Lessons learned as Finland reopens its schools

Luis Santos May 18, 2020
Lessons learned as Finland reopens its schools

Finland reopened its elementary schools last week. After only two school days, we heard news of a significant number of staff being quarantined in one elementary school in the municipality of Sipoo.

That led to the school being closed once more – back to the drawing board and home-schooling.

At first glance, however, it appears the move to reopen schools went reasonably well, reports the Helsinki Times.

Lessons outdoors

Deciding to hold lessons outside, many teachers stuck to social distancing methods. One way to teach children was to get them to open their arms wide to perceive the required distance.

Finnish children are told to wash their hands regularly. The ‘wash hands every two hours’ guideline is increased if pupils go outdoors, return to class, or eat.

In what is bound to become a trend, children are taught to greet each other using a ‘foot handshake’.

As many countries ponder whether to reopen schools, only time will tell if Finland has made the right decision.

Image by Annalise Batista from Pixabay

Nordic welfare state the best cure

The move comes at a time when former prime minister Antti Rinne expressed concerns the “rule of law” had been “eroded under the pretence of the crisis”.

“Each nation has met the challenge from its own unique starting point. Some have had tough restrictions, whereas others have trusted people’s own discretion in combating the virus.

Former prime minister of Finland Antti Rinne

Writing for the Helsinki Times, Rinne stated: “Each nation has met the challenge from its own unique starting point. Some have had tough restrictions, whereas others have trusted people’s own discretion in combating the virus.”

Rinne also praised the efficiency of Finland’s public health care model. He wrote: “We should be happy the market-led model for social welfare and health care services proposed during the previous government term failed. If executed, that model would have seriously deteriorated our public health care.”

The former prime minister warned Finland not to repeat the same mistakes of the last two global recessions. He said he was happy the welfare state had “ensured livelihoods by supporting individuals and businesses”. He added that, after the crisis, the country should make sure no-one was left behind.

Taking care of the Nordic welfare system now should breed confidence for the future, Rinne said. He added: “The welfare state is the best cure for all diseases that threaten our nations, from covid-19 to increasing inequality.”

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Luis has been collaborating as a content writer since 2017 with main focus on Politics and Economy, and is a self published fiction writer. A Sporting Lisbon fan, Old Trafford has played an important place in his heart over the years, as he believes a Man United line-up starring Giggs and Figo is still possible.