Information for staff and students regarding COVID-19
[Updated 2021-01-25] This information is addressed to staff and students at Karolinska Institutet. The page will be updated when new recommendations and important information are added regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. Staff and students are urged to keep themselves informed daily in order to find out about and act upon the latest recommendations.
Several of the national restrictions for the Christmas holidays are prolonged. The following applies to KI due to this:
- The President’s decision June 15th has been adjusted to the tightened government restrictions in force until 24 January with the decision that only certain educational activities are to be given priority.
- Everyone who can work from home is required to do so. Heads of department or the equivalent decide what is a critical activity that requires physical presence. Read more under the heading Working from home for those who can.
- In other respects, KI's operations continue with the authorities' and KI's recommendations in consideration.
For KI, this still means that:
- Research and education will continue, keeping in mind the recommendations and guidelines below.
- It is everyone’s responsibility to create and maintain a safe environment on university campuses and in society at large. Out of respect and concern for other persons and their well-being in society, it is important for everyone to be careful and follow the recommendations and guidelines.
Recommendations at KI
All staff and students are expected to know and follow the detailed recommendations from the Public Health Agency of Sweden, Folkhälsomyndigheten (FOHM).
An internationally oriented medical university face special challenges in some aspects. Therefore our recommendations complement those issued by FOHM as per below:
Stay at home if you or someone in your household develops symptoms
- If you are an employee you must stay at home, and can work remotely if you are not sick yourself.
- If you are an employee and your work cannot be done from home, you must come in to the university; your immediate manager will take necessary measures to prevent transmission of the virus.
- In the event of absence from obligatory educational activities, students are to be offered alternative tasks where possible. Decisions are to be taken by an examiner.
The university has introduced expanded cleaning and sanitising procedures on campus.
Face masks in labs and in educational situations when difficult to practice physical distancing
Face masks can help block the spread of droplets and are recommended for use in laboratories and in educational situations where it is difficult to practice physical distancing, for example in clinical practical skills training, laboratory demonstrations and dissections. Disposable face masks and instructions on how to use them will be available at the relevant locations.
- Face masks should not be used as an alternative to other precautions, such as practicing physical distancing or staying at home if you have symptoms of illness.
- This shall not be construed as a recommendation to wear face masks on campus in general.
Work from home if you can
In response to the Public Health Agency’s tightened general recommendations on December 18, 2020, everyone who can work from home is required to do so. You need to have the consent of your immediate manager. You will receive salary as usual if you have the approval of your manager to work from home.
Find more detailed information on KI as a workplace during the autumn of 2020.
Testing for COVID-19
KI encourages students and employees to get tested. See what the testing situation is like – availability varies.
This information briefing to Karolinska Institutet’s staff is updated continually.
For doctoral students and supervisors
This information briefing to doctoral students and supervisors is updated continually.
Doctoral students are equated with
- staff when they work with their research project
- students when they participate in courses
Staff with combined appointments and students with clinical placements
Staff with combined appointments and students with clinical placements are to comply with Region Stockholm’s recommendations (in Swedish) when engaged in clinical activities.
The recommendations for KI staff also apply to external staff (e.g. cleaners and restaurant workers) working on the KI premises. Responsible manager for the particular service should inform the supplier about the recommendations and obtain as much assurance as possible that the company is following them. It would not be practical to make the same demands on service personnel who are only here for sort periods of time.
Official travel will be allowed for very exceptional reasons only.
Certain nationals and people with essential need or function in Sweden will be exempted from the entry restriction. This includes for example researchers in the field of health care and people who travel for the purpose of studying.
It is the responsibility of the enforcing authorities (primarily the Swedish Police Authority) to determine in each individual case how the exemptions are to be interpreted and which decisions are to be made. Please visit the Government website for detailed information.
The Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs has asked the Swedish universities to inform our foreign students that some Swedish foreign missions/Embassies may be closed due to the pandemic. They intend to open as soon as the situation permits, and will do their best to allow the students to get their residence permit in time for the start of the semester, but unfortunately cannot guarantee that this will always be possible.
Temporary healthcare work – staff and students
KI is happy for any contribution by our healthcare-trained staff and students to help doctors and nurses deal with the current crisis. Anyone interested in temporary work within healthcare can sign up with Region Stockholm.
KI recommends personnel managers to have a generous approach on granting leave of absence. Should such leave be granted, it is to be reported to the departmental HR office.
Students and staff with a healthcare training are recommended to take Karolinska Institutet’s Covid-19 training for care providers and medical staff to learn about the most important principles and challenges as regards preventing the spread of COVID-19, with a focus on hygiene principles and the use of personal protective equipment.
KI’s crisis management
The KI crisis management team, led by the University Director, have created a continuity plan on the basis of which our departments and equivalent make operational risk assessments to maintain a long-term pandemic preparedness to protect the university's activities, especially those that are sensitive or vital.
KI’s resource teams
University management has set up a number of resource teams within different areas of expertise to support the university and society at large, especially with respect to rapid-response actions.
Information and support contacts
Extra support and advice for employees, doctoral students and post-doctoral researchers/fellows and guest researchers is available from the occupational health service Avonova. Please note that Avonova is n
Internet-delivered Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
If you have any questions, please contact your immediate manager or student counsellor/advisor.
Managers and counsellors/advisors with general questions about staff and students are to contact the head of the Human Resources Office (Mats Engelbrektson) or the Head of the Education Support Office (Åsa Nandorf).