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Lessons learned Societal

Finland schools reopening a success

This article was written by Maria Jantunen, MA (Candidate), Educational Sciences.1

Finland re-opened its schools on May 13. Almost two months later, there were no spikes in infection. The infection rate continued to decline as illustrated by the graphs in the article. The specialist doctor from the Finnish Institute of Health and Welfare stated: “children get infected far less frequently than adults and there are hardly any cases in which the infection chain started from a child. So there is little risk that the Covid19 would spread widely in contact [non-digital] teaching.”

In addition, Camilla Stoltenberg, director of Norway’s public health agency, Camilla Stoltenberg, commented: “there never was a real need to close the schools down”. Even more strikingly, Norway’s Statistics Agency made a study and found that ‘–every week of classroom education denied to students (–) stymies life chances and permanently lowers earnings potential.’

The article provides an overall European context on why re-opening schools are safe for children and the general public. Among others, it gives reasons why strict lockdowns were not necessary; why COVID-19 death rates are not that high; and why distant learning spawns further inequalities.

The author then details the adverse impact of lockdowns on children especially the relation between lack of movement and its adverse impact on brain development.

Editor’s Note: This article, contributed uniquely for this website, has important lessons for all struggling with this issue.

First, it provides yet another lucid example that the continuing fears of parents and some public officials regarding the opening of schools are just that: fears that are unfounded and ignorant of scientific evidence.

But perhaps the most telling and unique part of the article is that it goes into some detail on rarely reported negative effects on children should they rely on distant or digital learning which is being contemplated by many countries. And these negative effects of lack of mobility and direct contact with other children have long-term effects on the development of emotional and social intelligence of children as well as their ultimate lifespan.

The article sharpens the realization that keeping children locked out of schools is a deep and massive violation not only the human rights of children, including their very capacity to develop their physical bodies properly and harmoniously.

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  1. Degree to have been granted last June 2020 but postponed due to COVID-19 measures.

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