Last update: August 17, 2021

1 - Introduction and Purpose

1.1 Objectives

The Protection Plan (Plan) describes the measures to be taken during the pandemic period (Covid-19) to ensure the operation of Franklin University Switzerland (FUS), adequately protecting the health of its staff, faculty and students, as well as external visitors, pursuant to Federal Ordinance 2-COVID-19.

The requirements contained in the Plan therefore apply to all FUS staff, students and external visitors.

The Plan complies with the employer's obligation to inform employees.

1.2 Legal Basis

We are creating this manual to meet the requirements of Swiss law and to go beyond it when we have determined that is helpful to protect our staff, faculty, students and visitors, and especially our high-risk constituents.

1.3 Information and References

General information on the global and national situation can be found on official websites (non-exhaustive list):

World Health Organization;
Swiss Federal Office of Culture;
Republic and Canton Ticino (Italian).

2 - Organization

2.1 FUS Cabinet

The President’s Cabinet is responsible for the drafting, implementation, monitoring and constant updating of the Plan. This may be updated as the epidemiological situation for the region changes.

Any concerns or questions should be directed to Tomaso Rizzi at trizzi@fus.edu or members of the Cabinet.

3 - Basic Rules

In general, the rules of the FOPH (Federal Office of Public Health) campaign Protect yourself and others apply.

The aim of protection in the workplace is to reduce the transmission of the new coronavirus through distancing, hand cleansing and hygiene. 

In short, everybody must:

  • Wear a mask in ALL indoor spaces;
  • Employees must wear a mask in the presence of any other staff, faculty or student;
  • Watch your distance, social distancing applies everywhere;
  • Wash your hands;
  • Welcome visitors in safe environments with new registration policy;
  • Download the Swiss COVID-19 App and take the Franklin Pledge.

3.1 Behavior in case of flu-like symptoms and isolation/quarantine
measures

It is essential to remember that anyone who develops flu-like symptoms (fever above 37,5° C or a feeling of fever, mostly dry cough, sore throat, shortness of breath or breathing problems, muscle aches, sudden loss of smell and / or taste must stay at home, limit contact with other people and contact by phone:

  • Their family doctor;
  • The Ticino infoline at 0800 144 144, open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.;
  • The national infoline on +41 (0) 58 463 00 00, active daily from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.

The procedure to follow in case of reporting direct contact with a person tested positive for COVID-19 or that staff and students have been found to be positive for the virus is outlined in the Protocol which must be strictly applied. If isolation and quarantine measures need to be taken, adapted and communicated by the Cantonal Medical Office (CMO) or in case of return from countries at risk, please follow the recommendations issued by the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) and the cantonal authorities (New coronavirus: procedure in case of symptoms and possible infection).

3.2 Persons particularly at risk

The needs of particularly vulnerable people are properly considered.

People over 65, pregnant women, and people suffering from particular illnesses are considered particularly at risk. Persons particularly at risk may attend the premises only by strictly observing the rules on distancing and hygiene or, where appropriate, by taking the additional specific protective measures provided for. The same behavior must be adopted by those who come into contact with persons at particular risk on the premises.

3.3 Return from high-risk countries or regions

It is recommended to limit travel and movement.

In accordance with the provisions of the COVID-19 Ordinance on International Passenger Transport Measures of the Federal Council, persons returning to Switzerland from countries or regions with a high risk of infection must be placed in quarantine for ten days.

The list of states or regions considered at risk is attached to the Ordinance. Please note that those who are required to self-quarantine must register within 48 hours from their re-entry with the competent cantonal authority, by filling in the following form (Italian Version or English version). For specific requests, please contact the cantonal hotline COVID-19 (tel: 0800 144 144; e-mail: hotline@fctsa.ch).

3.4 Wearing masks, social distancing, and increased hygiene

3.4.1 Use of masks with social distancing

Wearing masks that cover the nose and mouth is essential to our protection plan. Combined with social distancing, mask wearing has been proven to prevent the spread of infection and protect the community (Italian version).

