Updated 26.01.-21, 16:10

Information on Coronavirus to NMBU employees

  • Koronavirus
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    CDC, Alissa Eckert

Updated 26.01.-21, 16:10. New information in italics.

We must still maintain infection prevention measures:

  • maintain distance
  • wash hands
  • stay at home if we are sick

Information on Coronavirus to NMBU employees

NEW UPDATE 26.01: 

We must gain control of the mutated variant of the coronavirus. The government has decided to close all premises at universities, colleges and vocational colleges to students. This applies several municipalities in the Oslo region, up to and including January 31. Most likely the period of closure will be extended. 

For NMBU, this means, unfortunately that the campus will be closed to students and staff and we will switch over to online teaching only. All teaching and planned events will be held online or postponed.

An exception applies to employees whose jobs demand on-campus presence, e.g., for those who are responsible for life and health, and critical activities. Talk with your closest leader to determine what the case is in your situation.  

NMBU will allow fieldwork, internships, and lab experiments that are already started, that are critical for progress, and that cannot be delayed, to continue. This applies, in particular, to some of our master’s students. In these few cases, travel to work/study place is considered strictly necessary and can be justified in line with the government’s recommendations. This presupposes, of course, that all infection prevention measures are upheld. And this encompasses only a few people.

The government's national measures

Everyone must take the infection prevention course and familiarize themselves with the action cards for office workplaces in the HSE Handbook.

 

Restrictions for Oslo and Ås: 

  • All employees must work from home as much as is practically possible. 
  • The teaching must be digital as much as is practically possible. 
  • All exams are digital, with a few exceptions. 
  • Indoor events are banned. This does not apply to teaching, but it will not be possible to book space during the period. 
  • Group rooms, reading rooms, libraries and canteens are kept open for students.
  • It is mandatory to wear a face mask on public transport and in taxis in both Oslo and Ås municipalities.  
  • All sports, cultural and leisure activities for adults have been cancelled. This means that exercising in the gym during working hours and other cultural activities will not occur.
  • SIT is still open to students.

NMBU has only had a few cases of infection in total. All close contacts have been contacted by the municipal chief doctor. If you have not been contacted, then you are not a close contact and do not need to quarantine. 

NEW UPDATE 26.01: Teaching and Examinations

Teaching will be held online.

NMBU will ensure that students and employees with assignments that require on-campus presence can still work on them. NMBU will allow fieldwork, internships, and lab experiments that are already started, that are critical for progress, and that cannot be delayed, to continue. This applies, in particular, to some of our master’s students. In these few cases, travel to work/study place is considered strictly necessary and can be justified in line with the government’s recommendations. This presupposes, of course, that all infection prevention measures are upheld. And this encompasses only a few people. 

 Action card for infection prevention measures in classrooms

Changes in exams and assessments due to the coronavirus

Infection Prevention Course

Employees and students must have taken the infection prevention course before they are granted access to the premises.

Infection Prevention Course (in Norwegian)
Training protective measures – Infection Prevention Course (in English)
Information for guests – corona – HSE infection prevention (Norwegian/English)

NEW UPDATE 26.01: Work on Campus

The university is closed, and we request employees to work from home as much as possible. An exception applies to employees whose jobs demand on-campus presence, e.g., for those who are responsible for life and health, and critical activities. Talk with your closest leader to determine what the case is in your situation.  

Factors we must take into account when on campus are:

Capacity in meeting rooms on Campus Ås

Here you will find an overview as to the capacity of each individual meeting room on Campus Ås.

Classrooms

Here you can access the teaching schedule for the upcoming teaching period, and information as to how to find vacant classrooms. 

Guests on campus

All visitors must be informed about the applicable infection prevention measures.

Cleaning routines

Due to extra cleaning requirements there is limited capacity, and the cleaning unit must prioritize its duties. This means that employees and students must contribute towards extra cleaning duties themselves. We must, on a daily basis, wipe surfaces in our own office workplaces, kitchens must be cleaned by employees, and there are restrictions on the use of common areas such as kitchens, meeting rooms, etc. See the action card for our new everyday life with corona.

