Information for schools, after school programmes and childcare centres
The Government has issued the follow decisions and advice to childcare centres and schools:
- 12th March 2020, the Norwegian Directorate of Health decided to close childcare centres/nurseries and educational institutions.
- 7th April 2020, the Government decided to introduce a gradual reopening of childcare centres and schools, and from the 11th May, all schools can re-open.
- 29th May 2020, infection control guidelines for childcare centres and schools were last updated, and the measures were split into three levels as a traffic light model.
Childcare centres and schools play a crucial role in children's learning, care and development. Children and adolescents have the right and duty to attend primary school education in accordance with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and Norwegian law. Children appear to have mild symptoms from COVID-19 and few have had a severe disease course. The current assessment shows that the overall negative effects of keeping childcare centres and schools closed outweigh the potential benefit of limiting the transmission.
School and childcare are important for childrens' and adolescents' development, care, education and social life. In addition, it is important that their parents are able to work. There is a major focus on infection control to take care of the health of the children, adolescents and staff.
The three main pillars to limit transmission are:
- sick people should not be in the childcare centre or school. Read more about the symptoms: When you suspect that you have COVID-19 disease
- good hygiene (see advice about hand washing below
- reduced contact frequency between people.
Guidelines for childcare centres, schools and after school programmes
The Norwegian Institute of Public Health and the Norwegian Directorate for Education and Training have prepared guidelines for infection control in childcare centres, schools and after school clubs. the guidelines describe in detail the practical implications of measures to reduce transmission and to give advice and support to ensure good infection control for staff, children and adolescents.
In the guideline published on 29th May 2020, the advice is graded by three different levels - green, yellow and red action levels - so that operations can be adapted to the appropriate infection situation. The health authorities decide which level the schools shall follow.
See the advice and updates at the Directorate for Education and Training:
- Infection control guidelines for childcare centres, schools and after school clubs (Directorate for Education and Training)
Childcare and school for children and adolescents with chronic conditions
So far, reports from other countries do not indicate that children and adolescents with chronic conditions are at higher risk of severe COVID-19 disease compared to healthy ones.
In consultation with the Norwegian Paediatric Association, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health considers that the vast majority of children and adolescents with chronic conditions can attend childcare and school as usual when these re-open. This applies, for example, to children with common conditions such as asthma, allergy and diabetes.
Certain groups of children and adolescents may be particularly vulnerable, and a precautionary approach to home schooling can be considered for them when childcare centres and schools re-open. These children would otherwise be at risk for severe course of respiratory tract infections, and are not the same risk groups observed for adults with COVID-19.
Adjustment should be voluntary and assessed from a holistic perspective where the benefit of teaching at home should outweigh the disadvantages of losing social and academic development.
- More information from the Norwegian Paediatric Association (in Norwegian only).
Most children and adolescents living with people in at-risk groups can attend childcare and school
Parents who are in risk groups may talk to their own doctor to assess whether the childcare centre / school should be contacted to make adjustments in the provision of childcare or school services. Risk of infection and the need for adjustment can be managed based on assessments of measures for risk groups at work. See:
For children and adolescents living with people in the risk groups, any need for adjustment must be assessed against the child's / adolescent's own need for social and academic development, and the benefits of being at home must outweigh any disadvantage to the child.
In cases where the infection control routines need adjusting in relation to a particular child / adolescent, a dialogue should be established between the childcare centre / school and the parents. Possible measures may be that the child / adolescent only attends during any planned outdoor hours or that small groups are created around the child (2-3 children). In these cases, take into account other factors that are important for the needs of the child/adolescent.
Advice about hand hygiene in childcare centres and schools
Good hand hygiene is an important infection control measure. Childcare centres and schools must ensure that children and staff can perform hand hygiene as required, in the correct way and with products that are effective and not irritating to the skin on the hands.
- Hand hygiene, cough etiquette, face masks, cleaning and laundry- hand washing and disinfection, including advice against dry skin.
Closing ceremonies and other events in schools and childcare centres
Tailored advice for end-of-school year ceremonies and other events:
- No-one who is sick should attend.
- Good hygiene is important and there must be adequate facilities for hand washing / hand disinfection.
- Organise ceremonies for up to the number of people allowed (for example, by department in childcare centre or by classroom in schools). Currently, this is 200 people. See updated advice about events, gatherings and summer activities.
- Children who attend the same cohort / class can socialise as normal. This also applies to people within the same household / family. Those who are not normally close contacts should stay one metre away from other children and adults.
- Food and drinks should be organised as normal, with a focus on good hand hygiene and general good food hygiene.
A teacher or guardian can be the organiser and should be familiar with the current advice for events.
Ceremonies in schools and childcare centres are traditionally a family event. There is a wide span from kindergarten to upper high school and there will be differences in how they are marked; for example, whether to gather relatively many children / pupils with few family members, or small groups of children / pupils with their whole family.
Talking to children
Childcare centres and schools should also follow their current routines in case of illness among children. It is important to talk to children / pupils about coronavirus disease to avoid fear and to create security around the situation.
This film is made by the Norwegian Directorate of Health and is intended for children and adolescents. The sound is only in Norwegian but subtitles are available in several languages:
- Click on the cogwheel symbol at the bottom when you open the film
- Remove "autoplay" if it shows red
- Choose "settings"
- Click "subtitles"
- Choose "automatic translation"
- Choose language
(We cannot guarantee that the autotranslation for some of the languages is completely correct).