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EDUCATION

Norwegian schools to reintroduce absence rules next academic year

After the summer holidays, the absence rules for students will be reintroduced for pupils in middle school and high school, the Norwegian government announced Monday.

Pictured is a classroom.
The government has announced that the absence limit for schools would be reintroduced. Pictured is a classroom. Photo by Taylor Wilcox on Unsplash.

The absence limit, which can see children not receive a grade in their subjects if they miss too many lessons, will be reintroduced for the next academic year in Norway, the government announced.

“Students will no longer be able to use self-declaration or confirmation from a parent to document absence due to health reasons,” the government wrote in an announcement.

If high school students in Norway miss more than 10 percent of lessons in a subject, then the student will fail the subject and not receive a grade. Students can have an authorised absence with valid documentation, such as a doctor’s note.

During the pandemic, the government introduced rules which meant there were exemptions from the documentation required for a health-related absence.

“Throughout the pandemic, we wanted to avoid students with symptoms of respiratory disease who attended school in fear of high absenteeism. I am very happy that society is back to a more normal everyday life, also in schools too. This means that we will return to normal rules and routines for attendance in schools,” Minister of Education Tonje Brenna said in a government announcement.

The Socialist Left Party, which supports the government on budgetary matters, has called on the education ministry to tweak the rules to ensure that pupils don’t need to get a doctor’s note every time they are sick.

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EDUCATION

Schools in Oslo to switch to online classes amid rising Covid-19 cases

All schools in Norwegian capital Oslo will switch to digital teaching from Friday due to the local coronavirus situation, the city’s municipality has announced. 

Pictured is Karl Johan street in Oslo.
Schools in Oslo will switch to digital teaching from Friday. Pictured is Karl Johan Street. Photo by Alina Shchurova on Unsplash

Online teaching will be introduced at primary schools, secondary schools, adult education and vocational schools and colleges. Kindergartens will remain open, albeit with potentially reduced hours and capacity. 

“It is necessary to introduce fully digital teaching for all schools until the Christmas holidays to ensure safe teaching for all students in Oslo. Kindergartens will be open, but with the possibility of reduced opening hours where there is a need for it,” education councillor Sunniva Holmås Eidsvoll said in an announcement

The municipality said the decision was necessary due to schools in the capital not being able to operate properly at yellow and red Covid-19 restriction levels, which will be introduced on Thursday, as a result of staffing issues in schools with many teachers in quarantine. 

Yellow level means social distancing, assigned seating plans for each student, no physical contact between individuals and minimising mixing between different classes to limit the spread of Covid-19.

Red level sees measures such as much smaller class sizes or cohorts and partial online schooling being implemented. 

“The situation in Oslo’s schools is now under pressure. Many employees are absent due to illness or quarantine. In addition, many parents are worried that their children will be infected just before Christmas,” Robert Steen, health councillor for Oslo, said. 

Initially, digital teaching will be implemented until the Christmas holidays. 

In addition to Kindergartens remaining open, children considered at risk and those whose parents are key workers will still be able to attend school for the last few days of term. 

Before new measures were announced Monday, the government was reported to have considered starting the Christmas holidays early. In Ålesund, the municipality has given schools the option of breaking up early

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