Updated 26.06.20, 13:37

Information on Coronavirus to NMBU employees

  • Koronavirus
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    CDC, Alissa Eckert

Updated 26.06.20, 13:37. New information in italics. The campuses are now open. Students are allowed to use certain study rooms. Attendance at office workplaces on campus will be the main rule from August, if the summer progresses as now and there are no major outbreaks of infection. There will be exceptions, especially for those in the at-risk groups. Home office will still be an option and should be cleared with your leader.

Information on Coronavirus to NMBU employees

 

We must still maintain infection prevention measures: stay at home if we are sick, keep our distance and wash our hands.

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

 

 

Teaching and Examinations

 

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 26.06: Activities on Both Campuses

Opening of the Clock Building to students

Select reading rooms on the 3rd floor of the Clock Building are now open to students. In order for students to gain access, they must have taken the infection prevention course which is available on Canvas. After completing the course, students can be granted access to the reading rooms in the Clock Building on an as-need basis. SIT maintains an oversight of the premises, and ensures that the restrictions in place are met. 

Access to the campuses for employees

It is now possible to use our office workplaces, and in August we will return to the norm of attendance at office workplaces on campus as a general rule. Limiting factors which we must consider are: 

  • The ability to maintain a one-meter distance between people at all times during the course of a workday. According to the Norwegian Labor Inspection Authority, there should be at least one, preferably two, meters between each office workplace.
  • Employees participation in the expanded cleaning regime. Checklists have been prepared and disposable cloths have been placed in all kitchens for employees to use.

There is little contagion in Norway now, and thus low risk of infection in NMBU’s buildings, as long as the infection prevention regulations are kept:

Stay at home when you suspect you have a respiratory tract infection, maintain a one-meter distance to other people, wash your hands frequently.

Deans and department chairs evaluate each request to use office space, after a risk assessment. Certain employees may have good academic reasons for returning to campus, while others may suffer from physical/mental ailments due to maintaining a home office. Exceptions must be evaluated concretely. 

As of June 15th, the Ministry of Education and Research allows events of up to 200 persons. The nature of the room (total area, entrances, etc.) will form the basis for how many people can participate at an event. Independent of group size, an overview must exist of all participants, including contact information, as well as the organizer in charge. Deans and department chairs make decisions for their respective faculties and departments.

Cleaning routines on campus

Due to extra cleaning requirements, there is limited capacity, and the cleaning unit must prioritize its duties. This means that the units that choose to use their own facilities must take on extra cleaning duties themselves. They must, on a daily basis, wipe surfaces in their 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 action cards for further details.  

The outer doors to buildings remain locked, so use your key card access. 

Closed Library – open library services
Many services are still accessible, even though the Library is closed.

Mail and packages
University Reception will remain open, and one employee will be physically on campus daily from 10:00-14:00. During this timeframe, it is possible to make arrangements with this person to collect mail which cannot be delivered due to locked buildings and offices. If you are awaiting an urgent package, you can call University Reception at 67 23 00 00 or send an email to servicetorget@nmbu.no.

Working from Home

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.

Welfare leave with pay can be approved in accordance with the Basic Agreements for the Civil Service § 22. The employee can also have the right to leave with pay to care for children and relatives living at home, in accordance with the Basic Agreements for the Civil Service § 20.

Information for PhD Fellows, 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 research fellows, post-docs and residents as a result of the corona situation – a guideline.

Frequently asked questions for NMBU students.

Meetings, Events, and Excursions

As of June 15th, up to 200 people can gather. The nature of the room (total area, entrances, etc.) will form the basis for how many people can participate in a group. Independent of group size, an overview must exist of all participants, including contact information, as well as the organizer in charge. Deans and department chairs make decisions for their respective faculties and departments. 

We still recommend to hold digital events (gatherings, conferences, meetings, etc.) as much as possible for employees. Teams, Skype and Zoom are tools that can be used. Here you can read how to proceed and where you can get help and support (scroll down for English). NMBU, like the rest of the Higher Education sector, uses Uninett as our supplier. This means that NMBU uses a custom layout for Zoom. Read more about Zoom, personal privacy and security (in Norwegian).

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.

Leave of Absence and Vacation

Sick leave

Note that there are new leave of absence codes and routines in place for self-notification, registering sick leave and sick children due to corona. Leave of absence related to corona must be registered using the correct codes so that NMBU can be reimbursed by NAV.

Changes to self-notification
In connection with the corona crisis, the government introduced an unlimited right for employees to use self-notification during the employer period; that is to say, the part of sick leave that the employer pays for. The regulations were to be in place until the New Year, but now the government has announced that they will remove the right to unlimited self-notification as of June 1st, 2020.

This means that we are back to "normal practice" when it comes to self-notification.

Self-notification due to corona or quarantine: code 1012 – self-notification corona.

Sick leave
If you are sick beyond the first 16 days, then you will need to be put on sick leave by your doctor. Inform your leader about your sick leave. The Payroll Section will be notified of sick leave by doctor's orders related to the corona epidemic. Your nearest leader is responsible for filling out and sending in the necessary form. More information can be found in the employee handbook.

Leave of absence due to sick children, caregiver's illness and closed kindergartens/schools

The code to use in UBW to register leave of absence due to children is: 2012 Child and/or caregiver's illness (corona). This code will be used for all sick leave related to children, regardless of cause. This will be in place for the rest of 2020. 

The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs adopted a regulation on March 13 that gives parents the right to double the number of care allowance days until the end of 2020. Parents who must remain home with children because of closed daycare centers and schools can use their care days. The first three days are financed by the employer, and the rest is paid in advance by the employer who can then ask NAV for reimbursement.