Hand sanitizer is placed at the entrances to classrooms. It must be used both when entering and leaving classrooms. Disposable wet wipes are placed on each row of benches in auditoriums, classrooms, etc. Students shall use these to wipe down contact points where they work – table, armrests, etc. Each teacher shall wipe down his/her workspace, computer, etc.

Checklists are in place for teachers as to which measures apply for the use of the classroom in question. The person who is responsible for the practical implementation of the teaching must ensure that the measures are followed and remind students of what their tasks are. We request that faculty management informs teachers about this list. The checklist also exists in English.

The cleaner will refill wet wipes and hand sanitizer as part of the daily cleaning routine. Even so,  if cleaning supplies run out contact the Department of Estates and Facilities by email: eia@nmbu.no. Give the building and room number.

NEW UPDATE 26.01: University Reception
University Reception is closed. Incoming mail is collected every morning. Any eventual outgoing mail is delivered to the postal services at the same time. The internal postal route on campus is not running. Outgoing mail can be placed in the red mailbox outside the door of University Reception (inside of the Circus Building). If you have outgoing mail that is urgent, or if it is absolutely necessary to collect incoming mail for your unit, call University Reception at 67230000 to make an appointment.

Production of access cards will only happen by appointment with IT-support services and only when strictly necessary. Contact it@nmbu.no for an appointment.

 

NEW UPDATE 26.01: Working from Home

In line with government regulations, NMBU Management recommends that employees work from home as much as possible. This will be in effect up to and including February 1, to start with. Leaders at NMBU must evaluate on-campus work versus work that can be carried out online / from home. Individual circumstances should be discussed between leaders and employees.

The services listed below are safe and secure to use off-campus:

  • Via Home Office you can access your virtual NMBU desktop. You will be able to access your home area, shared folders, email, and administrative services.
  • On the NMBU Portal you can access select NMBU services.
  • If you are logged in through an unknown network (insecure network), then the IT department recommends you to use VPN.

Here you can read how to use Teams, and where you can get help and support (scroll down for English).

The Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation informs that there is no basis to suspend state employees.

The pertinent special agreement on flexible work hours provides for an additional timeframe from 06:00 to 21:00. The Working Environment Act (§ 10-11 (3)) allows for an employer and employee to make individual arrangements to work between 21:00 and 23:00. It is possible to make such an agreement. The requirement for break times must be observed.

Information for PhD Candidates, Postdoctoral Fellows, and Residents 

If you are not able to work on your project, we strongly recommend that you register and document the reasons for this. Such registration and documentation may, at a later stage, form the basis for an application for extension of your contract. It is important to maintain close contact with your faculty, advisors, and project leaders, in order to find good solutions together. 

Rights in case of delays due to illness / closed kindergartens / schools due to corona.

Routines for possible extensions for PhD candidates, postdocs and residents as a result of the corona situation – a guideline.

Frequently asked questions for NMBU students.

NEW UPDATE 26.01: Meetings, Events, and Excursions

Ordinary meetings hosted by NMBU should be held online. Gatherings and conferences must be cancelled or postponed if online solutions are not possible.

Here you can get help and support with holding a digital meeting (scroll down for English). NMBU, like the rest of the higher education sector, uses Uninett as our supplier. Read more about Zoom, personal privacy and security (in Norwegian).

If meetings on campus are absolutely necessary, the number of attendees allowed is regulated per room. This number is listed on the room card which accompanies each meeting room.  Check the list of meeting rooms and attendance restrictions for Campus Ås.

A distance of one meter between attendees must be kept at all times. The room must be ventilated before and after the meeting, and eventually during the meeting as well. Avoid forming queues when entering and exiting the room. The meeting host must register the names and contact information of all attendees. See the action card for offices and workplaces, item 12.

See specific updates for public defences.

Excursions

If you are arranging an excursion, you must stick to the rules set by the local host and transport company. The Faculty of Environmental Sciences and Natural Resource Management has created an action card for transport, overnighting and activities on excursions (in Norwegian). It can be a good tool to use to ensure infection prevention.

