The Institute’s Protection Plan

COVID-19 – Protection PLAN Effective From 18 january to 28 february 2021


Our end-of-year optimism was short-lived. The new year began with some not very encouraging news on the pandemic front, with new, much more contagious variants of the virus and the number of contaminations in Switzerland stagnating at a very high level. In view of this situation, the Federal Council therefore decided to extend the measures and to take additional measures to combat the spread of the coronavirus. The coordination unit therefore met to set the new measures to music and to review its protection plan. The aim of these measures is to ensure the safety and health of all members of our community while continuing to provide quality education and services. 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 and maintaining a social distance of 1.5 meters is mandatory at all times 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, meeting rooms and staff members desks. 

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) From Monday 22 February, all courses are given online with a review in early March to move to hybrid mode in April. 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 staff. In some cases, continuity of administrative and technical operations in the classroom is to be provided by the smallest possible number of staff.

5) Research activities will continue remotely, except in special cases requiring prior agreement.

6) All meetings should are to be held online only

7) 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). 

8) Public events (i.e. ones open to the public and that require registration), will continue to be online. In a few cases, and under strict condition of a maximum of five people in presence in the room, panelists, moderators, organisers or technical staff can be in the room to broadcast live, to ensure better technical quality.

9) Access to the Student Residence’s common room is limited to five people and upon request for students lacking adequate conditions at their own residence. The fitness room is closed. 

10)The cafeteria is closed.

11) 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 within 48 hours of arrival, as well as the Institute by sending a message to

12) 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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