Why do we have on-campus teaching at VUC
Authorities and researchers are worried for students’ mental health in the wake of the strict Covid-19 measures imposed. To establish safe meeting places, to prevent isolation and to ensure good learning outcomes for our students is something we consider when we review the infection control measures, says VUC’s Crisis Management Board.
The Crisis Management Board keeps close contact with the local health authorities and with the Ministry of Education. They evaluate together both what is safe and right for VUC students and employees.
– We have replaced physical attendance with digital alternatives both in block-taught courses where we have commuting students, as well as in our on-campus written exams, says Karen Lomeland Jacobsen, VUC director.
– At the same time, we still have obligatory attendance in most of our courses. The reason for this is a combination of factors, like advice given at sector level, based on which we must consider the infections rate in our region, students’ learning outcomes, and the fact we must take into account mental health, continues Lomeland Jacobsen. – To be alone in a student room can be tough. We must also work to take care of meeting places and ensure social contact, within regulations and infection control measures.
Worried for learning outcomes and mental health
The Norwegian Government advised the higher education sector to consider reducing teaching which contributes to commute, as well as teaching setting that leads to pressure on the public transportation. Volda does not have the public transport pressure one sees in the cities, a fact that might help solve this challenge at a regional level.
At the same time, the focus is to minimise the number of close contacts and evaluate the infection trend locally. Volda municipality reports as of 12th November no further positive tests have been registered. The last positive test in the municipality were registered on 4th November. The municipality also underlines that no local infection control measures are necessary at this point, as these are reserved for regions with high infection rates.
At the same time, the Ministry of Education, headed by minister Henrik Asheim, communicates that institutions should continue at normal activity level, as long as it is possible. The reason for this is to ensure good learning outcomes and to take care of student’s mental health. In a Khrono interview, the minister points that meeting fewer people and socialising do not mutually exclude each other .