NEW UPDATE 26.01: Leave of Absence and Vacation 

As of Jan. 1, 2021, the leave-of-absence codes tied to corona have been reinstated. 

People who ignore the national government's travel advice and who must therefore quarantine upon return to Norway may be denied sick-leave compensation. 

Self-notification
Self-notification of corona-related illness or quarantine follows the normal rules for self-notification.  

From Jan. 1 to March 31, 2021, self-notification due to corona-related illness or quarantine must be registered as:
Code 1012 – self-notification Corona.

Sick Leave
If you are ill for more than the 16 days when you can use self-notification, then you must be placed on sick leave by your doctor. Inform your leader of your sick leave. 

When your sick leave is due to corona, the Payroll Section must be informed in order to seek reimbursement from NAV. The following form must be filled in: 

Form for corona-related illness 

The form must be sent to: fravaer@nmbu.no

Your leader is responsible for filling in the form and sending it to the Payroll Section. 

Leave of absence due to sick children
Parents' quota of care benefits is doubled for 2021. The exemption rules will be extended up to and including June 30, 2021.

In addition, the following special provisions are extended in the exemption regulations.

  • The right to care allowance when schools or kindergartens are closed due to the pandemic.
  • The right to care allowance when the quota is used up, if there are special family circumstances with regards to infection prevention. These special circumstances must be documented by your doctor. 
  • The right to care allowance when the quota is used up, if schools or kindergartens are closed. This applies irrespective of whether the closures are decided on the local or national level. 
  • When closure is decided on the local level, documentation must be provided of the closure. 

Number of days of care allowance:

  • For 1-2 children the number of days doubles from 10 to 20 in 2021
  • For 3 or more children the number of days doubles from 15 to 30 in 2021
  • For chronically ill children the number of extra days doubles from + 10 to + 20 in 2021

Care allowance for single parents:

  • For 1-2 children the number of days doubles from 20 to 40 in 2021
  • For 3 or more children the number of days doubles from 30 to 60 in 2021
  • For chronically ill children the number of extra days doubles from + 20 to + 40 in 2021

All leave of absence due to sick children or caregiver's illness (care days) must be registered as:
Code 2010  - child(ren) and/or caregiver's illness

Exta days can be transferred between parents on an as-need basis. This is done by sending in the application «Overføring av omsorgsdager på grunn av stengt barnehage eller skole» on NAV.no.

Vacation
In principle, vacation that has been requested and planned ahead of time shall be carried out as normal.

Further information about registering leave of absence can be found with the Payroll Section (in Norwegian).  

 

Work-related Travel and Private/Leisure Travel

NMBU follows the travel advice of the central authorities. You may find FAQ and answers on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs still advises against all travel that is not strictly necessary. Everyone should think very carefully before eventually travelling. Those planning travel must aquaint themselves thoroughly with the restrictions and infection prevention rules for the country they are planning to travel to.

Employees who choose to travel to countries not recommended by the central authorities must quarantine for 10 days after returning to Norway. Quarantine means that you must stay at home and cannot be on campus. Work travel must be cleared with your immediate leader.

All persons travelling to Norway must register themselves prior to arrival.

Stricter rules for testing and quarantine upon arrival to stop coronavirus mutation - regjeringen.no



About cancellations of hotels, seminars, flights, etc.
In general, the State is self-insured and each unit must cover any costs that arise from cancellations of hotel rooms, seminars, etc., if this is not covered by cancellation insurance through credit cards or travel insurance. The Finance Department asks all units to keep track of costs that are incurred due to the situation with COVID-19 in order to eventually request compensation from the Ministry of Education at a later point.

Private/Leisure Travel

NMBU follows the travel advice of the central authorities.

 

Watch Out for Online Scams

The IT department has seen an increase in the number of viruses and fake emails related to the coronavirus. Be vigilant and be aware that criminals want to exploit the situation. This can include fake SMS, misinformation and financial scams. Contact your IT department if you are unsure about something you have received or been exposed to.

Guidelines for Holding a Public Defence

NMBU follows the applicable national and local regulations and guidelines at all times. Regulations to manage the corona outbreak change on a day-to-day basis.

