Several countries have begun to lift restrictions on the coronavirus as infection rates have begun to decline. One of the first steps has been to open schools, which is currently being actively discussed in Finland as well.

Finland is also closely monitoring whether the opening of schools has an impact on the epidemic situation. The closest example can be found in Denmark, which opened primary schools and kindergartens on 16 April, almost two weeks ago. Some of the schools had already opened their doors the day before.

Parents who brought their children to a school in Copenhagen kept safety clearances when queuing at the door.

Photo: Olafur Steinar Gestsson / AFP / Lehtikuva

If the germination time of the coronavirus is estimated at a maximum of two weeks, at least in theory, statistics should already begin to show whether the opening of schools has accelerated the spread of the virus. It is certainly too early to draw any further conclusions from the statistics, but perhaps something indicative can already be drawn from them.

This is how the numbers of new infections have evolved

The number of new daily infections peaked in Denmark on 7 April, when they were detected in 390 people. In the eight days between the peak and the opening of schools, new infections were detected in an average of 201 days.

On the opening day of the schools, 198 new infections were registered in Denmark. Between school opening and Monday, the average number of new infections has been 165. The lowest number of new infections has been in 123 days, but there are also a few distinct peaks that can be included, on April 22 (217 new infections) and April 25 (235 new infections).

Rebekka Hjorth, a teacher at a school in Rander, took music lessons outside for 5A class.

Photo: Bo Amstrup / AFP / Magazine image

The last time the number of new infections exceeded two hundred was two days after the peak, on April 9, when 233 people were diagnosed. However, it must be borne in mind that the registration of infections may be delayed, in which case they may accumulate more or less than a real day.

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However, on the basis of the average number of new infections per day, the opening of primary schools and kindergartens does not seem to have had an accelerating effect on the spread of the virus, at least for the time being, but the trend is still declining.

Pupils from Lykkebo School in Copenhagen received Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen on their first day of contact teaching.

Photo: Philip Davali / AFP / Magazine photo

In addition, it is worth noting that the operation of schools and kindergartens differs significantly from what it was before the restrictions were imposed. Pupils and staff are protected by strict hygiene and by using safety gaps of at least two meters, including in outdoor play.

This protects students and staff

An article from CNN a couple of weeks ago followed the opening of Hendriksholm School in Rodovre, outside Copenhagen. The article explained how teachers were required by government regulations to divide children into smaller groups and instruct them to wash their hands immediately upon entering school and at least every two hours thereafter.

Risky surfaces such as toilet seats, sinks and door handles were disinfected twice a day. In addition, schools were told, among other things, to make maps for students with separate routes for entering and exiting.

The students also wanted to spend as much of the day as possible outside.

According to the rules, students must wash their hands immediately upon entering school and at least every two hours thereafter.

Photo: Bo Amstrup / AFP / Magazine image

Norway followed Denmark last week by opening kindergartens and preschools. Primary school students returned to contact teaching on Monday.

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In Finland, kindergartens and pre-schools have been in operation all the time, although some of the children have nevertheless remained at home, as has the teaching of special groups, which has also continued in school premises. Otherwise, the schools are scheduled to be closed until May 13th.

If the government ends up opening schools after that date, there will be time for the last two weeks of the school year to be spent in contact teaching.