Norwegian town starts school Christmas holidays early due to Covid cases 

Schools in western Norway town Ålesund will break up earlier for Christmas as the municipality manages a high number of Covid-19 cases. The Norwegian education minister has also outlined how other schools can follow suit. 

Pictured is Ålesund.
Schools in Ålesund will break up for the Christmas holidays earlier due to staff absences and Covid-19 problems. Pictured is the city on Norway's west coast. Photo by Jesse De Backer on Unsplash

Ålesund Municipality’s crisis management services have given schools the green light to break up earlier for the Christmas holidays if they need to. 

The municipality’s crisis services made the decision due to schools struggling with Covid-19 outbreaks and staff absences. 

“We have had a very demanding situation with both coronavirus and a lot of sickness absence among employees, with respiratory disease and sick children,” municipal manager Bjørm Ivar Rødal told public broadcaster NRK

Schools in the city will break up on December 17th. They were due to break up around the 22nd. 

Nationally, Minister of Education Tonje Brenna, said that schools were free to start the holidays earlier but would need to make up for the lost days later on. 

“The municipality can change its school dates so that the last day before Christmas is earlier than originally decided, but then they will have to catch up on the days during the spring,” Brenna told newspaper VG

READ ALSO: What are Norway’s Covid rules this Christmas? 

The education minister also reminded schools that if they were to break up early, they would need to consider the impact on parents who may have to be at home with their children. 

“If the municipalities do change the school term dates, they must be aware that this means that parents must be home from work with children who can not be alone at home,” Brenna warned. 

The Ålesund city said it would continue to provide before and after school activities (termed SFO in Norwegian) for parents and children that need them. 

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Norway unlikely to offer fourth Covid vaccine dose to under 45s 

Those under 45 with no underlying conditions probably won’t be offered a fourth Covid vaccine dose this autumn, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) said Friday. 

Norway unlikely to offer fourth Covid vaccine dose to under 45s 

Health authorities are unlikely to offer under 45s a fourth Covid jab this autumn, broadcaster TV2 writes. 

“As it looks now, no more doses will be recommended for healthy people under the age of 45, but we are continuously assessing this based on the knowledge we have about the epidemic and the vaccine,” Preben Aavitsland, Chief Physician at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH), told TV2. 

Newswire NTB were informed on Wednesday that health chiefs would make an official recommendation for the coming autumn and winter towards the end of summer. 

In a letter sent to municipalities earlier this month, the NIPH wrote that the most likely outcome was that local authorities would be asked to other a refresher dose to over 65s and those in vulnerable groups.

Aavitsland told TV2 that in the long run, it was possible the oldest would be offered an annual vaccine. However, this would depend on how long the pandemic endured and the spread of new variants, the chief physician, added.