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Questions and answers about the corona situation

How does the corona situation affect your relationship to UiO as a student, staff member or partner university? UiO is continuously working to clarify current issues and provides updates here.

Updated 26 May, 2020, 14:55 pm

Students

Important! Also check information from your faculty about changes in your studies.

How are UiO's buildings being opened for students?

Which students will gain access to UiO's buildings?

  • The main rule is that students study from home. Teaching will be provided digitally throughout the remaining spring semester.
  • On 7 April, the Norwegian Government adjusted its corona measures and said that students who depend on labs and technical equipment in UiO's buildings to complete their degrees will be granted access. After Easter, the faculties will assess which students this includes.

How do I study from home?

How will exams be conducted?

How are disputations conducted?

  • A digital solution has been developed for disputations. The solution makes use of Zoom for communication. 
  • The solution safeguards the demand for openness and the possibility for participants to ask questions, either in written form via chat or orally. 
  • Rehearsal sessions 48 hours before the disputation are compulsory.
  • Candidates can choose between conducting the trial lecture live or through a recording.
  • Read more and find your contact point for digital disputations.

Is it safe to use the new digital solutions?

USIT has compiled some points on information security in general and on the video tool Zoom in particular. Please refer to the webpage on safety tips for working from home (Norwegian) or the webpage with Q&A and good advice on security when using Zoom.

What should international students at UiO do?

  • We recommend all students to follow the advice provided by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (regjeringen.no) and the Norwegian Health Authorities (helsenorge.no).
  • Some matters regarding the situation are still unresolved, and this page will be updated continuously with and new development.
  • If you wish to end your exchange and return to your home country, please contact the faculty in charge of your programme. We recommend exchange students to follow the advise from their home institution.
  • Students wishing to stay in Norway, are welcome to do so and will be followed up by their faculty and the International Student Reception
  • If you decide to stay in Norway, you must follow the advice of the authorities in your home country and make sure your that insurance policy is still valid in Norway.
  • If you are an international degree student and have questions about completing your studies at UiO, please contact your student adviser.
  • International full degree students at master's level at the University of Oslo can now apply for financial support from UiO's emergency fund. The financial support is aimed at students who have lost their income base and who are not included in national financial assistance systems. 
  • If you decide to leave or are asked to return home and need to terminate your housing contract, please contact SiO Housing
  • If you are living in SiO Housing and have any questions about SiO’s services and their infection prevention measures, please refer to SiO's web page.
  • If you have any concerns or questions, please contact the International Student Reception.

What should students on exchange abroad do?

  • The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs encourages all Norwegian citizens currently travelling abroad to consider returning home as soon as possible, in a safe and calm manner, in consultation with their travel or airline. The University of Oslo deems that this also includes exchange students who are on a temporary stay in connection with their studies. 
  • The Norwegian Government has introduced a number of strict measures consequences for all travel activities. Check the Norwegian Ministry for Foreign Affairs' travel advice (regjeringen.no) and assess the situation in the country you are in.
  • For their return to Norway we ask students to contact their insurance company with regard to covering costs of tickets etc. Norwegian Embassies (norway.no) or the Ministry of Foreigns Affairs´ Center of Operations (regjeringen.no) (Norwegian) may be contacted for assistance.
  • Remember that everyone arriving in Norway from abroad will have to remain in quarantine for 10 days, regardless of whether they have symptoms or not.
  • When returning to UiO, you must contact your faculty for questions about organising your studies.
  • To students on Erasmus exchange: You were sent an email 14 April with instructions on how to register an application for keeping the grant.
  • To students on a UNIFOR scholarship (USA): Your decision to return home or stay in the U.S. will not affect the scholarship.

What should students registered for an exchange semester abroad in summer/autumn 2020 do?

I am an international student/PhD - can I return to Norway?

How does this affect grant and loan payments from Lånekassen?

On Lånekassen's website you will find updated information on the payment of loans and grants, as well as relevant contact points:

What rules apply to me who must stay home with children?

Whom can I talk to if I'm worried?

Many may feel uneasy or anxious about the situation we are in. If you need to talk to someone, please contact SiO Health or a Student Pastor. They offer conversations by phone, FaceTime or as a video meeting. All conversations are confidential and in accordance with the privacy policy, even when digital.

