Coronavirus: Info and Guidelines

(28-07-2020) There is currently an outbreak of corona virus worldwide. On this page you will find up-to-date information for all Ghent University students and staff.

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Important:
all students and staff members that are involved will receive customized advice from the relevant authorities within the university and will continue to receive it.

In addition, the university is committed to keeping everyone regularly informed of its recommendations; the generic information on this webpage is intended for this.

The university is closely following up on this situation. Keep an eye on this web page since this information will be adapted whenever necessary. The measures that Ghent University is taking will be taken in the context of the current corona problem. 

On 27 July, the National Security Council decided that telework is again strongly recommended. Until the end of August, all teleworkable tasks should therefore be carried out at home as much as possible. However, this does not exclude teleworkable tasks on campus. The concrete guidelines drawn up for everyone's safety must be strictly adhered to:

Guidelines return to work safely in times of corona

Last update: 8 August 2020, 11:40

Education in the academic year 2020-21 

Next academic year, Ghent University wants as many students as possible to take lessons on campus again in Ghent and Kortrijk. This goes hand in hand with guaranteeing everyone's safety. That is why the on campus lessons will still be supplemented with online education.

Lessons

Digital teaching and learning

Ghent University does not discontinue its educational activities, but switched to alternative educational formats as much as possible, until the end of the semester.

This means that all lessons and practicals are replaced by alternative (digital) teaching and learning activities. Educational activities that cannot be organized at a distance are suspended. 

In other words, students are no longer allowed access to Ghent University buildings, even when they are accompanied by a Ghent University staff member. The only exceptions to this rule are students who, as part of their education, take care of humans, animals, plants and cultures of micro-organisms.Leeg Ufo

In all decision-making, extensions in time of the study duration, movement of courses in the curriculum of students, changes in course content, ... were avoided as much as possible.

Within the bounds of what is practically feasible, evaluations that include permanent evaluation will be retained.

Teachers continue education through alternative educational activities. The responsible teachers inform the students about this via Ufora.

Internship

Internships that cannot be continued through telework will be replaced by an online arrangement. This will also be the case for the duration of the summer period and the resit examination period, with the exception of internships for regulated occupations.

We strongly advise against voluntary internships during the summer period and before the start of the next academic year. Exceptions are only possible with the express approval of the faculty or programme organizers in question, e.g. in the context of health professions.

Domestic internships during the summer as a part of AY 2020-2021 will only be allowed to take place if the measures that are in place at the time can be strictly applied and if the organization hosting you as an intern is willing and able to take you on.

Exams and evaluations

The adapted academic calendar for the second semester of 2019-2020 is based on the assumption that on-campus examinations will be possible from 1 June. A completely new exam schedule has been drawn up.

Online exams

University-wide, the exams will be organised online for about half of the courses. There are guidelines for online examination. These guidelines cover all synchronous online exams, i.e. all exams taken using a PC, both oral and written, where you answer the questions in real time.

If you don't have the opportunity to take one or more online exams in a suitable room (at home, in a room or with someone else who belongs to your 'bubble'), you can submit a motivated application online.

On campus exams

The on campus examinations will be organised in compliance with the rules of social distancing on Ghent University campuses and at Flanders Expo:

  • Guidelines for students
  • Guidelines for lecturers, invigilators and members of the support staff
    • The organization and attendance of exams by lecturers, invigilators, supervisors and support staff are often tasks that cannot be done via telework. From Monday 25 May onwards, these activities may also take place on campus on the absolute condition that the principle of social distancing can be strictly applied. The assessment of the feasibility of the strict application of social distancing and the follow-up of all relevant guidelines are done by the supervisor.

Support for students

The web page 'Feeling good at Ghent University' provides an overview of all support possibilities.

Financial problems?

Loss of income, discontinuation of payment of foreign grant or allowance, exceptional expenses because of the coronavirus?

In order to receive study financing from the Social Service, you must meet certain nationality requirements. However, Ghent University has taken measures in the context of the current corona pandemic and the social service has expanded its services. Consequently you can apply for funding even if you don't comply with the nationality requirements.

Teleworking

Bureau met laptop.jpgOn 27 July, the National Security Council decided that telework is again strongly recommended. Until the end of August, all teleworkable tasks should therefore be carried out at home as much as possible. However, this does not exclude teleworkable tasks on campus.

The existing teleworking charters remain in effect.

Specific guidelines have been drawn up for return, which must be strictly adhered to in the interests of everyone's safety:

Guidelines back to work safely in times of corona

Employees and managers within each department must consult with each other about the concrete timing and organisation of the resumption of activities in the workplace.

