Questions and answers

Here is a collection of the most frequently asked questions regarding “study administration” due to COVID-19. The answers have been drawn up by representatives working at Umeå University. This page is updated continuously. Most decisions are available in English and links are generally presented at the bottom of each question.

If you have further questions regarding the administration of studies or other questions related to education due to COVID-19, please submit these to corona.umu.se.

Updated: 20200902

What do I, as a teacher, do if a student with symptoms of disease show up to a lecture or other activity or sits down on a seat that has been blocked off?

It is each individual's responsibility to stay at home if you feel poorly, even if symptoms are mild. This according to the directives and recommendations of the Public Health Agency of Sweden. Teachers at each education ought to, both at the start of the course and at other suitable times, remind students to stay at home if they experience any symptoms of a cold or similar. Also, please inform students of what options they have if they miss a lecture or an obligatory course component.

If a student who participates in a campus-based instruction activity shows clear signs of a cold, the teacher ought to request the student to leave the teaching premise. If the student fails to follow the request, the teacher can choose to discontinue the teaching session to avoid the risk of other course participants (and teaching staff) being exposed to potential transmission of disease. Such a decision should be made restrictively, however. Please also remember that symptoms can be caused by other factors, such as allergies, for instance.

If one or more students should fail to follow the instructions regarding seating in a lecture room or similar and choose to sit down on a seat that has been blocked off, either in a way that makes it difficult for people to adhere to physical distancing or in a way that means the maximum number of people in the room is exceeded, the teacher ought to request the student or students to find an allocated seat. If the student or students should fail to follow these instructions, the teacher ought to request the individuals to leave the premise. If the student or students fail to follow the request of leaving the premise, the teacher can choose to discontinue the teaching session for the entire class. Such a decision should be made restrictively, however.

What happens if a student is in an at-risk group for COVID-19 and cannot partake in an obligatory course component?

If the student states that he or she belongs to an at-risk group for COVID-19 (no proof is required) and cannot partake in an obligatory course component, the department should investigate if other options are possible, for instance to let the student take part virtually. The department should also consider if another comparable format of assessment is possible. If special adaptations are necessary, the student is to report this to his or her course coordinator, preferably at the start of the course, but at least no later than 10 working days before the examination date. If no alternative examination format is possible, the student must be offered to attend the next retake session (in the same way as for absence due to sickness or other absence).

If the department cannot make any adaptations, the student must be informed of the possibility to apply for leave from studies for medical reasons.

Can a course or programme offered in autumn semester 2020 be cancelled?

During the ongoing pandemic, the University has, however, introduced reservations for withdrawals of admission decisions regarding courses and programmes for autumn semester 2020. This reservation was added to admission decisions for applicants for the autumn semester. If recommendations would become more restrictive and should the Student Services Office assess that withdrawals of admission decisions due to COVID-19 should be necessary, the office will communicate through the faculties how such a decision is to be processed.

Can a course that was marketed as an on-campus course be offered online?

A course that was marketed as an on-campus course can be offered completely or partially online if the course syllabus should allow. If a course syllabus specifies that teaching is to take place on campus, the department can decide to make deviations from course syllabus to prevent further spreading of COVID-19 in order to enable complete or partial online teaching (according to decision FS 1.1-1062-20 approved by the Vice-Chancellor). Only the person who normally makes decisions on course syllabi and examination is allowed to make decisions of necessary deviations and must ensure that the decision is well-documented and archived.

What happens if a student informs us of having symptoms indicating a COVID-19 infection?

According to the directives and general advice issued by the Public Health Agency of Sweden, a student who experiences symptoms such as fever, coughing or other symptoms of COVID-19, must stay at home and must have been free of any symptoms for 48 hours before they can return to university premises.

Other students and staff that have no symptoms may continue to conduct education based upon the Public Health Agency of Sweden's general advice but pay special attention to any symptoms that may arise, and in that case stay at home.

