Schools/Univ. closure: Open
Restrictive measures mandatory between 31 October 2020 to 17 November 2020
The Minister of Health has approved proposals regarding tighter measures to combat the Covid-19 pandemic, which took effect on 31 October 2020 until 17 November (including that date); they will be reviewed in the light of developments with a view to whether it will be possible to relax them earlier or necessary to extend the period for a longer period. The same rules will apply throughout Iceland.
A new regulation from the Minister of Health laying down restrictions in schools and universities as part of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic takes effect as from 3 November 2020. The aim is to interfere as little as possible with educational work, and that activities in pre-schools and the early years of compulsory schooling should proceed in full. Children born in or after 2015 are exempt from the 2-metre social distance rule, the restrictions on the size of gatherings and the face-mask requirement (these exemptions applied previously to children born in or after 2005).
UPDATE 7 October: the Minister of Health has accepted the recommendations of the Chief Epidemiologist for stricter limits on the size of gatherings in the metropolitan area. These take effect on 7 October 2020. The restrictions announced on 5 October remain unchanged in other parts of the country. The restrictions announced here will remain in force until 19 October. The metropolitan area includes: Reykjavík, Seltjarnarnesbær, Mosfellsbær, Kjósarhreppur, Hafnarfjarðarkaupstaður, Garðabær and Kópavogur. The following was decided for the metropolitan areas:
Social distance of 2 metres - People not closely related or connected are required to maintain a social distance of 2 metres. This also applies in all schools, though not to pupils born in or after 2005.
UPDATE October: Social distancing in schools. The rules on limits to the number of people and on social distancing do not apply to children born 2005 and later. Limits to school operations apply to pre-school, primary schools, secondary schools, continuing education and universities, in both public and private schools. This also applies to other educational institutions, such as after school centres, community centres and sports activities.
Employees in pre-schools and primary schools must respect the 1-metre social distancing rule when face masks are not used. No more than 30 individuals born2004 or earlier may be in the same area. This also applies to after school centres, community centres and sports activities in primary schools.
School-work at secondary school level and in universities may continue, provided that students and staff can ensure at least 1 metre social distancing and the maximum number of students in each schoolroom does not exceed 30. The limit on the number of people and mixing of groups may be departed from in shared premises within the school if face masks are used.
UPDATE August: as of 14 August 2020, colleges and universities are allowed to maintain one-meter social distance between individuals without face masks.
UPDATE July: There are no school restrictions as of May 4 in kindergartens and elementary schools. All students can attend school at the same time, go outdoors and attend a cafeteria. Social centers may be open. However, teachers and other staff or guests may not have more than 500 people in one place. Entertainment e.g. spring holidays, spring trips and graduations can take place with that restriction. High schools and universities are open, but the number of students is limited to a maximum of 500 persons. Sports at school are carried out according to restrictions for organised sports for adults. Sanitation and hand washing are encouraged.
UPDATE 14 April 2020: at a press conference on 14 April, the Prime Minister, the Minister of Health, and the Minister of Justice introduced steps to lift the restrictions currently in place in Iceland due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The Minister of Health announced her decision to ease restrictions on larger gatherings and limitations on schools and preschools. As of 4 May:
- Schools and preschools will operate normally.
- High schools and universities will reopen, but the 50-person limit and two-meter social distancing measures apply.
UPDATE 3rd April 2020: Minister of Health prolongs ban on gatherings and closures of schools from the 13th of April to the 4th of May.
Upper secondary schools and universities closed; elementary schools in operation as long as they can ensure no more than 20 pupils in each classroom and other preventive measures; kindergartens open but must ensure small groups, separated as far as possible (situation valid from March 16 until April 13 at midnight).
On March 2020 the following additional measures have been communicated:
- Children's parents and guardians simultaneously reduce the number of people in their children's contact network outside of school in order to avoid working against these measures.
- Schoolmates who are not in the same group in school (the same class) should not interact closely outside of school.
- If the children are mature enough to obey instructions on reduced contact with friends, it is possible to allow them to play together. If they do, they must not engage in any play that involves touching one another physically, or sharing toys or equipment that they touch with their bare hands.
- Families should bear in mind that if children interact frequently with friends or relatives from other schools or school groups, there will be contact between groups that would otherwise remain separate. Such contact should be avoided as much as possible.
Concerning households where some members are in quarantine and others are not:
- Children who have the maturity and capacity to take care of their own hygiene and keep the required distance from quarantined parents and from their schoolmates may continue to attend school. It is very important to observe proper hygiene; for instance, to use bathroom facilities.
- Parents of older children who are in quarantine and can maintain the required distance from children during their quarantine may continue to work if remote working is not an option.
- The entire household must quarantine itself if the children do not have the maturity or capacity to follow the instructions that apply to quarantine measures. Another solution in such cases would be for the household members who are not in quarantine to move elsewhere during the quarantine period.