Restrictions Finnish paediatricians and all paediatricians: Distance learning for children is currently a disproportionate and unfair restriction

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”.

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“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.

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“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

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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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