Schools in Norway to return to normal class sizes in new ‘traffic light’ system

Schools in Norway to return to normal class sizes in new 'traffic light' system
Guri Melby, Minister of Knowledge and Integration, announces the traffic light model. Photo: Screen grab/Norway government
Schools and kindergartens in Norway will from next week return almost entirely to normal after the government suspended the one-metre rule for schools, allowing whole classes to be taught together, and schools to return to normal hours.
“We should have infection measures which are tailored to fit the the pandemic situation,” Guri Melby, Minister of Knowledge and Integration, said in a press conference on Thursday night. “Today we have restrictions that are too strict in relation to the infection.” 
 
In its latest report, issued on Wednesday, the expert group on coronavirus measures headed by Oslo University economics professor Steiner Holden, said returning schools to normal opening hours should be a priority, arguing that the current shorter days were costing society as much as 1.3bn kroner (€120m) per month. 
 
“Reduced opening hours in kindergartens and schools have no infection control effect in themselves, and are a result of resource constraints in implementing infection measures, at the same time the social costs are high,” it argued. 
 
“This is therefore the remaining restriction that is most important to remove. Priority should be given to measures to protect infections in kindergartens and kindergartens in a way that does not require reduced opening hours.” 
 
 
Melby said that the government would on Friday announce a new traffic light system for schools, with different rules in place for red, yellow, and green infection situations. 
 
Today's “red level” infection control measures will be downgraded to “yellow” this coming Tuesday, allowing schools to operate closer to normal. 
 
During 'yellow' infection periods, teaching and other school should still seek to avoid physical contact with one another, and classes should as much as possible be kept apart. 
 
But classes no longer need to be split into smaller 'cohorts', and teaching staff can now move between different classes. 

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