This webpage will contribute to a safe workplace and study environment during the Covid-19 outbreak and will be updated according to the current national and local regulations.
UNIS has gathered all specific internal regulations regarding the Covid-19 pandemic in this PDF document that is updated regularly:
Below you will find the general UNIS regulations according to subject.
Infection prevention measures
The purpose of infection prevention measures is to limit the spread of infection among students and staff and to delay the outbreak of Covid-19. The three most important measures to curb the spread of infection are:
1. Sick student or staff need to stay home
2. Good and frequent hygiene
3. Social distancing
The most important infection prevention measure is that sick people stay at home. Everybody is responsible to stay away from UNIS if you develop respiratory infection symptoms such as a sore throat, coughing/sneezing, fever, shortness of breath, chills or muscle pain. If you start developing any of these symptoms while in the Svalbard Science Centre, you must leave the premises immediately and contact the hospital and UNIS HR or the UNIS healthcare adviser. Employees or students in home quarantine or home isolation must not come into work.
Good hand hygiene with frequent and thorough handwashing is important. Wash hands in lukewarm water using liquid soap to remove dirt, bacteria and viruses from the skin. If no facilities for handwashing are available, alcohol-based sanitizers are a good alternative. Although the virus is sensitive to alcohol, it is important to note that alcohol-based sanitizers are ineffective on wet or visibly dirty hands. Handwashing should then be carried out.
You need to wash your hands when:
- Before leaving from home, and when you arrive back home.
- When you arrive on campus.
- After sneezing/coughing or wiping your face.
- After toilet visits.
- After you have been outside.
- Before and after meals.
- If your hands are visibly dirty.
Avoid coughing or sneezing directly onto other people, and cover your mouth and nose with paper, which you then throw away. If no paper is available, cough or sneeze into your elbow. Carry out hand hygiene immediately after coughing or sneezing. Avoid touching your face with unclean hands to prevent indirect contact transmission.
Social distancing is a key to limit droplet infection. Keep at least 1-meter distance between colleagues and students during work hours, meetings and breaks. Avoid shaking hands and other unnecessary physical contact, especially close face-to-face contact. People who live together can be in normal contact. You and your closest circle can be together as normal. You can decide who is in your closest circle, but they should not be too many and they should be the same people over time.
Special regulations for persons with an elevated health risk in case of infection
Persons who know that they have an elevated health risk in case of infection need to discuss their medical situation with their primary care doctor and get advice on how to behave. Persons in this group can contact HR at UNIS to get a tailor-made workplace solution. If you think that you could have a medical status that makes you especially vulnerable, please follow the same advice as above.
What to do if you feel sick
If you are feeling sick you should:
- Call your doctor/the hospital for advice. It’s important that you don’t visit the hospital, but call them to make an appointment for testing.
- UNIS staff reports illness to HR or healthcare adviser.
- Students reports illness to the Academic Affairs department.
- If you start feeling sick at UNIS you must leave the premises immediately.
If you get sick after working hours you should contact the hospital for advice and call the UNIS on-duty phone to report illness.
Longyearbyen Hospital: 00 47 79 02 42 00
UNIS on-duty phone:
- Telephone during working hours: 00 47 79 02 33 00
- Telephone after working hours: 00 47 95 28 35 11 (24/7 on-duty service)
The on-duty person will contact the healthcare adviser or HR/HSE director if the healthcare adviser is unavailable.
UNIS will close the rooms and places that the employee/student has been in for more than 15 minutes the last 48 hours and order cleaning of these premises.
Plan for taking care of students or staff that gets sick
It’s important to take care of both physical and psychological needs of a sick student or staff member. It must be arranged that the sick person gets the help he or she needs. This needs to be coordinated with the hospital. The sick person is urged to contact the hospital if his or her condition deteriorates. It’s also possible for the infected person to contact the healthcare adviser at UNIS for assistance with basic needs like shopping, pharmacy visits and other practical things. The healthcare adviser at UNIS can also be contacted to cover psycho-social needs. This can be done by contacting the UNIS on-duty phone.
Performing first aid
– If someone needs first aid, take an assessment of the risk of infection. If there is a danger for life and health, you should to start first aid immediately without any concerns about risk of infection.
– If there is suspicion of an infectious disease its recommended to use gloves, facemask and safety goggles. If necessary, use mouth-to-mouth mask. If you touch the things in the first aid kit with contaminated gloves, clean the equipment that can be cleaned and throw away other equipment.
Attendance at UNIS – who can be present in the building
Only persons with a connection to UNIS can be present in the building. Visitors must register in reception.
Use of offices
There should be only one person in each office. If needed, rotation on presence can be agreed upon after an assessment from the UNIS healthcare adviser.
Use of classrooms
There must be performed thorough cleaning between each class. Teachers clean what they have used, and students’ clean desks and chair. The lecturer must register the names of people present and what seat they are in to make contact tracing easier.