Our plan for masks and social distancing is founded on social responsibility, a strength at FUS. We must all act together to remain safe and to keep others safe. We have many at risk individuals of all ages at FUS and many with at-risk family members, and we will be together with them frequently, often without an awareness of who they are: wearing masks effectively reduces transmission of coronavirus from an infected person to others since they cover the nose and mouth, which are the main confirmed sources of transmission of virus that causes coronavirus infection.

All individuals in indoor University facilities must wear disposable surgicalstyle masks (CE surgical mask or certified FFP2/N95 or N90 equivalent) or fabric/cloth masks that cover their nose and mouth. Masks are supplied by FUS.

Masks are available for staff, faculty, students and external visitors (see new Visitors’ Registration Guidelines at point 5.3). Visitors must wear a mask at all times.

Masks are required in all indoor spaces. Social distancing of at least 1.5 meters must also be maintained.

Masks are not required outdoors on campus but social distancing requirements must be observed both outdoors and indoors.

Social distancing of at least 1.5 meters is required at all times in ALL settings.

Social distancing is mandatory, including when masks are being used.

3.4.2 Proper use of masks

The following guidelines apply. To obtain maximum protection the mask should fit the face well. It must completely cover the face from above the nose to under the chin and remain in position.

Therefore:

  • Position the mask on the nose and mouth so that the reinforced part is on the bridge of the nose;
  • Pass the elastic around each ear or tie the laces behind the head;
  • Cover the chin with the lower part of the mask;
  • Adjust the reinforced upper part so that the whole edge of the mask adheres well to the skin;
  • Do not exchange used masks with other people;
  • Wash your hands with soap before putting on the mask and after throwing away single-use mask;
  • Dispose of single-use masks as household waste when soiled or after four hours of use.

We recommend that you watch this video about how to use a surgical mask correctly.

3.4.3 Wash your hands.

Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly for at least 30 seconds with soap and water, especially before arrival at the workplace, before and after breaks and before and after meetings.
Follow the FOPH instructions.

More specifically:

  • Rinse your hands under running water;
  • Soap them;
  • Rub them until a lather forms for at least 20 seconds;
  • Don't forget to wash also the back of your hands, between your fingers, under your nails and wrists;
  • Rinse your hands under running water;
  • Dry them with the retractable cotton-roll towel (compliant with COVID-19 safety measures);
  • After washing your hands, it is not necessary to disinfect them.

When it is not possible to wash your hands with soap and water, disinfect your hands with a disinfectant.

Disinfectants are available at main entrances, as well as on all floors and office common areas.

Do not touch your mouth, nose or eyes.

Wash your hands after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.

3.4.4 Handkerchiefs and other personal waste

Sneeze or cough in a tissue or in the crease of the elbow. Use disposable paper tissues, to be thrown away immediately after use in the appropriate covered waste bins; these can be found in every building.

3.4.5 Frequently touched surfaces (handles, switches, buttons, etc.)

Clean frequently touched surfaces in your office/ area twice a day with the detergent that will be supplied to you for this purpose. In addition, pay particular attention to the careful cleaning of frequently used door handles, switches, and buttons. This operation is carried out by the cleaning services in the general common access areas.

3.4.6 Objects

Each office, as applicable, will remove non-essential objects that may be touched by various people, such as brochures, newspapers and magazines, in common areas. Limit the exchange of paper documents and objects (hole punches, pens, etc.). Items such as cups, glasses, plates or dishes are for individual and not shared use.

3.4.7 Waste

Cleaning staff will be directed to empty the waste bins regularly (especially those near where you wash your hands). They must avoid touching the waste directly and always use tools (broom, shovel, etc.). Faculty and staff should avoid touching waste. Cleaning staff are not to compress the waste bags.

