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COVID-19 Pandemic Protection Plan

Updated: Aug. 15, 2022

The Protection Plan (Plan) describes the measures to be taken to ensure the operation of the Steger Center for International Scholarship and to protect the health of its staff, faculty, and students, as well as external visitors.

The requirements contained in the Plan therefore apply to all Steger Center staff, students, and external visitors. 

Steger Center executive director in collaboration with the Global Education Office

The Steger Center executive director, in collaboration with the Virginia Tech Global Education Office, is responsible for the drafting, implementation, monitoring, and updating of the Plan. The Plan may be updated as the health and safety situation for the region changes.

Any questions or concerns should be directed to Sara Steinert Borella.

The aim of protection in the workplace is to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 and other illnesses at the Steger Center where students, faculty, and staff are in especially close contact.

Wearing masks, social distancing, and increased hygiene

Use of masks with social distancing

Wearing masks that cover the nose and mouth lays the foundation to our protection plan. Combined with social distancing, mask wearing has been proven to prevent the spread of infection and protect the community.

Our plan for masks and social distancing is founded on social responsibility, a strength at the Steger Center. We must all act together to remain safe and to keep others safe.

To allow for students to continue participating in curricular travel both inside and outside of Switzerland, symptomatic students are required to wear masks while indoors. Accepted masks include certified FFP2/N95 masks, surgical-style N90 masks, as well as fabric/cloth masks.

Please note that the mask policy applies to group travel away from the Steger Center as well: We recommend that symptomatic students and faculty wear masks in all indoor, public, and common spaces.

Wash your hands

Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly for at least 30 seconds with soap and water, especially before arrival at the workplace, before and after breaks, and before and after meetings.

When it is not possible to wash your hands with soap and water, disinfect your hands with a disinfectant. Disinfectants are available at main entrances, as well as on all floors and office common areas.

Frequently touched surfaces (handles, switches, buttons, etc.)

Clean frequently touched surfaces in your office/area at least twice a day with the detergent that will be supplied to you for this purpose.

In addition, pay particular attention to the careful cleaning of frequently used door handles, switches, and buttons. This operation is carried out by the cleaning services in the general common access areas.


Cleaning staff will be directed to empty the waste bins regularly (especially those near where you wash your hands). They must avoid touching the waste directly and always use tools (broom, shovel, etc.). Faculty and staff should avoid touching waste.

Positioning and use of hand sanitizer

Hand sanitizers are available throughout the villa.

Persons particularly at risk

The needs of particularly vulnerable people are properly considered.

Persons particularly at risk may attend the premises only by strictly observing the rules on distancing and hygiene or, where appropriate, by taking the additional specific protective measures provided for. The same behavior must be adopted by those who come into contact with persons at particular risk on the premises.

Travel and return from high-risk countries or regions

Students should always advise their faculty leader and the Steger Center of their travel plans and destinations. It is recommended that individuals research the entry rules for their destination country, as well as any changes in regulations before re-entry.

Behavior in case of flu-like symptoms

It is essential to remember that anyone who develops flu-like symptoms (fever above 37.5° C or a feeling of fever, mostly dry cough, sore throat, shortness of breath or breathing problems, muscle aches, sudden loss of smell and/or taste) should limit contact with other people, wear a mask, and contact by phone their family doctor (staff) or inform the SLC and the faculty supervisor.

Procedure to be followed in the case of potential contagion

Faculty members, staff members, or students who have recently been in contact with a positive COVID-19 individual are advised to closely monitor their symptoms and wear a mask.

Procedure to be followed in case of positive test results

In the event that a faculty member, staff member, or student tests positive for COVID-19, they must follow the indications below and ensure the prompt flow of information.

Isolation protocols in the event of a positive test

  • In the event of a Steger Center resident receiving positive test results from any COVID-19 test, immediately report the results to their program leader and Sara Steinert Borella.
  • Positive student wears a mask and moves to the quarantine room for up to five days from the onset of symptoms;
  • Program leaders, SLC, and Steger Center staff are notified to coordinate meal pickups, wellness check-ins, laundry, and other support as needed.

Tracking of contacts

Tracking of attendance and contact between people on campus is essential. In the event of a positive case of coronavirus, that individual’s contacts must be traceable.

Data regarding COVID-19 infection

Self-reports of COVID-19 illness will be forwarded to Sara Steinert Borella. Medical confidentiality will be maintained. The information will be used for requests from the cantonal authorities and not released without the specific consent of the individual or their legal representative. Those in the Steger Center community who may have come into close contact with the positive case are contacted directly and given instructions to prevent further spread. Any discussions with Steger Center staff or faculty with the individual who has tested positive will be treated confidentially. 

It is strongly recommended that you inform yourself about the regulations in your country of destination or origin, as Swiss and foreign regulations change frequently. The interactive TravelCheck tool shows what measures apply to individual cases. 

This Protection Plan comes into force immediately. Updates will be published regularly and distributed accordingly.

Any concerns or questions should be directed to Sara Steinert Borella.