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Information for students, faculty and staff regarding COVID-19. (Updated: 6 May 2021)

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Questions and answers for staff

Recent updates, last updated on 5 May 2021

(5 May 2021) New question

  • May I get vaccinated during paid work hours?

(27 April 2021) Updated question

  • For how long are staff supposed to work from home?

(31 March 2021) Updated question

  • What happens if a close colleague has been confirmed with COVID-19?
    Guidelines have changed so that a person can be expected to be contagious for 48 hours before showing symptoms or getting tested. 

(18 March 2021) New section "Vaccination"

  • I'm not a Swedish citizen, can I still get vaccinated in Sweden?
  • Can I get vaccinated abroad?
  • Can I take one dose of vaccine in Umeå and one dose somewhere else?

(11 March 2021) Updated questions

  • What happens if I need to stay at home because a close relation has confirmed COVID-19 and I am deemed as a potential disease carrier?

(26 February 2021) New question

  • Should students and staff wear face masks?

(10 February 2021) Updated question

  • Can meetings be held in person?

(9 February 2021) New question

  • What are the recommendations regarding travels?

(8 February 2021) Clarification

  • For how long are staff supposed to work from home?

(1 February 2021) Updated question

  • What equipment can the university provide for my home office?

(25 January 2021) Updated question

  • What happens if I have already had COVID-19?
  • For how long must I stay at home if I have confirmed COVID-19?
  • Do I, as an employee, need to report to my manager if I have tested positive for COVID-19?
  • I am afraid to come to work because of fear of being infected. Can I work from home?
  • I am worried about COVID-19, how should I handle my feelings?
  • What online teaching and virtual meeting tools does the University recommend?

Study-administrative questions

Employees who have study-administrative and study-related questions regarding COVID-19 can find out more on Aurora.

Study-related questions due to COVID-19
Study-related questions due to COVID-19

Questions and answers related to studies and study administration due to COVID-19.

Disease, transmission and testing

What happens if I have already had COVID-19?

If you have had a COVID-19 infection that has been confirmed with a PCR test or if you have received a positive antibody test, the Public Health Agency of Sweden assesses that you are likely to have a six month protection from the test date.

This means that you can be around other people – even indoors. This applies even if you, or the people around you, belong to an at-risk group. Nevertheless, everyone always has to do their own risk assessment before meeting.

If a person in your household or vicinity should later fall ill, for instance within a few weeks, your previous infection means that you, most likely, will not need to be quarantined again. The Department of Communicable Disease Control and Prevention at Region Västerbotten makes these assessments.

Regardless of previous infection, you must still continue to follow the general guidelines and take precautionary measures in the community and in the workplace. For instance by

  • staying at home if you have symptoms of disease,
  • cleaning your hands regularly. When you touch things, virus can stick to your hands. By cleaning your hands often, the virus will be removed. And in that way, you reduce the spread of infection,
  • keeping your distance to people outside your circle of regular contacts.

Healthcare staff must continue to follow hygiene routines and routines regarding protective equipment in healthcare settings.

As time passes, your potential protection against falling ill also reduces.

Read more in the Public Health Agency of Sweden’s FAQ

For how long must I stay at home if I have confirmed COVID-19?

According to the recommendations issued by the Public Health Agency of Sweden, anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 must stay at home for at least seven days after the first symptoms are shown. If you have taken a COVID test without having any symptoms, the seven days count from the day you took the test. You must also have had two fever-free days before you can return to work.

If you still have mild symptoms such as a light cough and a runny nose or loss of the sense of taste or smell, but otherwise feel healthy, you can return to work, school, nursery or other activity if at least seven days have passed since falling ill plus the two days of having no fever. Updated: 25 January 2021.

The Public Health Agency of Sweden continuously updates their information, please keep informed on the Public Health Agency of Sweden’s web site.

Find out what you can do if you have COVID-19 (1177.se)

Do I, as an employee, need to report to my manager if I have tested positive for COVID-19?

You have no legal obligation to report to your manager if you have tested positive for COVID-19, but it is still recommended as the university keeps statistics and can analyse if clusters should appear.

If you have been at your workplace during the period when you were suspected to be contagious, any potential people you had close contact with will be included in the contact tracing that you are obliged to do with the help of Region Västerbotten. And if that is the case, it is beneficial that your manager is notified of your positive test result in order to better handle any worries colleagues may have. Even if you have not been at your workplace, it could still be beneficial that your manager is informed so that you can get the support you need.

