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: 5 Oktober 2021

Can a course, module or exam be rescheduled?

Decisions can be made to reschedule a course, course module or exam, or make a deviation from a programme syllabus if no other solution is possible to reduce the risk of infection. Such a rescheduling can take place within the 2021 autumn semester or be postponed to another semester, primarily to the 2022 spring semester.

Prior to such a decision, and to the extent possible, a student representative must be consulted and special consideration should be given to international students. The Vice-Chancellor delegates to the dean and director of the Umeå School of Education to make such a decision with opportunities for further delegation of authority. Such a wider delegation must be documented, registered and the relevant student union and all students concerned must be informed. The decision must also be notified to the Faculty Board or the Board of the Umeå School of Education at their next meeting and recorded in the minutes. 

Other conditions, a guide and a template can be found on Aurora on COVID-19 – templates and signposting.

The decision is valid until 1 November 2021.

Can a course, module or exam be rescheduled outside of the regular semester?

Decisions can be made to reschedule a course, course module or exam outside the regular semester. The Vice-Chancellor delegates to the dean and director of the Umeå School of Education to make such a decision, it cannot be further delegated. Prior to such a decision, and to the extent possible, a student representative must be consulted and special consideration should be given to international students. The decision must be documented, registered and the relevant student union and all students concerned must be informed. For those students who cannot participate outside the regular semester, another opportunity must be offered within the regular term time, i.e. to spring semester 2022. When moving, any eligibility requirements for courses in programmes must be taken into account. Special consideration should be given to international students.

Other conditions, a guide and a template can be found on Aurora on COVID-19 – templates and signposting.

The decision is valid until 1 November 2021.

Can we deviate from the course syllabus?

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. 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.

The decision is valid until 16 January 2022.

Must course instances that have been started but not been completed be reported as "interrupted"?

No. "Interruption" (avbrott) must not be applied. The course instance and the students have been put on "hold" (vänteläge) until the course can be completed. At that time, the students will be re-registered to a later course instance. The students have not interrupted their studies, which makes "interruption" (avbrott av studier) misleading.

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 they feel poorly, even if symptoms are mild. This according to the regulations and general guidelines 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 a compulsory 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 a compulsory 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 a compulsory 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.

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 video, a teacher can demand that the student participates with an activated webcam. 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 webcam 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 COVID-19 templates and signposting

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)

Vice-Chancellor’s decisions regarding COVID-19

10/5/2021