Up to 500 students at the University of Turku’s Faculty of Medicine will move to distance learning until the end of September as a precautionary measure after four people connected to the faculty were diagnosed with coronavirus.
All student workplace placements have also been cancelled, as well as laboratory work and preclinical contact lessons.
The distance learning measure applies to general medicine as well dental and biomedical students of the university.
Turku-based newspaper Turun Sanomat reported on Thursday that the infections have been traced to a single student event.
The decision to cancel work placements was made jointly with the Southwestern Finland Hospital District, Dean of the Faculty Pekka Hänninen said, as the faculty is part of the healthcare system in the region and preventing the spread of the virus is of utmost importance.
"This has been discussed with the hospital district and their opinion was also strongly that the internships should be put on hold for two weeks," Hänninen said. "Of course, we have very close contacts with healthcare professionals, and it is better to put safety first."
Hänninen added that the threshold for switching to distance learning is high, because even a couple of weeks of distance learning can have a significant impact on the progress of students' studies,
"It's annoying," Hänninen said. "On the other hand, when we are only at this stage in the autumn we hope that things will be caught in time. Of course, this puts a lot of strain on students and teachers."