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 at least weekly. Below you will find the general UNIS regulations according to subject.
Infection prevention measures
Infection prevention measures aim to restrict the transmission of infection among students and staff and delay the outbreak of Covid-19. The three most important measures to curb the spread of infection are:
1. If sick – 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.
Student and staff that has respiratory infection symptoms cannot come to UNIS before they have been symptom free for at least 24 hours.
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 you leave home and when you arrive back home.
- When you arrive at UNIS.
- When you move between workplaces.
- After you have been to the toilet.
- After you have coughed or sneezed, wiped your face or blown your nose.
- Before and after glove use.
- Before and after you eat.
- After you have been outside.
- When 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 workhours, 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.
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 tailormade workplace solution. If you think that you could have a medical status that makes you especially vulnerable, please follow the same advice as above.
If you are feeling sick
- Call your doctor/the hospital for advice. It’s important that you don’t show up at the hospital or at UNIS. The doctor will advise you on what to do
- UNIS staff reports illness to HR or the 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: During working hours: 00 47 79 02 33 00. 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.
Taking care of infected students and staff
It is important to take care of both physical and psychological needs of a sick student or staff member. It must be arranged so 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 is 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 can also be contacted if there are psychosocial needs. This can be done by contacting the healthcare adviser (during working hours) or calling the UNIS on-duty phone (after working hours).
Performing first aid
- If someone needs first aid, call for help (if needed and if possible). For those who are not health personnel, it is the 113 center that determines the probability for that the patient is infected, and thus decides if infection control measures must be taken in the current situation.
If it is not needed and/or possible to call the 113 center for an assessment, then you must do it yourself. If there is a danger for life and health, you should start first aid immediately without any concerns about risk of infection.
- If there is suspicion of an infectious disease, it is 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 in the kit.
Attendance at UNIS – who can be present in the building?
Only persons with a connection to UNIS can be present in the building. Staff can be working in their offices and can also be working from a home office if that is more convenient. Students who need to be on campus to be able to fulfil their studies can be present
Use of offices
There should be only one person in each office. If needed, rotation in presence can be agreed upon after an assessment from the UNIS healthcare adviser.
Use of classrooms
Some classrooms are opened as study rooms. PC labs are closed. A plan will be made for how to accomplish teaching activities when UNIS open for courses in 2021.
Use of common areas
The following common areas are closed for the time being:
- The cantina
- The sauna
- The library – but it’s still possible to borrow books, contact the library at firstname.lastname@example.org
More information about exams in autumn/winter 2020 will be forthcoming.
Teaching in classrooms
- There must be at least 1 m distance between students and staff.
- Hand hygiene must be performed before leaving home, when arriving at UNIS, before and after meals and before and after being in the classroom.
- Classrooms will be cleaned according to guidelines. Students need to keep their own workspace clean.
- There will be limited space in the different classrooms because of restrictions from FHI.
- The Academic affairs department will provide you with a workspace if you need it.
- Let the desk in the study room stay in their place with >2 m distance. Only use the desk you have been assigned.
- 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.
- It is important to book the meeting room one day before use if the meeting will last for more than 1 hour, because if it is longer we need to order cleaning from Sodexo. Sodexo needs to be notified one day prior to cleaning.
- Consider if physical meetings are necessary or if you can have meetings online.
- Companies and people cooperating with UNIS can attend meetings in the Science Centre if they are informed about hygiene measures and the measures for using meeting rooms are complied with.
Use of UNIS vehicles
- There must be 1 m distance between people in the vehicles (this is measured from shoulder to shoulder).
- Use hand sanitizers that are in the cars. Disinfect contact areas after use with surface disinfection that is in the cars.
- 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.
- Maximum capacity of 200 people, depending on where the event is.
- Buffet is not allowed.
UNIS guest house (UGH)
- We have intensified cleaning at UGH.
- 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.
- 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 1 m 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.
Boat 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.
- When you prepare and get familiarized with the equipment make sure you keep distance to each other.
- The instructor will hand out relevant equipment to participants.
First aid course
- Make sure there is distance between participants.
- No shared equipment.
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 with surface disinfections.
- If the meeting is planned to last over 1 hour, order cleaning from Sodexo (with one day notice).
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 l 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 48 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).
- You need to be on Svalbard 10 days prior to your 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.
- You can come to work as usual.
- For students and people living in housing that has big common areas, we recommend staying at UGH prior to the fieldwork because you need to try to keep 1 m distance and limit the amount of people you interact with on a daily basis.
- Sick people cannot participate on fieldwork.
- Maximum age limit for overnight fieldwork is 65 years old (exceptions can be made upon agreement).
- People in a risk group need to discuss with their primary care doctor whether it is safe for them to participate in the fieldwork.
- Bring a thermometer on the trips in case of sickness.
If you are coming from the mainland Norway, you can do a 10 day quarantine there and follow the quarantine regulations from FHI; https://www.fhi.no/en/op/novel-coronavirus-facts-advice/facts-and-general-advice/social-distance-quarantine-and-isolation/ or you can come to Svalbard 10 days prior to fieldwork and follow the regulations written above.
UNIS will need a list of the people participating with names, phone number, address and email (HSE-form). UNIS will store this form for two weeks after fieldwork.
If someone is showing symptoms in field – call the UNIS duty phone for an evaluation. The UNIS responsible will call the hospital and they will evaluate whether there is a need to test for Covid-19 and if it is necessary to evacuate and isolate the other participants in the 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.
- 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.
- 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: