The Institute’s Protection Plan

COVID-19 – Protection PLAN AS OF 2 November 2020


The start of this year academic is taking place in an uncertain sanitary context. This leads us to take strong measures to reduce the maximum number of risks for our community’s members, while allowing the Institute to function in a manner that continues to meet our standards of high quality.

Due to the current situation, the Coordination Team have reviewed the protection plan with the aim of transitioning to online teaching which will become effective from 2 November 2020 until 29 November with the possibility of an extension. The main elements of the plan are the following however, please see the attached document for full details:

1) Strict adherence to hygiene rules (e.g. regular handwashing with soap or disinfectant) and behavioural rules (maintaining a social distance of 1.5 metres). Antibacterial hand gel stations are available at each of the entrances to the Institute as well as in classrooms and meeting rooms. Disinfectant sprays will also be made widely available for people to clean their workstation or study area on arrival and departure.

2) Wearing a mask is obligatory on the Institute's premises and in the common areas of the Edgar and Daniele de Picciotto Student House and the Library. Masks must be worn at all times, including in the classrooms, library and the meeting rooms. Staff members can remove their mask once seated at their workplace as long as a distance of 1.5 metres is maintained with the closest person. 

Fabric masks as well as surgical masks can be purchased from the Reception Desk. The FOPH’s mandate on how to properly wear a mask must be followed by all persons present on the premises of the Institute. 

3) All classes will move online. Professors, teaching assistants, and technical support students will have the possibility to come to the Institute during this period and use the available equipment in order to guarantee quality teaching.

4) Teleworking is encouraged for all administrative staff. However, continuity of administrative and technical operations in the classroom is to be provided by the smallest possible number of staff.

5) The Institute’s buildings are open, Monday to Friday from 8:00-22:00 and Saturday/Sunday from 9:00-19:00. Access continues to be by badge (with the exception of Rothschild). Visitors must announce themselves and be greeted at the reception desk.

6) Public events (i.e. ones open to the public and that require registration), will move online, except for ones which may be broadcast live from the auditorium, with an audience limited to the organisers of the event. Receptions (cocktails and parties), regardless the number of attendees, are not allowed.

7) The Institute asks that unnecessary business travel be avoided. The FOPH regularly updates this list of countries based on the changing epidemiological situation.

Any persons who have travelled to a country at risk are subject to quarantine for ten days on their return. The same rule applies to students coming from countries at risk. Anyone coming from a country at risk must inform the cantonal authorities upon arrival, as well as the Institute by sending a message to

8) Anyone presenting symptoms must be tested (the test is reimbursed by the health insurance). In case of a positive result, they will be placed in isolation by the cantonal medical authorities. 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. The cantonal doctor will be in touch with anyone who has been in contact with the positive tested person and will decide on a possible quarantine. If you are in one of these cases, you must inform the Institute ( For more information on these measures, please consult the FOPH’s website and their Instructions on Isolation. 


Guide to measures and principles at the Graduate Institute


  • Prioritise teleworking by all means possible.
  • Privilege online meetings and work.
  • Dematerialise document and information exchange flows to avoid direct contact.
  • Avoid public transport during peak hours; privilege other means of transport like soft mobility. 
  • Guarantee high-risk people that they will not be exposed. No requirement is set by the employer for the people concerned. If necessary, an alternative teleworking activity can be established for those at high risk. 


  • When necessary, use a plexiglass protection (on pass-through windows, for example)
  • When necessary, separate desks.
  • In waiting lines (at windows, in the Library, for example), heed the floor markings.
  • In the elevators, respect the Institute’s COVID-19 maximum capacity indications: 1 person per elevator.


  • Organise rolling schedules for personnel sharing the same spaces or desks.  
  • Respect the 1.5 metre distance with your colleagues, interlocutors and anyone else in the common areas and the offices as well as the building’s exterior. 
  • Non occupied offices may be shared among staff.
  • The number of people together in meeting rooms, kitchens and pause areas will be reduced (1pers. = 4m2).
  • Shift working hours to avoid using public transport during peak hours. 
  • Extend working hours so teams are not all required to work during the same time period.


  • Regularly wash hands, either with soap and water or with antibacterial hand gel (everyone should have their own personal bottle). 
  • Clean hands with antibacterial hand gel before and after using shared material. 
  • Wear a mask if the 1.5 metre social distance cannot be guaranteed (notably on public transport). 
  • Regularly disinfect common work spaces with antibacterial gel and a paper towel (found in the bathrooms).
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