Press release | Date: 03/01/2021 | Ministry of Education and Research
In order to prevent an increase in infections in January, the Norwegian Government is introducing new measures that will initially be in place until 19 January. The national level of measures is now red for lower and upper secondary schools in Norway.
‘Use of the red level for schools in areas with a high infection rate has proven effective to reduce the level of infection, and the figures were considerably reduced among 13 to 19-year-olds after the red level was introduced in parts of the country. We now see that the infection rate is increasing, and we will therefore adjust the level to red for all lower and upper secondary schools for a period,’ says Minister of Education and Integration Guri Melby.
It means that the recommendations pertaining to the red level in the traffic light model now apply to all lower and upper secondary schools, regardless of the local level of infection.
Municipalities with a high infection rate should consider using the traffic light model to introduce the red level in kindergartens and primary schools as well.
Confident that the schools will manage the transition to red
The goal is for the students to attend school as much as possible. A red level entails strict requirements to keep the number of contacts down and to maintain an overview of these. Due to the social distancing requirement, many schools will have to rely on a combination of physical attendance at school and digital home schooling.
‘All schools are supposed to have plans in place for transition to the red level, so I have confidence in the schools managing to find good local solutions to make a good transition from yellow to red. I presume that students with special needs will receive a suitable offer at the school,’ says Melby.
Know more about children and infection
On 23 December, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control published a technical report on children and the role of school settings in the spread of infection. The main message of the report is that children and adolescents play a lesser role in spreading the virus. At the same time, there are differences between the age groups. Young people between the ages of 16 and 19 have an infection pattern that resembles that of young adults. There appears to be a gradual transition from very little infection from small children to slightly higher among young people and highest among adults.
Folk high schools follow advice from the local health authorities
National guidelines are not published for folk high schools and Bible schools. Folk high schools have introduced infection control guidelines in line with the guidelines for upper secondary schools with boarding, and measures have been implemented to be able to isolate cases of infection among students in boarding schools. The folk high schools follow guidelines and advice issued by the local health authorities.
There will be no physical teaching on campus for students until 19 January
Based on recommendations from the health authorities, the Norwegian Government has decided that all teaching and all planned events at tertiary vocational colleges, university colleges and universities must take place digitally until 19 January. Staff must comply with infection control regulations in the workplace in general and the rules in place in the municipality they belong to.
‘The aim of postponing the physical start-up is to reduce the risk of infection. It means that those who are able and willing to remain in the place they have spent Christmas and avoid getting on a plane, train or bus to travel back to the place of study, may do so,’ says Minister of Research and Higher Education Henrik Asheim.