UiA's one-year-programme Outdoor Education was allowed to take its annual trip to Hovden, with some specific infection control measures.
“Our students have mountain safety, biology, avalanche knowledge and sleeping in snow caves as part of their programme. When campus was closed due to the coronavirus, we looked at what opportunities we had to go through with the trip and ended up with a reduced but good plan”, says Assistant Professor Geir Øvrevik at the University of Agder (UiA).
The annual trip to Bjåen at Hovden usually includes shared accommodation in snow caves, but because of the infection prevention regulations, this was changed to one snow cave for each student.
“Everyone dug their own cave, and we also decided not to share equipment like we usually do. We handed out disinfectant and made sure to keep a good distance between us on the bus on the way up. We managed to create a course that meets the authorities' requirements for infection prevention”, says Øvrevik.
Because of the group size rules, students were divided into two groups. Normally, the trip would last seven days, but each group got two and a half days on the mountain instead. Student Jaymee Regalario was nevertheless well pleased to actually get to travel.
“It was different, but very good. We were lucky with the weather and kept a good distance from each other. I have slept in snow caves before, but never alone like this. It was a new experience”, he says.
As far as Geir Øvrevik knows, his students are among the first in Norway to be able to carry out joint teaching activities after the coronavirus struck.
“It was a great trip, and we also got to bring eight international students who have chosen to remain in Norway. We were very pleased to be able to give them a real mountain trip. We now have one course left, with kayaking, sailing and snorkeling, that we hope we can complete before the summer”, says Øvrevik.