3.4.8 Use of service vehicles

For travel with service vehicles, the use of surgical masks is mandatory if there are other passengers besides the driver. Service vehicle drivers must thoroughly clean the interior and the outdoor door handles with a cloth and a special sanitizing detergent at the end of the journey.

3.4.9 Cleaning of premises and relative ventilation

The cleaning of the premises is adapted to the actual frequency of use. Cleaning is carried out, as a rule, when there is no other person on the premises. Cleaning staff are required to ventilate the rooms, where it is not already guaranteed by a mechanical ventilation system. 

The site (Italian version) gives indications on the airing of the classrooms (FUS classrooms received a good rating).

3.4.10 Cleaning of toilets

The frequency of cleaning the toilets, where used, has been increased to twice a day.

3.4.11 Positioning and use of hand sanitizer

Hand sanitizers are available at counters and in meeting rooms.

3.5 Social Distancing - other concerns

3.5.1 Distance between people

The distance of at least 1.5 meters between people must be maintained in all circumstances. Handshakes should be avoided.

As far as possible, receive guests by appointment in order to avoid prolonged waiting. Where absolutely unavoidable, contacts between people less than 1.5 meters away should be kept as short as possible, of course always with masks.

3.5.2 Journey to work

If possible go to work on foot, by bicycle, scooter or motorcycle. If you use a private car we recommend traveling alone. If public transport is used, avoid, if possible, peak times and comply with the recommendations issued by the authorities and transport companies.

3.5.3 Circulation, hallways, waiting and break areas

In many of our buildings some hallway traffic will be strictly one-way to maintain social distancing requirements. These routes will be clearly designated.

Where it is not possible to guarantee the meeting of people by respecting the distance of 1.5 meters, one-way routes are usually defined with specific signs. Elevators should be avoided. In case of need, they must be used by only one person.

In common areas, the number of tables and chairs will be reduced to ensure that distances are maintained. Do not move or rearrange the furniture. If possible, supervisors should stagger work and break times, in order to reduce the number of people present in the common areas at the same time.

3.5.4 Dining Services

The rules of social distancing must also be respected at catered events and in the Grotto and the North Campus dining area.

The number of occupants and the positioning of tables will be arranged to meet social distancing guidelines. Crowds of people in line will be avoided.

External guests will not be served and cannot stay inside these structures. In addition to the aforementioned hygiene measures, in serving meals to students, trainees and participants in continuing education courses the dining service will:

  • Prohibit people from serving themselves and taking their own cutlery;
  • Stagger the flow of people;
  • Provide protection for food and personnel (e.g. Plexiglas screens).

3.5.5 Meetings

If possible, meetings should be held by video conferencing instead of face-to-face.

Face-to-face meetings must be held in well-ventilated rooms, with a limited number of people suitable for the size of the room and consistent with the Federal Guidelines. The indicated space is at least 4 m2 per person. The number of chairs for meeting rooms has been adapted accordingly and a sign indicating the maximum number of people will be posted on the doors of meeting rooms.

The meeting organizer will ensure that each meeting room has wipes and disinfectant/soap to allow users to clean/disinfect contact surfaces before and after meetings. The duration of face-to-face meetings should normally be limited to 2 hours. The meeting room must be regularly aired at the beginning and end of the meeting by the meeting organizer or designee, and when feasible, the windows will be left open during the meeting.

3.5.6 Travel

We recommend that you limit travel to the minimum. Business travel abroad is discouraged, until a date to be defined, unless they are considered a priority and cannot be deferred, in states or regions not included in the constantly updated list of countries considered at risk by the Swiss authorities.

For indispensable business trips within Switzerland, it is recommended to travel alone by car.

3.5.7 Material Deliveries

For the delivery of materials/books, if possible opt for postal delivery. Incoming and outgoing mail is distributed by a designated person in each team who collects and distributes it. The designated person must maintain hand hygiene regularly.

3.5.8 Work Premises

Where possible, one person should work in each room at any one time. In the case of large rooms/offices, it is possible to allow one person every 10 m2 to work. All rooms must be ventilated at least 4 times a day for about 10 minutes: each employee is responsible to do this for his/her office.

