Schools and kindergartens

On Thursday May 7th, 2020 the Government presented a plan on how to further handle the covid-19 situation in Norway. All primary and secondary schools shall reopen for all levels during week 20 (within May 15th, 2020). Guidelines on how to control the transmission of infectious diseases in schools and kindergartens have been prepared.

Foto: Maria Sbytova / Mostphotos

The article is being updated

Kindergartens, primary and secondary school, universities, colleges and other educational institutions were closed on Thursday March 12th, 2020. From April 20th onwards a gradual reopening is taking place:

Kindergartens

Kindergartens reopened from April 20th. Guidelines for preventing transmission of the virus in kindergartens (in Norwegian) have been prepared.

Information for children and adults can be found on the webpages of the Norwegian Directorate for Education and Training (in Norwegian).

This information is also available in several languages.

Experience from China and other countries indicate that children are not a key group for transmission of the coronavirus. This does not mean that children cannot transmit the disease to others, but few children have been infected by the coronavirus with little implication for further transmission. In Sweden, where kindergartens have remained open, no outbreak of disease with symptoms have been detected in these groups.

The prerequisite is that the reopening can be done in a safe manner and in compliance with regulations to control transmission of infectious diseases. Sending children to kindergarten must be safe, and it must be safe for the staff at the kindergarten to go to work. Guidelines for infection control in kindergartens have therefore been prepared.

Schools

Lower primary schools (levels 1st – 4th) and after school clubs reopened on April 27th. All primary and secondary schools shall reopen for all levels within May 15th. The assumption is that this can be done in a safe manner and in compliance with regulations to control transmission of infectious diseases. Sending children to school must be safe, and it must be safe for the employees to go to work.

Based on the precautionary principle and to minimize the risk of transmission some children might be advised not to go back to school. The Norwegian Society of Pediatricians (Norsk barnelegeforening) have in consultation with Norwegian Institute of Public Health prepared an overview of different diagnoses in children and youth, and whether any special considerations need to be taken into account (in Norwegian).

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health offers advice and information for children and adolescents, with answers to questions about the coronavirus and measures for infection control when reopening kindergartens and schools.

Universities, colleges, vocational schools and folk high schools

  • For universities, colleges and vocational schools distance education will continue. Students who need to be present at the teaching facility in order to secure their academic progression can get access. The teaching facility should follow guidelines to control the transmission of infectious diseases.
  • For courses under the adult education association and Kompetansepluss distance education will continue. Student who need to be present at the teaching facility in order to secure their academic progression can get access. The teaching facility should follow guidelines to control the transmission of infectious diseases.
  • Folk high schools will stay closed for the remaining school year, except for short courses.

Exceptions and opening hours

It is important to maintain healthcare services and other functions critical to society, and to avoid using persons in high risk groups for childcare.

Therefore, arrangements must be made locally for children of personnel in the health and care services, the transport sector or within other critical social functions. This also applies to children with special care needs that cannot be met if kindergartens, schools or other day-care services have reduced opening hours.

There are two options for providing the service. Read more about this on the website of The Norwegian Directorate for Education and Training (in Norwegian).Here you will find information on how kindergartens that operate with reduced opening hours are still to provide service to parents within critical social functions beyond the opening hours they have planned for.

The kindergarten should prioritize this group and ensure their service even if the kindergarten has decided on reduced opening hours.