzerland or, for those holding a G permit, from a border region.
  • The heads of units and of EPFL-approved associations are responsible for determining how much time their members are authorized to work on campus, taking into account the type of activities and individual needs, as long as the arrangement complies with this directive.
  • Unit heads must keep an accurate record of everyone who was physically present on their unit’s premises over the previous 14 days (see Attendance lists).
  • Medical certificate: until further notice, a medical certificate is required if an employee is absent for six days or more.
  • People at especially high risk: please refer to Appendix 1.
  • Appendix 1 also describes what to do if a member of the EPFL community thinks they may have COVID-19 or tests positive for it.

Exceptions for year-end holidays

EPFL’s management has decided to allow staff members to travel abroad if they so choose during the period from mid-December 2020 to mid-January 2021 and combine remote work with vacation, so that they can get some rest during the holidays with family and friends. They must return to Switzerland (or, for those holding a G permit, their border region) in mid-January 2021 to resume working remotely.

EPFL’s management has decided to allow staff members to travel abroad if they so choose during the period from mid-December 2020 to mid-January 2021 and combine remote work with vacation, so that they can get some rest during the holidays with family and friends. They must return to Switzerland (or, for those holding a G permit, their border region) in mid-January 2021 to resume working remotely.

All business days on which staff members do not work must be entered as vacation in the absence management system.

Staff members should bear in mind the risk that they may not be able to return to Switzerland in mid-January, depending on the public-health situation (flight cancellations, border closures, etc.), and that they may have to go into quarantine once they’re back. If, at the time of their departure, their destination is on the list drawn up by the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) of countries and regions with an increased risk of infection, then they must work from home while in quarantine. If they are unable to work from home, they will have to use their holiday entitlement or extra/overtime hours, or take unpaid leave, as appropriate.

The cantonal public-health authorities require EPFL to be prepared to help trace people who, over the previous 14 days, came into contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. For this reason, unit heads must keep attendance lists.

These lists represent a form of personal data processing and must be handled as follows:

  1. Attendance must be kept using this template, which contains the following information only:
    a) last name
    b) first name
    c) the unit to which the person belongs
    d) the date the person was on campus
    e) the room number
  2. You must only use this information for its intended purpose, which is to help the cantonal public-health authorities trace people who, over the previous 14 days, came into contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
  3. You must retain this information for 14 days, after which it must be destroyed.
  4. Unit heads are requested to keep a list of private telephone numbers, which will only be used in the event of a request from the cantonal medical service.
  5. It is not necessary to enter remote work hours into the absence manager.

Template download (.xls)

Information can be found in the IT Equipment section of the Remote work page.

All classes will be given online, and students must attend them off campus.

Class activities that require an on-site presence (such as practicals, workshops, MAKE projects, Master’s projects and other types of projects) may continue, in accordance with the Modulo rotating-group system (if applicable) and under the responsibility of the unit head or the person in charge of the activity in question.

Students are authorized to use EPFL’s premises and equipment during the half day in which these activities take place (for example, they can take an online class just before or after a practical-work session).

Students may also come to campus to study or to use certain EPFL services (such as administrative, health-care, catering, library services or printers), provided they follow the rules given in this directive, including point 5 in particular. However, students must first sign up through the EPFL Campus app in order to minimize the number of people on campus at any one time.

In order to comply with the health and safety rules, the following requirements should be used to determine how many people are allowed in shared working areas (offices, open spaces, laboratories, workshops, etc.) at the same time:

  • A distance of at least 1.5 meters must be guaranteed between people at all times.
  • Everyone must wear a mask at all times wherever they are working or studying if more than one person is in the room. (Masks are also required whenever you are moving around in the hallways.)
  • The classrooms and exercise rooms must be set up to allow occupants to comply with these measures.

Information can be found on the Events page.

Unit heads can authorize non-EPFL people to come to the School’s sites if their presence is absolutely essential for the unit to fulfill its missions, subject to the terms of this directive.

Construction/renovation contractors must comply with the directives issued by the Real Estate and Infrastructures Domain (DII, see Appendix 2, in French).

People coming from another country are allowed on EPFL sites, subject to the criteria set out by the State Secretariat for Migration of the Federal Department of Justice and Police.

Non-EPFL people arriving from abroad must comply with the federal government’s health guidelines, in particular with regard to the quarantine rules, and this directive.

Specific directives concerning visiting students have been drawn up.

Information can be found in the Holidays and travel for personal reasons section of the Travel page.

Information can be found on the Travel page.

Information can be found in the Students section of the Travel page.

Information can be found on Q&A Coronavirus: Visiting students.

The measures set out in this directive may be reassessed or amended at any time up to 31 January 2021, depending on how the pandemic evolves. The updated directive will then be scheduled to take effect no later than the start of spring.

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