Your personal data will be processed with confidentiality.

My COVID-19 test results were negative, can I go back to work?

If your test results indicate that you do not carry COVID-19, you can return to work as soon as you are free of symptoms and feel healthy. Please continue to follow the advice from the Swedish authorities.

There is a slight risk that your test was falsely negative, which means that you could still carry COVID-19. Therefore, it is still important that you do not return to work before you are completely healthy.

Source: 1177.se

What must I do if I have a cold or other symptoms of disease?

If you have symptoms of disease – even mild ones – you must stay at home and keep physical distance to others. You should also get tested through Region Västerbotten. Discuss your opportunities to work from home with your manager. When you have been free of any symptoms for two days, you can return to work if you have tasks that require being present at the university.

However, if you are too sick to work, you must report sick leave in PASS.

Find out more about sick leave reimbursements and doctor’s certificates (Aurora)

Find out how to get tested for COVID-19 (1177.se). Please note that there are special procedures for people without a Swedish personal identity number and for those with only a temporary such number. If this applies to you, you must contact your healthcare provider to get tested for COVID-19.

Do I need a doctor’s certificate if I am ill?

Temporary routines apply: If you are ill for longer than seven days, you currently do not need to provide a doctor’s certificate. However, if you are at home with an illness for over 21 days, you need to contact the healthcare system to obtain a doctor’s certificate and present this to your employer.

Find out more about sick leave reimbursements and doctor’s certificates  (Aurora)

A colleague appears ill, but is still at work. What can I do?

The University follows the advice and recommendations from the Public Health Agency of Sweden, and hence requests everyone with symptoms of disease to stay at home. Such symptoms are even mild symptoms of a cold or the flu, but also other symptoms of disease. All individuals are responsible for taking necessary precautions to reduce the risk of spreading infection. If you are worried, please notify your manager who can address the situation. Please also remember that symptoms can be caused by other factors, such as allergies, for instance.

The Swedish Government has announced that the first unpaid day of sick leave (karensdagen) will be temporarily removed. What does this mean for me as an employee?

Because of COVID-19, the Swedish government has declared to suspend the deduction from sick pay during the qualifying period by paying sickness benefit from the first day of sick leave. This means that all staff get SEK 804 (before tax deductions) on the first day of sickness leave regardless of regular salary. Please note that you have to apply for this sick pay reimbursement (karenspeng) yourself by logging onto Försäkringskassan's website using your Swedish BankID. When applying, you will have to state the organisation number of the University, which is 202100-2874. For sick days before 1 June, the reimbursement is set to SEK 700.

Find out more about reimbursements during sick leave (Aurora)

What happens if I need to stay at home because a close relation has confirmed COVID-19 and I am deemed as a potential disease carrier?

  • If you are healthy enough to work, you are urged to work from home with work tasks that can be performed from home in agreement with your supervisor. You will get paid as normal.
  • If you are healthy enough to work, but cannot work from home, you can remain at home without salary deduction if a doctor has issued orders for you to stay at home. Normally, you are obliged to show a doctor's certificate to your employer, but the Swedish Government has decided to temporarily make an exception to that rule. The exception means that you do not need to provide a written doctor's certificate. However, it is important that you contact your manager and that the manager is ensured that such an order from a doctor exists. This should be done by you sending a written assurance to your employer. These temporary exceptions are valid until 30 April 2021.
  • If you are looking after a sick child, you are to apply for care of a sick child allowance (vab) from the Swedish Social Insurance Agency. This must be reported in PASS.
  • If you are too sick to work, you must report sick leave in PASS.

Disease carrier allowance

As a member of staff at Umeå University, you cannot apply for disease carrier allowance from the Swedish Social Insurance Agency since you do not miss out on any income when you are absent from work as a suspected disease carrier. This is according to an agreement – entered into between the Swedish Agency for Government Employees and the employee organisations – which states that no salary deduction is to be made when an employee is absent due to being a confirmed or suspected disease carrier according to the Communicable Diseases Act (Smittskyddslagen).

Find out more about Working when close relations have confirmed COVID-19 (Aurora)

What happens if a close colleague has been confirmed with COVID-19?

If a colleague or other person that you, for instance, share a room or work closely with has been confirmed infected with COVID-19, you are recommended to work from home, if possible, and avoid contact with others for the next 7 days.

