Infection prevention course for students and employees at UiT

Information by the Norwegian Institute for Public Health:


Presentatør: Morten Skandfer, Occupational physician, Hemis company health services

Welcome to the new normal at the university. The corona virus covid-19 affects many parts of everyday life, all over the world and also at UIT The Arctic University of Norway. We are still in the middle of the pandemic. It is a challenging time for all of us, but together we will manage by joint efforts and knowledge.

It is important that we all contribute to halt the spread of the virus in order to keep the pandemic down. At UIT we have a shared responsibility: as an organisation, as employees and students.

The basic principles for preventing contamination and spreading of the virus are:
keep your distance,
wash your hands often,
avoid sneezing or coughing on others and
stay home if you have symptoms.

About the virus

The corona virus most typically causes airway infection and most often mild symptoms. But for persons in the risk groups, like elderly and those with chronic diseases, the corona infection can be very dangerous with pneumonia and severe breathing problems. In case you have been infected it can take 0 to 14 days before symptoms appear. Usually it takes 5-6 days. A person is most contagious for others when symptoms are present. Fever, cough and heavy breathing are the most common symptoms. If you have been infected, you can still contaminate others even with very mild symptoms.

Contamination happens when you are about to fall ill and in the very start of the symptom period. It seems that persons are particularly contagious in the early phase or even one to two days before symptoms appear. Some persons can have few or no symptoms and still contaminate others.

The corona virus is transmitted through airborne droplets and direct contact. The virus is found in small droplets exiting the airways through the mouth and nose when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

The most common way of virus transmission is by inhaling airborne droplets containing viruses or by contamination to the hands and then to the face, mouth and nose from touching surfaces. Because the virus can exist on surfaces you touch, washing your hands is very important. It is also important that you perform risk evaluations where you are, in your daily activities, at home, work, study, shopping, training and public transport. Adhere to recommendations for routines and consider what you can do to reduce the risk of contamination for yourself and others, at the university or in your spare time.

We live in a difficult time, and the shared efforts must continue with confidence, responsibility, vigilance and safety through prevention of virus transmission.

In practical life this means:

  • Keep at least one metre distance to other people. It is very important in all situations where you meet people.
  • Avoid sneezing or coughing directly on other people. Cough or sneeze in a paper towel and then discard it. Always wash your hands afterwards. If you have no paper towel, sneeze in the elbow angle.
  • Wash your hands often and thoroughly with soap and water, especially when you have been in the public space, after sneezing and coughing, visited the toilet and before eating. If no soap and water is available, an alcohol-containing disinfectant is a good alternative. Find alternatives to handshakes and hugs.
  • If you fall ill or suspect that you might be infected or are in quarantene: stay home.

When you are together; agree with your colleges and group how to exercise the precautions in your activities and daily tasks at the workplace, studies, canteen or social life. The university has implemented more frequent and thorough cleaning. The university also has an action plan (smittevernveileder) to prevent the virus from spreading, listing various areas, situations, tasks and groups at UIT. Make yourself familiar with this. This guidance should be used on an everyday basis. As the pandemic develops and new knowledge is added, the guidelines may be adjusted. So, it is important to stay updated.

You can receive more information concerning your workplace at UIT from your closest leader. You can also find updated information from the Norwegian authorities concerning the pandemic on :

The recommendations may be subject to rapid change in response to the pandemic and new knowledge.

If you are ill:

If you are ill and in need of a doctor or instant health advice, contact your fastlege (general practitioner) by phone or online.

Call 116 117 in case you have no fastlege or this is unavailable and you cannot wait.

In case of life-threatening situations or injury call 113.

In addition, Hemis company health services provides assistance to the university on risk assessment, health and prevention at the workplace. Studying can be especially challenging during the pandemic. Therefore, we remind the students that there is both a student vicar and psychologist available for students in need of someone to talk to.

To sum up the basic advice for preventing the spread of the virus:

  • Keep your distance
  • Wash your hands often
  • Avoid sneezing or coughing on others
  • Stay home if you are ill