Start of School and Preschool Day Care (Autumn 2020) - also in other languages
How is the corona virus pandemic affecting daily life at schools and preschool day care centres in Trondheim? You will find translations in several other languages at the bottom of the article.
We asked the following parties: Municipal superintendent of schools (Eva Elisabeth Belboe), Municipal superintendent of preschool day care centres (Ella Ingdal), Municipal chief physician (Betty Pettersen), Principal of Ila Primary School (Trude Mathiesen), and Administrative director of Øya Preschool Day Care Centre (Gunn Kristin Hansvold)
What will the start of school on August 14th be like?
There will be local differences based on the number of students and the specific construction/layout of a given school building, but at the same time, the schools all have a focus on following the infection-prevention rules in place.
We are working on shaping practice as it relates to the yellow level of preparedness. There are still three (3) basic pillars for everyone (here listed in order of priority):
- Sick persons are not to be at school
- Good hygiene
- Reduced level of contact between persons
What does is actually mean for a school to be at the yellow level of preparedness?
We have introduced the traffic-light model particularly for its flexibility to adjust in accordance with contact-reducing measures and reinforced cleanliness. The overall goal of the yellow and red levels, respectively, is for children and employees to have only limited instances of personal contact and to maintain an overview of these.
Can parents of first-graders participate in their child’s start at school on the first day of school, as usual?
The infection-prevention guide states that parents can deliver and collect their children as normally, provided they are healthy. Nevertheless, there is to be no gathering of persons, such as usually takes place at the start of a first-grade year. Moreover, adults must remember to maintain the one-meter social-distancing rule. For this reason, it will be difficult for parents to accompany their children into the classroom. Many schools have divided the school day up and invited smaller groups of school-starters to arrive at different times. Experience teaches us that all school-starters are, for the most part, capable of entering together with the other students and the teacher without their parents necessarily having to accompany them. Besides, many of the students will already have been in the after-school programme. We therefore encourage schools to remain outdoors as much as possible, so that as many people as possible can experience the big event that the first day of school is. Even here, however, one will have to make local adjustments.
Will all the grades be starting at the same time, or at different times?
This will vary from school to school. Some schools have separate entrances for each grade, while others have altogether only two entrances and flights of stairs available for all grades. Local adjustments will therefore be necessary in order to avoid queues and large gatherings of people.
What measures are in place to prevent contagion?
Schools will see to the improvement of the knowledge of their employees, students and parents as relates to infection-control. This includes being strict about sick persons not being at the school, about hand/coughing hygiene being maintained, about increased cleaning being carried out and about seeking to reduce contact between students, between students and adults and between adults.
Schools have received information regarding rules, as well as links to the Norwegian Directorate of Education and Training (UDIR) and the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) that they are to review together with their employees during the planning week. They have also received questions that they are to discuss with a point of departure in local conditions.
Will there be anti-bac stations around the schools?
There will be anti-bac stations, both at the schools and as an included feature in the bag during outdoors school activities.
The different grades, as well as different groups within the same grade, are often together. How big can these cohorts be?
One is to regard whole grades as cohorts. The definition provided by the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (NDI) says as follows:
- For an after-school programme (ASP) or grades 1-7, a class = 25-30 students
- For grades 8-10, a class = 30 students
There will be local adjustments based on the number of students at a given school when it comes to this.
At a press conference on Tuesday, the minister of education stated that one would not find the greatest limitations at schools or preschool day care centres, as the contagion does not originate at such places. Students are to find their school day to be as normal as possible.
Can all the grades be outdoors in the schoolyard at the same time?
The cohorts, insofar as they are not working together, should have separate areas to play in outdoors. The cohorts can use the same play areas after one another and it will not be necessary to clean an area before another cohort uses it. More than one cohort can be outdoors at the same time. In the effort to maintain distance between cohorts, one can divide the playground into zones.
When it comes to this, there will be local variations based on the size of a given school’s schoolyard and outdoor areas.
The after-school programme (ASP) has been open for a while and all the grades will now be starting at the schools. How will this take place?
