Students can go back to the lecture hall – but only with a mask


Classroom instead of online lessons

The majority of universities want to fill the lecture halls with life again in the fall semester. However, strict rules will apply to the students.

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The coming autumn semester at the University of Freiburg will not look like this.


The face-to-face classes will be offered again completely, but only every second chair in lecture halls should be occupied.

The face-to-face classes will be offered again completely, but only every second chair in lecture halls should be occupied.


The risk of infection with Covid 19 should be minimized as far as possible.

The risk of infection with Covid 19 should be minimized as far as possible.


  • The University of Freiburg has announced that students must wear masks in the fall semester.
  • It is now becoming apparent that mask requirements will also apply at other universities.
  • This is because there is too little space in many lecture halls to comply with the distance rules.
  • The University of Zurich is an exception.

The University of Freiburg announced on Tuesday that it was the first university in Switzerland to wear a mask for the autumn semester. “Every second seat will be blocked in the lecture halls and seminar rooms,” said Rector Astrid Epiney to the newspaper “Freiburger Nachrichten”. However, this measure alone is not enough to maintain the official distance: “Students will therefore have to wear face masks.”

People with Covid 19 symptoms as well as people living with sick people in the same household are prohibited from entering the campus. The university also “strongly” recommends all members of the university community to install the federal Corona warning app on their smartphones.

“I worry about costs”

The announcement triggers mixed feelings among students, as media student Michelle tells 20 minutes. On the one hand, she was glad that she could attend lectures again: «But having to wear a mask all the time will be very uncomfortable. I am also concerned about the costs. » Ultimately, it would probably boil down to the fact that many students would use the disposable masks several times.

Bern and St. Gallen follow suit

Not only the students in Freiburg will sit in the lecture hall with a face mask after the summer. A corresponding guideline will also apply at the University of Bern: “Lecturers must either ensure the prescribed distance or wear protective masks when attending class,” says spokesman Ivo Schmucki. It is already clear that the prescribed distance can only be maintained in individual cases – because of the space available in listening rooms.

However, the various institutes at the University of Bern were also instructed to have “alternative solutions” ready in case the number of infections increased again or Covid 19 cases were registered at the university. Schmucki: “The alternative solutions, if they are used, must enable a quick return to online lessons or a reduction in the number of people present in the lecture hall.”

The HSG in St. Gallen plans to resume face-to-face classes in autumn. “In order to comply with the hygiene and protective measures, a maximum of half the capacity must currently be assumed per lecture hall,” said Jürg Roggenbach, spokesman for the University of St. Gallen. One tries to be able to offer face-to-face events additionally also digitally. If the distance regulations cannot be adhered to during a face-to-face course, wearing a mask would be compulsory. Roggenbach: “It is currently still unclear whether a general mask requirement will apply on the campus of the University of St. Gallen in the fall semester.”

Not mandatory everywhere

It sounds very different at the University of Zurich: “There is currently no general requirement for students to wear a mask,” said spokesman Kurt Bodenmüller. But even here, students may not be able to avoid the masks. These could be part of specific protection concepts: “For example in laboratory courses or clinical courses in which the officially prescribed distance regulations cannot be observed.”

It is still unclear whether the University of Basel will also issue a mask requirement for the students. There the ball is at the canton. He has to decide whether face-to-face classes can take place again: “It is currently being clarified at the Basel-Stadt health department whether the minimum distance can be less than 1.5 meters, so that the lecture halls can be filled with every second seat,” it says the university on request. Should this happen, a mask requirement would automatically apply.

The umbrella organization Swissuniversities has issued corresponding guidelines for a Covid 19-compliant company for the coming autumn semester. In addition to intervals and a mandatory mask, Swissuniversities also proposes staggered breaks for various events. Attendance lists for events and disinfection of workplaces are also suggested. This is to minimize the transmission risk for Covid-19 in the university area.

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