School health care guidelines for safety in schools

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2020-10-14 10:13

Updated 19.2.2021 at 15:06

News about the coronavirus can cause pupils and students to worry. We can ensure safety in schools if we all follow the common guidelines. Contact teaching is important as it promotes the well-being of children and young people and helps them develop their social relationships. 

Our instructions and recommendations comply with the guidelines of the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL).

Help from Student Welfare Services face-to-face and remotely

Student Welfare Services – psychologists, school welfare officers, public health nurses, doctors and therapists – are here to help guardians and pupils who feel worried, scared or have a lot on their mind. You can book an appointment to talk with the student welfare staff of your school. You can meet them at your school or using remote technology.

School and student health care:

  • If you have questions about school and student health care, please contact the school nurse.
  • You can also call the service number of School and Student Health Services, tel. 09 816 61234 (Mon–Fri 9:00−13:00).
  • You can also contact school nurses through their chat service, known as TerkkariChat, at school health care's website.

Severe coronavirus disease is extremely rare in children

For healthy children and young people, the risk of severe coronavirus disease is low. The risk is also low for children who have an underlying health condition (such as asthma or heart disease) that is under control. If a child, a young person or their family member has a serious underlying health condition, a nurse or a doctor will assess whether the child or young person can go back to school. Instructions regarding children at risk for severe coronavirus infection on the website of the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa

If you are ill, stay at home

If a child has symptoms of an infection, they must not go to school. The child must be taken to the test if their guardian or a health care professional determines that their symptoms resemble the symptoms of a coronavirus infection. See a list of the typical symptoms on the website of the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL): What are the symptoms of the coronavirus?

Further coronavirus advice at  www.espoo.fi/coronavirus.

  • A school-age child or a young person should always get tested if they have any symptoms of a possible coronavirus infection.
  • If the test result is negative, the child can go back to school when they feel better, even if they still have some symptoms.
  • If a child gets tested but the results are delayed, they can go back to school after at least one symptom-free day, provided that, as far as is known, the child has not been exposed to a confirmed case of coronavirus and no one in their family has travelled abroad over the previous 14 days.

If the child has hay fever, individual sneezes or if their nose starts to run when they go outside but the symptoms stop indoors, the child may go to school or early childhood education as long as their general health is otherwise normal and there are no symptoms of infection.

Read more on the THL website: Children and coronavirus

If a child falls ill at school

If a child becomes ill during the school day, they will be taken to a separate room where they will wait for their guardian under the supervision of an adult. The adult will stay at a safe distance from the child. The child should avoid moving around and being in close contact with other people at school.

Older pupils can call their guardians and go home after they have informed their teacher in line with the school’s normal practice.

Quarantines in schools and early childhood education

Good hand and coughing hygiene prevents infections

The coronavirus is mainly transmitted as a droplet infection. The following instructions apply to both children and adults:

  • Always wash your hands with water and soap when you come to school and before going home.
  • Always wash your hands before meals, after coming indoors, after sneezing or coughing and whenever your hands are visibly dirty. Dry your hands using disposable paper towels.
  • If it is not possible to wash your hands, use hand sanitiser instead. Hand sanitiser is readily available at schools. Children should only use hand sanitiser under the supervision of an adult.
  • Cover your mouth with a disposable tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the used tissue immediately in the bin. If you have no tissue, sneeze or cough into your sleeve. Wash your hands after coughing or sneezing.

The recommendation on the use of face masks is in force throughout Finland

The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) recommends that everyone aged 12 and older wear a face mask. The recommendation on the use of face masks is in force throughout Finland.

The recommendation applies to comprehensive schools starting from the sixth grade as well as to upper secondary schools and universities. Espoo will provide masks for pupils. Pupils can also wear their own masks. Students are responsible for getting their own masks. Free masks are available to students with a low income at the distribution locations of Social and Health Services. Please read more information: Free face masks available for people with low income through Social Services and organisations

For more information on situations in which the use of face masks is recommended, please visit the THL website: Recommendation on the use of face masks for citizens

Further information

Information about education: Childcare and education

Coronavirus and services in Espoo: www.espoo.fi/coronavirus

Up-to-date information about the coronavirus, Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL): www.thl.fi/coronavirus