Infection control

Norsk versjon: Smittevern 

See also: Topic page about HSE | Infection control for students | Infection control - lecturers' responsibilities

As society gradually opens up a little, people will start getting together more than before. This may also increase the chances of spreading infection. 

On this page you find prevailing regulations at NTNU, as well as information, advice and short videos from several public-sector and central sources in Norway. This is a supplement to NTNU’s guidelines for physical attendance on campus and guidelines for work in laboratories and workshops.

Information on what to do in case of strongly suspected or confirmed COVID-19 (Corona infection).

Transmission routes – direct and indirect #

The coronavirus (and thus the COVID-19 disease) is mainly transmitted via droplets and direct contact via two possible transmission routes: 

  • The direct route is through the air or through direct contact
    • Infection through the air is possible when an infected person sneezes or coughs, and the virus is inhaled or comes into contact with the mucous membranes in the eyes, nose or mouth of another person nearby.
    • Contact transmission takes place when the virus is transferred from the hands of an infected person to another person, who through their own hands brings the virus into contact with mucous membranes in their eyes, nose or mouth.
  • The indirect transmission route is via objects and surfaces.
    • The coronavirus can survive on surfaces from a few hours to several days, depending on the type of surface, the temperature and the humidity, among other things.

When we know how the virus can be transmitted, we can help to stop it from spreading by blocking the transmission route using hygiene and distance measures. 

Simple and effective measures to prevent the spread of infection #

  • Stay at home if you have respiratory tract symptoms, if you suspect that you have COVID-19 disease or if you are in quarantine.
  • Wash your hands frequently, using soap and water, or use hand sanitizer. 
  • Ensure frequent cleaning of objects and surfaces that many people touch.
  • Avoid touching your face with your hands.
  • Avoid coughing and sneezing towards other people.
  • Cough and sneeze in a tissue. If you do not have a tissue or paper towel available, cough or sneeze into your elbow.
  • Don't shake hands.
  • Avoid kissing and hugging.
  • Keep minimum 1 metre away from other people.
  • Limit social contact with other people as much as possible

Everyone must carry out hygiene measures frequently, regardless of what they know about their own infection status and that of others.

Advice for infection control on campus #

General measures #

  • Limit physical meetings and breaks where several people meet. Use videoconferencing instead of physical meetings/discussions/supervision/courses where possible.
  • Have tissues/paper towels and hand sanitizer readily available. If you need supplies, report this to building services.
  • Avoid touching the most frequently touched surfaces:
    • Use your elbow to open doors
    • Use a tissue when you touch a door handle
    • Use your access and ID card or your little finger when you enter your access code
  • Avoid using rings and hand jewelry at work.
  • Limit sharing of material (such as pencils, pens, tablet computers, microphones, PCs, tools etc.). When material is shared, procedures for cleaning must be followed.
  • You may also clean equipment that is not used by others, such as mobile phones.
  • Spend as little time as you can in areas with high pedestrian flows.
  • Create local routines for hygiene around kitchenettes/lunch rooms.
  • Limit the use of public transport to and from the workplace wherever possible.
  • If there are employees who work at several campuses, they must receive training in the local procedures in effect at each campus. Efforts should be made to avoid working at different campuses on the same day.
  • All employees has the authority to ask persons breaking the infection control rules to comply with the rules or leave campus.

The use of campus areas #

This section has been moved to a separate guideline: Guidelines for the use of campus areas.

The use of face masks and safety goggles #

A few work and teaching situations at NTNU imply that it is hard to maintain a distance of 1 metre between people. In these situations, it may be necessary to wear a face mask and safety goggles. The need for this must be risk assessed in the specific work and teaching situation.

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health (FHI)  does not recommend using face masks as long as there is little or no transmission in the population (fewer than 20 cases per 100 000 people in the municipality in the last 14 days), but does not discourage the use of masks either. FHI emphasizes that the use of face masks cannot replace, but can  supplement the other basic measures for preventing infection. The risk of infection will increase if people replace the 1-metre distancing recommendation with the use of face masks.

If a face mask is used, it must be of an approved type and must be used correctly. Medical face masks type I and non-medical cloth face coverings with documented filtration efficiency that meet the quality requirements described and published in a CEN workshop agreement on face coverings are recommended for use in public spaces. 