Charter and registration

  • Telework days need to be registered in the HR-calendar (Apollo) or in “MyApps” (SAP Fiori - desktop or smartphone).
  • To be able to do this, a telework charter is needed, also in these exceptional circumstances. After all, from a legal perspective, a charter offers the best guarantees, both for every employee and for Ghent University. The organisation of telework always requires consultation and clear agreements between the supervisor and the employee (and the team).
  • For employees who do not yet have a telework charter, we ask the supervisor and the employee to sign a charter. Preparing a telework charter is an administrative light process. If you wish to limit the charter in time to this special situation, you can place the following example sentence in the input field: "This telework charter was drawn up in light of the measures that Ghent University took to introduce maximum telework for all its employees and thus help to slow down the further spread of the corona virus in Spring 2020."

More information about the principles of telecommuting

Anyone who (due to the corona context) has been teleworking abroad for a long time should bear in mind that this can have consequences in various areas:

  • Fiscal impact

Service exemption

  • Staff members who have activities that cannot be performed via telework (and who do not have to be physically present at the workplace to ensure safety / care) or whose duties have been temporarily discontinued (e.g because certain services have been discontinued by Ghent University) get service exemption. This service exemption is always granted fully or partially in consultation with the supervisor.
  • The service exemption is not registered (in SAP) and should not be passed on to the Department of Personnel and Organization (DPO) either.    
  • In these exceptional circumstances under COVID-19, the service exemption is the result of an agreement between the supervisor and the employee. That agreement (= fully or partially) is preferably confirmed by the supervisor by email to the employee concerned, so that this is clear to everyone.    
  • The service exemption is with pay.    
  • The service exemption should not be made up at a later time.    
  • Please note: Staff member who are granted service exemption are expected to diligently keep track of all relevant Ghent University communication (group email, this corona webpage, emails from the rector, etc.).  
  • The service exemption is a temporary situation which is a direct consequence of the measures taken in the context of the delay of the coronavirus and can be withdrawn at any time under changing circumstances.
  • Colleagues who have activities that cannot be performed via telework and who do not have to be physically present at their work place to ensure the activities or for safety reasons, get service exemption. This service exemption is always granted fully or partially in consultation with the supervisor

New (foreign) staff

New Ghent University staff members will also start in this period. Working from home is also their norm. Meeting colleagues physically is usually not immediately the case. More info for new staff

When teleworking will no longer be the norm and if the government would require/recommend wearing a face mask: face masks available

At that moment Ghent University will provide certified face masks available to those who need to wear one or (if wearing one is a recommendation but not an obligation) to those who wish to wear one.

Working on campus

Guidelines for using face masks

The National Security Council decided that from Saturday 25 July 2020 wearing a mouth mask will be mandatory in publicly accessible buildings. For this reason, from Monday 27 July 2020, within Ghent University it will be mandatory as well to wear a mouth mask in the common areas that are not assigned to a permanent person or group and where the distance of one and a half metres cannot be guaranteed. Think in particular of circulation areas such as corridors, stairs and entrance halls.

This decision implies that everyone from Ghent University, external service provider and visitor must always carry a mouth mask from 27 July onwards.

Support for employees

Special times come with special challenges. Ghent University is a university where care and safety matter. Caring for ourselves and for others is an important point of attention.

Lectures, events, meetings

Lectures and events

Starting from 16 June 2020, it will again be possible to reserve rooms in Centauro for events within and on Ghent University buildings and grounds that take place from 7 September 2020 onwards. For all applications relating to classrooms, priority is given to scheduling educational activities.

The events can take place taking into account the need for physical distancing, guaranteeing a distance of 1.5 meters from others.

Meetings

From now on, it will again be possible to reserve rooms in Centauro for meetings that take place in Ghent University buildings starting from 6 July 2020 onwards. The usable capacity of the meeting rooms will be adjusted, taking into account the need for physical distancing, guaranteeing a distance of 1.5 meters.

The Board of Governors will always be organized physically. The Department Councils are preferably organized physically (cf. new department regulations). The other governing bodies, permanent (advisory) councils and committees are asked to organize at least half of the meetings online. In this way, the usable capacity of meeting rooms can be used optimally.  For the (advisory) councils and committees listed below, we assume that meetings are held online or in non-centrally managed meeting rooms:

  • Committee programs 
  • Research Council Office  
  • Interfaculty Library Committee
  • Committee for Development Cooperation
  • Policy group Research Transfer   
  • Doctoral Schools Steering Committee
  • Expert group International Relations
  • Workgroup Diversity and Gender 
  • Advisory council on academic heritage and archive  
  • Committee Human Rights Policy

Scientific research

In the context of the corona crisis, telework continues to be the norm. This applies to all activities and all staff members.