Number of days of care allowance:

  • increases from 10 to 20 days for 1-2 children in 2020
  • increases from 15 to 30 days for 3 or more children in 2020
  • +10 days for chronically ill children increases to +20 days in 2020

Single caregiver

  • increases from 20 to 40 days for 1-2 children in 2020
  • increases from 30 to 60 days for 3 or more children in 2020
  • +20 days for chronically ill children increases to +40 days in 2020

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

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

Vacation

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

NEW UPDATE 26.06: What Happens this Fall? 

The Ministry of Education and Research’s goal is to kick off the semester start this fall with open learning places. We plan to maintain our study offer this fall, but we must take into account the fact that there is not enough space for as many people to be on campus at the same time as we are used to under normal circumstances. Welcoming new students this fall will be slightly different than previous years. We will have a combination of a digital reception for all new students, and local, group-based receptions at the faculties and programs, all in line with the prevailing infection control advice. Digital solutions for information, the buddy system, and reception, are being planned together with the various contributors, such as SiÅs, Samfunnet and the Uka Board.

  • The introduction week for international students will be completely digital this year and will occur in week 32 as usual.
  • The semester start for students is August 10th.
  • Matriculation will be conducted digitally. It will be held on Fri. Aug. 14th, from 13:00-14:00, with no classes at the time for students.

For us, the same recommendations apply as for working life in general. We will take necessary measures to ensure that we operate in a responsible manner with regards to infection prevention. We hope to hold campus-based teaching as much as possible, but we plan to have a lot of online teaching this fall.  

We shall have good plans in place for the study progression of at-risk students. It is also important that we continue to develop digital education programs, so that we can ensure good study progression. 

Semester Start for VET, August 2020

The autumn 2020 semester start for the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine will occur on Campus Adamstua, and not on Campus Ås as intitially planned. This is due to construction delays, and was communicated in a message from Statsbygg.

At this time we do not have a new completion date in place, due to the general uncertainties tied to the coronavirus pandemic. We hope it will be possible to start teaching at Ås in January 2021.

 

NEW UPDATE 26.06: 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

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.

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. We ask all units to keep track of costs that are incurred due to the situation with COVID-19 so that we can request compensation from the Ministry of Education.

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

The following guidelines are for holding a public defence at NMBU when coronavirus measures affect physical participation. The guidelines have been approved by the Prorector of Research on May 14, 2020, and will replace the guidelines from March 19, 2020.

Based on an overall assessment, the Dean at each faculty will decide whether or not the trial lecture and public defence can be accomplished as planned or should be postponed to a later date. It is not required that the trial lecture is public. The defence, however, does need to be public in order to be valid. This requirement is mandatory. Below is a description of how this requirement can be fulfilled.

A fully digitized disputation can be held

  • The public defence may be held by completely digital means if physical presence is hindered due to the coronavirus situation. The Dean will decide whether the disputation will be organized physically at a NMBU venue or by completely digital means. The faculty will organize and facilitate the public defence.
  • No more than 20 persons in total may be physically present in a disputation room at NMBU if no particular risk assessment has been carried out. A maximum of 50 persons in total may be present if a particular risk assessment has been conducted and it is approved by the Dean. Questions can be sent to the NMBU Head of Security. The faculty will organise physical participation of necessary administrative and technical personnel to ensure that a defence is succesfully completed. 
  • If any disputation room at NMBU is to be used, the Estate Department (Eiendomsavdelingen) must be notified of the time and place in due time.

Disputation/ public defence conducted with physical participation on NMBU premises

At a disputation/ public defence conducted with physical participation, necessary infection control measures must be in place. Please note section 12 of the NMBU «Tiltakskort – korona – kontorarbeidsplasser smitteverntiltak», an action card for corona infection control measures at NMBU premises:

  • A log must be kept of all participants and the appointed responsible person for the meeting.
  • There must be a distance of one meter between each participant.
  • The room must be tidied, aired out, and all contact surfaces must be cleaned by the participants after the meeting has ended.
  • If coffee, tea, water are served at the event: use disposable cups and glasses, make sure they are disposed of after the meeting. Jugs and carafs must be cleaned. Offering other beverages or food is not allowed.

Participation and presentations

  • At a minimum, the PhD candidate, the chair of the evaluation committee, and the three members of the evaluation committee must attend the trial lecture and the public defence, either digitally or physically (maximum five people in the same room).
  • Should NMBU’s internal committee member not be able to attend, the faculty will appoint a new internal member for the evaluation committee (cf. PhD regulations §14 (5) d. and §14 (7)). Should one of the external committee members not be able to attend, NMBU's internal committee member may step in to fill the role of this opponent.
  • Digital presentations must be shared with all participants and the public. This also applies to making the final and approved PDF version of the PhD thesis available.

Requirement for public defence

  • The requirement for a public defence may be met by giving the public access to join via a digital platform.
  • The public must be able to ask questions (ex auditorio) via the digital platform or by email.
  • It is recommended to ask it@nmbu.no and learningcenter@nmbu.no whether it is necessary to limit the number of participants in the digital room for the public defence. This may be necessary in order to limit the risk of technical problems.

Digital platforms

The announcement of the public defence must contain:

  • As a result of the coronavirus outbreak and accompanying restrictions there are limitations to physical participation during the public defence.
  • 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 participants via Office365 OneDrive.
  • How to ask questions 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 committee member (or the internal substitute member) is unable to attend.
  • One of the external committee members (or the internal committee member who acts as a substitute opponent) is unable to attend.

Contact persons:

 

Report Infection

You must inform your direct supervisor if you are infected with coronavirus.

 

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. June 2020 - 13:46