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Advice for universities, colleges, vocational schools and folk high schools
The Government has introduced stricter national infection control measures, see government.no for the current recommendations and regulation changes. The measures will last as long as they are needed, and the situation will be continuously assessed.
The municipalities can introduce stricter measures locally, based on the infection situation. Check the website of your municipality for information about local measures.
Advice about infection control
The basic prevention measures are:
- Sick people should stay at home
- Good hand hygiene and cough etiquette and enhanced cleaning
- Measures to limit contact
People who are sick should stay at home. This applies even for mild respiratory tract symptoms. See When you suspect that you have COVID-19 disease
Increased physical distance between people reduces the possibility of infection, even before symptom onset. Cough etiquette and keeping a physical distance limit droplet transmission, while hand hygiene, and especially avoiding touching the face with unclean hands, prevent indirect contact transmission. Consider enhanced cleaning, especially for frequently touched contact points. See Cleaning and disinfection for COVID-19 in sectors outside the healthcare service
The situation at higher education institutions can be compared to a workplace. For both students and staff, including fellows and postdoctoral fellows, the same advice applies as in working life in general.
See Workplace advice for more information. Here you can also find advice for risk groups.
For folk high schools, reference is also made to the guidelines for infection control for lower and upper secondary schools during the COVID-19 outbreak 2020 (Directorate of Education and Training). Advice for boarding schools can also be found here.
Contact-limiting measures for universities, colleges and vocational schools
Measures to limit contact in order to prevent transmission are important in all situations and must be maintained at all stages in contact between students, between employees, and between students and staff. The educational institution should identify how many students may be present at the same time in each of the premises. As a rule of thumb, allow for 4 m2 per person.
- Where possible, keep at least one metre distance between people throughout the day (lecture theatres, practical teaching rooms, canteens, corridors etc.)
- If possible, avoid activities that require close contact between students or between students and staff. Where close contact is required in teaching, take measures to minimise the risk of infection where possible - such as limiting talking, avoiding close face-to-face contact, etc.
- Consider measures to reduce the number of students present at the same time, such as reduced group sizes, different attendance times, and arranging partial digital teaching.
- Avoid major events. Events and gatherings must follow the current recommendations: Events, gatherings and summer activities. This also applies to events organised by the students.
- Encourage students and staff to limit their use of public transport.
Each educational institution should evaluate its own routines and make sure that infection control advice can be followed. The Norwegian Institute of Public Health has issued general infection control guidelines that can be adapted by different organisations to their activity. The template can be used and adapted for universities, colleges and vocational schools. Own industry standards have also been developed that will be relevant for some educational institutions. See Template for infection control guidelines. Universities and colleges that teach health sciences must also adhere to current recommendations for healthcare professionals.
No limit has been set for the number of students per lecture/classroom situation, but it must be possible to maintain a distance of at least one metre between everyone present.
If a student or member of staff is confirmed to have COVID-19, the local health authority is responsible for contact tracing, but may require assistance from the educational institution to identify contacts who may have been exposed to infection. It is not a requirement to register who is at the lecture but an overview makes subsequent contact tracing easier.
Stricter measures with increased risk of transmission
In situations with an increased risk of transmission, local or national authorities can recommend stricter infection control measures. The following measures may be appropriate:
- Stricter measures to ensure at least 1 metre distance between people
- Teaching in small, regular groups can be carried out in addition to online lectures, to offer a regular physical education to all students.
- Register who is present, with seat position at physical lectures.
- Avoid events, larger lectures and meetings.
- Close canteens and other areas where students and staff gather. Libraries and reading rooms can remain open with infection control measures including distance requirements and limited numbers.
- Recommend face masks in common areas where it is not possible to keep a distance of 1 metre.
Healthcare students can complete work placements/ internships according to the study plan. The educational institution and the internship site must prepare a plan in advance for students in the event of exposure to COVID-19 during the internship.
If healthcare students are exposed to COVID-19 during the internship, the students should be followed up in the same way as other employees at the site.
Responsibilities associated with internships for healthcare students
Healthcare education institutions
- Ensure students have clear information about what they need to aware of, based on the current epidemiological situation.
- Ensure that students receive adequate training in basic infection control routines, including the use of personal protective equipment, before beginning their placement.
- Establish cohorts of students for each internship site.
- Have routines for dialogue and collaboration with the municipal medical officer and/ or internship site/ hospital regarding follow-up of students in the event of an outbreak of COVID-19, with a clear division of responsibilities.
Internship site for healthcare students
- Establish routines for dialogue and collaboration with the municipal medical officer and the educational institution and internship site regarding follow-up of students in the event of an outbreak, as well as a clear division of responsibilities.
- Ensure that students who may have been exposed to COVID-19 during the placement are followed up and tested in the same way as other employees.
- Establish routines for dialogue with the educational institution about notification if COVID-19 is confirmed among patients or employees.
- Ensure that students receive training in current routines for all patient contact, including the correct use of personal protective equipment.
- As a general rule, healthcare students should only work with patients who have been confirmed or suspected to be positive with COVID-19 if they are well trained and work under the guidance of other experienced personnel.
- Students must stay home if they have symptoms of acute respiratory tracts infection or other symptoms consistent with COVID-19 (even for mild symptoms) and be tested as soon as possible. If they develop symptoms at work, they should leave the workplace immediately. They should wear a face mask if they are closer to other people than 2 metres before they leave.
- Healthcare students must follow the same guidelines for quarantine and testing as other healthcare personnel (advice about contact tracing (in Norwegian))
- Students should familiarise themselves with the site's routines for patient contact, including basic infection control routines, use of personal protective equipment and general advice on cough etiquette and hand hygiene.
- Students should keep a distance (at least 1 metre) from other students, staff, visitors and patients (whenever possible), and avoid physical contact as much as possible. This applies especially for close face-to-face contact.
- Avoid shaking hands and unnecessary physical contact.
- As a general rule, students should have a maximum of one other employment situation during the internship period.
- Students should be alert for infection among family, friends and at their work placement, and immediately notify the educational institution of any infection in their own environment.
Universities and colleges that teach art subjects must follow the general infection control advice described above and maintain contact-limiting measures, including keeping a metre distance to other people. For performances, cultural activities or other events, the distance requirement for performers may deviate according to § 13 of the COVID-19 regulations. Otherwise, the current rules for events apply. During rehearsals, it is recommended to keep a distance as much as possible and limit the number of people who have close contact. The risk of infection may be increased by singing, use of wind instruments and high-intensity activity due to increased droplet production and that saliva droplets may spread over longer distances. Outdoors, the risk of infection is less. The Norwegian Music Council has prepared its own infection control guide for music practice.
Study trips and students from other countries
The infection situation is constantly evolving, both locally and globally. When planning study trips, exchange visits and for foreign studentswho shall study in Norway, refer to Infection control advice for travel during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Educational institutions have a responsibility to inform and facilitate for students.
There is no exemption from quarantine duty.
Student welfare organisations and institutions should make arrangements for incoming students who need to be in quarantine in the best way possible. See Quarantine and isolation.
For Norwegian students studying abroad
Many countries have entry restrictions. Anyone considering travel to their study country should have good dialogue with the educational institute abroad and check which insurance considerations apply.