Norway mulls reopening schools so students can take exams

Norway mulls reopening schools so students can take exams
The government is considering whether upper secondary school pupils are sufficiently mature to follow coronavirus guidelines. Photo: Norwegian Ministry of Education
Just days after announcing the closure of all schools, Norway is considering reopening some of them so that upper secondary school students can take the spring exams they need to get their final diploma.
Health Minister Bent Høie told Norway's state broadcaster NRK, that the government was concerned about students missing the spring exams they need to get their final high-school leaving diploma. 
 
“We have to consider the consequences of having a whole batch who don't get a graduation exam,” he told Norwegian state broadcaster NRK. “Then we have to evaluate if these pupils are sufficiently adult that we can institute a regime which would make it possible for them to come back to school.” 
 
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“These are all questions we are looking at now, because we need to gain experience based on the measures we have brought in. It has not yet been decided.” 
 
The decision is being made as the Norwegian Institute for Public Health (FHI) on Tuesday reported 139 new confirmed cases of coronavirus, bringing the total number of cases to 1,308. Three patients have died and 50 are hospitalised with a suspected coronavirus infection.  
 
Guri Melby, the Minister of Education from the Liberal party, reassured students that they would all be awarded a graduation diploma, regardless of whether the exams go ahead. 
 
“If we have to cancel the spring exam because of the coronavirus, the students will still get a diploma,” she told the VG newspaper. 
 
On Thursday last week, the Norwegian government announced that it would close all schools and universities in Norway until March 26.
 
Kristin Schultz, leader of the School Student Union of Norway, said her organisation wanted to leave decisions over how best to slow the spread of the pandemic to the authorities. 
 
“The student union believes that we should at all times follow the authorities' advice,” she told VG. “It is very important that you do not send students back to school until it is safe, but we feel that as a student organisation we do not have any basis for knowing when this might be.” 

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