New directives as of 14 September

The aim of this directive is to set forth the guidelines for the “new normal” on campus from the start of the 2020–2021 academic year. The measures we adopted previously enabled us to gradually bring staff back on campus and then to hold the exam session in person.

The public-health situation remains a major concern. These new measures are designed to allow students and employees back on site – so that the campus can once again bring people together and 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.

  • Define the health and safety requirements that must be implemented and complied with in order to safeguard EPFL students and staff members.
  • 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 and compliance with health and safety measures.

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

  • Everyone must wear a mask in EPFL buildings at all times and at all EPFL sites, including 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 set out in this document. The main points to keep in mind are as follows:

  • Staff members should work in person on campus some of the time and remotely some of the time. EPFL’s goal is for half of staff members to be working on the Lausanne campus and other sites at a time.
  • Staff members must work at least one full day per week on campus.
  • Unit heads can determine how much time their staff members work on campus, taking into account the type of activities and individual needs, as long as the arrangement complies with this directive.
  • Full-day shifts are preferable in order to minimize the risk of the virus spreading and to limit the number of daily commutes.
  • 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).
  • Staff members who work remotely must do so from their normal home, whether in Switzerland or in a border zone.
  • 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.

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
  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.

Template download (.xls)

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

From Monday through Saturday

Only those people listed below are allowed on campus and authorized to use the School’s premises and equipment, and they must comply with the health and safety measures at all times:

  • Students who belong to the group authorized to attend classes in person that day
  • Students authorized to attend practical-work and lab sessions in person
  • First-year students attending the Saturday exercise sessions.

People engaged in the following activities are also authorized to be on campus, as long as they comply with this directive:

  • MAKE cross-disciplinary projects: students can go to the designated site to work on their project. But they must first sign up with the professor and/or the project coordinator or the professor in charge of the laboratory.
  • Tutors and student assistants can come to campus to carry out their responsibilities.
  • People who have an appointment with an EPFL counselor or psychotherapist.
  • Students are authorized to come to campus to attend events (such as conferences, or events held by student associations).
  • People involved in student associations can come to campus as long as they comply with this directive, including point 5 in particular.

People in the list above are not authorized to use EPFL’s premises and equipment before or after these activities.


All students are allowed on campus to study, but they must first sign up through the EPFL Campus app in order to reserve a workspace.

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 wherever they are working or studying if more than one person are in the room.
  • The classrooms and exercise rooms must be set up to allow occupants to comply with these measures.

These rules apply to any meeting run by students or staff members as part of their activities.

All meetings, talks and so on should continue to be held by video conference wherever possible.

However, it is possible to meet in person as long as:

  • a distance of at least 1.5 meters is maintained between people
  • everyone wears a mask
  • the meeting organizer draws up and keeps a list of all attendees, using the online form
  • the meeting organizer ensures that all surfaces in the room are disinfected after the meeting; surface disinfectant can be ordered on Catalyse (COVID-19 catalog).

All information can be found under 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.

Specific directives concerning visiting students have been drawn up.

Administrative units are now running as normal.

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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