The infection-prevention guide states that cohorts in the after-school programme (ASP) are to be incremental. One should uphold the cohorts found in school proper in the after-school programme as well. Depending on the number of students, one can organise them on an incremental basis, for example, or possibly implement other solutions that limit contact between persons.
The after-school programme (ASP) and the school must cooperate when it comes to cohorts and outdoor time/areas. One is to prioritise the after-school programme (ASP) when it comes to outdoor areas while other classes are in school. Furthermore, students should have their own area for eating and activities while in the after-school programme (ASP).
Will the after-school programme (ASP) be serving food, or must a student bring his/her own lunchbox?
When it comes to this, there will be local adjustments based on physical conditions. In some cases, students will receive food in the after-school programme (ASP), while in other cases the after-school programme (ASP) will ask students to bring their own lunchboxes.
The infection-prevention guide states that the following applies to grades 1-7:
- The children are not to share food or drink
- Food may be prepared at school in accordance with the relevant guidelines
- Food should be served in portions
- Children should eat in their cohorts. If there is joint eating-room, the cohorts should eat at separate times. One should wash tables and chairs after each group.
The following applies to grades 8-10:
- The students are not to share food or drink
- The students should sit separately at their desks when they eat
- Food may be prepared at school in accordance with the relevant guidelines for cafeterias and diners
- Food should be served in portions
- If there is a shared cafeteria, the various cohorts should sit together separately
Will physical education (PE) take place as it normally does?
We recommend that physical education (PE) take place outdoors during the first two weeks, and until we have a better overview of the situation as it relates to contagion.
What happens if a student, or an employee, at a school tests positive for the virus?
Infection-tracing authorities will assess where the person concerned was infected and whom he/she may have infected. Based on this, authorities will make an assessment as to what to do from there.
What happens if a person with whom a student, or an employee, has been in close contact tests positive for the virus?
Infection-tracing authorities will assess the situation and clarify any possible need for testing, quarantine or providing information.
Where can parents/guardians obtain information on what rules apply at their child’s school?
Schools will send information to parents/guardians regarding this matter through the electronic message-book.
Rules at preschool day care centres
Conditions differ from one preschool day care centre to another in Trondheim. As such, one will encounter local adjustments at them, just as at schools.
How will preschool day care centres be receiving new children?
A child’s start at a preschool day care centre often begins before the summer public holidays, or even on the day when we first receive the information that they have accepted a position. This is to say, that preparations for receiving a new child (and his/her parents) can start a good while before the day proper when a child starts. Preschool day care centres usually send out letters of welcome. Moreover, many have held digital meetings in advance. This year, there has been a great focus on being able to provide thorough information on infectionprevention routines, as these must be carried out through cooperation between a child’s parents and a centre’s employees.
Can parents be at the preschool day care centre together with their child if their child is in his/her habituation phase at the centre?
There will be local variations when it comes to this. Some preschool day care centres organise things in such a manner that the parties get to know one another in the centre’s outdoor areas. Others have separate rooms within the centre for this. Still others organise the children’s groups in such a manner that fewer persons gather at any one time. Preschool day care centres are in the practice of keeping a good distance between parents and their employees. Moreover, they wash surfaces and other points of contact. Lastly, they follow infection-prevention routines closely.
What does it actually mean for a preschool day care centre to be at the yellow level of preparedness?
It means that the preschool day care centre is working to implement contact-reducing measures, that it reinforces its cleaning efforts, that it limits the amount of contact between persons and that it maintains an overview of any such contact. The yellow level of preparedness means that a centre can allow for the organisation of somewhat larger cohorts than at the red level. It allows for easier organisation when it comes to employees’ working hours and children’s hours at the centre. However, it is important to emphasise that the yellow level is not in the green zone and that one must still follow through with the other infection-prevention measures when in the yellow zone.
Must the children bring food with them to every meal, or does the preschool day care centre serve food?
When it comes to this, there will be local variations due to differing local conditions and adjustments. Some preschool day care centres serve food. If so, they serve it in portions suited to each individual child. At a centre where a child will need to bring his/her own lunchbox to every meal, a child’s parents can receive the fare free of cost, a decision made in consultation with the centre’s user counsel. The regular cohorts eat meals together and washing of surfaces takes place.
