Student information about education regarding corona

[Updated 2021-01-21] This information briefing to Karolinska Institutet’s students is updated continually as reports come in on the spread of the virus. Students are urged to keep themselves informed daily in order to find out about and act upon the latest recommendations.

Updates

  • Region Stockholm has informed KI that students at VFU in patient-centered care will be included in the planning of staff vaccinations. Read more under the heading On-site training (VFU) and internships

  • The government tightened the national restrictions for the Christmas holidays (18 December 2020) and they apply until 24 January 2021.

  • The President’s decision of 15 June 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. This means that newly enrolled students and students on the international programmes will have no more educational activities on KI premises than other students.

  • Since 14 December there are new extended recommendations regarding protective equipment from the Stockholm region for on-site-training (VFU/VIL). Read more under On-site-training.

  • New headline: Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

  • Certain educational activities on campus to ensure safety and quality, a commentary on KI taking measures to ensure how examinations can be done as safely as possible. KI is preparing for a maximum of 50 persons which will apply from week 50.

  • Updated information about examination on campus and measures taken at KI. Read under Examination on campus during the pandemic

  • Stay home if you or someone in your household has symptoms of COVID-19. Read under Recommendations at KI.

  • New information regarding student exchange during the spring term 2021 under the headline Student exchange

This page contains information Student information to students about education regarding corona. Please make sure to also keep up to date on the information on the page Information for staff and students regarding COVID-19.

For the latest updates on how the coronavirus/Covid-19 is affecting Sweden, please go to krisinformation.se for official emergency information.

As of November 24, it is forbidden to hold public gatherings and public events with more than eight participants. The universities' activities do not fall within the framework of public gatherings and public events. At the press conference on 18 November, the government announced that universities need to be able to have certain educational elements on site. KI takes measures to ensure that these steps can be carried out safely.

At KI, the following still applies:

  • Karolinska Institutet (KI) has introduced distance education and possibilities for distance examination as widely as possible.
  • For certain prioritized groups and educational elements, we believe that campus-based practical skills training and examination is necessary to ensure quality and control of knowledge levels - given that it is possible to arrange while ensuring a safe environment to continue to limit the transmission of the virus.  

All activities done on campus are to comply with the official recommendations to help contain the transmission of the virus. The President’s decision of 15 June 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. This means that newly enrolled students and students on the international programmes will have no more educational activities on KI premises than other students.Karolinska Institutet has therefore decided that the following activities are to be given priority on the KI campuses:

  • Practical modules/skills training or practical examinations
  • Examinations not deemed possible at a distance and the examination of courses in the final year of a programme
  • Thesis defences – premises are to enable attendees to follow both physical and digital procedures.

KI’s research and education continue with regard to 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. Studies show that young persons as well as adults can spread the virus. 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

These recommendations and guidelines are based on detailed recommendations from the Public Health Agency of Sweden, Folkhälsomyndigheten (FOHM), and KI’s COVID-19 resource teams.

In some aspects, our recommendations complement those issued by FOHM, reflecting the special challenges faced by an internationally oriented medical university.

Each of the following elements must be in place in order to effectively limit the spread of COVID-19:

Stay home if you or someone in your household feel ill

If you have any symptoms of COVID-19, however mild, you must stay at home. Stay at home for as long as you feel unwell and seven days after the first symptoms, and wait at least 48 hours after recovery before returning to KI.

If someone in your household has confirmed COVID-19, you should also stay at home. If you have training elements that are compulsory, contact the person responsible for the course  about the possibility of completing the examination at another time or if it is possible to supplement for the absence. 

If someone in your household has cold symptoms, you should stay home when you do not have compulsory training.

If someone in your household has received a positive test result that shows that he/she has COVID-19, everyone in the household, both sick and healthy, except children who have not started preschool, will be contacted by the Health Care and given necessary measures to be taken. You are obliged to follow the measures, stay at home, avoid contact with others, and act as if you have tested positive for COVID-19. More information is available on the Public Health Agency of Sweden's website.

If you have been tested for COVID-19, due to cold symptoms or on prompting due to the risk of being infected, you should follow the Swedish Public Health Agency's recommendations and stay home while waiting for your test result and avoid close contact with others.         

In the event of absence from compulsory educational elements, the student shall, if possible, be offered replacement assignments. Decisions are made by the examiner.

Physical distancing

To prevent virus transmission, everyone should keep a physical distance at all times, and not gather in large groups or in crowded places. COVID-19 is typically spread when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or speaks. Aerosol droplets from their mouth or nose are released into the air and can reach the mouths or noses of people nearby. Viruses can also spread indirectly through contaminated surfaces.

Hygiene

Frequent washing of hands with soap and warm water for a minimum of 20 seconds is an effective method of removing and killing the virus. The use of a hand sanitizer is an alternative when hand washing is not possible. The university has introduced expanded cleaning and sanitizing procedures on campus.

Face masks when difficult to practice physical distancing

Face masks can help block the spread of droplets and are recommended for use in educational situations where it is difficult to practice physical distancing, for example in clinical practical skills training, laboratories, and dissections. Disposable face masks and instructions on how to use them will be available at the relevant locations.

Important:

  • 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.

Download instructions for use of face masks

Testing for COVID-19

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you can make an appointment for testing (PCR test), which is free of charge, including those without a Swedish social security number. Individuals within Region Stockholm can also make an appointment for an antibody test via the website 1177.se. In order to do so, you must have been asymptomatic for more than 14 days.

Find more information in English and in Swedish on 1177.se.

KI encourages students and employees to get tested.

Examination on campus during the pandemic 

In order to maintain the quality of education, KI assesses that not all campus-based educational activities can be avoided. This includes some examinations. In order to reduce the risk to spread the infection during examinations on campus KI has taken necessary measures in the examination rooms. These can be found in the document with instructions for admission to the examination room during the pandemic

KI has also developed support documents for management regarding risk assessment when students with cold symptoms come to campus for teaching or an examination.  

Read about what measurements that are taken to ensure a corona-safe environment during sit-down exams. 

Risk assessments for all campus-based educational activities take place in accordance with the instructions for each level of education and the assessment must also consider other ongoing activities on campus. 

Foreign students welcome to Sweden this fall

On 17 March, the Government decided to temporarily ban non-essential travel to Sweden from all countries except EU Member States, the United Kingdom, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland. The entry ban was introduced  to mitigate the effects of the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and reduce the outbreak of COVID-19 and has been extended several times.

On 2 July the Government decided to extend the entry ban until 31 August 2020. At the same time, the Government decided to ease the restrictions for more travelers. Certain nationals and people with essential need or function in Sweden will be exempted from the entry restriction. This includes for example people who travel for the purpose of studying. 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.

Student exchange

The President has decided to cancel exchange studies for incoming exchange students on clinical courses and clinical rotations, and that courses partially abroad will not be conducted this Spring semester 2021. The background is the strained situation in the dental and health care sector due to COVID-19 with a debt of care, as well as the deferred clinical training elements (VFU) from the Spring semester 2020 for regular program students. KI students nominated for exchange studies during the Spring semester 2021 are advised not to carry out exchanges this Spring.

KI has gathered information for regarding exchange studies and studies abroad, related to the corona virus.

KI:s international students

Who is the first contact for the international students?

  • Exchange students on site in Stockholm – contact the international coordinator
  • Other international students – contact the study counsellors / programme

Exchange students from abroad who are at KI

  • Same rules as for regular students
  • The students who go home have the right to take part in teaching / examination etc. The same risks as for other international students (see above)

KI Housing

KI Housing has gathered information about the corona virus for KI Housing tenants.

The syllabus applies

The default is that everything stated in the syllabus, e.g. existing examination forms and learning objectives, applies as usual. However, how the syllabus and courses are implemented in practice may need to be modified if resources are needed elsewhere. For example, it may be necessary to give fewer lectures so that the teacher has time to work on doing more exams or otherwise adapt teaching and examinations to the new current situation.

Should the examiner assess there is a need, and possibility, to change the examination form, the examiner will make a specific decision on this.

Find more information on digital examination in the document information to students regarding written digital examination via distance.

What can teachers do?

The course syllabus should be followed as closely as possible. However, in the event of changes in examination forms, etc., content and learning outcomes as well as the level of expected skills, knowledge and abilities may not be changed, removed or reduced.

The department responsible for the course is also responsible for ensuring that risk assessments are made and that the recommendations are followed.

Information for students

KI’s central administration will inform students regarding what applies to the implementation of the courses, about hygiene routines etc. The departments will provide information about what applies specifically to each course.

On-site training (VFU) and internships

Students who are currently doing an internship or are in on-site training (VFU) should follow the instructions they receive from their respective employers. When working in health care, for example, it is important to stay at home if you have symptoms of a cold or flu.

Since 14 December there are new extended recommendations regarding protective equipment from the Stockholm region for on-site-training (VFU/VIL). All staff (including students conducting on-site-training) in health care, municipal care as well as dental care must always wear a comprehensive visor and fluid-resistant surgical mouth protection. This applies during the entire work shift and in staff rooms. Read more on Vårdgivarguiden (in Swedish). 

The Department should be prepared to handle cases where the internship or on-site training (VFU) cannot be carried out due to workplace closure. In all cases, the learning objectives must be met and the examiner decides whether the entire period needs to be repeated or only the remaining time in order to complete the internship or on-site training (VFU).

If a student is sent home from the workplace for any reason, it should be evaluated if there is a suitable course that he/she can attend instead, so the student does not lose his/her study funding.

Information about vaccination of students against Covid-19 in connection with on-site training (VFU)

Region Stockholm has informed KI that students at VFU in patient-centered care will be included in the planning of vaccinations for staff. Please note that Region Stockholm is responsible for all Covid-19 vaccinations. Three different tracks for staff and VFU student vaccinations are planned by Region Stockholm:

1. Staff vaccination in municipal care and nursing

Affected students will receive a personal invitation to vaccination from the program director via email to bring to Region Stockholm’s procured vaccinator.

2. Vaccination of staff in primary care and geriatrics

SLSO is responsible.

Focus: Vaccinate students who are on-site when the vaccination takes place at each unit. Not started. More info to come.