Teaching in classrooms
– Lecturers should should have an overview of where pupils / students sit, or have permanent places. This is to facilitate infection tracing work.
– Keep at least one meter away from others. NB! With effect from 15 August, the government has removed the distance requirement in teaching situations, such as lectures, seminars, etc.
– Hand hygiene must be performed before leaving home, when arriving UNIS, before and after meals and before and after arriving classroom.
– Classrooms will be cleaned according to guidelines. Students need to keep their own workspace clean.
– Students and lecturers must clean all contact surfaces – tables, electric equipment, chairs etc. There are soap water in every classroom.
- Only one person per office. Rotation may be agreed up on by contacting the healthcare adviser.
- You need to keep a clean and tidy work area. It must be easy to clean your own workspace.
- Disinfect your contact points in your work area at least 1 time per day (keyboard, computer mouse, office chair, door handle, cell phone, ID card and office key).
- People can work from home if they want to.
- Consider if physical meetings are necessary or if you can have meetings online.
- Companies and people cooperating with UNIS can attends meeting in the Svalbard Science Centre if they are told about hygiene measures and the measures for the meeting rooms.
Use of UNIS vehicles
- Strive to keep distance between people in the cars.
- Use hand sanitizers that are in the cars. The person lending the car is responsible for that all the contact areas are cleaned with surface disinfection when you leave the car.
- Disinfect the steering wheel, handle, gear, dashboard, discard garbage and car key when you return the vehicle to UNIS.
Gatherings and social events
There must be a responsible organizer (person) to ensure rapid contact tracing if needed and who gives advice about social distance and ensures that infection prevention measures are followed. Confirmed infection among participants/performers/audience will result in contact tracing and quarantine of close contacts.
- Plan and coordinate together with healthcare adviser or director for HSE.
- Inspect the site if necessary.
- There should be good capacity for hand hygiene, either hand washing with soap and water or alcohol-based hand disinfectants. This is especially important for toilet areas and for eating areas.
- Make sure there can be at least 1 m distance between participants who do not live in the same household.
UNIS guest house (UGH)
- We have intensified cleaning at UGH.
- Guests gets an information email about hygiene measures implemented when they book.
- There are two mailboxes where people can pick up the room key when they check in (if the reception desk is closed), and one they can return the key in. These mailboxes are clearly marked.
Regarding the theoretical review of operations, one should consider using Teams if there are too many people participating. Make sure there is 1 m between the people in the meeting.
- Make sure the participants understand the specific regulations regarding their work.
- Clean surfaces in the room that has been touched by the participants.
- At the shooting range we want to try to have all training outside, so students need to put on clothes according to weather. It is always cold at the shooting range!
- At the shooting range you will be paired up with another student so that you can buddy check each other’s rifle. Make sure to keep distance while doing the buddy check.
- Each participant gets their own rifle and ammo from the instructor that they will use the whole day.
- When you go up to check the holes on the target board, make sure you keep distance to each other.
Safety course on use of boats and survival suit
- When you prepare and get familiarized with the equipment make sure you keep distance to each other.
- The instructor will hand out your equipment.
- Make sure you keep distance to each other in the cars when you are being transported to the harbour.
- The instructors will collect and clean the survival suits after use.
Communication and navigation
- When you are operating a communication or navigation system make sure that it is only one person operating the same equipment. If equipment is to be shared between participants, it must be cleaned before the next participant uses it.
- The instructor will hand out relevant equipment to participants.
First aid course
- Make sure there is distance between participants.
- No shared equipment.
Planning, prioritizing and conducting field- and lab work
- The project responsible contacts the HoD to get their project evaluated and prioritized.
- The HoD evaluates the project and lists (describes) the project in a separate shared file.
- The HSE director evaluates the project and decides if the project can be accomplished as described. If needed, the risks involved must be discussed with the project leader and mitigated.
- When approved by the HSE director, the project is listed in the project timeline in the shared document, and details around the accomplishment can be agreed upon by Logistics and the project leader.
All participants in the field party must undergo the following specialized training as part of the safety training and HSE brief prior to fieldwork:
- Review of infection prevention measures.
- Practical training on how to uphold measures related to distance between participants and disinfection of equipment in planned transport- and work operations.
- How to behave in case of sickness among participants in the field party.
Use of equipment/field equipment
- Keep distance while receiving field equipment.
- If possible, facemasks, buff or balaclava shall be used to prevent direct contact with outer clothing.
- Disinfection or washing of all equipment that has been in use.
- Equipment that is difficult to clean/disinfect will be stored separately and taken out of rotation for 24 hours.
- Consider lending out equipment on a seasonal basis if they are needed a lot.
Fieldwork that requires overnight stays
The requirements listed below apply as long as there are no reported cases of Covid-19 in Longyearbyen.
