New directives of 1 July

The decision by the Swiss Federal Council to ease its coronavirus measures means that we can make further progress towards our main three objectives:

  • Gradually bringing all teams back to campus.
  • Holding the August exams in person.
  • Getting the 2020–21 academic year off to a good start.

All the directives we’ve issued and measures we’ve taken, and all the efforts we’ve asked of people, have been guided by these three objectives. We’re doing everything we can to avoid having to take a step backwards and impose new restrictions.

  1. Define the health and safety requirements that must be implemented and complied with in order to safeguard EPFL students and staff members.
  2. Enable EPFL’s protection plan to be implemented in a decentralized manner by unit and laboratory heads.

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

  • All employees whose work does not require them to be on campus are encouraged to continue working remotely.
  • Room occupancy must be organized so that a distance of at least 1.5 meters can be kept between people at all times.
  • Protective equipment will be provided to employees who require it following an assessment by the DSPS team.
  • 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 authority.

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:

  • It is recommended that each unit be divided into groups that will work alternating shifts in keeping with the unit’s needs.
  • In order to limit the number of daily commutes, it is preferable to plan full-day rather than half-day shifts.
  • Unit heads must keep an accurate record of everyone who was physically present on their units’ premises over the previous 14 days (see “Unit attendance lists” below).
  • While the restart plan is being implemented and until further notice, a medical certificate is required if an employee is absent for six days or more.

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) all campus locations that the person visited that day.
  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. You are only permitted to share this information with the DSPS.

Template download (.xls)

EPFL staff who have been included in their units’ work schedules are allowed to be on campus in keeping with those schedules. DSPS authorization is not required.

Students are only permitted on campus to study, in accordance with this directive.

The only possible exception is for Master’s projects and for student assistants whose presence is required. Exception requests must be submitted via the online form.

Trainees and PhD students are considered EPFL staff members. They can therefore be included in the units’ work schedules.

Any non-EPFL people invited by a unit onto campus must comply with this directive.

Detailed information can be found on Hygiene and behaviour rules page.

In order to minimize rush-hour commuting, team leaders will draw up staggered working hours for their team members, in consultation with those affected. The following measures have been taken to facilitate this:

  • Working hours have been extended and now run from 7am to 10pm on all EPFL sites.
  • Employees are not permitted to work on site over the weekend or on holidays unless absolutely necessary.
  • Each unit head is responsible for determining whether it is imperative for work to be conducted outside of the normal working hours in order for the unit to fulfill its missions.
  • The unit heads must also ensure that all safety procedures are complied with, especially when employees are working alone.

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.
  • The units can call on the DSPS for assistance with this assessment, via EPFL’s Coronavirus Support team.

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 must be maintained between people
  • The meeting organizer must draw up and keep a list of all attendees. You can download a canvas.
  • 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 now allowed back 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 students cannot be invited to campus to start a new project, internship or similar at the School until further notice. This rule does not apply to non-EPFL students who are already on campus and whose project, internship, etc. started before 8 June. Please contact the Registrar’s Office with any questions in this regard.

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

Information can be found on the Administrative matters page.

Information can be found on the Travel page.

Starting on 1 July, students will have access to around 700 individual study spaces on campus, in full compliance with health and safety standards.

Starting on 30 June, the EPFL Campus app will show which rooms have been set aside for this purpose and how many spaces are available. Students will be required use the app to book a space, so that they can access the study rooms.

Students should refer to the instructions issued by Educational Affairs.

The measures set out in this directive may be reassessed or amended at any time up to 31 August 2020, depending on how the pandemic evolves. The updated directive is then scheduled to take effect no later than Monday, 14 September 2020.

Campus services

Some catering points will be opened, mostly in take-away mode, to offer a minimal service while ensuring a strict compliance to the safety rules.

EPFL daycare centers will reopen, with priority given to children of employees whose presence on campus is imperative.

The EPFL Presidency had decided that parking spaces would be free of charge during the campus closure from 16 March to 7 June. Following the gradual reopening of the campus, parking fees will be reinstated on 8 June.

Changing rooms and showers are available to all users.

The rules of social distancing must be respected there. The number of people in the room is therefore limited.

The facilities are cleaned according to the usual standards and checked daily. No particular disinfection of the equipment is required.


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