FAQ for Students

Status: 11 October 2021


Covid Certificate:

Who is required to have a Covid certificate or Covidpass?

The requirement to hold a valid Covid certificate or Covidpass applies to students, teaching staff and any other people involved in on-site courses at UZH. UZH staff are subject to mandatory Covid certificates or Covidpasses if they are mostly or always involved in on-site courses.

Where do I need to have a Covid certificate?

Students and staff at UZH are required to have Covid certificates for on-site courses at all levels (Bachelor’s, Master’s, PhD, continuing education), for cafés and cafeterias (except for take-away orders), for libraries (except when borrowing/returning library media) and for museums and collections. 

Is a Covid certificate also required to sit exams?

A valid Covid certificate will be required for participation in all on-site assessments. 

I am a student and do not have a Covid certificate. Can I still continue my studies?

Everyone has the possibility of getting a certificate, either by testing or vaccination. In addition, you can get tested for free at UZH to receive an UZH Covidpass to participate in courses and study at the libraries.

All Informations on Covid Testing at UZH

Further, when selecting your courses, you can choose to opt for online courses where available. The faculties will ensure that students without a certificate receive an appropriate alternative to on-site teaching (for example, provision of digital materials or other measures). The respective module coordinators can tell you how this will be implemented in individual cases.

How will UZH ensure that students without a Covid certificate receive appropriate alternatives to on-site classes?

The faculties will ensure that students without a Covid certificate receive appropriate alternatives to on-site classes. Such alternatives will be adapted according to the teaching aims and requirements of the course and may include, for example (non-exhaustive list):

  • Providing documents via online tools (e.g. OLAT).
  • Providing assignments or tasks that can be completed using digital tools for students who cannot participate in person.
  • Recording the lecture or seminar and making it available as a podcast.

Responsibility for implementing suitable alternatives lies with the module coordinators in the faculties. Students are not entitled to choose the specific modality of alternative provision.

I cannot have the vaccine. Some of my courses are offered as on-site classes only. Do I have to drop these courses now?

Even if you cannot have the vaccine, you can still get a certificate by having a Covid test, or you can get an UZH Covidpass by testing at UZH. Further, when selecting your courses, you can choose to opt for online courses where available. The faculties will provide reasonable alternatives to on-site teaching, such as simply providing digital materials or more extensive measures. The respective module coordinators can tell you how this will be implemented in individual cases. 

Students at particularly high risk will be provided with 70 FFP2 masks per semester, free of charge, to be worn during on-site classes. If this applies to you, please send the following documents and your address to arbeitsmedizin@su.uzh.ch:

  • Medical certificate confirming that you are in a particularly high-risk group according to appendix 7 of the Covid-19 Ordinance
  • Copy/scan of your valid student identification card

After reviewing the documents, 70 FFP2 masks will be delivered to your home.

I need to get tested to study. Do I have to pay for the tests myself?

UZH will offer free tests until the end of the exam period February 2022 to students and employees who need them to participate in courses.
All Informations on Covid Testing at UZH

Does UZH also recognize certificates for vaccines that aren’t used in Switzerland?

Everybody who has been vaccinated abroad with a vaccine approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and who live in or enter Switzerland can obtain a Swiss Covid certificate.

In addition, according to the FOPH, exceptions are also made for students who have been issued a certificate for a vaccine listed by the WHO, including the Chinese vaccines Sinopharm and Sinovac.

UZH will accept the relevant certificates, provided they are available in German or English. UZH asks that the relevant students/employees apply for a Swiss Covid certificate in their canton of residence. Students who do not have a recognized Covid certificate can get tested for free.

There is a transitional phase until 10 October for Covid certificates issued abroad. People who have been fully vaccinated with the following vaccines
  • Pfizer/BioNTech
  • Moderna
  • Janssen/Johnson&Johnson
  • AstraZeneca
can apply for a Swiss Covid certificate in the canton where they live. In the Canton of Zurich, visit the website https://www.zh.ch/en/gesundheit/coronavirus/covid-zertifikat.html#717307482 to request the certificate.
A solution for people who do not have a Swiss residence permit is currently being worked on.

Is there an obligation for on-site courses to also be made available as livestreams or podcasts, or is it possible that certain lectures and seminars will be held exclusively in-person (with a Covid certificate requirement)?

No, in general there is no requirement for the university as a whole to provide livestreams or podcasts. Therefore, some events will take place exclusively on-site and in-person. However, certain faculties have made it mandatory for their teaching staff to offer livestreams and podcasts; please check the website of the respective faculty.

How will UZH check whether students have a Covid certificate or a Covidpass?

Sufficient and regular spot checks will be carried out to ensure compliance with the certificate requirement. The pandemic management team is currently determining how these checks will be carried out. Teaching staff are not responsible for carrying out spot checks, but may do so if they believe it is necessary.

May teaching staff check the Covid certificates or Covidpass of their students?

