Information for Teaching Staff

Status: 4 May 2020

Gradual Return to On-Site Operations

On 26 April, the Federal Council began a gradual easing of the measures taken in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic. UZH is therefore also planning a gradual and careful return to on-site operations in accordance with the federal and cantonal requirements. 

The key date for the return to on-site operations is 8 June 2020. Of course, such a return must be compatible with the rules of hygiene and conduct of the FOPH, as well as with the applicable restrictions on travel and group gatherings. We therefore assume that considerable restrictions will continue to apply until well after 8 June. Furthermore, the measures for the gradual return to on-site operations may be reversed at any time should the general situation with regard to the pandemic not improve as expected.

Courses will be held remotely until 7 June 2020

All classroom teaching activities (courses, exams and all other events in all UZH organizational units) will be held remotely until Sunday, 7 June 2020 in accordance with the instructions of the Federal Council. The Vetsuisse Faculty may, general government regulations permitting, carry out clinical teaching sessions in small groups before the end of the current lecture period. Similar arrangements in other faculties may, subject to the decision of the Federal Council, be approved in the scope of a special authorization (applications to be sent to by 5 May). 

Exceptions possible from 8 June 2020

From 8 June 2020, all events that can be held remotely will continue to be held remotely. For all other events, rooms will be allocated according to a list of priorities:

  • Priority 1: Written and oral examinations that must be held on UZH premises from 8 June 2020 or later because they cannot be held remotely for clear practical reasons.
  • Priority 2: Courses that need to be held on UZH premises from 8 June 2020 because they cannot be held remotely (practical training, clinical courses, continuing education events).
  • Priority 3: Events connected with UZH’s teaching and research for which it is unclear whether they will take place in view of the general prevailing uncertainty.

Exams to be held digitally whenever possible

Whenever possible, written or oral exams scheduled in May and June 2020 will be held remotely at the scheduled date and time. Examinations that cannot be held in digitalized form for technical reasons (e.g. clinical medical exams) will be held as on-site events in May, June, the first half of July, or between 9 August and 4 September 2020. The currently valid restrictions with regard to the space requirement of at least 4 square meters per person must be complied with. This means that for example, only 56 of the 463 seats in lecture hall B10 can be used. From 9 August onwards, the provisions that will be adopted and announced by the Federal Council on 27 May will apply.

Gradual reopening of UZH libraries

Effective immediately, libraries are offering an on-demand scanning service for exam-related literature for teaching staff. From 11 May onwards, researchers and teaching staff will have access to the libraries in accordance with the relevant regulations. From 8 June 2020, the university’s libraries will be open to all users again. 
Gradual reopening of UZH libraries

The following still applies

1. Make courses available in a digital format

The Executive Board of the University urges you once more to make your courses available in a digital format as quickly as possible. Please follow the recommendations for digital teaching: Digital Teaching

2. Chose appropriate methods and means of digital teaching

It is up to you and your expert judgment which methods and means of digital teaching are best suited to the content of your course and your students’ participation. We will support you in finding the right solutions, if required.

New: Campus license for ZOOM 

In light of the coronavirus crisis, the University of Zurich has decided to purchase a campus license for the web conferencing tool Zoom. This decision was taken in particular to support teaching staff in holding seminars and lectures online, if required. Zoom can also be used for events that are public in nature. The software is intended to complement Microsoft Teams, which has been available to members of UZH since mid-March. Noteworthy information about Zoom, licensing and installation instructions, and references to data protection regulations are available on the website of the Information Technology office: Zentrale Informatik – Support (In German)

3. Inform your students as soon as possible about your digital teaching

The students have also already been informed of our decision and the fact that the transition to digital teaching formats will take some time. Nevertheless, we would like you to inform your students as soon as possible about where and how they can access the learning materials.

4. New: Cancellations of Modules

All modules that end in failed attempts in the Spring Semester 2020 will be cancelled.

5. Window for cancellations

In addition, the Executive Board of the University has decided to introduce a window for cancellations from 4 May to 17 May 2020. This will enable students to withdraw from a course/module and thus not have to complete the relevant exams/assessments should they feel unable to do so due to the extraordinary circumstances. Modules that have already been completed in this semester are excluded from this rule. Failed attempts for these modules will, however, also be cancelled at the end of the semester.

6. Inform students about exam content and/or assessment requirements in good time

Although we cannot predict how the situation will develop, we would like you to define the exam content and/or assessment requirements in writing and inform the students in good time before the window for cancellations opens. This will enable students to make a well-informed decision.

7. Support structure suited to faculties are being built

The dean’s offices are aiming to build up a support structure suited to the relevant faculties to provide you with direct assistance.

8. Work-related travel abroad is no longer permitted

Work-related travel abroad on behalf of UZH is no longer permitted effective immediately. Exceptions for cases where this is unavoidable are possible, but require the approval of the relevant dean or member of the Executive Board of the University. We recommend that all members of UZH who are planning to go abroad for an internship or a research stay cancel their arrangements for the time being.

We are aware of the severity of these extreme measures and can understand what they mean for you and all of our students. But this extraordinary situation requires extreme measures.

We greatly appreciate your dedication and would like to thank you again for your cooperation and your extraordinary commitment.