How big is it acceptable for cohorts at a preschool day care centre to be?
At the yellow level of preparedness, the youngest children can be together in cohorts of threeto-five (3-5) children. There can then be four (4) cohorts at one (1) base. As such, cohorts one (1) and two (2) work together and an effort is made to maintain distance from cohorts three (3) and four (4). With the oldest children, one can double up and have a base consisting of twenty-four (24) children. As such, one can divide the children into three-to-four (3-4) cohorts. The most important thing will be maintaining distance between employees and maintaining stability of staffing.
Will the outdoor areas still be divided up, and if so, how?
Many preschool day care centres have outdoor time at different points in the course of a preschool day. Often, the youngest children are outdoors before lunch, as they sleep after lunch. In order to have fewer persons gathered indoors, many centres depend on their outdoor area to be able to divide the children into cohorts. As such, many persons may end up outside at the same time. Some centres utilise a map of their outdoor area, while others utilise rotation from one zone to another outdoors. For the youngest children, the division of the outdoor area into separate zones can be challenging and a difficult thing to which to adjust. Still, even though organisation of daily life at the preschool day care centre is different than it might otherwise be, and challenging for many, everyone does their best to see to it that the children have good days, while at the same time following the infection-prevention routines.
The infection-prevention guide states that two (2) cohorts can work together when it comes to the practical carrying-out of a preschool day (preferably outdoors). Cohorts (that are not working together) should have different areas to play in outdoors. They can use one-and-thesame outdoor area after one another. Moreover, cleaning the area before the other cohort takes it over is not necessary. Many cohorts can be outdoors at the same time. In order to maintain distance between the cohorts, one can divide the playground into zones.
What happens if a child, or an employee, at a preschool day care centre tests positive for the virus?
Infection-tracing authorities will assess where the person concerned became infected and whom he/she may have infected. Based on this, infection-tracing authorities will assess possible measures to implement at an individual level and (together with a centre’s administrative director and others) assess possible greater measures to implement at the centre as a whole, amongst others what information to provide.
If infection proves to be present, authorities will inform a preschool day care centre’s administrative director of this and the administrative director will implement the necessary measures (for example, making sure that the centre is ‘washed of infection’) and assist through providing knowledge of who has been in a group with whom, etc. Precisely for this reason, it so important (now that we are on the yellow level) that we maintain the cohorts that we have, and not the least that both parents and employees receive good and objective information. The electronic message-book is a good and important tool. It is important to reassure everyone and make them feel comfortable, both the young and the old. As soon as infection proves to be present, the municipal manager will hear of it.
What happens if a person with whom a child, or an employee, at a preschool day care centre is in close contact tests positive for the virus?
Infection-tracing authorities will assess the situation and clarify any possible need for testing, quarantine or providing information. We are in close contact with those involved in the work of tracing when infection arises. Different preschool day care centres have different physical layouts. They also have different activities from one day to another. These things can be of significance when it comes to what measures a given centre implements.
What measures are in place to prevent contagion?
Preschool day care centres will see to the refreshing of knowledge of infection-prevention among employees, children and parents. It is important that no one who is sick show up at a preschool day care centre, that hand/coughing hygiene be maintained, that reinforced cleaning be carried out and that one seek to reduce contact between children, between children and adults and between adults. We place special emphasis on the last of these (reducing contact between adults), as it is difficult to consistently implement the first two measures at a preschool day care centre.
It is difficult for both parents and employees at a preschool day care centre to assess cold symptoms in children, for example. Autumn is now approaching, a time when sniffling children are more the rule than the exception. We completely depend on having a close and good running dialogue with parents in order to be able to assess the situation in any given case. It is understandable how people can find a preschool day care centre to be frustratingly careful or ‘strict’. However, the focus on sick persons not being at a preschool day care centre is an important measure to prevent the spread of infection. I hope, and believe, that having a close and open running dialogue will lead to good solutions that all parties can live with.
Will there be anti-bac stations around the preschool day care centres?
Anti-bac is accessible at most portals and in all meeting rooms/rooms where conversation takes place. Children, parents and employees wash their hands wherever a sink is accessible to them.
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Sist oppdatert: 14.08.2020