3.5.9 Teleworking and office attendance

Telecommuting becomes a recommendation (it is no longer mandatory) in all departments where it is possible without unreasonable burden. Arrangements are to be discussed with supervisors, who ensure that all protective measures are adhered to.

It is mandatory to wear a proper sanitary mask if more than one person is present in the same workspace or office when the minimum distance of 1,5 m cannot be respected.

More info here (Working from home recommended: Employers are now required to observe the recommendation by the Federal Office of Public Health for employees to work from home. This will prevent large numbers of people coming together, particularly at peak times, and reduce close contact in the workplace. It will also reduce the risk of a whole work team having to go into quarantine if one member becomes infected with COVID-19).

3.5.10 Hours and work shifts

Flexible working hours and shifts will be organized in order to limit the number of people present.

4 - Prevention and Safety

4.1 Procedure to be followed in case of potential contagion 

In the event that a staff member tests positive for COVID-19 or has come into close contact with a COVID-19 positive person, they must follow the indications of the Protocol and ensure the prompt flow of information. As a general rule, self-quarantine and quarantine are considered as a period of teleworking. 

The Administration is to be contacted by phone (091 986 36 24) or by e-mail (trizzi@fus.edu).

4.2 Reporting illness

People who are ill, regardless of sickness, must report their illness to their line manager and the administration.

A medical certificate is required for periods of illness longer than 5 working days. In the event of an accident, for insurance reasons, the event certification remains unchanged, according to the Staff Handbook. During the period of remote working, all employees are insured against professional injury for related activities.

4.3 Self-quarantine

If arriving from a country defined by the Swiss federal authorities as a high risk country or if the employee has been exposed to a COVID-19 positive individual, self-quarantine is necessary. All employees must follow the instructions related to the quarantine and FUS regulations contained in this document and those of their immediate superiors. As a general rule, quarantine is considered as a teleworking period. For questions, please see the Quarantine FAQ.

4.4 At-risk groups

According to COVID-19 Ordinance 2, people over 65 or people with certain chronic diseases and pregnant women are considered particularly at risk. Employees belonging to an at-risk group or who live in an apartment shared with people at risk must be particularly protected. Students belonging to an at-risk group must not be discriminated against with regards to access to education, and ad hoc solutions must be identified to allow them to continue their studies. They can only be accepted on-site for activities in which social distances are constantly guaranteed.

4.4.1 Pregnant women

For pregnant women, the Swiss Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends that they work remotely.

4.5 Tracking of contacts

Tracking of attendance and contact between people on campus is essential. In the event of a positive case of coronavirus, that individual’s contacts must be traceable. The organizer of meetings or gatherings must collect the contact information of all participants (name and phone or email) and inform the participants that this is being done and how it will be used. The data will be stored and then destroyed after 14 days unless explicitly requested by (and then provided to) the Cantonal authorities.

The mandatory use of the SwissCovid app (for android or iPhone), will also facilitate the tracing of contacts within our campus. Staff, faculty, and students must have the app, and visitors will be required to download the app if they do not have it. Exceptions must be cleared with Tomaso Rizzi (trizzi@fus.edu).

4.6 Data regarding COVID-19 infection and quarantine

Self-reports of COVID-19 illness and quarantine will be forwarded to the Coordinator of Student Medical Services and Wellbeing (medicalservices@fus.edu) for students and to the V.P. for Finance and Administration (trizzi@fus.edu) for Staff and Faculty.

Medical confidentiality will be maintained. The information will be used for requests from the cantonal authorities and not released without the specific consent of the individual or his/her legal representative.

Contact tracing is now being performed by the cantonal authorities. Those in the FUS community who may have come into close contact with the positive case are contacted directly and given instructions to prevent further spread. Any discussions with FUS staff or faculty with the individual who has tested positive will be treated confidentially.

