Coronavirus Frequently Asked Questions

Cases at the Graduate institute


What is the procedure if a confirmed case of COVID is reported?

If a student informs the instructor or the teaching assistant that they have tested positive for COVID-19, the instructor or teaching assistant must ask the student to communicate this information to, being sure to copy It is important to note that instructors and teaching assistants must keep any information about students testing positive for COVID-19 confidential. If an instructor, teaching assistant or technical support student tests positive for COVID-19, he or she should contact the Human Resources Department ( and send a message to The Institute will not share the identities of affected individuals beyond a small number of staff who need this information to respond adequately to the situation. If necessary, any protective measures will be taken in coordination with the Office of the Médecin cantonal. For more information, please consult the FOPH’s website and their Instructions on Isolation

How long will the Institute be closed to the public

The Graduate Institute offices and facilities will be closed to the general public until further notice. We continue to monitor the situation as it develops and are working closely with the local authorities. 

What are your recommendations about using public transportation?

Following the Federal Office of Public Health we recommend to avoid public transport and use foot or bicycle alternatively. If not possible, we recommend to observe the hygiene recommendations

Is it possible to access the kitchen areas on each floor?
The kitchens are freely accessible during opening hours to prepare your food. Unfortunately, due to sanitary conditions, you are not permitted to eat inside the kitchen area. Please feel free to use the cafeteria, the Maison des étudiants common room, the halls of petal 1 and 2, or your work space.


information related to courses


Who is required to be present in person?

The in-person attendance of instructors and teaching assistants in hybrid-taught courses is required for all sessions, with the exception of those assistants assigned less than 50% to the course concerned. 

Students have received a form asking them to indicate, by 4 September, whether they will be present in Geneva from 14 to 21 September. If they answered "present", they should attend all classes in person unless they are considered to be at “especially high risk”, according to Switzerland’s Federal Office of Public Health definition , or are subject to quarantine upon arrival in Switzerland. On the list available to instructors, the mention "present" or "not present" will indicate who will be following the course in person or online. 

Instructors and teaching assistants who are themselves* or are residing with someone who is at especially high risk, may be allowed by the Director to deliver or assist the course online. For this purpose, they should consult their physician and address a duly motivated request to the Director’s office, accompanied by a medical certificate.

Students who are themselves, or are residing with someone who is at especially high-risk, may be allowed to attend courses online. They must consult their physician and then make a specific request to the Office of the Director of Studies ( accompanied by a medical certificate. 

*Individuals at “especially high risk” are defined by the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH/OFSP/BAG), and the definition is regularly updated. For further details, click here

Who will be required to wear a mask in the classrooms?

Everyone is required to wear a mask. A person not wearing a mask will not be allowed to enter the classroom. Each member of the Institute’s community will receive a washable fabric mask that can be retrieved at the reception desk (Maison de la paix, Petal 1, Level 3) from Monday to Friday, 8:00 until 17:00. If necessary, masks can also be purchased at the reception desk (CHF 15 for a box of 50 surgical masks and CHF 7 for washable fabric masks). Only instructors (including teaching assistants), while teaching, may be exempted from wearing a mask if a distance of 1.5 metres with the closest person is respected. Otherwise, they have to wear a mask. Students and teaching assistants leaving classes are asked to keep their masks on in common areas, and instructors are asked to put them on as soon as they finish teaching.

How will social distancing apply to classrooms?

If students wear masks, there is no need for social distancing. However, the designated classroom capacity must be respected; students who are not registered for the course may not attend the class. The maximum capacity of the classrooms has been established according to the ventilation system (see how this works below).

Is there a minimum or maximum number of in-person attendees below/above which the course is given online only?

All courses are delivered in-person within the limits of a classroom’s capacity. There is no minimum or maximum threshold that justifies giving the course online only. 

Will people be allowed to move freely within classrooms?

