Statement from Minister of Education and Integration at Press Conference For Kids

As the Prime Minister said, we realise that it can be boring just staying at home all the time.  

I’m a mother of two small children myself. They think it’s a bit boring being at home so much, and I imagine many of you feel the same way.

Lots of you have had to cancel birthday parties. That’s a shame, of course. And your free-time activities have also been cancelled. That’s a pity too.

So we understand that it’s dull being at home so much, particularly when you can’t see all your friends like you could before.

We have kept the children’s day care centres and schools closed for a long time now to get the virus under better control. The doctors who know most about this say that it is now safe for the youngest children to go back to their day care centres and schools. This is good news, but when that happens we must all make sure that we keep on washing our hands – a lot! 

So the Government has decided that the youngest children can go back to school again from Monday 27 April. That’s nearly two weeks away. The schools will be using the time to make sure it’s safe for you to return to school.

We’ve decided that pupils in years 5 to 10 are to continue having school from home for now. This is because we know that the youngest children find it more difficult to have all their teaching on a computer, and because we want to give the schools enough time to get ready to open for everyone.  

Also, if you don’t all start at the same time, there’ll be more space for the pupils who are at school. But we hope that everyone will be able to go back to school before the summer holidays.

But I must point out that although some of you will be back at school on 27 April, things won’t be quite the same as before.

To make sure being at school is safe for everyone, you’ll see that we’ve made some changes, and your school day will be a bit different from what you’re used to. After all, the whole of Norway has been closed for the past few weeks.

Now we are going to start opening up again bit by bit. At the same time, we must make sure that the coronavirus doesn’t spread. That is why we are going to be extra careful so that older people and people with other illnesses don’t get infected by the virus, as the Prime Minister said.  

We must also remember that for some people being at home has not been easy. This is something the Government gave a lot of thought to before deciding to reopen the schools.

But I would like to thank you all for being so patient and helpful. I know your teachers have worked hard to give you lessons at home, and that they are pleased with all the work you have been doing. And we are impressed by the job your teachers and parents have been doing.

Although of course we would rather not have had coronavirus in Norway, I agree with the Prime Minister that we have all learnt a lot in the past few weeks.

Everything you have learnt about using a computer or iPad and chatting online with your teacher will be useful later too, once we get past this coronavirus period.

And to finish off, I’d like to point out that it’s still important not to meet up with too many other children at the moment. When the schools reopen, it’s a good idea to make sure you are only with friends from school, even in your free time. This will reduce the chances of infection. You have done such a good job so far, and I hope you will keep up the good work.

And now I’ll hand over to Kjell Ingolf.