University of Greenland Open for On-Site Teaching

Illustration picture from Tellus nNnovation Arena at the University of Oulu, Finland. Photo: Ville Pohjonen, University of Oulu.

Several universities in the Arctic are gradually opening their campuses for both students and staff. In Norway, Sweden and Finland, however, there will be online teaching for most students all the way through to the end of the spring term.

Management at Ilisimatusarfik, the University of Greenland, decided to open the university on 27 April. This was done in accordance with the guidelines from the epidemic commission as well as Greenland’s authorities, according to a news statement on the university’s home pages.

As one out of very few universities in the High North, the Iisimatusarfik has opened up for education activities physically taking place on campus.

On 4 May, the University of Iceland re-opened its buildings for students and staff. However, there will be no exams on campus this spring term. According to official information from Iceland, the organizing of teaching will be subject to the situation at each individual school.

Online teaching until end of term

Several universities in Norway, Sweden and Finland have already established that digital remote teaching will continue to the end of spring term.

Luleå Technical University in Sweden writes that the university follows the government’s recommendations and has gone online with its teaching. The university is planning to continue its digital activities until the end of the spring term. This means that teaching and exams will not take place at the university’s premises.

Finnish authorities say in a press release that the decision to shut down university buildings will be lifted as of 14 May and that university staff may gradually return to campus. The University of Lapland nevertheless encourages its staff to work online for the remainder of the spring term. Students will, however, not have access to buildings, which means that they will receive online teaching to the end of term, the university writes.

The University of Uleåborg (Finland) has also moved to online teaching and reports that this will continue until the end of term. From 14 May, however, it will be possible to organize individual events and courses at the university.

For most students at Nord University, there will be no physical teaching at any of the university’s campuses through the rest of the spring term. All teaching and exams will be digital for the remainder of the school year, the University of Tromsø reports. The university nevertheless conducts a gradual and controlled opening of campus for staff and students this week.

A press release from the Norwegian government on 7 May said that: “Universities, colleges and professional academies are to continue online teaching. Students who have to be on-site in order to maintain their progression may have access. The HEI’s must comply with the requirements of responsible infection control operations.”

Uncertainty regarding opening of the autumn term

Several places experience uncertainties related to the organizing of the autumn term 2020.

According to Luleå Technical University, they have a two-track plan for term start in August 2020; one based on online teaching, the other being shortened term start, depending on the situation.

The University of Tromsø awaits the considerations of national authorities before they decide on whether there will be changes and adjustments to term start as well as the conducting of the autumn term 2020, UiT writes.

“The government has expressed a goal of term start with open doors this autumn for all students on our campuses”, and Nord University writes that it thus plans for this.


This article was originally published in Norwegian and has been translated by HNN's Elisabeth Bergquist.