Sufficient and regular spot checks will be carried out to ensure compliance with the certificate or Covidpass requirement. Teaching staff are not responsible for carrying out checks, but may do so if they believe it is necessary.

What happens if I can’t show a valid Covid certificate when asked?

If someone who requires a Covid certificate or Covidpass can’t show a valid certificate, they will normally be asked to leave and told that they will only be allowed to attend UZH courses/events that are subject to mandatory Covid certificates or Covidpass once they can show a valid certificate. Further sanctions according to the House Regulations of the University of Zurich may be issued if required. 

The Executive Board of the University requires teaching staff to interrupt their teaching if they become aware that there are people in the room who don’t have a valid Covid certificate or Covidpass; teaching may resume once the situation is resolved.

How is data protection ensured when testing and checking my Covid certificate or Covidpass?

The people checking the certificates can’t access any medical data during the actual scanning. Only the validity of the certificate, your name and date of birth are shown. Your attendance will not be registered. Details about vaccination, recovery or tests can only be viewed by scrolling down in the app. If you do not want to display any health data in your app, you have the option of activating the “light” version of the certificate, which is valid for 48 hours. This means that the app will only show your name, date of birth and electronic signature.


Testing:

What possibilities are there at UZH for coronavirus tests?

All UZH members can get tested for coronavirus at the Covid Test Station in the Dozierendenfoyer on Irchel Campus and in the Foyer West of the Main Building.

All Informations on Covid Testing at UZH

Masks:

Will UZH pay for masks?

In general, students and external persons are responsible for their own personal supply of protective masks.

Students who are particularly at risk are exempt from this. They will receive 70 FFP2 masks per semester free of charge for participation in on-site events. To do so, they are required to send the following documents and their mailing address by e-mail to arbeitsmedizin@su.uzh.ch:

  • Doctor's certificate confirming that they belong to a particularly vulnerable group in accordance with Annex 7 of the Covid19 regulation
  • Copy/scan of the valid student identification card

After validation, 70 FFP2 masks will be delivered by mail.

The regulations for UZH staff can be found in the detailed provisions of the Directive on Adapted On-Site Operations (in German):
Detailbestimmungen zur Weisung angepasster Präsenzbetrieb: Beschaffung, Finanzierung und Verwendung von Masken

I am particularly at risk. Will I be provided with masks?

Yes. Students at particular risk will receive 70 FFP2 masks per semester free of charge for participation in on-site events. To do so, they are required to send the following documents and their mailing address by e-mail to arbeitsmedizin@su.uzh.ch:

  • Doctor's certificate confirming that they belong to a particularly vulnerable group in accordance with Annex 7 of the Covid19 regulation
  • Copy/scan of the valid student identification card

After validation, 70 FFP2 masks will be delivered by mail.

The regulations for UZH staff can be found in the detailed provisions of the Directive on Adapted On-Site Operations (in German):
Detailbestimmungen zur Weisung angepasster Präsenzbetrieb: Beschaffung, Finanzierung und Verwendung von Masken

Where do I have to wear a mask?

Masks are mandatory in all publicly accessible indoor rooms at UZH except for classrooms due to the certificate requirement. However, the Executive Board of the University continues to strongly recommend that all attendees continue to wear masks in classrooms.

Do I have to wear a mask even though I am vaccinated, have recovered from a Covid-19 infection or have tested negative?

Yes. You must wear the mask in all publicly accessible rooms even if you are vaccinated, have recovered from an infection or tested negative. In classrooms or during lectures, masks will no longer be mandatory due to the certificate requirement. However, the Executive Board of the University continues to strongly recommend that all attendees continue to wear masks.

How do I choose the right mask?

Hygiene masks are medical products and must meet the requirements of the EN 14683 standard and be marked with a CE mark. There are three types of these masks (type I, type II and type IIR). Healthcare professionals must wear type II and type IIR. Type I can be worn by patients and by the general population during a pandemic. For commercially produced textile masks (community masks), the recommendations of the Swiss National COVID-19 Science Task Force apply. Home-made masks are not recommended by the FOPH. Scarves and shawls are not a valid replacement for masks.

Respirator masks (e.g. FFP2 or KN95 masks) are considered to be personal protective equipment. Even in the current situation with the spread of the new virus variants, the FOPH does not recommend respirator masks for general use (status on 27.1.2021). FFP2 masks are worn by healthcare professionals when they are treating COVID-19 patients and there is the possibility of aerosols being produced. Respirator masks are also worn, if necessary, by persons at increased risk after consultation with their doctor. However it should be noted that due to the greater restrictions on breathing that such respirator masks cause, the FOPH and the manufacturers of such masks advise against their use for people with certain pre-existing conditions. The higher benefit of this mask depends on the mask being worn correctly, i.e. it must fit snugly on the face. Please refer to the instructions for use. Respirator masks with exhalation valves should not be used to prevent COVID-19 transmission.

Where can I buy masks at UZH?

