Due to increased coronavirus infection risks caused by singing, the South Savo Social and Health Care Authority (Essote) has issued a recommendation to suspend group singing activities at schools and early education institutions in the region for the next two weeks.
The regional health authority said it issued the recommendation as a means to prevent the spread of coronavirus infections. According to the Institute for Health and Welfare THL, coronavirus spreads from dispersed droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes, speaks or sings.
The district's chief physician of infectious disease reception and hospital hygiene, Sakari Vuorinen, has previously noted that groups of people singing together in situations like music festivals pose a risk for the spread of coronavirus.
Essote's chief physician of reception services, Hans Gärdström, said that, in light of a recent uptick in coronavirus infection rates, the recommendation against group singing activities was meant to ensure the safety of pupils.
He said the recommendations will be adjusted based on how the epidemic evolves, emphasising that singing could still be carried out at the district's institutions, but only in smaller groups.
"It's possible for music classes to continue, but the involvement of [larger] groups should be avoided," Gärdström said.
Late last week, newspaper Länsi-Savo reported that a recommendation against all types of singing was being considered by the district initially caused confusion and concern. Seija Manninen, the city's director of education, said she approved of Essote's toned-down guideline.
"In many ways, singing is related to well-being and part of music education at all levels. Therefore the mitigation [of the recommendation] was welcomed. Of course safe distancing measures must still be taken into account," Manninen said.