Student information about education regarding Corona
[Updated 2020-09-02] This information briefing to Karolinska Institutet’s students is updated continually as reports come in on the spread of the virus.
KI are following the recommendations from the Public Health Agency of Sweden, Folkhälsomyndigheten (FOHM). In some aspects, our recommendations complement those issued by FOHM, reflecting the special challenges faced by an internationally oriented medical university:
- Face masks in certain educational situations where it is not possible to keep a distance, for example in clinical practical skills training, laboratories, and dissections. Find link to download instructions for use of face masks under headline Recommendations at KI.
- Stay at home also when household members have symptoms indicative of COVID-19 and/or in case of suspected or confirmed COVID-19. More details concerning symptoms of COVID-19 under headline Recommendations at KI.
On 29 May, the Government announced that, as from 15 June, higher education institutions may conduct to campus-based teaching, provided that all activities on campus comply with the official recommendations issued by the Public Health Agency of Sweden to help limit the transmission of the virus. In practice, this means that most theoretical education will continue remotely, in order to enable campus-based teaching for priority groups and activities.
All activities done on campus are to comply with the official recommendations to help contain the transmission of the virus. Karolinska Institutet has therefore decided that the following groups and activities are to be given priority on the KI campuses:
- Practical modules/skills training or practical examinations
- New first or second-cycle students
- Examinations not deemed possible at a distance and the examination of courses in the final year of a programme
- Study programmes at first and second-cycle level held in English
- 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 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 wait at least 48 hours after recovery before returning to KI.
If someone in your household has symptoms of COVID-19 you must stay at home if you have non-compulsory teaching such as lectures, group work or self-study.
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.
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. Use of a hand sanitiser is an alternative when hand washing is not possible. The university has introduced expanded cleaning and sanitising procedures on campus.
Face masks when difficult to practice physical distancing
Face masks can help block the spread of droplets and is 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.
- 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.
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.
KI encourages students and employees to get tested.
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.
Reception activities for new students
With current general recommendations, the introduction kick-off (introduktionsinternat) is not deemed feasible. Reception activities for newly admitted students must be adapted to the recommendations and coordinated between the programs on each campus to avoid the risk of infection. KI centrally will conduct a digital welcome day for the new students. There will also be staffed information desks, both on the Solna campus and the Flemingsberg campus, which the new students can turn to with their questions.
With regards to incoming students, the situation for on-site training (VFU) is considered to be difficult during the autumn term. The Stockholm Region has turned to all universities with a recommendation and appeal to "during the autumn term 2020 refrain from receiving international students for VFU within the region's health care". Because of this, all exchange studies for incoming students on clinical courses and clinical rotations during the fall term are cancelled. For other courses and parts, the department with responsivity for the respective program / the program committee decides on the possibility of offering spaces to incoming students.
KI advises against the travel of outgoing students who have been nominated by KI and admitted to a foreign university for their studies abroad for as long as the travel restrictions of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Public Health Agency of Sweden remain. If the situation gets worse, KI may decide to immediately withdraw the decision for approved leave for studies (studieuppehåll) for these international studies, based on compelling security reasons.
In case a course has a placement abroad (eller en international placement), this should not be completed during the Autumn semester 2020.
KI has gathered information for regarding exchange studies and studies abroad, related to the corona virus. NOTE the information is for spring 2020.
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
International students attending full programmes (not exchange students)
Students who are considering going home or who are asked to return home can of course do so, but consider this information:
- Nobody knows how long remote teaching/learning will continue. There may be rapid changes that cannot be foreseen now. It cannot be guaranteed that the student will be able to take part in all teaching and various examinations.
- If the student returns home, there is a risk that it will be hard to return to Sweden and KI due to closed national borders, travel bans and issues with residence permits. The Swedish Migration Board has information about what is currently applicable.
- If the student returns home and cannot take part in teaching / examinations, students have the right to take part in it at a later date, provided that there are course places available. Ordinary rules apply when it comes to resumption of studies.
- Questions about scholarships should be answered by your scholarship organization.
- Questions about tuition fees: please contact the responsible officer at Karolinska Institutet.
- The student should stay informed about what applies to insurance when traveling home.
- The internet connections needed for participating in distance education may have different functionalities in different countries.
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 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.
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.
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.
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
Information from Kammarkollegiet regarding insurance.
KI has gathered useful links, tips and inspiration for distance learning.
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 counsellor 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 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.
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.