Contact tracing information is used for the sole purpose of protecting community health. Your activities are not shared with student conduct teams or others in the FUS community; your name is not shared when notifying those who may have been exposed. Our concern is your health, the health of your friends and the FUS community.

4.7 Cleaning after a positive case has been identified

FUS cleaning staff will deep clean and sanitize the area in which the person worked and/or attended class, as well as the public spaces in the building. This enhanced cleaning is performed within 8-12 hours of the case confirmation.

4.8 Work hours

Maximum flexibility in the management of working hours is guaranteed between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. The department head is responsible for monitoring the sustainability of the staff workload. Working from home, the workload remains unchanged based on the contractually stipulated degree of employment. Unless explicitly agreed otherwise with the direct superior, overtime is not allowed in the case of teleworking.

Staff who, due to the measures to contain the contagion from COVID-19, were unable to cover their percentage of the workload are required to plan the progressive recuperation of those hours/days with their direct superior.

4.9 Vacation

Employees are encouraged to use their vacation time as usual and to proceed with due planning. Planning must be agreed with your direct supervisor.

5 - Performance Activities

5.1 Courses continuity

As of June 23, As of June 23, 2021 universities in Switzerland may return to in-classroom teaching without restrictions.

The following measures are still valid:

  • Under the current regulations, exams can take place in person;
  • One-on-one interactions with students for advising and tutoring are still allowed, either in person or remotely. Faculty should choose the arrangement with which they feel the most at ease. This applies, of course, for advising in the upcoming week. It goes without saying that if meeting in person, everyone must still wear masks and you should ensure good ventilation in the rooms (at least 15 minutes with windows fully open for a 75-min class; we encourage windows to be left open at least partially for the entire session);
  • Students may still meet with staff and faculty individually or in small groups, either in person or remotely. If meeting in person, everyone must still wear masks and you should ensure good ventilation in the rooms (at least 15 minutes with windows fully open for a 60-min session; we encourage windows to be left open at least partially for the entire session);
  • LLLS positions are encouraged to continue in compliance with the new measures, either in person or remotely;
  • Students may meet to work on projects in person: masks must be worn at all times;
  • Small committee meetings (10 or fewer people) may convene in person or with a remote option.

5.2 Counters and reception

Where necessary, counters are equipped with protective features (Plexiglas). Where necessary, a distance of 1.5 meters will be marked on the ground in front of the reception area.

5.3 Visitors’ Registration Guidelines

All visitors must sign in and out at Reception or in the Office of Admissions (which will use its own process) as described below. Groups of no more than three people from a single family unit will be allowed to visit campus.

These guidelines will be updated based on the evolving situation. Whether a visitor is a member of the public walking across the University campus, a person attending an appointment, an invited guest or is visiting for any other purpose, the University has a duty to register them.

Visitors include individuals who are not current Faculty, Staff, Trustees or students: therefore, visiting faculty, visiting scholars, contractors, vendors, volunteers, individuals invited to attend workshops, seminars or conferences, individuals invited to attend interviews or meetings, any individual who is visiting the school.

Visitors will be asked to deposit an ID (passport, ID card or driver’s license) with Reception sign in and out using the visitor registration form and will be issued with a badge which they should wear throughout their stay, and return to the Reception or to the office that issued it, before they collect their ID and leave the University.

Completing the visitor registration form (which also registers vehicles for parking purposes) before the arrival will help to speed up the registering process when visitors arrive on site.

Pre-registration also allows the University to screen visitors in case they come from countries where quarantine is required. Staff and Faculty must register their scheduled visitors in advance with a timely communication to the University Reception Visitors must download the SwissCovid app before coming to campus and must wear masks while indoors. In order to protect our community, visitors that are under mandatory quarantine or isolation are not allowed on campus.

6 - Information/Distribution

Version 7 of this Protection Plan comes into force immediately. Updates will be published regularly and distributed accordingly.

Any concerns or questions should be directed to Tomaso Rizzi at trizzi@fus.edu