INN University is to maintain the requirement of at least one-meter’s distance between students during classroom / lecture hall activities until 20 September.
“The reason for this is the development in coronavirus infection after the start of the academic year, and the infection situation in some of our host municipalities,” says Pro-Rector for Education at INN University, Stine Grønvold.
Awaiting vaccination of students
At the start of the academic year, INN university had chosen to keep the one-meter’s distance requirement until 6 September, even though the government had released a statement allowing to deviate from this under teaching situations.
Now INN University's emergency preparedness group has chosen to wait another fourteen days to return to normal teaching.
“In the near future, everyone over the age of 18 will have been offered two vaccine doses, and shortly after they will have developed as good a protection against the coronavirus as the vaccines can provide. We therefore expect to be able to remove the distance requirement in teaching situations from 20 September,” says Grønvold.
She emphasises that INN University qualifies that changes in the course of the pandemic may affect this plan. This includes orders and recommendations from national and local authorities.
Infection control measures still in place
“In situations where the distance requirement cannot be complied with, extra infection control measures must be implemented, such as the use of a face mask,” says Stine Grønvold.
Two of INN University’s host municipalities, Åmot and Elverum, have introduced local regulations that require the use of face masks when it is not possible to comply with the one-meter’s distance requirement. Face masks are also a recommendation in Hamar municipality.
INN University’s impression is that the authorities’ infection control advice is not always followed, including the general recommendation to keep at least one meter away from others in all situations.
“It bears reminding us all to keep our distance from others, to wash our hands, and to stay home and get tested if one feels sick,” says emergency preparedness manager at INN University, Marit Torgersen.
Several cases of infection
Since the start of the academic year, INN University has been informed by its host municipalities about a dozen infected students and employees. Many of the cases of infection are part of ongoing outbreaks in the municipalities. Others are isolated cases.
The cases of infection have borne some practical consequences for the institution's activity, such as a temporary switch to digital teaching at the Rena campus.
Self-testing to continue until 20 September
From the start of the academic year, INN University in collaboration with the Student Association of Innlandet (SINN) and the host municipalities have distributed rapid tests to students and staff. The distribution was intended to last for three weeks, but will now be continued until 20 September.
“Self-testing is not a substitute for tests done under the auspices of the municipality in case of suspicion of infection. It is a supplement aimed at, where possible, detecting infection early on so we can avoid major outbreaks,” says Torgersen.