Swiss Universities May Impose COVID Certificate Requirement For In-Person Classes

Starting Monday, September 13, Swiss citizens will be required to show a COVID certificate which proves that the person is vaccinated, tested, or recovered from COVID-19, in order to access indoor areas of restaurants, cultural and leisure facilities, as well as indoor events, the Federal Council has decided on September 8.

The decision has been taken following the dire situation with the pandemic in the country’s hospitals; therefore, the requirement will remain in force until January 24, 2022, Erudera.com reports.

According to a press release issued by the Swiss government, cantons or universities may also impose a certificate requirement for Bachelor and Master level, so students will no longer have to wear masks as well as remove the restrictions on classroom capacity limits.

“The general rules on events continue to apply for other events at universities and continuing education institutions,” the government’s press release reads.

After 18 months of remote learning, in-person teaching at universities across Switzerland has finally been allowed to resume in autumn, under hygiene measures. Nevertheless, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) confirmed to swissinfo.ch that it will require a COVID certificate from September 21 once the fall term in Switzerland begins.

“The Covid certificate will therefore give students the opportunity to attend face-to-face classes with a better health guarantee. It will also allow us to use our infrastructure to its full capacity. For our students, this allows a real return to university life,” EPFL’s spokesperson Corinne Feuz said in an email.

University of Lausanne also told SWI that it is planning to impose the certificate for in-person lessons at bachelor and master level as of September 21.

Other universities that are expected to introduce the COVID certificate requirement include the University of Neuchâtel, and the University of Zurich – which pointed out that it will require certificates as of September 20. Other universities have not yet announced their stance on COVID certificates.

At a news conference held in Bern, Health Minister Alain Berset said that the situation is serious and that the alternative is to close everything but added that the ministry would do its utmost to not allow that to happen.

Certificates will not be required for outdoor areas of restaurants, street vendors or restaurants in transit zones in airports, however the requirement will apply for outdoor events gathering more than 1,000 people.

Those who do not comply with the certificate requirement will be fined CHF 100. The government said that the Federal Council would lift the measure earlier if the situation in hospitals alleviates.

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