- All expeditions are to follow the recommendations from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (FHI), The Norwegian health directorate, The Governor of Svalbard and The Ministry of Education and Research. Also, expeditions need to follow internal regulations relating to infection control measures in connection with the coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19 Regulations)
- The HSE Director/Healthcare adviser will evaluate each project individually when it comes to the need for quarantine prior to fieldwork.
- The expedition participants shall for the last 10 days before the start of the expedition avoid public places where many people gathers (cinemas, bars), events (private and public) with many participants and otherwise show caution in interactions with others than those closest to them.
- Sick people cannot participate on fieldwork.
- People in a risk group need to discuss with their primary care doctor that it’s safe for them to participate in the fieldwork.
- Bring a thermometer on the trips to monitor in case of sickness.
UNIS will need a list of the people participating with names, phone number, address and email (the HSE – form). UNIS will store this form for two weeks after fieldwork.
If someone is showing symptoms in field – call UNIS duty phone for an evaluation. The UNIS responsible will call the hospital and they will evaluate if there is need to test for Covid-19 and if it is necessary to evacuate and isolate the other participants in field. The hospital can take a speed-test to check for Covid-19, but it is up to the hospital to evaluate if this test is necessary and how/where it will be performed.
In the field
- Good hygiene
– Wash your hands often. This must be done before meals, before preparing food, after toilet visits. If water and soap is not available, use hand sanitizers. Be aware that hand sanitizers are not good enough if your hands are visibly dirty.
– Cough into a paper tissue or in the crook of your elbow. Wash hands afterwards.
– Avoid touching your face.
– Avoid physical contact.
– Keep 1 m distance to each other.
– Extra cleaning of equipment and accommodation (boat, tent, cabin) where possible.
– Equipment used by several people must be cleaned between use.
- No buffet meals
- Plan on how to evacuate from campsite to the nearest shoreline where a boat can pick you up.
- The group must call UNIS for assistance if someone develops respiratory symptoms no matter how minor you think it is. The UNIS management will decide if evacuation is necessary.
Use of UNIS polarcirkel boats
- The boats have their own “coronakit” in case of sickness on the boat. This contains gloves, facemask, sea sickness bags, garbage bags, antibac.
- Trying to limit driving in high seas to prevent seasickness.
- Only 1 person per workbench. Work operations that requires more people to work closely together (closer than 1 m), must be discusses with and approved by the healthcare adviser and Lab manager at UNIS.
- The number of people working in laboratories/workshops should be reduced to a minimum, and the work will be stopped before 18.00. UNIS’s lab safety instructions and routines must be followed. The HSE form must be filled in before lab work.
- UNIS follows the National Institute of Public Health’s advice on workplaces, which includes colleges and universities.
- Existing measures in laboratories/workshops, such as requirements for use of personal protective equipment and fume cupboards, must be followed.
- Thorough hand washing (with soap and water), or hand disinfection must be carried out before handling waste bags/boxes. Instruments and equipment must be cleaned before taken out of the laboratory/workshop.
Use of protective equipment:
- Personal protective equipment must only be used by one person.
- Protective equipment used several times, must be cleaned/disinfected after use as far as possible and stored in a box/bag when not in use.
- If protective equipment must be used by several persons, it must always be cleaned and disinfected thoroughly before and after use. This is done by each user (see section on cleaning below).
- If lacking personal protective equipment: a risk assessment must be done to identify which tasks can still be performed.
- Regular cleaning, in accordance with the agreement between UNIS and Statsbygg/Sodexo, will be carried out.
- The user must ensure cleaning and disinfection of equipment, especially equipment used by several persons, and surfaces and touch points immediately after the work has been completed. As a rule, cleaners (grease-soluble) and water should be applied with a cloth, preferably disposable cloths (microfibre). Disinfectants (e.g., alcohol-based agents with 70% ethanol) can be applied as needed.
Examples of equipment and areas:
- Instruments, machines, tools, etc.
- Flasks, bottles, pipettes, etc.
- Touch screens, keyboard, mouse, microphone, switches, handles and other touch points.
- Surfaces: workbenches, door handles, cabinet doors, fume hoods, fume cupboards, shelves, etc.
- Protective equipment that must be used by several persons.
Remove unnecessary papers, books and other items from desks and tables. Plastic film may be used over e.g. keyboard and mouse. This should be swapped between each user.
- Sodexo empties the waste bins in the lab every day so that they are not overflowed.
- Waste dumps in the workshop are emptied by the users before they are full/overflowed.
- UNIS’s hazardous waste policy must be followed.
General guidelines (locally and nationally)
This guide comes in addition to the following regulations that are already in place:
- The UNIS Field safety instructions
- The UNIS Lab safety instructions
- The UNIS Emergency and preparedness plan (including the Pandemic plan)
UNIS follows advice and regulations given by the following authorities: