Early childhood education and care providers and schools in Turku have received new instructions on respiratory tract infections and tracing coronavirus infections among children and young people. Changes have been made to practices such as applying for a coronavirus test and returning to school or daycare after a respiratory tract infection. The new instructions come into force on 21 September 2021.

Book an appointment to a COVID-19 test for a child:

  • City of Turku general coronavirus helpline
    tel. 02 266 2714 (weekdays 8–15)
  • School health care coronavirus helpline for comprehensive school pupils
    • tel. +358 (0)40 588 2012
    • Mon-Fri 8-11
    • Only for students in comprehensive schools.   
    • School health care nurses take the calls. They provide advice and guidance in matters related to corona and, if necessary, a referral to a COVID-19 test.
  • Students from general upper secondary schools and vocational institutions can get help with coronavirus matters from the student health services’ central advisory and appointment line on 02 266 1570, open Mon–Thu 8–15 and Fri 8–13.
    • Adults can make a corona symptom assessment at omaolo.fi.

Testing sites

You need a referral from Omaolo or an appointment from a coronavirus helpline

Without referral and appointment for residents and people living in Turku:

  • Varissuo health centre (open Mon-Fri 9-11 and 12-14)
  • Coronavirus Prevention Bus:
    • Halinen, Huudi (add. Gregorius IX:n tie 8): Mon-Fri approximately 10-11
    • Perno/Pansio (add. Hyrköistentie 26): Mon–Fri 12–14

Further information on the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare website

(9.11.2021)

When should a child or young person take a coronavirus test?

A test is recommended for over 12-year-olds who have symptoms suggesting a coronavirus infection if they are unvaccinated or have had COVID-19 more than 6 months ago.
 
If the child is under 12 years of age, it is recommended to take them to a coronavirus test in the following situations:

  • the child has symptoms and is known to have been exposed to a coronavirus case confirmed in a laboratory during the previous two weeks.
  • the child has symptoms and some family members are over 16 years old and are unvaccinated or have inadequate immune protection against coronavirus
  • the physician treating the child decides whether testing is necessary.

When can the child go back to the daycare centre or school after a respiratory tract infection?

A child under 12 years of age with a mild respiratory tract infection can return to the daycare centre or school when:

  • the child has not had a fever for one day,
  • the child no longer has a wet cough or
  • shortness of breath stemming from an acute infection.
  • if the child has symptoms consistent with the coronavirus, he or she may, if wished, apply for a corona test.

The child can return to school or daycare if:

  • the child still has mild residual symptoms such as a blocked nose,
  • slight cold and/or
  • a dry cough.

When a child returns to school or day care after a respiratory tract infection, they must be able to manage there as normal. As with other viral infections, corona rapidly becomes less infectious after the symptoms have started so a slight cold or cough as residual symptoms do not make it more infectious.

If a child is diagnosed with a coronavirus infection, they must be isolated in accordance with the Communicable Diseases Act and removed from school or day-care centre for the period of the infection.

If the child/young person is over 12 years old and has not been vaccinated against COVID-19, it is recommended to test for coronavirus if the child has a respiratory tract infection. Otherwise, the same main principles will be followed as for under 12-year-olds. After the test, wait for the test result at home even if the symptoms stop during monitoring. At the moment, getting an appointment for coronavirus tests is quick, and the result usually also comes the following day after taking the sample at latest.

Contact tracing in schools

Being present in the same classroom is no longer automatically considered an exposure of the whole class. At present the focus is on singling out those who are at high risk of exposure - those with whom a person who has been infected with coronavirus (index) has been in actual close contact.

In contact tracing at schools, a pupil who has come down with coronavirus disease is contacted by telephone and given instructions by contact tracing officials. The contact tracer contacts the parent or guardian, or the child by telephone, and during that call those pupils in the same educational institution who may have been exposed are identified as part of the general contact tracing effort. 

Contact tracers are given the contact information of pupils who have been exposed to an infected person by the school's head teacher or assistant head teacher, and the contact tracer is given the information directly from the head teacher. Neither the parent/guardian nor the pupil are required to inform the school about the COVID-19 case; this is the task of the authorities, but people can certainly volunteer the information as before.

If a pupil in a class has been diagnosed with coronavirus disease, the other pupils may come to school unless they or a parent or guardian get a call from contact tracing. A pupil's own class is usually informed of low-risk exposure situations by Wilma message.

In contact tracing, exposure situations are evaluated on a case-by-case basis by communicable disease officials.

Contact tracing in early childhood education

In early childhood education, being in the same space is no longer seen automatically as exposure for the entire group. In these situations, those who were actually exposed – persons with whom the person who was infected by the coronavirus – was actually in close contact.

Those who really were in close contact with the exposed person are placed under quarantine. The others have low-risk exposure and they and their parents and guardians are instructed to monitor the state of health and that of the child, and if the child has symptoms, to have them tested for coronavirus infection.  
 
In contact tracing for early childhood education, a child/parent or guardian is informed by telephone by contact tracing. The contact tracer contacts the child's parent or guardian by telephone, and in that telephone call an evaluation is made if exposures have taken place in early childhood education as part of other contact tracing. 

Contact tracing gets the contact information for children exposed to someone who has fallen ill from the head of the early childhood education unit, and the contact tracer asks for the information directly from the head teacher. As before, the parent or guardian is not obliged to report COVID-19 cases to early childhood education. Instead, officials will do it, but they certainly may report it themselves, as before.

If a coronavirus case is diagnosed within the group, the other children may come to early childhood education unless the parent or guardian gets a call from contact tracing. A general Wilma message to the child’s own group to inform them of a low-risk exposure situation.

In contact tracing exposure situations are evaluated on a case-by-case basis by communicable disease officials.