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Advice for universities, colleges, vocational schools and folk high schools

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Universities, colleges and vocational schools, etc. can begin regular teaching from 15th June 2020, as long as they carry out teaching and activities in accordance with the current regulations and advice on infection control. Here is advice on measures that can be used to limit the spread of infection.

Universities, colleges and vocational schools, etc. can begin regular teaching from 15th June 2020, as long as they carry out teaching and activities in accordance with the current regulations and advice on infection control. Here is advice on measures that can be used to limit the spread of infection.


Advice about infection control

The basic prevention measures are:

  1. Sick people should stay at home
  2. Good hand hygiene and cough etiquette and enhanced cleaning
  3. 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

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. Increased physical distance between people reduces the possibility of infection, even before symptom onset. 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.

  • 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, such as freshers’ weeks, etc.
  • Encourage students and staff to limit their use of public transport where it is difficult to maintain a distance.

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 students, and between students and staff. 

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 can be useful in subsequent contact tracing.

Arts

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.

Study trips and students from other countries

The infection situation is constantly evolving, both locally and globally. When planning study trips and exchange visits, refer to the Travel advice for COVID-19.

For foreign sudents studying in Norway: 

The regulations for entry restrictions for foreigners for public health reasons allow for entry for students who are entitled to study according to EEA regulations, and students with a residence permit for study according to the regulations for third-country nationals (visum). There is no exemption from quarantine for this group according to the COVID-19 regulations. 

Student welfare organisations and institutions should make arrangements for incoming students who need to be in quarantine in the best way possible. 

For Norwegian students studying abroad

Many countries have entry restrictions and many students and pupils will not have the opportunity to travel to their study country when the academic year 2020-2021 begins. The travel advice from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs applies until 20th August, which is after the start of a new semester in many countries. Anyone considering travel to their study country should have good dialogue with the educational institute abroad and check which insurance considerations apply.

See also: 

Current regulations

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