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Partial closure at some Finnish schools and universities due to coronavirus

Some schools in Tampere, Helsinki, Espoo, Turku and elsewhere will offer distance learning, but most remain open.

Lahden ammattikorkeakoulun kampus
All universities of applied sciences will launch distance learning on Monday. Image: Petri Niemi / Yle

Some pupils in the south-central city of Tampere schools will attend school virtually beginning on Monday. However there are no plans yet to shutter all of the schools there or elsewhere despite the rapid spread of the new coronavirus.

In other cities including Turku, Laitila and Espoo, some students are switching to distance learning. So too are some universities, including all universities of applied sciences.

In Tampere, high school students will make the shift along with those in seventh to ninth grades, the upper levels of comprehensive school. The system is so far intended to remain in place through the end of March.

"Schools are not closing"

"The schools are not closing. Pupils still have the right and opportunity to receive direct education. The teachers will be coming to school," says the city's education director, Kristiina Järvelä.

Järvelä says that offering distance learning to those in upper grades is intended to protect the school attendance of those under age 12 and to slow the spread of the Covid-19 disease, especially among caregiving staff.

The southern cities of Turku and Laitila have announced that high schools will operate through distance learning beginning on Monday. The main aim is to allow seniors to safely complete their matriculation exams.

At Espoo upper secondary schools, distance learning is scheduled to last through the coming week, while Tampere high schools intend to carry on with it until the current term ends on 2 April.

Some schools in Helsinki, such as Lauttasaaren yhteiskoulu, Helsingin Suomalainen Yhteiskoulu (SYK) and Eira High School, have also moved to distance learning.

Some tertiary education institutions, including Tampere University and all universities of applied sciences (polytechnics), will also follow suit as of Monday.

Edit: Updated at 11.35 on 15 March to indicated that distance learning will affect upper secondary school students in Espoo.

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