The revised guidelines for holding a public defence during the pandemic are valid as of November 13, 2020. The Dean will decide whether or not a public defence will be held with physical presence at NMBU or be fully digitized. The faculty in question organizes the physical participation of necessary administrative and technical staff.

Requirement of public access to a defence

It is not a requirement that the trial lecture is a public event. The disputation, however, must be a public defence to be valid. This requirement may not be waived. Please read below how the requirement may currently be fulfilled.

Attendance

  • At a minimum, the PhD candidate, the disputation leader and the three members of the evaluation committee must attend the trial lecture and the public defence.
  • Should NMBU’s internal member of the committee not be able to attend, the faculty will appoint a new internal member for the evaluation committee (cf. PhD regulations section 14 (5) d. and section 14 (7)). Should one of the external members of the committee not be able to attend, the internal NMBU member may step in to fill the role of this opponent.

A fully digitized disputation can be held

  • The public defence may be held by completely digital means should physical attendance be hindered as a result of the corona situation.
  • Technical conference solutions that may be used are Teams or Zoom.
  • Digital presentations must be shared with all participants. This also applies to making the final and approved PDF version of the PhD thesis available.
  • The requirement for a public defence may be met by giving access to join via the digital platform.
  • Questions from the audience – ex auditorio questions – must be facilitated, via the digital platform or by email.
  • Check with it@nmbu.no and learningcenter@nmbu.no to see if you need to restrict the number of attendees using the digital platform for the public defence. This is to reduce the risk of technical problems.

Disputation/ public defence conducted with physical attendance on NMBU premises

  • The number of people with physical attendance must be set to a minimum. This means: The candidate, disputation leader, committee member(s), supervisor(s) and any spouse/partner/cohabitant (in the same cohort as the candidate) and technical support staff for digital transmission (streaming).
  • The public is given the opportunity to participate via a digital platform (as described for all-digital disputations).
  • Department of Estates and Facilities must be informed of the time and place for the completion of the disputation well in advance.
  • Distance requirements and other infection control measures must be met. Participants must be briefly informed about NMBU's infection control measures.
  • The responsible organizer must ensure that an overview of the participants' names and contact information is available and can be handed over to the municipal chief doctor if there is a need to track and trace in the event of infection.
  • See action card for access to office workplaces item 12 regarding the conduct of meetings.

The announcement of the public defence must contain information about:

  • As a result of the coronavirus outbreak and accompanying restrictions the number of people able to physically attend the public defence is limited (insert max number of participants into the text).
  • Information about digital access to the trial lecture and public defence, including information about the digital platform that will be used.
  • How to access the approved thesis. This may be done, e.g., by sending the PDF version of the approved thesis by email or by sharing the document with registered attendees via Office365 OneDrive.
  • How to oppose ex auditorio.
  • Who can answer questions prior to the trial lecture and public defence.

The public defence must be cancelled should one of the following occur:

  • The NMBU internal member of the committee (or the internal substitute member) is not able to attend
  • One of the external committee members (or the internal committee member who acts as a substitute opponent) is not able to attend.

 

Contact persons:

 

Testing If You Suspect Infection

If you are sick and think that you might be infected with corona, call your doctor. If you have symptoms of corona, you will be tested. You must report to your leader if you are infected. 

Students who suspect that they are infected with corona must contact their doctors. If they do not have a doctor in Ås they must contact Ås municipality doctor's office for testing.

 

About the Emergency Crisis Team

NMBU has created an emergency crisis team comprised of university leadership, the Head of Security, the Chief of Health and Safety, and others. The team meets daily and evaluates the current situation on an ongoing basis.

Updated information, guidelines, frequently asked questions and much more can be found in the HMS handbook (internal links in Norwegian).

Advisory resource group
The advisory resource group consists of members from BIOVIT, MINA, KBM, SHF, the Veterinary College and representatives from the protection service and central HSE / emergency resources. Members have expertise in infection control and HSE. 

Please also follow Ås Municipality and Oslo Municipality's websites for information.

 

 

Published 11. March 2020 - 15:35 - Updated 26. January 2021 - 17:36