Once seated, students, teaching assistants and technical support students must remain in their seats. The teacher will be asked not to move around in the classroom and to stay 1.5 meters away from the nearest person.

Can students sit wherever they want?

The seat a student takes in each and every class will be registered in order to facilitate traceability in case a participant tests positive for COVID-19. A QR code that students will scan using their smartphone will record their presence in their respective seats. For students who do not have a smartphone, it will be possible to register online.

Who is responsible for disinfecting work surfaces and items that may be touched in the classroom?

The incoming instructor must disinfect items that the previous instructor may have touched (remote control, keyboard, microphone, seat, desk etc.). Students, teaching assistants and technical support students will need to disinfect their seat and the part of the table assigned to them. Disinfectant spray will be available in each classroom. Everyone is asked to disinfect their hands with the hydroalcoholic gel, available in each room in a dispenser.

What are the instructions regarding breaks?

If a break is given during the class, everyone is responsible for ensuring that protective measures are respected inside and outside of the classroom, including wearing masks as instructed. 

Will courses be recorded?

All courses will be recorded automatically and will be made available in Moodle for a minimum of two weeks. It will be possible to watch the recordings but not download them. Instructors may then decide to delete them, knowing that all recordings will be automatically erased at the end of the semester. Students will be asked to complete a form granting permission for the use of their image and voice in the recordings. If students refuse to be recorded, they will have to follow the course online.

How does the course rotation system work?

If the number of students "present" exceeds the capacity of the room, a system of two groups will be organised resulting in each group of students attending the course at Maison de la paix every second week. The week a group is not in the classroom, it will follow the course online. Groups will be established by listing the students present by the position they received during the registration for the course and assigning them to group 1 or group 2 following their position order (student 1 to group 1, student 2 to group 2, student 3 to group 1, student 4 to group 2, and so on). A student not present at the beginning of the semester (e.g. due to quarantine) and who joins at a later date will be included in the group attending the first available class after they are permitted to be present in the classroom.

Do we have to accept auditors who wish to attend courses?

For traceability reasons, instructors will only accept "external students" who have registered with Student Services, appear on the course list, receive credits and a transcript of results. "Free auditors", who were simply attending classes, will no longer be accepted.

How will classrooms be equipped?

Each classroom is equipped with two cameras, a digital whiteboard and a screen displaying the students following the course online. Professors, assistants and technical support students will be invited to participate in training sessions before the start of the semester. For courses that do not have a teaching assistant, or where the assistance provided by the teaching assistant is less than 50%, will be provided technical support from students that have been specifically hired for this purpose.

How does the classroom ventilation system work?

Classrooms have no air conditioning but operate with pulsed fresh air, which passes through F7 quality filters (MERV 13-14 according to the American standard), stopping fine particles. The waste air is extracted through a separate circuit with a discharge at the opposite side of the fresh air intakes to the supply air. This system is regularly checked and the filters changed. This way, indoor air is completely renewed every 40 minutes. The maximum capacity of the classrooms has been established according to this criterion.

What materials should students bring to class?

Students present in class should bring their laptop or tablet in order to access shared documents, also enabling them to work online in groups with students participating online if necessary. 

What happens if there is a change of schedule or class cancellation?

If an instructor cannot attend a class, they must inform Student Services ( and send an email to the course distribution list. Changes to class schedules should be kept to a minimum and made for compelling reasons only. 

How should instructors or teaching assistants hold their office hours?

Instructors are free to hold their office hours in person or online (e.g. via Webex or Zoom). Instructors should bear in mind that appropriate time must be devoted to students who are not in Geneva and are taking the courses online. If the meeting takes place in person, both the instructor and the student must wear a mask. The number of people in an office should not exceed two, otherwise instructors must book a meeting room. Students waiting outside of the office must wear a mask as they are in a common area. Instructors are invited to use an online booking system such as to keep track of the students they have met in person. Teaching assistants will be able to, with the help of the department manager, hold their reception hours in a meeting room with an online reservation system.  


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