This applies if you met the infected person within 48 hours before the person fell ill or before the test was taken and if you were in a vicinity of 2 metres of each other for more than 15 minutes.

These measures are particularly important if you and the infected person met in a small room. This information has been confirmed with the Department of Communicable Disease Control and Prevention at Region Västerbotten.

Should students and staff wear face masks?

In situations where people cannot avoid close contact, students and staff should wear a face mask.

Read about the university's recommendation regarding face masks

Vaccination

I'm not a Swedish citizen, can I still get vaccinated in Sweden?

You do not have to be a Swedish citizen to be offered vaccination against COVID-19 in Sweden. Anyone who lives in Sweden will be offered vaccination. You do not have to pay for vaccination against COVID-19.

Please note that when vaccination is offered for your group, you must book a time to receive your first dose of the vaccination yourself. Region Västerbotten will provide information on when and how to do so.

Learn more about vaccination against COVID-19

Region Västerbotten

Can I get vaccinated abroad?

Contact the authorities in the country you are in or are planning on travelling to to get more information about the opportunities to get vaccinated abroad. This applies both if you are planning on taking only one or both doses of vaccine abroad.

Can I take one dose of vaccine in Umeå and one dose somewhere else?

When you get vaccinated against COVID-19 using a vaccine that requires two doses, which most of them do, it is important that both doses come from the same supplier.

It may turn out that you are offered vaccination in Umeå late in the spring and you may not have time to take your second dose before potentially leaving Umeå.

If you are planning on moving within Sweden, you must contact the healthcare provider at your new destination to get information on what vaccination that medical region can offer. It is also your responsibility to note down what vaccine you received in your first dose. All regions will, according to preliminary information, have access to all vaccines, which means that vaccination at two different locations in Sweden could be a possibility.

If you are planning on moving to another country, you ought to contact the authorities in the new country to get more information about the opportunities to get vaccinated there. You are advised to make this contact before taking your first dose in Sweden.

Learn more about vaccination against COVID-19

Region Västerbotten

May I get vaccinated during paid work hours?

Yes, the university is offering members of staff to get vaccinated during paid work hours. Ask your manager if you have questions regarding time reporting. Read the news item on Aurora.

Working from home

For how long are staff supposed to work from home?

Until 7 August, all members of staff must work from home to the extent possible and in consultation with their manager.

Between 8 August and 29 August, teaching staff are given the opportunity to use university premises to plan their teaching for the autumn, to the extent necessary.

Between 30 August and 29 September, staff that teach beginner students at study programmes are given the opportunity to work at the workplace to the extent necessary to conduct on-campus education for those students. This includes teaching staff and technical/administrative staff that may be needed to welcome new students or in other ways facilitate teaching.

All other members of staff who are not included in the categories above must work from home to the extent possible and in consultation with their manager until 29 September 2021.

Staff that work at their workplace must follow the Public Health Agency of Sweden’s guidelines and general advice. Meetings and events must still be carried out online throughout this period.

I am afraid to come to work because of fear of being infected. Can I work from home?

The University continues to urge its staff, in agreement with their managers, to work fully or partially from home with tasks that can be carried out remotely.

Please read more on Managing COVID-19-related risks and anxiety (Aurora).

Does the work injury insurance apply if I work from home?

Unlike working at the workplace, injuries at home need to be directly linked to the work you are conducting. This means that you must have injured yourself whilst performing your work tasks.

Examples of this is if you

  • trip over the power cord to your laptop
  • are sat at your computer answering work-related emails
  • are sat at your computer talking to a colleague/customer on the phone
  • are walking around at home while having a work-related phone call on your work phone
  • are travelling between home and work for a work-related meeting
  • are travelling to work to collect equipment, a phone or letters
  • are having a walk-and-talk meeting as long as the employer has approved this.

However, the insurance does not cover other types of general accidents in the home. If you, for instance, hurt yourself when making a cup of coffee in the kitchen, it does not count as a workplace accident, even if it happens during established working hours.

Read more about your insurance coverage on Aurora

Read more about the insurance at AFA Insurance, in Swedish: Så fungerar försäkringen vid Arbetsskada

What equipment can the university provide for my home office?

Umeå University follows the Public Health Agency of Sweden’s guidelines and states that all members of staff must work from home to the extent possible and in consultation with their manager. This can be found in the decision COVID-19 measures for spring semester 2021 (FS 1.1-2617-20).