Actions to take if Covid-19 is strongly suspected or confirmed #

Strong suspicion of infection: #

  • If you get acute respiratory symptoms while you are on campus, or the municipality’s infection control office (smittevernkontor) defines you as a close contact of an infected person, you must leave the campus as soon as possible. The infection control office will get in touch with close contacts.
  • Before you leave the workplace:  
  • Then do the following:
    • Book an appointment for testing (TrondheimÅlesundGjøvik). Stay at home until you have received the test results.
    • If you have questions about absence, contact your line manager or student adviser/lecturer.
  • A manager who is notified that an employee has gone home must: 
    • Assess the need for cleaning contact surfaces. If necessary, make sure that this is carried out.

Employees/students do not need to go home if a colleague/fellow student has left the campus due to acute respiratory symptoms.

If infection is confirmed: #

  • If you test positive for Covid-19, you will be contacted by the infection control office in your home municipality
  • Follow any instructions you get in the messages from the infection control office
  • Employees must notify their line manager of their absence
  • If you have any questions about absence, or adaptation of your study/work situation: Contact your line manager or your student adviser/lecturer

Contact tracing:  #

  • The infection control office in the municipality is responsible for contact tracing.
  • The HR and HSE Division is notified by the infection control office if an employee or student tests positive for Covid-19 and there is a need for contact tracing. In Trondheim and Ålesund, the division is also notified of cases where there is no need for follow-up from NTNU.
  • The HR and HSE Division helps with contact tracing by providing extracts from Check-in and FS on request from the infection control office.
  • Everyone who needs to take some practical action in connection with contact tracing, such as ordering extra cleaning and disinfection, is contacted directly by the HR and HSE Division. 

If you have any questions, contact the HSE Section: Email: hms@ntnu.no ,tel. (+47) 48 40 90 65.  

Information about disease transmission and hand hygiene #

Hand washing is the most important way to stop transmission of infection. Short nails are easier to keep clean than long nails. For this to be effective, it must be done correctly:

  • Wash your hands with lukewarm water and liquid soap.
  • Washing loosens dirt, bacteria and viruses from the skin and they get rinsed away with the water.
  • Students and staff must wash their hands and wrists thoroughly for at least 20 seconds.
  • Then dry your hands with a disposable paper towel.
  • When you have dried your hands, use the paper towel to turn off the tap.

This video from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (FHI) shows the steps in washing your hands the right way (in Norwegian).

Both students and staff must wash their hands #

  • Before leaving home and on arrival back home
  • When entering the campus
  • When moving to a different work space or work equipment
  • After coughing/sneezing and wiping your face/blowing your nose
  • After toilet visits
  • Before putting on gloves and after removing gloves
  • Before and after meals
  • After going outside
  • If hands are visibly dirty

If virus and bacteria were visible #

This video from FHI shows how infections are spread via our hands, and makes the importance of hand washing clearly visible.

Use of gloves #

Wearing gloves does not reduce the need for hand hygiene, because disease transmission via hands in gloves takes place in the same way as for hands without gloves. FHI does not recommend routine use of disposable gloves. This video clip shows why incorrect use of gloves causes a risk of infection.

The video was made for health professionals, but it is relevant because it shows how viruses are transmitted via our hands.When disposable gloves are used, it is important to know how to put them on and remove them. FHI has made a film which shows the correct procedure when using disposable gloves.

Hand sanitizer #

The coronavirus is sensitive to alcohol, and alcohol-based hand sanitizer can be used if you do not have access to soap and water. Note that the effect depends on using enough alcohol to wet your wrists and all surfaces of your hands. Let your hands air dry afterwards. If your hands are visibly dirty, disinfection will not work.

See a short video on correct hand disinfection here.

Hand disinfection in brief

  • Alcohol-based sanitizer (hand rub) is an option if no hand washing facilities are available.
  • Hand sanitizer should be placed in locations where it is not possible to wash your hands.
  • Alcohol-based disinfection is not very effective on wet and/or visibly dirty hands. Hand washing is advised in these cases.
  • Use enough hand rub, cover all surfaces of your hands and wrists, and let it dry in the air.

If you would like to explore the chemistry and nanotechnology behind soap and alcohol to prevent virus infection, you can read this article from Aftenposten (in Norwegian):

Vanlig håndsåpe fungerer bedre mot koronavirus enn Antibac! (Ordinary hand soap works better against coronavirus than Antibac!)

Help #

Carrying out a risk assessment

Sources of more information #

Facts and advice from Norwegian authorities:

Sikresiden.no – infection control

Korona i arbeidslivet (in Norwegian, useful information for handling the coronavirus in working life) – the University Hospital of North Norway

Contact #


Change history #

See change history in the norwegian version

Updated 10 August 2020
The section "The use of campus areas" has been moved to a separate guideline: Guidelines for the use of campus areas.

Updated 14 July 2020

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