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Information for students, faculty and staff regarding COVID-19. (Updated: 7 May 2021)

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FAQ for current students

(Last updated on 5 May 2021)

Questions regarding autumn semester 2021

Why does the university have so many rules regarding COVID-19?

In Spring 2020, all Swedish universities had to close their premises completely due to the high spread of COVID-19 in Sweden, which had consequences for our students. Umeå University is actively working to reduce the number of people that meet in order to keep conducting education and research. This is why all members of staff who can work from home, all meetings are now virtual and all live events have been postponed or moved online.

Also, teaching and examination is carried out online to the extent possible and the number of written hall exams has been limited to a minimum. This is to give our students the opportunity to complete their studies. At the same time, we reduce the risk of overloading the healthcare system and prevent more people from getting seriously ill.

The overall objective of the university’s measures is to provide a safe place to study and work at and for education and research to be carried out with maintained high quality despite the pandemic.

I don’t feel well, who can help me?

It can be tough to handle the pandemic and have enough energy to study. You can always contact the Student Health Service for counselling, or get help with stress management. If you need help to manage your studies or improve your study skills, you can also get help from the Academic Resource Centre at the Umeå University Library.

Will my studies be off or on campus this autumn?

If you are taking a freestanding course or if you have already taken at least one semester of a study programme, and hence is not a beginner student on a study programme, most of your education will take place online or in other alternative ways until 29 September. Some practical parts of your course may still need to take place with physical attendance and some educations still perform written hall examinations. For that reason, it is only your course coordinator or equivalent who can answer how your studies will be conducted.

If it can be carried out in a safe way, beginner students on study programmes will have some of their education on campus to get the best possible start to their studies. But it is also likely that you will have some of your activities online.

Can I study on campus?

Avoid being on campus when not necessary. Study from home instead.

If you have group work or study with others, primarily choose to collaborate using online tools. If you need to meet in person, try to stick to one and the same group at all times, and make sure the group size is small. The effect is best if the group does not exceed seven, according to the county medical officer.​

Even when the libraries open their study spaces, it is wise to choose times when the risk of crowding is smallest and be careful to maintain your distance to others.

What do I need to consider when visiting campus?

Avoid visiting the university’s premises on days when you do not need to be there. Study from home instead. Or pick times when less people visit campus to reduce the risk of crowding. When you visit campus, you must follow the Public Health Agency of Sweden’s guidelines and general advice about washing your hands, maintaining distance to others and staying at home if you are ill. If you use group rooms, you must make sure you do not exceed the maximum number stated and, in general, do not use seats that have been blocked off.

Do I need to move to my study destination?

If you are taking an education that normally would be offered at the study destination, which in most cases is Umeå, that means you are not taking a distance education. Even if most of your education initially takes place online, you may still have compulsory course components that cannot be conducted online and for which you have to be present on campus to complete.

Depending on how the pandemic develops and what guidelines the authorities give, teaching may also take place on campus again in the near future. For those reasons, the university recommends that you plan to live at your study destination this autumn.

Also, please note, if you do not participate in a compulsory course component, this may affect your opportunities for student finance or scholarship, or your ability to meet the entry requirements to following courses.

Do I need to be worried about visiting campus?

The university is taking a number of precautions to ensure a safe environment for students and staff to study and work at the university. For example, alternate seats in lecture halls have been blocked off to increase the distance between students. Follow the markings. A red-white tape means a seat cannot be used.

When you are participating in practical activities such as a laboratory session or similar on campus, the group size and distances have been adapted.

The number of students in exam halls have been heavily limited and the seats are wide apart. Also, the routines for entry and exit, as well as identity checks, have been adapted. You are also recommended to use and are offered a face mask.

If your teacher has assessed that some form of physical attendance is required for a compulsory course component, you can also rest assured that measures have been taken for you to participate in a way that ensures your health and safety.

In all cases, it is important that you do not take part if you are ill – even when the symptoms are mild. If you cannot take part due to illness, you have the right to participate the next time offered.

If you feel worried, you can contact your course coordinator or teacher to try to find a solution, or contact the Student Health Service for support and counselling.

What will happen to my onboarding?

