School Tens of thousands close their schools without the traditional spring festival – this is how schools prepare to celebrate pupils in exceptional times

Kirkkonummi School came up with a fun way to celebrate high school graduates. The joint celebrations are especially important at the end of the sixth and ninth grades, reminds the principal of Kirkkonummi School.

Next on Saturday, thousands of students will complete their elementary school path. According to the National Board of Education, an estimated 60,300 students will graduate from primary school this spring.

Not only student celebrations and graduation, but also the completion of primary school and the transition to secondary school are turning points that have traditionally been celebrated at school spring festivals.

Although restrictive measures have been relaxed in many localities, spring festivals cannot be held in many schools at traditional expenditures this spring either.

The number of infections in Finland has decreased recently, but many different recommendations and restrictions still apply.

For example, in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area and Pirkanmaa, meetings of up to ten people can be organized indoors and meetings of up to fifty people can be organized in limited outdoor spaces.

In Turku’s schools and educational institutions, according to the city’s guidelines, the closing ceremony of schools can be organized for a limited number of students in schools and educational institutions, provided that safety gaps can be maintained. Guardians or other relatives are not invited to the scene.

Read more: These restrictions still persist: gathering restrictions in Uusimaa are easing, restaurant restrictions continue in much of the country

In schools various means have also been developed for spring school graduations and those moving to secondary school.

Vuorenmäki Primary School in Kirkkonummi has an advantage compared to many other schools. The school is located next to a large football field.

Kirkkonummi’s teaching staff has outlined that spring parties can be organized either indoors by class or, if possible, outdoors. Principal Esa Kukkasniemen the school decided to take up the latter option.

Vuorenmäki School has 311 students. According to the guidelines of Kirkkonummi municipality, the classes have been kept separate throughout the school year, and there have been almost no cases of corona in the school.

Despite being separated, or partly because of it, Kukkasniemi has noticed that the whole school has a great need for a community event.

Instead of the traditional Spring Festival, school classes are organized on Saturday in a procession for which each class has prepared its own banner.

“They have written various greetings and messages about what they want to convey to the world,” says Kukkasniemi.

Vuorenmäki Primary School in Kirkkonummi came up with the opportunity to utilize a large football field next to the school for its spring party.

Procession get around the school and end up on the football field next to the school. There are predefined locations in the field for each class at a distance from each other.

“We were lucky that the football field is so large that 15 classes can fit in it with very brisk safety distances,” says Kukkasniemi.

After this, the sixth classes are invited class by class to be flowered in the auditorium of the football field and are presented with a traditional farewell song.

Kukkasniemi reminds that different transition rites are important in the joint stages of school.

She regrets that parents are unable to attend the event. Originally, the intention was to invite parents to follow the procession, but safety intervals could not be guaranteed.

“It’s a bummer. However, we somehow wanted to reach out of the school bubble but safely, ”says Kukkasniemi.

In the spring of last year, instead of the Spring Festival, the pupils of Vuorenmäki School created an art exhibition in the school fence, which the pupils and their families were allowed to visit in their own time.

Also ninth-graders completing their primary school have earned their thanks, says the principal of Kaita School in Espoo Ritva Mickelsson.

As Espoo is still part of the epidemic, traditional school graduation parties are now not recommended.

According to Mickelsson, the traditional ninth-grader and principal speech will therefore be broadcast this spring streamed to all classes. At the same time, the recipients of scholarships will be announced.

After the speech, the principal and deputy principals will tour the ninth grades and distribute roses to those who finish their elementary school.

“It wouldn’t be possible to have a party outdoors because we don’t have a suitable outdoor space for it. In addition, it is a rather sensitive moment where the encounter is essential, ”he says.

“Even if you can’t shake hands, we can still look into each other’s eyes and congratulate it, despite the masks.”

There will also be a surprise for the students at the end of the broadcast, which Mickelsson does not want to reveal in the magazine before the party.

“I think with that, we’ll be happy to go on summer vacation,” he says.

Parents’ Association executive director Ulla Siimes recalls that celebrations are a big part of home-school collaboration. Their importance was also highlighted in a recent survey by the Parents’ Association.

Read more: Survey: Cooperation between home and school has been less during the Korona period

“The Christmas and Spring festivals have played a surprisingly big role not only in parenting evenings but also in creating community in the school. Now that parents can’t get involved, the new school, teachers and other parents have been able to stay stranger, ”Siimes says.

These are especially emphasized during transitions such as the end of the sixth grade and ninth grade.

According to Siimes, parents have appreciated the opportunities to get involved in the school community in some way.

“It can be even a small thing, like Suvivirsi videotaped or a remote party streamed,” Siimes says.

Private events, such as home graduation parties, do not apply to gathering restrictions. However, experts have repeatedly urged Finns to still wear masks at weekends, take care of hand hygiene and remember safety intervals.

In addition, the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) recommends staggering guests ’incomes at different times.

Director of THL Mika Salmisen According to the most important thing is to check the situation in your home community and consider arrangements accordingly. When ill or symptomatic, the party must be canceled or skipped.

Read more: Aapo Honkanen holds his student party outdoors and staggers guests into smaller batches – How to organize a corona-safe party

Read more: THL’s chief physician: “The situation looks quite bright” experts still point out that the epidemic is not over yet

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