Some research activities require equipment or facilities that are only available within Ghent University buildings, and are not accessible from home (e.g. experimental work in laboratories). Such non-teleworkable research activities can take place within Ghent University buildings if a number of conditions are met:

  • Safety regulations that were applicable before the start of the corona crisis continue to apply and are complied with.
  • Social distancing and other measures applicable in the context of the corona crisis will be strictly adhered to.
  • The research group will draft a document briefly describing the planned non-teleworkable research activities, including the time schedule and the number of people present, the way in which the research rooms, equipment and materials will be cleaned, and a description of the necessary personal protective equipment (which, of course, must also be made available to the employees involved). Agreements with other research groups (e.g. with regard to shared use of infrastructure or sharing of protective equipment) are also part of the document.
  • The research group ensures that the validated document is known to the involved employees and that its content is respected. In concrete terms, this means that within the research group someone is appointed for supervision and control at the workplace.
  • Anyone showing (even the slightest) symptoms of COVID-19 is not allowed to enter a Ghent University building.

As always, the Health and Safety Office can provide support in all aspects related to prevention and protection at work. However, the monitoring and control of the application of the Ghent University regulations - including, of course, the corona measures - are the responsibility of the supervisor and must therefore be organised within the research groups/departments.

(c) UGent, foto Christophe Vander Eecken

  • We recommend that you document the impact of the corona guidelines on your research activities. Researchers involved in a project that requires timesheets (e.g. EU projects) and who are unable to continue their activities are required to register their service exemption in CATS.
  • We expressly ask to notify the Research Department about the cases where you anticipate to incur irreversible delays. This is particularly important for sponsored research and services, where delays in terms of output (e.g. project deliverables, reports, milestones, …) could affect the payments. Furthermore, Ghent University may incur contractual liabilities for projects that may no longer be executable within a reasonable timeframe.
  • It is important to note that any communication with counterparties about delays, or in response to notifications received from counterparties, should be handled by the Research Department. Do not initiate any direct communication yourself.
  • Check the guidelines of funding organisations (e.g. FWO, EU, …) with whom specific arrangements for postponement or extension of projects have already been agreed upon. At this point in time, notification about internal projects (such as BOF and IOF) where no third party is involved, is not required.

More information on these guidelines and other resources

International mobility - UPDATE on quarantine after return from risk area

afbeelding via PixabayThe National Security Council has decided to open the borders within the European Union and to the United Kingdom, Norway, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Iceland from 15 June 2020. As a staff member, you will be able to do business trips to these countries again under certain conditions.

The conditions that must be met in order to go on a mission refer to the restrictive measures in force in many countries and regions. If you are planning a business trip, we request that you consult and strictly follow the corresponding travel advice from the FPS Foreign Affairs (including any restrictive measures that may apply in the country of destination). If in doubt, please contact .

Don't forget to register your travel application in the usual way in SAP and with the FPS Foreign Affairs.

Business trips outside the European Union and outside the United Kingdom, Norway, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Iceland are currently impossible and cannot be authorised. In case of a negative travel advice from the FPS Foreign Affairs, as a staff member you can submit a substantiated request for an exception to . You will only be able to schedule the business trip after this application has been explicitly approved. The following basic conditions must always be met:

  • without the business trip, you cannot carry out the planned work;
  • the trip cannot be postponed in any way;
  • you have a security plan tailored to the context of the destination in question (e.g. access to a network or contacts on site, supervision, avoiding certain areas or situations, ...).

For students, not only must there be no negative travel advice and no restrictive measures, but there must also be a fully-fledged academic offer where physical presence on site is necessary and has added value. The faculties check the latter on the basis of the information available at the host institution.

At the beginning of July, the decision is taken for all students who have applied for a study stay in the first semester.
Students who submitted an exchange request via OASIS will be informed via their faculty.
Students with travel plans within the framework of their studies who have not (yet) registered in OASIS (e.g. voluntary work placements, summer schools, group trips, etc.) will individually apply for a travel authorisation via .

UPDATE: What to do in case of mandatory or recommended quarantine after staying in a high-risk area?

Travelling to high-risk areas can have consequences. The employee bears responsibility for this. The government requires a COVID-19 test and 14 days quarantine after returning from so-called red areas abroad. Upon return from so-called orange areas, 14 days quarantine and a COVID-19 test are recommended by the government. More information on the website of Foreign Affairs: https://diplomatie.belgium.be and (for more specific information, including on quarantine) https://www.info-coronavirus.be/en/faq/#faq under the heading Transport & International.

The employee who goes into quarantine in this way must inform the supervisor.

The employee who goes into quarantine after a private trip must telework or take holidays during this quarantine period. If this is not possible, the employee must consult with the supervisor in order to arrive at an alternative task or a different ad hoc solution. If necessary, the Director of the Department of Personnel and Organiation may also be contacted for further advice.

