The City of Helsinki updated its decisions and recommendations associated with the spread of the coronavirus on 15 March. Day care centres and schools will remain open, but new guidelines seek to make children and the elderly safer.
Proactive in the fight against coronavirus infections at schools and day cares
Helsinki will step up efforts to prevent the spread of coronavirus infections in day care centres and schools. Staff will make sure that no one who is ill will be allowed to attend schools or day cares, and parents will be informed about the importance of children staying home in such cases.
Parents who feel their children are part of an at-risk group can contact their day care centre or school and ask about the possibility of making special arrangements.
School and day care events where children gather into larger groups will not be held, and lunch periods and breaks in between classes will be staggered whenever possible, to limit the number of children together at one time. PE classes will be arranged outdoors or focus on theory. Enhanced cleaning regimes will be adopted, and special attention will be paid to hand washing.
Online instruction will be introduced alongside classroom instruction in secondary and upper secondary schools (grades 7-13).
The city has also decided to recommend that children and young people returning to the country from abroad (with the exception of the Nordic countries and Estonia) stay home for one week after their return date.
Field trips and camps associated with schools will be cancelled for the remainder of the spring.
Visitors discouraged at senior homes, hospitals and residencies for people with disabilities
The City of Helsinki also strongly recommends that people stop paying visits to the city’s senior homes, hospitals and residencies serving people with disabilities. Loved ones are asked to communicate with residents of such facilities via the telephone or other remote connections. In the case of hospice care, visitors are asked to make arrangements ahead of time with the staff.
City employees asked to work from home
Helsinki City Group employees are encouraged to work remotely, if possible, and take advantage of online meeting tools.
The city will prepare the necessary holiday transfers, taking into account the nature of the activities. In case of illness, city employees can be absent from work for 10 days on their own notice. Non-urgent health care matters will also be reduced, for example, the health screening of new hires will be limited to statutory requirements only. These changes are designed to lighten the load of the city’s occupational health care provider.