Staff

Access for employees to the buildings at UiO

  • More employees may return to the buildings at UiO from week 20. The buildings will be opened gradually after hygiene measures have been implemented.
  • Employees must take an infection prevention course before returning to campus, see information and registration. See also UiO's infection prevention guide.
  • The main rule is no longer home office. Employees in risk groups, or who live with people in risk groups, or those who want and manage to work from home, should continue to do so. It is encouraged to walk or cycle and avoid rush hour traffic if traveling by public transport.
  • Faculties and units are making plans for how infection protection is to be safeguarded and assessing rotational schemes and priorities. Information will be provided from the individual unit. 
  • Staff continue to have ordinary access to University buildings with cards and codes (05:00 am – 24:00 pm).
  • For receiving mail see the Mail Services Centre's new routines for mail and courier services.
  • For collection and return of books, see the University Library's information.
  • Akademika (akademika.no) (Norwegian) and Bunnpris (bunnpris.no) (Norwegian) at Blindern Campus are open. Bunnpris will be closed June 2 - July 31 due to construction work.

How does this affect my actual work situation?

  • See UiO's infection prevention guide.
  • For employees who are covered by the flexitime agreement, UiO will facilitate a flexible practice of the core time regulations. Flexibility and exceptions to the core regulations also apply to those who do not work from home, but who must be physically present in the workplace. In order to avoid public transport during rush hour, it may be arranged that employees can shift the working day and for example get to work sooner or later. A shifting of the working day must be clarified with the immediate manager.
  • UiO does not cover expenses for employees who perform short-term or occasional work at home. If it turns out that you have had higher costs in connection with  working from home, you may apply to have these expenses refunded later.

How do I work from home?

How should I register working hours in the HR portal when I work from home?

  • When using a home office, ordinary working time regulations still apply, and those who register daily working hours should also register these when working from home. The working hours are registered with the code "Work time".
  • For those who work at home, there may be a need for flexibility with regard to splitting the normal working day of 7.5 hours. To facilitate home office flexibility when it is not possible to work continuously, the social partners have agreed to suspend the core period until 15 September, 2020. If you need to split work day(s), you must notify your manager. Thus, if you work from home, you can register your normal working day as from 08:00 - 15: 45 in the HR portal. The working hours are registered with the code "Work time".
  • As mentioned above, for registering flexitime, extra work and overtime, the same rules apply as for your ordinary physical workplace. This entails that flexitime, extra work or overtime must be clarified and approved in advance with your immediate manager.

Is it safe to use the new digital solutions?

USIT has compiled some points on information security in general and on the video tool Zoom in particular. Please refer to the webpage on safety tips for working from home (Norwegian) or the webpage with Q&A and good advice on security when using Zoom.

How does this affect application deadlines for calls for proposals?

  • The Norwegian Research Council has postponed application deadlines from 6 May to 20 May, 2020, for calls for research project proposals, see detailed information. Please also check the Research Council's information about changes to ongoing projects.
  • EU: The deadline for all calls for proposals with application deadlines until April 15 is postponed, with the exception of the IMI and EIC pilot calls. Please note that details of the new application deadline for each call can be found on relevant pages in the Funding & Tenter Portal (ec.europa.eu).
  • For inquieres and assistance please contact Research support.

How does this affect the running of externally funded projects?

The coronavirus situation may lead to consequences for running externally funded projects. Here is some advice for project managers and partners.

    How should I deal with pending business travel?

    What should I do if I currently am on business travel?

    What should I do if I'm on a long-term stay abroad?

    How should I deal with private travel?

    What happens when booked travel and events are cancelled?

    Refund terms will depend on whether you paid your stay / journey by credit card or invoice. The following terms and conditions apply for full or partial refunds:

    Cancellation of hotel accommodations and conferences

    • If you have booked a hotel accommodation or conference directly to the hotel via the procurement system PM, the person who made the procurement or your local purchasing officer should notify the hotel directly. Egencia should not be notified. The cost should be covered by the paying unit, the unit to where the invoice would have been addressed. Check the hotel's own website for latest updates on their cancellation policy. According to Egencia, many hotels have introduced flexible policies due to the current situation. 
    • If you have booked your hotel via Egencia, you can cancel your booking by calling +47-51444438 or send an e-mail to customer_service@egencia.no.

