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  • Universities, colleges, vocational schools and folk high schools

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

Published Updated

Universities, colleges and vocational schools should plan for in-person teaching at the beginning of the autumn term of 2021.

Universities, colleges and vocational schools should plan for in-person teaching at the beginning of the autumn term of 2021.


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National and local infection control measures

The Government is continuing with the third step of the plan for a gradual reopening of society from 20 June 2021 at 12 p.m.

Municipalities can introduce stricter measures locally according to the infection situation. Check your municipality's website for information on local measures.

By the autumn term, staff and most students will have been offered vaccinations. It will therefore be possible to undertake in-person teaching and students should have full access to reading rooms and other facilities. Actual teaching at that time will also be exempt from the distancing rules, such that universities and colleges can plan for essentially normal teaching practice.

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

Increased physical distancing between people reduces the possibility of infection, even before the onset of symptoms. Cough etiquette and keeping a physical distance limit droplet transmission, while hand hygiene and thorough cleaning prevent indirect contact transmission.

See Hand hygiene, cough etiquette, cleaning and laundry and Cleaning for sectors outside the healthcare service.

The situation at higher education institutions can be compared to a workplace. For both students and staff, including PhD and post-doc fellows, the same advice applies as in working life in general.

See Workplace advice for more information. 

For folk high schools, se also the Infection Control Guidelines for Upper Secondary Schools (Norwegian Directorate for Education and Training). There is also advice here for schools with students who are boarding.

Contact-limiting measures for universities, colleges and vocational schools

Reduced contact with other people is one measure that will reduce the infection risk from anyone who is unaware that they are infectious. This can be achieved by increasing distancing between individuals and reducing the size of gatherings.

  • Arrangements should continue to be made for everyone to maintain distancing of at least 1 metre in premises where teaching is not undertaken (reading rooms, canteens, common areas).
  • During actual teaching, the distancing recommendation can be relaxed, so that universities and colleges can plan for essentially normal teaching.
  • Those who are protected do not need to distance from other people elsewhere, but they should pay special attention to unprotected members of risk groups (which corresponds to the advice applying at home).
  • Events and gatherings must follow the current recommendations: Events, gatherings and activities. This also applies to events organised by the students.

Each educational institution should review 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 specific activity. The template can be used and adapted for universities, colleges and vocational schools. Specific sectoral 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.

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.

Stricter measures to counter increased risk of infection

In situations where there is an increased risk of infection, local or national authorities can recommend stricter infection control measures. The following measures may be appropriate:

  • Stricter measures to ensure distancing between people of at least 1 metre.
  • Teaching in small, regular groups (cohorts) in addition to virtual classes, in order to offer regular in-person teaching to all students.
  • Partially digital teaching.
  • Register attendance and, potentially, seating places in the case of physical lectures.
  • Avoid events, large lectures and meetings.
  • Close canteens and other areas where students and staff gather. Libraries and reading rooms can remain open with infection control measures in place, including distancing rules and limiting of numbers.
  • Follow local advice on face masks in common areas if it is not possible to maintain distancing of 1 metre.

Healthcare studies

Healthcare students can complete work placements/internships according to their study plan. The educational institution and the internship site must prepare a plan in advance for dealing with students in the event of exposure to COVID-19 during the placement.

If healthcare students are exposed to COVID-19 during the placement, the students should be followed up in the same way as other employees at the site.

The educational institution should establish a cooperative agreement with the placement site concerning vaccination of the healthcare students before they take up their placement.

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 taking up their placement.
  • 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 

  • Ensure that healthcare students are offered vaccination against COVID-19 before taking up their placement.
  • Establish routines for dialogue and collaboration with the municipal medical officer, the educational institution and the 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 applicable routines for all patient contact, including in the correct use of personal protective equipment.

Healthcare students 

  • Students must stay at home in the event of even mild symptoms of COVID-19, 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 before they leave and on their way home, unless they maintain distancing of 2 metres.
  • Healthcare students must follow the same guidelines for quarantine and testing as other healthcare personnel. See contract tracing advice.
  • Students should familiarise themselves with the internship site's routines for patient contact, including basic infection control routines, use of personal protective equipment and handling of patients with suspected or confirmed infection.
  • Students should maintain distancing from other students, staff, visitors and patients (whenever possible).
  • In order to reduce the risk of cross-infection between health institutions/health service levels, healthcare students should strive to restrict the scope of their employment during internship as much as possible.
  • Students should be alert to infection among family, friends and at any place of employment. See also the advice issued to different elements of the health service:

 

Arts courses

Universities and colleges that teach arts courses must follow the general infection control advice. Distancing rules can be relaxed during teaching as described above. When undertaking performances, cultural activities or other events, the distancing rules for performers can be relaxed with reference to section 13 of the  COVID-19 regulations. In other respects, the current rules for events must be followed. It is nevertheless important to be aware that the risk of infection may be increased by singing, use of wind instruments and high-intensity activity, due to increased droplet production and saliva droplets being spread over longer distances. There is less infection risk outdoors. Norsk musikkråd (The Council for Music Organisations in Norway) has prepared its own infection control guidelines for music practice.

Study trips and students from other countries

The infection situation is constantly evolving, both locally and globally. It is important to familiarise yourself with the regulations that apply at any time. When planning study trips, exchange visits and for foreign students coming to study in Norway, see Infection control advice for travel during the COVID-19 pandemic and Entry quarantine and rules upon arrival in Norway.

Educational institutions have a responsibility for informing and making arrangements for students.

Student Welfare Organisations and institutions should make the best possible arrangements for incoming students who need to quarantine.

  • Student housing made available by the Student Welfare Organisation is unlikely to be suitable as quarantine accommodation. The Student Welfare Organisation’s student accommodation must be assessed under the exception in Section 5 fourth paragraph (a), which stipulates the requirement of a private room with its own toilet and kitchen, in order for the student to be able to complete their quarantine in student housing.

See Quarantine and isolation for more information about what might be a suitable location.

For Norwegian students studying abroad

Many countries have entry bans or other restrictions. Anyone considering travelling to their study country should maintain close contact with their educational institution abroad and check which insurance schemes are applicable and the capacity of the health service at the study destination.

See also:

Current regulations

History

16.04.2021: Updated according to the Government guidelines from 16.04.2021

17.02.2021: Minor language changes, new text in "Stricter measures." Updated links

25.01.2021: Added new, stricter measures in 25 municipalities in Eastern Norway

08.01.2021 Clarification that temporary recommendations are implemented from January 4th to January 19th

04.01.2021 Updated with guidelines from Government about online education for universities, vocational schools and colleges up to and including 18 January.

23.11.2020 Updated with enhanced measures for increased risk of transmission

13.11.2020 Added section about measures from 5th November and local strict measures from municipalities

14.10.2020 Removed date for reopening of universities, etc from ingress.

21.08.2020 Added new section about healthcare students and work placements/internships

03.07.2020: Updated with advice for students studying abroad/from abroad and specified advice about limiting contact for educational institutions

23.06.2020: Added paragraph about the arts