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Corona infections at Variska School and Vamia - all secondary schools and Vamia's Sampo campus will switch to distance learning on 14 December

Published: 14.12.2020

Updated: 5.1.2021

A pupil attending Variska School has tested positive for corona and more than 60 people at the school have been potentially exposed to the virus. All pupils at Variska School and all teaching staff are encouraged to comply with voluntary quarantine recommendations. At Vamia, a coronavirus infection was found among a group of adults in preparatory education, 20 people who were exposed in the adult group as well a group of younger students have been placed in quarantine. All secondary schools and the Vamia Sampo campus will switch to distance learning on 14 December until the Christmas holidays.

The staff of Variska school, the quarantined pupils and the guardians of pupils attending the whole school have been informed of the incident. More than 60 people are in quarantine in total. Vamia’s students, teachers and guardians have also been contacted and 20 people are in quarantine. In both schools, the identification and contacting of anyone potentially exposed to the virus began immediately upon receiving information about the infection.

– The corona situation has deteriorated significantly, as infections are on the rise again in Vaasa. We are now doing everything we can to stop these chains of infection. That is why we in the crisis management team decided today that all secondary schools and the Vamia Sampo campus will switch to distance learning from tomorrow, 14 December, until the end of the term. With this measure, we are also working to ensure that the spring term can begin with normal classroom teaching, says Mayor, Tomas Häyry.

Distance learning applies to Years 7-9 of the following schools; Onkilahden yhtenäiskoulu, Merenkurkun koulu, Borgaregatans skola and Savilahden yhtenäiskoulu, as well as the Vamia Sampo campus. The staff, guardians and pupils of all the schools were informed about the switch to distance learning on Sunday.

– The Hansa campus is still open for the time being, but we are closely monitoring the development of the situation, says Vamia’s Principal, Åsa Stenbacka.

– At Variska school, everyone is switching to distance learning due to extensive exposures, although other secondary schools still provide classroom teaching with special support for pupils with special needs. School meals are available to everyone in the school canteen, but it is important for those coming to school to remember to wear face masks, maintain social distancing and have regular hand hygiene so that there are no more infections, says School Director, Kari Nummela.

– Due to the large number of people exposed to infection at Variska School, in addition to all those placed in quarantine, we also appeal to all pupils and teaching staff at Variska School to comply with voluntary quarantine. That is, all interaction outside the home should be avoided. If you must leave the home, you need to wear a face mask and maintain social distancing, reminds the chief physician responsible for infectious diseases in the City of Vaasa, Heikki Kaukoranta.

If you experience even mild symptoms of a respiratory infection such as a cough, runny nose, fever or sore throat, you should go for a corona test immediately. The sports facilities of Variska school will also be closed until 6 January (Epiphany). More detailed guidelines for the sports facilities of other schools will be decided on Monday.

It is important to continue to wear facemasks

– We would also like to remind everyone in Vaasa that it is now especially important to continue to wear a facemask, maintain social distancing and take care of hand hygiene. By taking care of ourselves, we take care of others. We appeal to young people in particular, as the wearing of face masks in secondary schools has fallen alarmingly. Together, we managed to get the corona infections to fall in the autumn, now the infection curve must not be allowed to rise any higher, hopes Mayor, Tomas Häyry.

This is the best time for Vaasa Hospital District and the City of Vaasa to continue a joint campaign targeting all secondary school pupils. The aim of the campaign is to encourage secondary school pupils to wear face masks by urging them to tell on social media who they are wearing a mask for. The campaign raises responsibility to protect our neighbours — parents, grandparents, and those at risk in all age groups.