Service Manager Sami Lahti, Basic Education Services, tel. 014 266 4985
Service Manager Tuija Rasinen, Basic Education Services, tel. 014 266 4984
In line with government policy, primary and lower secondary schools will restart classroom teaching on 14 May, 2020. Pupils will go back to school, and there will no longer be distance teaching.
Schools will follow the instructions given by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (29 April, 2020). Children can only go to school if they are not ill. Extra emphasis will be put on cleanliness and hygiene. In this way schools will be able to brush up practices that they will probably have to follow also in the autumn. Special attention will be paid to the washing of hands and good hygiene. Pupils and staff will wash their hands when they come to the school and before they leave the school. Children will mainly study and have their school lunch, for example, separately in small groups.
The arrangements may vary from school to school, depending on the facilities and the number of pupils attending each school. Each school will inform its pupils and their parents and guardians of their arrangements.
Children who are ill should not go to school. If a child falls ill during a school day, he or she will be immediately removed to a separate space where he or she can wait with an adult until a parent or guardian comes to fetch him or her. If a child or his or her family members have coronavirus-like symptoms, the family should contact the local health centre and follow the instructions given. No one else except the pupils and the school staff should use the school yards and premises.
Health authorities in several countries have compared the spread of the coronavirus across different age groups. The data, collected both abroad and in Finland, suggest that children who have been infected with the virus usually only develop mild symptoms. Children are also less likely to spread the virus and to transmit it to adults.
Instructions on absences and medical certificates required to qualify for distance learning
If a child is ill or if the parents do not want their child to take part in classroom teaching because of the coronavirus pandemic, they need to apply for permission for the absence. Requests for shorter absences (less than 5 days) are submitted to the teacher, requests for longer absences (more than 5 days) are submitted to the principal.
Once the schools are open, only high-risk children will have the right to distance teaching. To have the right to distance learning, the child needs a doctor’s certificate which has to be submitted to the school. The certificate can be acquired from the health care professional responsible for the child’s treatment (specialised medical care services or the local health centre).
Children with the following diseases are considered high-risk children: children who have severe lung or heart diseases, children who have cancer or children who have any other severe chronic illness because of which they are more prone to infections. Usually these children are treated in specialised health care and can obtain the certificate from there.
In contrast, children whose asthma or heart disease is well under control or children who have diabetes but no significant diabetes-related complications can go to school. According to international studies, children with conditions such as these do not face an increased risk of severe illness from coronavirus. If a child has not needed extra educational arrangements during a normal influenza season, he or she will not need them during the coronavirus pandemic either.
If a child’s parent or sibling belongs to a high-risk group, the family should discuss the child’s need for distance learning with the doctor treating the high-risk member of the family.