School-leaving lorry drive fest (penkkarit).

Upper secondary school’s lorry parade moves online, dance postponed until later in the spring

The traditional lorry parade for upper secondary school students preparing to graduate and the formal dance arranged for second-year students in the schools are important traditions each spring for the participating students and their loved ones, but this year’s epidemic situation unfortunately makes it impossible to arrange these events normally.

In spring 2021, the traditional lorry parade of graduating upper secondary school students (known in Finnish as penkkarit) will be moved online, and the formal dance for second-year students to celebrate their becoming the oldest students in the school (known colloquially as Vanhat) will be postponed until later in spring. End-of-school-year ceremonies and other school-related social events will also not take place. These decisions are intended to help prevent possible exposures, infections and quarantines that could jeopardise this spring’s matriculation examinations, which are scheduled to begin on 16 March.

Students hoping to graduate in the spring will however be encouraged to participate in a shared virtual lorry parade day on 11 February, by contributing videos, for example.

Students that were planning to participate in Vanhat will in turn be enlisted to help decide on the new date and form of the postponed traditional dance performance. Instructions for how to practice safely will be delivered to the metropolitan area’s upper secondary schools once contact teaching resumes. These instructions will comply with the guidelines issued by the National Institute for Health and Welfare, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, the Finnish National Agency for Education and the health officials of the City of Helsinki.

The cities of Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa also decided yesterday to give upper secondary students preparing for the matriculation examinations the option of attending preparatory classes in person. Further information can be found in the 15 January news article found below.

Coronavirus coordination group safeguards matriculation examination preparations, maintains suspension of children's recreational activities

Photo: Seppo Laakso