    Cancelling flights

    • If you have paid your travel with a credit card, UiO's credit card provider must be contacted. UiO has travel insurance included in its card. Travel where a minimum of 50 percent has been paid with this card is covered by this insurance. You can direct your refund request to Egencia, either by calling  +47-51444438 or send an e-mail to customer_service@egencia.no. In some instances and depending on the airline's conditions it is possible to cancel your travel via your profile. 
    • If you have booked your travel with an invoice profile, you can receive a partial refund. UiO is a self-insurer and must cover expenses from cancellations. However, we can be reimbursed for taxes and fees and any other expenses depending on the type of ticket. Egencia will issue a credit note for this amount, but the paying unit will be responsible for the remaining cost. Egencia will assist in clarifying which part of the ticket is refundable. Inform Egencia of cancellations via the following channels:
    • If you have covered costs related to your own business trips which have now been canceled, you can have these costs reimbursed by following normal reimbursement routines.
    • Also remember that you can find updated information on your Egencia profile (egencia.no) in regards to the latest news and the different contact points for inquiries to the travel agency.​

    Am I entitled to sickness benefits?

    • Employees who must be absent from work due to COVID-19, or suspicion of such illness, are entitled to sickness benefits under section 8-4 of the National Insurance Act (lovdata.no) (Norwegian). The right applies only to the extent that the absence leads to loss of pensionable income.
    • UiO accepts self-certification for the entire quarantine period (16 days), if the employee cannot work from home.
    • If you become ill, the ordinary regulations for self-certified sick leave apply. Note: UiO has extended the self-certification system to 16 days, as the burden on the health care system, physicians and GPs these days is great and it may take time to contact a physician by telephone. If you are absent for a longer period, you report this in the usual way and submit a medical certificate that you may receive via telephone. 

    What rules apply to me who must stay home with children?

    • Employees must consider whether they can combine home office with supervising children, or whether taking care of children means that they must completely or partially be absent from work. This will depend among other things on the age of the children.
    • The Norwegian Government has clarified that parents who have to stay home with children due to closed schools and kindergartens can use their family care leave days.
    • Parents who need to be home when kindergarten and school are closed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic have their quota for family care days doubled. Doubled quotas also apply to parents who already have an extended quota (for example, single parents and parents of chronically ill children). Doubling quotas means that:
      • For one or two children who are 12 years or younger, 20 family care days will be granted each in 2020.
      • For three children or more who are 12 years or younger, 30 family care days will be granted each in 2020.
      • For single parents who normally have 20 days or 30 days, the number of family care days is doubled.
      • For caregivers of chronically ill or disabled children who have an extended quota of 10 family care days for each chronically ill or disabled child, this quota is doubled. Single caregivers who receive the extended quota of 20 care days for each chronically ill or disabled child, this quota is doubled.
    • The scheme applies in general, and not only to absence due to COVID-19. This means that extended quotaS also apply in these cases:

      • The child or the child's minder has become ill.

      • The child must be accompanied to a doctor, even if the child is not sick that day.

    • Employees can transfer family care leave days they have available, including the extra days they have been granted because of the corona situation, to another caregiver when both are entitled to family care leave days. Employees who apply to transfer family care leave days to another caregiver must submit an application to NAV themselves, inform their immediate manager of how many days are sought transferred and send a copy of the decision from NAV when available. When family care leave days are to be transferred to employees at UiO, the person transferring the days must submit an application to NAV. Employees must inform their immediate manager of how many days are sought to be transferred and send a copy of the decision from NAV when available. More information and application form (nav.no) (Norwegian)

    • The scheme entered into force on 13 March, 2020, and will last throughout 2020.

    • Therefore, UiO asks employees who have to stay home with children because of closed schools/kindergartens to use family care leave days (sick child). If the quota for care days is exhausted, the employer will grant compassionate leave with pay.
    • After school and kindergarten open, you cannot spend use family care leave days if you choose to keep healthy children at home. However, exceptions are made for cases where special infection prevention considerations require the child to be kept at home. This must be documented with a medical certificate, which you must send to your manager. In such cases, family care allowance is provided as long as the child cannot attend kindergarten or school. This scheme is valid until 30 June, 2020.
    • The question has been raised about whether PhD and postdoctoral fellows may be granted an extension of their employment in connection with taking care of children due to closed schools/kindergartens. In principle, the regulations require two consecutive weeks of absence before extension is granted. Based on the special situation that has arisen, UiO will, as long as schools and kindergartens are closed, waive the requirement for continuous absence. Extension is granted to all PhD and postdoctoral fellows who are absent for 10 days or more during the period. Employees are asked to send a message to the employer about this. UiO realises that fellows are a particularly vulnerable group and therefore, has drawn up a policy to handle possible extensions of their fellowship period.

