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University of Basel

Libraries and learning spaces closed

3d rendering of a microscope close-up of the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.
3d rendering of a microscope close-up of the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. (Image: Creativeneko/123rf)

The Federal Council announced tighter measures on January 13. These will come into force on January 18 and will apply until end of February, 2021. the University of Basel will have to close its study rooms and libraries. The UB Main Library will reintroduce pick-up lending.

Spring semester starts online – switch to face-to-face classes if possible

January 15, 2021: Unfortunately, it is becoming clear that a relaxation of the cantonal and national measures should not be expected until the second half of the semester at the earliest. For this reason, the President's Office, in close consultation with the deans of studies, has decided that we will start the Spring semester in the same way as we ended the Fall semester: this means with continuing online lectures with a few exceptions, subject to approval, for courses that require attendance. More information regarding this can be found in the course directory. This arrangement will be in effect until at least Easter Monday (April 5, 2021).

As soon as the national and cantonal measures are relaxed and partial face-to-face lectures are possible again, we will inform you. It is foreseen that about half of the courses could be held in attendance. Therefore, the lecturers of those courses for which a change to face-to-face teaching is planned should prepare them in such a way that they can quickly switch from digital to face-to-face teaching in the event that measures are relaxed. The lecturers were also asked to indicate in the course directory under "Comments" if their course can still be attended online in the event of a switch to presence teaching (e.g. live broadcast for those not present or provision of the lecture recording).


December 20 2020. The Federal Council announced today a tightening of the measures. These will come into force December 22 and will apply until at least January 22, 2021.

For the University of Basel, this has the following consequences for the mentioned period:

  • All learning spaces (reading rooms, Lernoullianum, etc.) at the University of Basel will be closed.
  • The university libraries will be closed. The University Main Library will reintroduce pick-up lending, which was already used successfully in spring. The corresponding information is currently being prepared and will be communicated on the University Library website as soon as possible.
  • University buildings open to the public, such as the Kollegienhaus, will be closed.

This closure of the mentioned rooms was ordered to the University of Basel by the Health Department of Basel-Stadt due to the number of cases in the canton.

The new measures will not affect exams that are already scheduled. These can take place on the scheduled dates at the designated locations.


October 28 2020. In addition to the already communicated home-office regulation and the obligation to wear masks, the university management has decided the following measures based on the Federal Council's guidelines:

  • Classroom teaching will be discontinued until further notice, and courses will be offered as soon as possible, and at the latest from Monday, November 2, via digital channels.
  • Exceptions to this rule are courses and teaching activities for which attendance is mandatory (for example, practical classes or Master Thesis in the laboratory).
  • The Vice-President for Education decides in consultation with the Deans of Studies on which courses attendance is mandatory. Corresponding inquiries should be addressed to the Deans of Studies.
  • Lecturers who teach in class during the current semester will immediately inform their students how they will offer their courses digitally. Lecturers must respect the times given in the course directory.
  • The subject of performance reviews and tests is not explicitly regulated in the modified regulations and will be clarified with the responsible authorities in the next few days. The examinations scheduled until then are expected to be conducted as planned.
  • The libraries of the University of Basel will continue to operate with the currently valid protection concept. The opening hours will be adjusted if necessary. Further information will be published on the websites of the libraries.
  • The research operations can be continued with the currently valid safety concept.
  • The buildings of the University of Basel will remain open for their members. This also applies to classrooms like the Lernoullianum. The university management appeals to the members of the University to strictly adhere to the relevant protective measures when using them.
  • The catering facilities of the University of Basel will be closed from Monday, November 2, until further notice due to the lack of guests. 
  • Indoor university sports activities will be discontinued until further notice. Outdoor events can still take place if the protective distances can be maintained or if a mask is worn. Contact sports are explicitly not permitted.
  • Bookings for all third party events planned for this year in buildings of the University of Basel will be cancelled.
  • We advise all members of the University to install the Swiss Covid app and urge them to follow the recommendations of the FOPH, both at the university and in their private life.

Comprehensive mask obligation and home office

December 1, 2020. As part of the safety concepts to contain the corona pandemic, the University of Basel has issued a general obligation to wear masks. In exceptional cases, the University of Basel can exempt students from the obligation to wear masks in university buildings. Applications are examined by the Students Without Barriers (StoB) service, which obtains the expertise of its specialists and committees. The decision lies with the head of Student Services. Applications from students for exemption from the general obligation to wear masks at the University of Basel should be submitted to the StoB

October 18 2020. In addition to the new measures announced by the Federal Council October 18 2020, the President’s Board after consulting with our experts at the University Hospital, has decided the same day to tighten the university safety concept as follows

Duty to wear masks in class

  • A mask must always be worn in all publicly accessible rooms. The mask may not be taken off while seated. The obligation to wear a mask also applies immediately before and after lessons.
  • Eating and drinking during the lessons is prohibited. 
  • Lecturers must, whenever possible, teach with a mask and use microphones.
  • The mask may only be taken off in the cafeterias, refectories and public areas of the University of Basel while food and drink are being consumed and while sitting down.

Working at the University

  • All superiors are requested to implement home office whenever possible, starting immediately! The superiors have the task of working out solutions together with the employees and implementing them immediately. 
  • For positions that are essential for maintaining operations, superiors are requested to discuss this special situation with the employees.
  • In work rooms (laboratories, offices, stockrooms, meeting rooms, libraries, learning rooms), a general mask obligation applies if more than one person is present. The distance rule of 1.5 meters must be observed even with a mask.
  • Experimental research is not restricted and should be continued within the framework of current safety concepts.
  • Physical sessions are now only permitted with masks. This also applies even when only two people meet.
  • Aperos (parties) on the premises of the University of Basel remain prohibited.

The University of Basel has had so-called community masks made for their members. The masks are TESTEX tested, based on recommendations of the Swiss National COVID-19 Science Task Force and will be available at the SV-Service sales points from the end of September.


People at especially high risk 

The Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) defines on its website who is among the people at especially high risk. Anyone belonging to one of these risk groups can have this confirmed by a doctor. The University of Basel has prepared the form Medical certificate template: Participation in teaching by people at particularly high risk in the fall semester 2020, on which a doctor can confirm that the person belongs to the group of people at especially high risk and suggest any necessary measures. The University endeavors to enable the persons concerned to take part in teaching within the framework of the existing possibilities in teaching as well as under the aspect of equal opportunities. However, participation in a desired course cannot be guaranteed in every case. Those who are not allowed to wear a mask due to a doctor's instruction are unfortunately not allowed to participate in classroom teaching (including internships), because access to the university buildings is only allowed with a mask.

What should I do if I test positive for COVID-19 or I am requested to go into quarantine?

Students and doctoral students who receive a positive test result or who have been requested by the authorities to enter quarantine should report this immediately to the Corona Task Force using this online form. The Corona Task Force will then contact the lecturers and discuss with them how to proceed.

Inquiries by email

Questions about study and research in the context of the spread of the new coronavirus can be asked at the e-mail address corona@unibas.ch.

Please send questions about online teaching in the context of the spread of the new coronavirus to corona-teaching@unibas.ch.

Current situation – Switzerland and international

Information on the current situation, federal government measures, recommendations for workplace and for travellers, and answers to frequently asked questions can be found on the website of the Federal Office of Public Health FOPH.

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