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Uusimaa corona group recommends remote learning continue until Easter

The decision on whether grades 7-9 and high schools return to classrooms will be made by local municipalities.

Tyhjä luokkahuone.
The Uusimaa region’s coronavirus coordination group has recommended that distance learning should continue until Easter. Image: Benjamin Suomela / Yle

The Uusimaa region’s coronavirus coordination group has recommended that distance learning should continue until Easter, according to Markku Mäkijärvi, Chief Medical Officer at Helsinki University Hospital District (HUS).

On 8 March, grades 7-9 and high school students moved to remote learning in the entire region of Southern Finland.

The group said both secondary and upper secondary education should continue distance learning until 5 April instead of the originally agreed 28 March.

"Each municipality will decide on the matter independently, but I would believe that this will happen," Mäkijärvi said.

Contact teaching will continue in primary schools.

The Helsinki Metropolitan Area's coronavirus coordination group also met on Wednesday. Continuing remote learning has been a hot topic of discussion, and the Mayor of Helsinki Jan Vapaavuori (NCP) has brought up that the delaying of government negotiations has made decision-making difficult for municipalities.

However, not everyone agrees on the recommendations. Professor Harri Saxén, a specialist in paediatric infectious diseases at the Helsinki and Uusimaa Hospital District, for example, has spoken out in favour of schools returning to contact education.

"Closing schools is not an effective way to reduce infections. This has been found all over the world and everywhere it is considered a last resort," Saxén said in an Yle TV interview last week.

Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) on the other hand has stated that in the areas worst-hit by the pandemic, distance learning should be continued in order to control the spread of infections.

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