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Pupils, staff quarantined at two Helsinki schools

Other students at the schools will continue to receive contact teaching as usual.

Kuvassa koululaiset kulkevat jonossa turvavälien kera.
Primary and comprehensive school pupils returned to school on 14 May. Image: Silja Viitala / Yle

Some students and staff at primary schools in Itäkeskus in eastern Helsinki and Kannelmäki in the city's northwest, have been placed in quarantine following exposure to novel coronavirus.

One student and two staff members at a school in Itäkeskus have been quarantined for two weeks.

Meanwhile, 14 students and four school employees have been sent home to isolate. During their absence from school, the students will engage in distance learning.

According to daily Helsingin Sanomat, each school had reported one confirmed coronavirus case.

Helsinki medical chief: Risk of school infections small

Helsinki health centres medical chief Timo Lukkarinen told Yle that possible exposure to infection at the Kannelmäki school occurred long before students returned to school on 14 May. He added that the quarantine order was issued just to be on the safe side.

"It could well be that there will be no further infections at either school, especially at Kannelmäki. Under no circumstances will [they result in] 14 infections, I believe I can say," he continued.

Lukkarinen noted that there would have been isolated cases of infection with the virus even if schools had not re-opened.

"The probability of getting infected at school is very, very small. These exposures have been calculated on the basis of operating within safety [waiting] periods. Given the number of pupils, [the risk of] getting infected at school is negligible at the moment," he declared.

Contact teaching to continue

The parents and staff of both schools have been informed about the situation. Other students at the affected schools will continue to receive normal contact teaching.

The individuals ordered to isolate at home have been advised not to have contact with anyone outside of their households.

Family members of the persons exposed to the virus have not been placed in quarantine because they did not come into close contact with anyone who diagnosed with Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus.

On Sunday, city officials in Porvoo announced that some students and teachers at a local school had been placed in quarantine after being exposed to a child who tested positive for the disease.

Finland re-opened primary and comprehensive schools for contact teaching last Thursday.

Edit: Updated at 11.23am to correct location of Kannelmäki to northwest Helsinki.

Edit: Updated at 1.13pm to include comments from Helsinki health centres medical chief Timo Lukkarinen.

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