3. Staff vaccination at the emergency hospitals

The hospitals plan and implement.

Focus: Vaccinate students who are on-site when the vaccination takes place at each unit. Not started. More info to come.

Planning is underway for the staff vaccinations within Region Stockholm and information will be published at Vårdgivarguiden.

Please see Region Stockholm's information on vaccination planning.

On-site training in elderly care services

Department of Social Care has received the question regarding how the activities in elderly care services should involve students who will do their on-site training/VFU in the spring.

Students have the same rules of conduct as all employees in elderly care. They should follow basic hygiene practices and stay at home if they have the slightest symptoms of respiratory infection or fever. Knowledge of the spread of infection and basic hygiene practices is included in the curriculum and is, of course, even more relevant at the moment.

The students are future employees and it is important that they are allowed to perform their internship in the care of the elderly. As long as the Public Health Institute does not advise otherwise, it is the city's assessment that the on-site activities will continue to receive students even when there is coronavirus in the community.

The University Library

This page gather current information about the library services during the outbreak of the Corona virus.

Insurance

Information from Kammarkollegiet regarding insurance.

Distance learning

KI has gathered useful links, tips and inspiration for distance learning.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

What should I do if I feel well, but someone in my household has symptoms / is infected with COVID-19?

If someone in your household has received a positive test result that shows that he/she has COVID-19, everyone in the household, both sick and healthy, except children who have not started preschool, will be contacted by the Swedish Health Care and be given instructions on necessary measures to be taken. You are obliged to follow the measures, stay at home, avoid contact with others, and act as if you have tested positive for COVID-19. More information is available on the Public Health Agency of Sweden's website. Contact the course/examiner if you have a compulsory part of your course that requires physical attendance. 

I have COVID-19 or symptoms of COVID-19, but have a compulsory part of the course/program, what should I do?

In both cases you should not attend the exam/compulsory training but stay at home and contact the course/examinator.  

If you have COVID-19 you must stay at home. Remain at home for as long as you feel sick and do not return to KI until seven days after the first symptoms and at least 48 hours after you have recovered. You who have been contacted by the Swedish Health Care and given necessary measures should follow them. Stay at home and avoid contact with others. Infection tracing is managed by the region and their instructions must be followed.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, however mild, you must stay at home. Stay at home for as long as you feel unwell and seven days after the first symptoms and wait at least 48 hours after recovery before returning to KI.

I got tested for COVID-19 but have not received the result, what should I do? 

If you have been tested for COVID-19, due to cold symptoms or on prompting due to the risk of being infected, you should follow the Swedish Public Health Agency's recommendations and stay home while waiting for your test result and avoid close contact with others.      

I am a student and in a risk group, do I have to write an exam on campus?

Talk to your examiner to come up with a solution. 

When and how will I be notified of my courses during the spring semester of 2021?

KI centrally informs students in general about what applies to the educations, regarding hygiene routines, and more. The departments inform their students about what applies specifically to each education/course. Make sure to also keep up to date with the information on the page Information for employees and students about COVID-19.

What applies to teaching during the spring semester of 2021?

At KI, education and examination on distance continue to apply as far as possible. For some priority groups and educational activities, campus-based practical skills training and examination are necessary for guaranteeing quality and assessing knowledge levels, provided that a corona-safe environment can be arranged. Read about what measures are taken to ensure that these steps can be carried out as safely as possible.

Can I get extra help or support from the student health centre?

If you’re worried you can turn to the Student Health Centre for support. The centre is not, however, offering tests or taking any other medical action related to COVID-19.

Are support functions such as study counselors, libraries, and student health still available?

All support functions, such as study and career counselors, the Academic Writing Support, Studying with disabilities, and Student Health Center, are open, but most of their work is currently conducted remotely. Please contact them by phone or email. Instructions and contact information can be found on the respective support function's website.

I have been nominated for exchange studies; will I be able to go?

As the situation in the world remains uncertain as a result of the Corona pandemic, KI advises you not to go on exchange during the Spring semester 2021 in line with travel restrictions issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Sweden and with reference to the fact that conditions may change at short notice. Follow the link to find more information regarding studies abroad and exchange studies due to COVID-19. 
 

FAQ regarding VFU

I belong to a risk group I am worried about being at VFU

You have to decide for yourself if you can currently practice. If you need to carry out the VFU at another time, contact the student counselor or VFU coordinator.

I am doing my VFU and feel like I might have a cold, but it's all right I think. What should I do?

Get in touch with your supervisor. If you attend but you are sick, you can be sent home and in the worst case, there may be a decision to suspend the VFU due to a risk of patient safety and/or risk for patients' faith in the healthcare system to be demolished. It will then become a used examination and as a rule, the number of examinations for the VFU is limited to two. If you are told to stay at home, the examiner will then decide on the possibility of supplementing or implementing the VFU later. You do not use an examination during the latter conditions.

What should I do if I suspect that I have been infected with COVID-19 during my VFU?

Submit a report in the KI incident reporting system and contact your course coordinator for more information.

If you want to talk to someone about your concerns, contact the Student Health Centre.