    Is it possible to change agreed holidays and off-time (avspasering)?

    Can I change agreed off-time?

    • If you become ill after you have agreed to take off-time, you can receive back the part of the flexible time balance that coincides with the medical certificate or self-certified sick leave.
    • If you want to change the agreed-upon off-time for other reasons, you must clarify this with your immediate manager. Whether the agreed off-time can be changed will be the result of a consideration between the needs of the organisation and the needs of the employee. If you agree, the agreed off-time can be changed.

    Can I change my holidays due to illness?

    If you have to cancel your holiday due to illness, you may request that a corresponding number of holiday days be postponed and granted as a new holiday later in the holiday year. The requirement must be documented with a medical certificate. Cancelled holidays are counted from the day you submit the medical certificate. You must enter into a dialogue with your immediate manager about the time for withdrawal of the remaining holiday.

    Can I change my holidays due to imposed quarantine?

    • If you can work from home during the quarantine period, you will be back at work and the remaining holiday can be taken out at a later date after further agreement with the manager. Cancelled holidays are counted from the day you are back «at work» (home office).
    • If you cannot work from home during the quarantine period, you can use self-certification (up to 16 days) or submit a medical certificate. You can then postpone the holiday days that have not been taken if you submit a medical certificate. Cancelled holidays apply from the day you submit the medical certificate.

    I am a foreign employee at UiO: What should I do?

    • If you are a UiO employee with foreign nationality who, in this situation, wishes to return to your home country, you should discuss the situation with your immediate manager. In addition, you should contact the authorities in your home country. Your country's embassy in Norway can help you with more information. Local authorities may continuously introduce travel restrictions or other measures such as quarantine. You should familiarize yourself with current entry rules for the country you are travelling to. The situation is changing rapidly and it is therefore important that you carefully examine the current conditions yourself.
    • International employees who are scheduled to take up their positions at UiO these days must adhere to current Norwegian entry restrictions (udi.no). Be aware that everyone arriving in Norway from abroad will have to remain in quarantine for 10 days, regardless of whether they have symptoms or not. If you plan to move to Norway to take up a position at UiO, this must be done in close consultation with your employer.
    • The Norwegian Government has closed the border for foreign citizens without a residence permit in Norway. They are expelled at the border on the basis of the Infection Protection Act.

    I am a doctoral research fellow: Can my fellowship period be extended?

    Whom can I talk to if I'm worried?

    Many may feel uneasy or anxious about the situation we are in, either as an employee or as a manager. If you need to talk to someone, please contact the Occupational Health Service. They offer conversations by phone, FaceTime or as a video meeting. All conversations are confidential and in accordance with the privacy policy, even when digital.

    How is information about quarantine and cases of disease treated?

    Confidentiality and GDPR

    Employee absence from work is subject to general confidentiality and GDPR. Therefore, the employer cannot, as a rule, provide information about individuals' absence and illness, either to employees or to others.

    Information based on consent

    The employee can give consent to the employer so that the employer can inform others about the reason for absence. It is important to ensure that consent is given voluntarily and that information is not shared beyond the scope of the consent.

    Information about quarantine and illness within an institution

    • If an employee is diagnosed, the municipal health service will follow up the person and all contacts in accordance with current guidelines to ensure sound health care and infection detection.
    • The employer can provide information within the company that an employee is quarantined or infected, if this is deemed necessary to ensure a safe and healthy workspace. If the employer considers it necessary to provide such information in order to ensure a safe and healthy workspace, a specific assessment must be made in each case. Contact the HSE and emergency preparedness unit (e-mail) before information is released.​

    Can I be laid off as a result of the coronavirus?

    There is no access to layoffs in the state according to current regulations, but if needed, employees can be redeployed to other tasks.

    How may I be affected by measures to maintain the necessary operations at UiO?

    If UiO experiences large absences due to the coronavirus, measures to maintain the necessary operations of the organisation in accordance with KMD's guidelines (employer.difi.no) may be put in place.

    Possible measures:

    • Redeployment of employees
    • Overtime
    • Change of holiday
    • Temporary appointments to cover absence
    • Healthcare personnel at UiO may be ordered to perform work in the health care system due to the corona situation.
    Published Mar. 6, 2020 2:44 PM - Last modified May 26, 2020 5:51 PM