All students have the right to start their studies in a safe way. The goal that we all share is to be able to bring in much more contact teaching in higher education institutions during the autumn term. Interaction between people, both in contact teaching and in students’ leisure activities, improves wellbeing and strengthens the spirit of community. With the pandemic still ongoing, it has become particularly important to improve both student wellbeing and the ability to study.
The Ministry of Education and Culture, the National Union of University Students in Finland (SYL) and the Union of Students in Finnish Universities of Applied Sciences (SAMOK) wish to point out that by making a joint effort it is possible to ensure that contact teaching can continue and we can contribute to swiftly containing pandemic.
Monitoring data carried out by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare have shown that the risk of COVID-19 spreading in contact teaching is low when adequate measures are followed. Higher education institutions are very well placed to implement these measures. However, transmission chains from different leisure activities and events have been reported, and unless adequate prevention measures are in place, the risk of infection is high in the current epidemiological situation.
When organising student events that offer peer support and enable students to be acquainted, care should be taken to comply with regional and local regulations, guidelines and recommendations. It is important
- that even those who have been vaccinated wear a mask
- to avoid physical contact and respect safe distancing, especially indoors
- to have adequate ventilation in place
- to not seek the company of others if you have any symptoms indicative of COVID-19 and take the COVID-19 test instead
- that students receive a full course of COVID-19 vaccines.
This way we will hopefully be able to assemble and meet people more freely later in the autumn.
It is in everyone’s interest to responsibly organise and engage in events that are safe from the viewpoint of health. The Ministry of Education and Culture, The National Union of University Students and the Union of Students in Finnish Universities of Applied Sciences wish to extend their thanks to the student organisations for the creativity they have shown in the past and will undoubtedly carry on doing for finding safe solutions when organising events and forging a sense of community. You have supported the wellbeing of many students in higher education and provided potential for students to pursue their studies over these difficult and exceptional 18 months.
Up-to-date regional restrictions and recommendations are available on the Government website. The website also has links to the webpages of hospital districts, which provide more detailed regional information:
- Atte Jääskeläinen, Director General, (Ministry of Education and Culture), tel. +358 2953 30309
- Oona Löytänen, Chair (Union of Students in Finnish Universities of Applied Sciences – SAMOK ry), tel. +358 50 389 1000
- Annika Nevanpää, Chair (National Union of University Students in Finland, SYL ry), tel. +358 44 906 5007