Friday, January 28

The government: Will move away from the red level in high school – still probably separate quarantine rules for teachers

PANDEMII POLITICIANS: Minister of Education Tonje Brenna, Minister of Health Ingvild Kjerkol and Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre photographed during a previous press conference on pandemic measures.

The government is working to change the red level, which means partial home schooling for many high school students. The special quarantine rules for employees in schools and kindergartens will probably be retained.

– We have commissioned the Directorate of Education, NIPH and the Norwegian Directorate of Health to assess the traffic light model and propose a new and more feasible yellow level for the oldest students, ie in upper secondary school. It is a little too early to say what this will result in. My goal is to keep schools and kindergartens open, says Minister of Education Tonje Brenna (Labor) to VG.

She and the government have had to endure a massive criticism of the fact that upper secondary schools across the country have been set at a red level.

Among other things, VG wrote in a leadership position on Wednesday that the government has not justified well enough that the red level was introduced.

Also read: This worries the students

In the job description of the Directorate of Education and the health services, the government writes that:

“In particular, the agencies shall assess the need for adjustments in the content of the yellow traffic light level in upper secondary school and possibly upper secondary school, and propose a facility of this level that is compatible with a good professional and social training offer at the same time as the operation is professionally sound.”

According to the assignment, the adjustments will be aimed at introduced in week 3, ie expected from Monday 17 January, with information about the measures in the coming week, 14 January.

ON THE MOVE: Minister of Education Tonje Brenna (Labor Party) has had to endure large amounts of criticism for both the red level in upper secondary school and the special quarantine rules for employees in schools and kindergartens.

On Wednesday and Thursday this week, the Directorate of Education has invited employees ‘and students’ organizations to input meetings on the future measures in schools and kindergartens.

Several of the organizations, Utdanningsforbundet, Skolenes Landsforbund, Fagforbundet, Elevorganisasjonen, Delta, Lektorlaget, are expected to criticize both the traffic light level in upper secondary school and not least the quarantine rules for employees.

VG is aware that the government currently has no plans to change the controversial quarantine rules for employees in schools and kindergartens.

In a major interview with VG this Christmas, Minister of Education Tonje Brenna said that the government would stick to these controversial rules with leisure quarantine and exceptions from quarantine during working hours.

It was her government colleague, Minister of Health Ingvild Kjerkol (Labor Party) who was commissioned to communicate the controversial quarantine rules.

– From 1 January, we will introduce a separate exemption from the infection quarantine for employees in kindergartens, primary schools, upper secondary schools and adult education. These are exempt from infection quarantine during working hours from the first day, but must be tested on days 3 and 7 after close contact, Kjerkol wrote in the press release.

The exception does not apply if the employee is in the same household or similarly close to the person who is infected.

Student support for quarantine rules

The reactions were not long in coming, as the same employees who are exempt from the working time quarantine must be in the leisure quarantine after close contact with the infected.

Several of the leaders in the employees’ organizations have struggled significantly to get the logic to agree:

– If you have been exposed to infection from close contacts, you can go to work, pick up your children in kindergarten and drive collectively to work, but must otherwise stay at home in the leisure quarantine. Then the quarantine begins to become extremely diluted, said leader Mette Nord in the Trade Union, LO’s largest union to several media.

She pointed out that infection control equipment can be used in the health care system, but this is not possible in the upbringing sector.

However, the students’ representative, leader Edvard Botterli Udnæs in the Student Organization, defends the quarantine rules.

– It is important that the government does as much as possible to keep the schools open. That is why we are against keeping schools at a red level in upper secondary school, while supporting the special quarantine rules that have been introduced. These show that teachers and school employees have a particularly critical social significance at this time, says Udnæs to VG.

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