The employer does not have an obligation to provide desks for home offices. Neither will the university give reimbursements for private purchases of desks. However, Umeå University has applied a generous approach to taking home other forms of equipment such as office chairs, computers, screens or other portable equipment provided that your manager approves.

It is your responsibility to see to the transportation of such work equipment to your home. If you cannot do it yourself, please ask a colleague for help. The employer takes responsibility if the equipment was to break during transport provided that proper precaution was taken.

What happens regarding insurance if my work computer, phone or other equipment should catch fire and cause damage to my home when I work from home?

Your home insurance should cover any potential damage that a burning phone could cause to your home. Your work computer and phone are included in the University's insurances coverage. However, the university’s excess fees are very high, which means that computers and phones should be treated as uninsured property.

Tools for online teaching and collaboration

What online teaching and virtual meeting tools does the University recommend?

A new page aimed at staff listing what alternative technical solutions the university recommends for online teaching and virtual meetings has been set up and is available in English and Swedish.

Read more about online teaching

Read more about virtual meetings

Worry and support

Read how the university manages COVID-19-related risks and anxiety or find out how you can improve your own work environment.

I am worried about COVID-19, how should I handle my feelings?

We all react differently during difficult times. Feelings of stress, anxiety, or fear are natural responses to a crisis. If you feel very worried or have problems sleeping, there are some things you can try to do which might help you cope with your feelings:

  • Talk to friends or family about your feelings and don’t hesitate to ask them for support.
  • Use reliable sources of information about COVID-19.
  • Limit the time you spend reading news and social media.
  • Keep your daily routines as much as possible, and do things you find enjoyable and relaxing.
  • Try to get fresh air, and stay physically active.

Read how the university is managing COVID-19-related risks and anxiety (Aurora) 

The WHO also provides advice on how to cope with stress during the COVID-19 outbreak (World Health Organization)

Contact the university’s occupational health care services (Aurora)

There are others who offer support too. Find out more on 1177.se.

Source: the Public Health Agency of Sweden

I belong to an at-risk group, what should I do?

Employees who belong to at-risk groups based on illness, are requested to contact their manager for discussion.

All employees over the age of 70 are urged to follow the recommendations of the Public Health Agency of Sweden and limit their contacts with others, and hence avoid visiting the university’s campuses and workplaces.

Also, please find out more about what actions the University are taking on Managing COVID-19-related risks and anxiety (Aurora).

Is the occupational health care services providing support and help right now?

Yes, please contact Feelgood.

Read more about the occupational health care services on Aurora

Meetings and travels

Can meetings be held in person?

Internal and external meetings, conferences, seminars, visits and similar must be implemented using online tools, alternatively be postponed or cancelled.

Umeå University is advising against gatherings, activities and meetings outdoors. Despite the reduced risk of infection when meeting outdoors, it is important that Umeå University follows the recommendations issued by Region Västerbotten stating that we should reduce the number of people we meet.

Meeting people in person should be limited to a few individuals, these should also be the same every time.

What are the recommendations regarding travels?

Information regarding travels – both domestic and international – requirements for negative test results to enter Sweden or other countries, temporary entry ban to Sweden and other travel restrictions due to COVID-19 can be found on the page Travels.

Parents and children

What do I do if my child has COVID-19?

If your child is sick or a carrier, you may be eligible to apply for care of a sick child allowance (VAB) from the Swedish Social Insurance Agency. Since 1 October, new recommendations from the Public Health Agency of Sweden apply that say that if you live with someone with COVID-19, you must follow certain rules of conduct.

Read more about this on Working when close relations have confirmed COVID-19 (Aurora)

My child’s nursery or school has closed. What do I do as an employee and guardian?

The first thing you must do is come to an agreement about working from home with your manager. If this is not possible, the employee, in agreement with the manager, can stay at home without salary deduction until the nursery or school has opened, but only for a maximum of 14 days.

Clinical work

I have a combined clinical employment – what happens to me?

Read more on Covid-19-information till medarbetare med kliniska kombinationsanställningar

Contact the University's Crisis Management Team

Please contact the Crisis Management Team using corona@umu.se with all questions related to COVID-19.

Contact the University's Crisis Management Team

Please contact the Crisis Management Team using corona@umu.se with all questions related to COVID-19.