8 May: Oslo will continue to gradually re-open the schools this week
Press release: «We are glad that we can take a few more steps to re-open our society. The invasive measures that we have had until now have worked and we can now see that the spread of the virus in Oslo is very limited. This is mainly because we started the restrictive measures early on, and because people have followed the rules to prevent the virus spreading. I am very grateful for the huge effort from people in Oslo, from businesses and from all those who have been on the front-line in preventing the spread of infection», said Executive Mayor Raymond Johansen (Labour).
Since 28 February, the City government has been on emergency alert, and since 11 March this has been at the highest level.
Information about measures taken against the spread of the Corona virus is changed on an ongoing basis. This means that the information in the press release may be outdated.
All the schools in Oslo will open during this week
All the schools in Oslo will open during the week from 11 to 15 May. Oslo is planning for secondary school pupils in 10th grade and Vg3 (upper secondary school, final year) to start on Monday 11 May, and that pupils in 5th-9th grade, Vg1 and Vg2 (upper secondary school, first and second years) to start by Wednesday 13 May at the latest. The schools will decide for themselves which day the 5th-9th grade and Vg1 and Vg2 will start. Pupils, together with their parents and guardians, will be informed about the plans for their respective school.
Vice Mayor for Education, Inga Marte Thorkildsen (Socialist Left) looks forward to opening the schools for all pupils and students:
Thorkildsen said, «It will be very good to get the pupils back at school! This is important for their learning and because schools provide a secure and safe framework for the lives of children and young people. We will also have a better chance to see and to help those children who are in difficulties.»
There will be some variation in what the schools have to offer, and some changes to the timetable which pupils have been familiar with. This is because schools differ, in how many staff they have and how much space indoors and outdoors, and how many rooms they can use. This means that each school will adapt the infection prevention rules to their own situation. Children who are deemed to be at risk, and who cannot get to school this week, will be offered equivalent home-based teaching.
«All the parent, teachers and children should be prepared for the school day to be different from usual. Up until the summer holidays, the school day will have a combination of class-room teaching, outdoor work and home teaching with more independent learning. I am confident that the schools in Oslo will succeed in providing for our pupils», said Inga Marte Thorkildsen.
Gradual and controlled re-opening of Oslo, in line with national guidelines
On Thursday (7th May) the Government presented a plan for gradually re-opening Norway’s society. The City of Oslo aims to achieve a gradual and controlled re-opening of the city, in line with the national guidelines:
Governing Mayor Raymond Johansen (Labour), said, «We will carry on with our gradual and controlled re-opening of Oslo, and aim to follow the Government’s plan of adapting the preventive corona measures. In reality, a large part of the responsibility for evaluating the infection-prevention will be handed back to local government. We will carefully study the Government’s time-schedule and advice for adapting the measures, and consider these in the light of recommendations from local experts on infection prevention.»
Limited capacity for public transport – recommendation to continue office-working from home
A gradual re-opening of Oslo will put the public transport system under a lot of pressure. The capacity for metro, bus, trams and the ferries is reduced to 30-40 percent compared with normal service. The seats and floors of buses and coaches will be marked, to show passengers where they can stand and sit, and there will be information about distancing and capacity limits.
«We still advise everyone to avoid travelling by public transport unless absolutely necessary. This applies every day, all day and especially during rush-hours. Otherwise there won’t be room for school children or for those who have no alternative than public transport. As many people as possible should carry on working from home, and avoid using public transport by walking, cycling or getting around Oslo in other ways. In this way we can all contribute to preventing the spread of the virus», said Vice Mayor for the Environment and Transport, Arild Hermstad (Green Party).
When most pupils come back to school, they will be given separate times for arriving. Classes and pupils should not all arrive at school at the same time. This is necessary to prevent the infection spreading in the schools, but it will also help to spread the pupils who use public transport over several hours of the day.