Response to Covid-19 during the school year 2020-2021
In Norway, schools opened in mid-August 2020.
The Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) created in May a national ‘traffic light' model for all educational institutions in Norway. This is a guide for what infection control measures are to be followed under the pandemic.
A ‘green' level means everyday school hours can run as normal, according to the guide to the system outlined by the Norwegian Directorate for Education and Training. If control measures are at ‘yellow', the school must take measures to reduce physical contact and have more focus on hygiene. At the ‘red' level, the school must minimize the number of students in a classroom and make individual decisions on the start and end of school days. School staff are responsible for physical distance being held throughout the school day.
The traffic light model was set to ‘yellow' on June 2nd, with schools and daycare planning for the autumn on that basis.
Both teachers and administration are responsible for finding alternative learning methods for students who suffer from chronic health conditions. Some schools have made the choice to designate one teacher fully to online studies so these students can learn safely from home.
Cleaning personnel have been asked to give extra focus on all surface areas, while toilets and sinks are cleaned multiple times throughout the school day.
Teachers will take extra initiatives to ensure a clean learning environment and set aside time for hand washing. Students will also have extra responsibility -- they must wipe down their desks or tables before coming and going.
Response to Covid-19 during the school year 2019-2020
Norway was among the first countries in Europe to open up nursery schools on 20 April 2020, followed by schools for the youngest pupils, between ages six and 10, the following week.
During the lockdown
Schools in Norway have good infrastructure conditions for doing online school work at home compared to many other countries. Both society in general and the school are well advanced when it comes to using digital tools and the infrastructure is generally good, although the variation between schools and school owners is still great. Digital resources have also become more integrated in teaching and homework. For many students, the work methods they have now will be known even if the volume increases and they lose the school arena.
Norway can now take advantage of what we have FEIDE. Feide – joint electronic identity – is the preferred solution for secure identification in the education sector, chosen by the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research. With Feide, students and staff have access to a wide variety of digital content and recourses (from publishers and ed-tech) using just one username and password. Feide is available to all schools in the Norwegian primary and secondary education. All end users must be affiliated. Most schools are well prepared and digitally advanced with a few exceptions that face challenges to adjust quickly in distant learning.
There are a lot of collaboration initiatives among schools and teachers across the country. All publishers and ed-tech companies (for example Kahoot) opened up and give out premium licenses for free. Teachers and ed-tech collaborate and they have made an overview of all digital learning resources:
Two national broadcasters have a special programme for schools every morning.
We are in the middle of an experiment with distance education and home school. We have already started surveys and will conduct surveys with school owners, principals, teachers, and pupils.