Distance education for children and young people fails to protect adults, an open letter to the government says.
Finland Chief pediatricians, the Finnish Pediatric Association and all professors of pediatrics in Finland have sent an open letter to the government expressing their “deep concern” about the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health’s (STM) proposal to start the spring school term in distance education on Wednesday 5 January.
“Distance learning for children and young people fails to protect adults. We adults have a responsibility to ensure that our children are able to live as normal a life as possible in the midst of a corona pandemic. The right of the child is the duty of the adult, ”the letter writes.
STM has proposed that the Board issue a distance learning recommendation for the whole of Finland. Minister of Family and Basic Services Krista Kiurun (sd) says returning to school is not safe. The government’s corona working group is currently considering the matter.
Chief physicians and the professors’ open letter states that “although the epidemic situation in Finland has rapidly deteriorated with the omicron variant, the distance learning period in schools will not prevent the rapid growth of infections in our population”.
“The benefits of school restrictions are very questionable: children and young people also meet outside of school. Even if the contacts of all Finns were to be significantly reduced, for example by a curfew, the infections would increase rapidly with the lifting of the restrictions, despite the vaccination coverage. It is likely that potential distance learning in schools will not be left for a short period of a few weeks, as the number of infections will increase in the coming weeks and thus the decision to return to contact education will be as difficult or more difficult than in spring 2020, ”the letter said.
In the letter It is recalled that in Finland, children have almost invariably had either mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. In addition, a significant proportion of children 12 years of age and older – and adults – have already received two coronary vaccinations and have “very good protection” against serious coronavirus disease.
“Every 5 to 11-year-old can get the vaccine in addition to others who have not been vaccinated. School health care in contact education enables vaccinated children to be vaccinated faster than in distance education, ”the letter writes.
At the end of the letter, the signatories emphasize that the obstruction of the normal life, social contacts, hobbies and contact hours of children and young people causes and has already had long-term adverse consequences.
“Distance learning is a significantly unequal activity” and the impact of face-to-face teaching and the practical presence and guidance of a teacher is particularly great for those with learning difficulties for a variety of reasons, the letter writes.
“Distance learning is an unfair and disproportionate restriction on children in the current epidemic.”
The letter have signed the following persons:
Jari Petäjä, chief pediatrician
Jarmo Salo, chief pediatrician
Heikki Lukkarinen, chief pediatrician
Hanna Huopio, chief pediatrician
Tuija Poutanen, chief pediatrician
Antti Sotka, chief pediatrician
Kirsi Nuolivirta, chief pediatrician
Lotta Mäkelä, chief pediatrician
Petri Rahkonen, chief pediatrician
Maija Tuominen, chief pediatrician
Liisa Kalliokoski, chief pediatrician
Arja Tomminen, chief pediatrician
Ole Andersen, chief pediatrician
Ville Westerlund, chief pediatrician
Andreas Blanco Sequeiros, chief pediatrician
Tiina Reijonen, chief pediatrician
Mikko Lavonius, chief pediatrician
Jonas Bondestam, chief pediatrician
Oskari Pieviläinen, chief pediatrician
Jyrki Lähde, chief pediatrician
Tarja Holm, chief pediatrician
Antti Härmä, chief pediatrician
Per Ashorn, President of the Finnish Pediatric Association, Professor of Pediatrics
Sari Kurikka, Vice – President of the Finnish Pediatric Association, Pediatrician
Liisa Lehtonen, Professor of Pediatrics
Marjo Renko, Professor of Pediatrics
Jarmo Jääskeläinen, Professor of Pediatrics
Kaija-Leena Kolho, Professor of Pediatrics
Terhi Tapiainen, Professor of Pediatrics
Kalle Kurppa, Professor of Pediatrics
Tuomas Jartti, Professor of Pediatrics
Kirsi Jahnukainen, Professor of Pediatrics
Riitta Veijola, Professor of Pediatrics
Erika Isolauri, Professor of Pediatrics
Terho Heikkinen, Professor of Pediatrics
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