The employee who goes into quarantine after work-related travel shall telework during this quarantine period. If this is not possible, the employee should consult with the supervisor in order to find an alternative job or a different ad hoc solution. If, exceptionally, this is also not possible, service exemption may be granted. In this situation too, taking holiday leave is of course possible.

The same logic applies to those who unexpectedly get stuck abroad and therefore cannot return to Belgium on time (e.g. due to local quarantine or a flight ban).

If you are currently staying abroad, carefully follow the guidelines of the local authorities and register your trip via https://travellersonline.diplomatie.be. Contact the crisis number of the Federal Public Service Foreign Affairs by phone (+32 (0)2 501 40 00) or reach them via their Facebook page: @ diplomatie.belgium.

Public defenses of doctoral dissertations

Studenthomes

Home Astrid

  • Most students in UGent homes with shared facilities (student homes Astrid, Boudewijn, Fabiola and Vermeylen) left their rooms at the end of March. Shared kitchen and sanitary facilities do not allow for social distancing or compartmentalization. Exceptions were granted on a case-by-case basis.
  • Residents at the Heymans and Bertha Residences were allowed to remain because rooms at these locations have their own bathroom and kitchen and therefore allow for social distancing.
  • International students in the Groningen, Uppsala, Göttingen & Canterbury residences can stay or opt for an early checkout. Residents that choose to stay are expected to abide by all preventative measures against the coronavirus. Requests for an early checkout can be made by mailing
  • Starting on the 22nd of May, the first students who applied to return to their residences in a student home can do so. Some will be allowed to return to their own room,  others shall be assigned a room in another student home.
    For further information:

Prevention transmission virus

Which extra measures did Ghent University take?

  • The series of lectures ‘Wetenschappelijke Nascholing’ is discontinued.

What can I do?

  • If you feel ill, you must stay at home. Contact a doctor for an over-the-phone medical consultation.
  • If you belong to a high-risk group (cf. appendix entitled 'High-Risk Groups Covid-19'), telework is advised whenever possible. Should you have any questions concerning telework, please get in touch with the Occupational Health Department.
  • In order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, 4 basic principles apply for all on campus activities
  1. Physical distancing (or social distancing): Wherever possible, stay 1.5 metres apart, at every location and in every situation. Face masks are mandatory whenever social distancing cannot be observed.
  2. Hygiene rules: Pay particular attention to proper hand hygiene: wash your hands regularly using water and liquid soap. If water and soap are unavailable, antibacterial hand sanitizer provides a good alternative. Furthermore, it is important that you practice proper sneeze and cough hygiene.
  3. Common courtesy rule: Be considerate towards others and protect yourself as well as others when doing so. This rule applies in all circumstances, but especially in situations where several people are present and your paths cross, including hallways, stairwells, dressing rooms, sanitary facilities and other circulation spaces. According to the common courtesy rule, you should:
    • adopt a lenient and understanding attitude;
    • wait at a safe distance when you see or hear someone approaching, or when you notice several people are already present in the same space;
    • communicate with one another in a correct and respectful way in order to prevent unsafe or uncomfortable situations.
  4. Common sense: Dare to think and apply logical reasoning as well as common sense in all circumstances.
  • Make sure you always carry a face mask with you in case you need it or when it is mandatory. Face masks are mandatory for everyone present when physical distancing cannot be observed. Face masks are also mandatory in communal spaces that are not assigned to a fixed person or group, and where the social distancing rule of 1,5 meters cannot be upheld. Prominent examples of such places are circulatory spaces such as hallways, staircases and foyers or entrance halls. This rule applies for employees, students, external parties and visitors.
  • If you notice someone is not observing the rules, please address him/her in an appropriate manner. Always let others know if you do not feel comfortable in a certain situation.
  • Stay abreast of the news and the most up-to-date procedures and information. For that reason, please pay attention to the version number or date of that piece of information. The latest Ghent University updates can be consulted on this page and the safety guidelines-page for employees.

Afbeelding via Pixabay

I am or have been in contact with people that have been in a risk area in the last couple of weeks, or are infected with corona. What should I do?

I am diagnosed with the corona virus.

If you are diagnosed with the corona virus, please follow up your treating doctor’s directives. 

I have caught Covid-19 at work or during an internship in a hospital or health care setting

Please contact the Department of Occupational Health by mail:

More information and contact

If you have any questions about the information and guidelines in the context of the UGent Corona policy, please contact us at:

Tip: In order to maintain the connection with colleagues across UGent, staff members can also join the Facebook group "UGent'ers".

All information about the corona virus (what is it, symptoms, contamination,…) can be found using these links:

Education in the academic year 2020-21 

Next academic year, Ghent University wants as many students as possible to take lessons on campus again in Ghent and Kortrijk. This goes hand in hand with guaranteeing everyone's safety. That is why the on campus lessons will still be supplemented with online education.

All information about education in the academic year 2020-21 at Ghent University