Norway takes first steps to end lockdown

Solberg announces plans to first open up kindergartens

Erna Solberg ends lockdown

Håkon Mosvold Larsen / NTB scanpix


Norway’s government has announced plans to open kindergartens on April 20 in the first stage of a gradual lifting of the country’s coronavirus lockdown.

“Our ambition is that all students, in one way or another, should be able to return to school before the summer,” Prime Minister Erna Solberg said at a press conference on April 7.

One week after kindergartens open, on April 27, pupils in their first four years of school (up to age 11), will return to classes, with the higher grades also returning at some point before the summer, the government said. 

In a press release, the government estimated that the decision would allow about 275,000 children to return to kindergartens on April 20, and 250,000 to primary schools on April 27, freeing hundreds of thousands of parents from the need to provide childcare and homeschooling during working hours. 

 University students who are near the end of their studies and need to be physically present at their institution will also be allowed to return. Those would include nursing and medical students, those studying art, performance, music, media, and design, as well as those studying math and technological subjects. 

Solberg stressed, however, that the move did not amount to a decision to allow a controlled increase in infections to develop immunity in the population.

“We want to stick to what we know works. We must continue with the ‘knock-down’ strategy,” she said.  “What we are doing now is opening up a little, but I want to emphasize as strongly as I can, that this does not mean that we can become more careless in other areas.”

This article first appeared in The Local.

This article originally appeared in the April 17, 2020, issue of The Norwegian American.

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The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.