You can buy masks at various ZFV cafeteria sites (as of January 2021)

At Irchel Campus there is also a vending machine with masks (in front of building Y23 / Facility Management Irchel Campus info counter).

On what grounds can someone be dispensed from the obligation to wear a mask?

Persons who can prove that they are unable to wear face masks for medical reasons are dispensed from the mask requirement. A medical certificate issued by a doctor or psychotherapist is required as proof of dispensation on medical grounds.

Children under the age of 12 are exempted from wearing a mask.

Where do I have to wear a mask?

Masks are mandatory in all publicly accessible indoor rooms at UZH except for classrooms due to the certificate requirement. However, the Executive Board of the University continues to strongly recommend that all attendees continue to wear masks in classrooms.

What is the mask-wearing requirement based on?

The obligation to wear masks is specified in Art. 6 of the COVID-19 Ordinance Special Situation.
COVID-19 Ordinance Special Situation (in German)


Assessments and Exams:

Is a Covid certificate also required to sit exams?

A valid Covid certificate will be required for participation in all on-site assessments. 

What form will digital exams take and are they fair?

Everyone responsible for module exams knows about the special conditions under which this semester has been held thus far and will continue to be held. These circumstances will be taken into account in the development of the digital examination formats. In many cases, assessments will be digital open book exams, which place all participants on a level playing field.

UZH assumes that its students will continue to take responsibility for themselves in the current situation and that they are willing to act fairly, including in unusual exam situations. In future professional practice, it will no longer be the exam result that counts but the knowledge or skill that the exam evidenced.

Furthermore, students are responsible for ensuring that they have suitable infrastructure in place to take digital exams or that they are able to get hold of such infrastructure. This includes hardware (a computer) and a stable internet connection.

Why aren't all courses offered in a hybrid format?

Hybrid courses can be attended by students on-site or online. This format is very complex from a technological perspective and only possible for specific lecture halls.

How are these online exams supervised?

A legal basis is currently being developed so that very simple forms of verification via Zoom and MS Teams can be used for online exams that are comparable to the situation in the lecture hall. This includes, for example, the identification of students taking the exam. These light forms of supervision are expected to be used in the 2020 Fall Semester by faculties who wish to do so. Proctoring, i.e. the recording of students during exams, as used at US universities, is not used at UZH, also for data protection reasons.

Why is the decision about holding exams being left to the individual faculties? Wouldn’t a university-wide ruling be fairer and simpler?

The types of examinations held at the University of Zurich vary as much as the courses the faculties offer. The requirements for medicine degrees differ from those for German studies, for example. Just as varied as the requirements are the teaching and examination formats and the times of the exams. Many departments review learning progress by means of written exams at the end of the semester that are sat by a large number of students. Other departments primarily assess their learning objectives alongside the courses or by means of papers. For that reason, there are no general solutions that would be both fair and appropriate for such a diverse higher education institution. That is why the decision as to how to appropriately implement the jointly resolved principles has been left to the faculties. The Executive Board of the University has complete confidence in the faculties’ ability to develop solutions that take into account the students’ situation while simultaneously ensuring the education objectives in their respective subject areas.

When will it be decided if the exams will be online or on site?

As a rule, the dates and formats for the courses have already been determined and published in the course catalogue or communicated via other communication channels of the faculties. All faculties have been asked to advise their teaching staff to enter these details accurately in the course catalogue so that all students know what to expect at the time of booking. However, this is all subject to certain regulatory requirements. If the situation does not change, the implementation modalities will not change in principle.

Which deadlines apply for papers such as final theses?

Deadlines for papers that cannot be completed in the originally intended form as a result of insufficiently available sources, data or literature can be extended. Alternatively, the papers can be adapted to the new situation. Further details will be provided by your faculty.


Infrastructure: 

Where can students find places to study?

Study spaces are available at the following locations:

  • Irchel Campus: Y03 G / Y13 G, H, M / Y15 G, H / Y24 G
  • City Campus: KOL E, F, H, K, L, Computer room L, Foyer West, Café Rondell, Lichthof, Catacombs / RAA UG / HAH EG
  • Oerlikon Campus: AFL E 24, E26, Olivenhalle / BIN West, East

Empty lecture halls and classrooms can be used any time for studying (at your own responsibility), provided they are available (“Frei” shown on room display).
UZH Room Management

Other study spaces are available in the UZH libraries.
Study Spaces in the UZH Libraries

Do I need to clean the desks in lecture halls and seminar rooms myself after using them?

There are dispensers with disinfectant wipes at the entrance of lecture halls and seminar rooms used for general teaching which users can take to clean surfaces. Offices of the Deans, institutes, departments, etc. can obtain disinfectant and cleaning materials for use in their own lecture halls and seminar rooms from the UZH department Materials and Logistics (Material und Logistik). The Offices of the Deans, institutes and departments are responsible for procurement and management.
Material und Logistik (in German)