Onboarding is something that the student unions carry out to welcome new students to study programmes. The student unions will follow the development of the pandemic and plan the autumn semester’s onboarding depending on what is possible at the time. You will find out more closer to the date. International students are also welcomed by the International Office and the Buddy Programme. If this applies to you, you will be informed of how these events will take place closer to the date.

Will cafés and lunch restaurants be open?

Yes, there will be places open where you can buy your coffee or lunch. There are also places where you can heat your own food. But do not forget to maintain distance in these places too.

Illness, symptoms and testing

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

How do I get myself tested for COVID-19?

If you have symptoms that may indicate COVID-19 and that remain after 24 hours, or if you, for other reasons, need to get tested, you can do so through Region Västerbotten's healthcare services. Taking the test is free of charge.

Please note that you must stay at home and limit your social contacts if you have symptoms indicating disease. This applies even if the symptoms are only mild. When you have taken a test, it is crucial that you stay at home and limit your contacts until your test results have arrived.

If you have a Swedish personal identity number, please find out how to take the test through Region VästerbottenPlease note! Temporary personal identity numbers cannot be used for self-testing. A temporary number is one that includes a letter, in the last four digits. 

If you do not have a Swedish personal identity number, please contact your nearest healthcare centre to get tested, usually by phone. Find your healthcare centre.

Depending on your test results, find out more under "What do I do if I have a positive COVID-19 test?" and "My COVID-19 test results were negative, can I go back to the university although I have symptoms?" below.

What do I do if I have a positive COVID-19 test?

If you have taken a COVID-19 test and received a positive test result indicating that you have COVID-19, you must stay at home for seven days after falling ill or positive test results. Base your calculations on the date that occurred last. You must also have been symptom-free for two days. During this period, you must keep your distance to others and stay at home.

You are also recommended to inform your course coordinator or other teacher. This is so that the University can assess what measures may be necessary and be made aware of potential clusters in your group. Region Västerbotten will perform contact tracing, and in doing so they might contact your course coordinator to get help with contacting people who you have been in close contact with, such as teachers or fellow students.

When you have informed the University, your personal data will not be shared with others than to those necessary for completing contact tracing – unless you explicitly give your consent. Come to an agreement with your course coordinator if you want to contact your fellow students yourself or let your course coordinator inform those who need to be informed. 

My COVID-19 test results were negative, can I go back to the university although I have symptoms?

If your test results indicate that you do not carry COVID-19, you can return to university premises as soon as you are free of symptoms and feel healthy.

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 the university before you are completely healthy. Please continue to follow the advice from the Swedish authorities. Source: 1177.se

Do I need to report sick if I have fallen ill and am unable to study?

The Swedish Social Insurance Agency, Försäkringskassan, has information about illness during studies.

Students that receive study grants from the Swedish Board of Student Finance (CSN) must stay informed through their website.

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 at the university. 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.

Students active in the healthcare services must continue to follow hygiene routines and routines regarding protective equipment in healthcare settings.

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

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

What do I do if someone I live with has confirmed COVID-19?

If you share accommodation with someone with confirmed COVID-19, you are recommended to conduct your studies from home and avoid contact with others for the next 7 days. When it comes to mandatory course components that can only be conducted in person on campus, you are urged to contact the department/course coordinating teacher or equivalent to discuss if an alternative solution is possible. If no alternative examination format is possible, you can attend the next session offered.

If you have a sick child, you may be eligible for care of a sick child allowance (vab) from the Swedish Social Insurance Agency.

Information about care for a sick child, read under section If you are or will become a parent 

The Public Health Agency of Sweden’s recommendations if you live with someone with confirmed COVID-19

Anyone sharing accommodation with a person who has been infected with COVID-19 must stay at home. Further rules of conduct may be presented by a doctor in what is called contact tracing.

You are urged to pay extra attention to your hygiene routines and any emerging symptoms of COVID-19, and you are urged to keep your distance from the infected person to the extent possible. If symptoms emerge, it is important that you take a test for COVID-19.

You are obliged to follow the measures necessary to protect yourself and others from risk of infection.

If you live in a student dorm (studentkorridor) with shared facilities such as kitchens or bathrooms, you may be contacted during contact tracing. However, you may be included in contact tracing if physical distance has not been maintained in the accommodation. Assessments will be made from case to case. So please remember to keep your distance!

If you have previously had a COVID-19 infection it is likely that you do not have to be quarantined again. The Department of Communicable Disease Control and Prevention at Region Västerbotten makes these assessments.

Also read the FAQ "What happens if I have already had COVID-19?" and "How do I get myself tested for COVID-19?"

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

If a fellow student or other person who you share a workroom or work closely with has been confirmed infected with COVID-19, you are recommended to study from home 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 within 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.

What happens if I am in an at-risk group for COVID-19 and cannot partake in an obligatory course component?

If you belong to an at-risk group for COVID-19 and for that reason cannot participate in an obligatory course component, you must notify your course coordinator. Do so as early as possible, preferably at the start of the course, but no later than 10 working days before the examination date. The department should try to find another solution, for instance to attend virtually. The department should also consider if another format of assessment is possible. If no alternative examination format is possible, you must be offered to attend at the next available time (in the same way as if you were absent due to sickness or other absence).

If adaptations are not possible, you may want to consider to apply for an approved leave from studies for medical reasons in order to resume your studies at a later date when you are able to attend in person.

Learn more about approved leave from studies

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

Distance on campus

I need to go to campus and am worried about my safety. How will I keep my distance?

The university is taking several precautions to maintain a safe place to study and work. This means that seatings in lecture halls and auditoriums have been blocked off to ensure a safe distance between people. Please respect the restrictions that have been put in place.

When a written hall examination is deemed necessary, the hall has been adapted to be as safe as possible. If your teacher has assessed that some form of physical presence is necessary for your examination, then please rest assured that the university has taken measures so you can participate in a safe way.

However, it is crucial that you do not take part if you experience the slightest symptoms of diease. If you cannot participate because of this, you have the right to take part the next time.

If you feel worried, please contact your course or programme coordinator to try to find an individual solution, or contact the Student Health Service for counselling. You can always choose not to participate if you do not feel comfortable. You have the right to take part the next time.

Find out more about the Student Health Service

Learn more about education and examination

Teaching and examination

Can my course be postponed to the summer?

If a course cannot be completed according to the original plan, the course in its entirety or a part of the course can be moved to summer 2021. If you cannot take part in the summer, you have the right to participate the next time the course is offered in autumn semester 2021.

If you qualify for student finance for a course that has been cancelled, you may have the right to have parts of your student loan written off. You may also qualify for student loan for the part of your studies that has been rescheduled for the summer semester. Please contact the Swedish Board of Student Finance (CSN) if you have any questions.

When will I receive my examination results? 

Usually, results from an examination must be notified within 15 working days. However, due to circumstances caused by COVID-19, it may take longer for your teachers to correct your examination. For instance because the examination format has changed. Consequently, the Vice-Chancellor of Umeå University has approved that notifications of examination results can take place later than within those 15 working days. But if that is the case, you must be informed of when you can expect your results.

Can a course, course module or examination that I have been admitted to be rescheduled or postponed?

Yes. If no other solution is possible to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19, and if it does not jeopardise the quality and legal certainty of the course, your department can decide to reschedule your course, course module or exam to another date. Contact your course coordinator if you have any questions.

Can the grading scale be changed during an ongoing course?

No, the grading scale cannot be changed during an ongoing course. However, the grading scale of a single examination can be changed.

Am I required to activate my camera in teaching and examination?

If a student is participating in an online meeting and it is necessary to participate with camera, teachers can demand that you participate with an activated camera. If there is no necessary need for using a webcam, your teacher cannot demand that you use one, regardless of the course component is compulsory or not. You must be informed of the need to have a camera in good time prior to the event if this is a requirement. If a student does not have access to a webcam or if the technology malfunctions, another solution must be found, or the students must be offered a new chance.

How is your student finance affected?

On the website of the Swedish Board of Student Finance (CSN), you can find out more about how student finance is affected by COVID-19.

See Information about the Corona virus from the Swedish Board of Student Finance.

Certificates to the Swedish Board of Student Finance (CSN)

If one of your courses, a course component or an examination has been rescheduled due to COVID-19, and this affects your credits awarded, you may need to submit a certificate to CSN when you next apply for student finance. Please contact your course coordinating department or equivalent if you have not received such a certificate.

If you are uncertain who to contact, ask your lecturer or course coordinator, or contact Infocenter.

Leaving Sweden

I need a negative COVID result to return to my home country. What can I do?

Some countries require incoming travellers to show a negative test result upon entry into the country. And the test results need to be recent. Testing in Sweden is usually only carried out on individuals who show symptoms of disease.

If you are a student travelling home after studies at Umeå University and your home country requests a certificate of a negative COVID test for entry into the country, you should turn to a private care provider who issues travel certificates.

Procedure for taking a test and obtain a travel certificate:
Contact a private healthcare provider who issues travel certificates. At the moment, and to our knowledge, there are two such healthcare providers in Umeå, SVEA Vaccin and Vaccina. Please note that if you do not have a Swedish personal identity number, you must turn to SVEA Vaccin.

Plan your travels well

It is important that you plan your travels well if the test is to be less than 72 hours old when entering your destination. This means that it is appropriate to take the test at the beginning of the week and then plan travels within three days. Please bear in mind that it takes approximately 48 hours for your test results to arrive. Avoid planning travels on a Sunday, Monday or Tuesday as you will find it difficult to show a sufficiently fresh test result since tests are usually not analysed during weekends.

Travel safely

You are obliged to follow the Public Health Agency of Sweden's guidelines when travelling and avoid unnecessary travelling. Read the authority's information: If you are planning to travel

Also read Tests for travel certificates (Public Health Agency of Sweden)

I am an exchange student at Umeå University and want to terminate my studies and return home. What steps do I need to take?

  1. Contact your home university to make any necessary arrangements.
  2. Contact the teachers of the course you are registered in and let them know that you will not finish the course.
  3. Decline any courses you are admitted to, but have not yet started, at universityadmissions.se. In addition, contact the responsible teacher for the course to let them know you will not attend.
  4. Notify the International Office by email.
  5. If you have housing through the International Housing Office, contact them at housing@umu.se to make the proper arrangements (rent, keys etc) before you leave.

I am international student and want to terminate my studies and return home. What steps do I need to take?

  1. You need to contact the teachers and/or administrative staff of the courses you are registered for and let them know you will terminate your studies. They will provide further instructions if necessary.
  2. Decline any courses you are admitted to, but have not yet started, at universityadmissions.se. If you are unable to do this, please contact the teachers and/or administrative staff of the course(s).
  3. If you have housing through the International Housing Office, contact them at housing@umu.se to make the proper arrangements (rent, keys, etc.) before you leave.

Travels

Are there any travel restrictions in Västerbotten?

On 9 February 2021, stricter local measures were introduced in Västerbotten. These state that those who live in Västerbotten should not make unnecessary trips within or outside the county. If you must travel, be as mindful of the infection risks as possible. Make sure you can get home safely if you show symptoms. These measures have been extended until 9 May 2021, but may be extended further, and are a result of the serious situation concerning the spread of infection in the Västerbotten County.

Learn more from Region Västerbotten

Can I travel or not?

The university has gathered some current information about travel bans, negative covid tests to enter Sweden and other countries, and requirements for testing and self-isolation when arriving in Sweden. This information was aimed at staff but applies to students as well.

Learn more on Travels

Student housing

What should I consider if I live in shared housing, student dorm or similar?

The same recommendations apply as in the rest of society – avoid coming in close contact with others. The best way of reducing the risk of spreading disease is to wash your hands often and carefully and limit social contacts. Consider disinfecting door handles and other shared surfaces often. You could also schedule times to use shared kitchens or other facilities.

If someone in your accommodation falls ill, this person must self-isolate and avoid spending time in shared spaces. You can help the person by running errands such as food shopping or other medical errands as long as you can keep your distance.

Find out what happens if someone you live with is confirmed infected by COVID-19 under the FAQ "What do I do if someone I live with has confirmed COVID-19?" above.