How long does a student need to stay at home if COVID-19 has been confirmed?

According to the Public Health Agency of Sweden's general advice, a student who has a confirmed COVID-19 infection must stay at home for at least seven days from the first symptoms were shown, but the student must also have been healthy and free of any symptoms for at least two days before returning.

Must retake exams be of the same format as the original examination?

When a decision to deviate from a course syllabus due to COVID-19 has been made, the deviation is valid during the entire validity period and also applies to any retake exams that fall within this validity period. When the decision has expired (i.e. the validity period is over), all examinations return to their original formats, this also applies to retake exams. If teaching staff at a course or programme wishes to keep the new examination format even after COVID-19, the course syllabus must be revised. Regardless of chosen examination format, the assessment of how well a student fulfils intended learning outcomes must be equal to regular assessments.

Can an activated webcam be required for teaching and examination?

If a student is participating in an online meeting and it is necessary to participate with a camera, a teacher can demand that the student participates with an activated camera. If there is no necessary need for using a webcam, a teacher cannot demand that the student uses one, regardless of if the course component is compulsory or not. Students must be informed of the requirement of having a camera in good time prior to the event if this is a requirement. If a student does not have access to a webcam or if the technology malfunctions, another solution must be found, or the student must be offered a new chance.

Can the grading scale be changed during an ongoing course?

No, the grading scale cannot be changed during an ongoing course.

How is student finance affected?

The Government has announced that even if a university closes due to COVID-19, the Swedish Board of Student Finance (CSN) will continue to pay out student finance that students have been granted. Even if a university cannot offer remote teaching, students are still entitled to keep the student finance that the Swedish Board of Student Finance (CSN) has previously granted.

It is important that the university documents, via decisions, what has stopped the students from completing the course during the regular course period, and which students this concerns in order for CSN to have the information if needed (for instance if students concerned cannot show sufficient credits awarded in their next application for student finance).

When a course or module is postponed, the students are re-registered. To be entitled to student finance, the re-registration must either fulfil the normal requirements for granting students finance, i.e. comprise at least 50 per cent of full-time studies for the concerned period (full time = 1.5 credits per week) and must include teaching and/or supervision. A postponed examination is not sufficient.

Students need a certificate to apply for student finance

If a course, part of a course or an examination has been postponed from a regular date to another point in time, the department or equivalent must send a copy of the decision of deviation to the students concerned so that the decision can be used as a certificate in the students' renewed application for student finance.

See Guide and template for decisions

What happens to student finance when exchange studies are interrupted?

Even if the student cannot be offered other studies during the term, students are still entitled to keep their student finance. However, the risk is that they will not have been awarded the necessary credits in the next application round. In such cases, the responsible department/equivalent must send the student a certificate that states that no other studies could be offered at that particular point.

Can students be granted more weeks to complete their studies if the limit of their student finance allowance has been reached?

The Swedish Board of Student Finance (CSN) has announced that they will be generous in their assessment. The time that the student has used their student finance without being able to study due to the university not being able to offer remote teaching, will be deducted. The department/equivalent must hence submit a decision of a deviation to the student in these cases.
CSN has also announced that they may take into consideration that students' delayed study results can be due to remote and online solutions that have not worked according to plan. Also in these cases, the student must submit an explanation and a certificate from the course coordinating department or equivalent to CSN proving what has happened.

Joint message from the Ladok Consortium and CSN

See Joint message from the Ladok Consortium and CSN about the guidance for handling registrations in Ladok and for CSN reporting when studies are altered in spring semester 2020.

Adapted examinations

Teaching staff that need to adapt examination formats due to COVID-19 can find recommendations and advice here.

Find out more about adapted examinations

Exchange studies

Find information on how the International Office processes contacts with, and questions from, exchange students and partner universities due to COVID-19. This page also provides the answers to other frequently asked questions.

Utbytesforum (In Swedish)
Information for fee-paying students (under the headline Tuition fees)

9/3/2020