The city of Joensuu is expanding its existing general mask recommendation. In accordance with the recommendations of The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, masks will be recommended for all who have turned 12 starting on the 18th of January. Previously the recommendation applied to those who had turned 15.The recommendation affects these places and activities:
- all of the city's public areas
- events around Joensuu area, indoors and outdoors
- public transport
- indoor exercise places, such as the Joensuu Arena and indoor swimming pools
- Joensuu city orchestra's concerts
- education center (kansalaisopisto)
- youth centers and events organized by youth centers
In education centers and conservatory-related activities, mask-wearing is recommended for all activities where possible.
We hope to prevent a transfer to distance learning in elementary and middle schools through mask-wearing
The city has also decided to take masks into use in all elementary and middle schools as well as in school transportation. Masks will be worn by
- all students on school transportation
- all middle school students
- all 6th grade students and
- 5th grade students in combined classes
Mask use will be determined case by case for small groups. School staff will also wear masks.
The mask recommendation has already been in place in the city's high schools.
"Health officials make recommendations and the city's responsibility is to make decisions. We have consulted local health officials on the use of masks before making a decision," says Joensuu's Director of Education Olli Kauppinen.
In elementary and middle schools, students will get five masks for each school day, as well as two masks a day for those on school transportation. Schools will teach the proper use of masks.
A student may be exempted from wearing a mask for health reasons. Proof of health reasons is not required. Permission can be asked from the class teacher or instructor.
"We have received some complaints where the general use of masks and policies stricter than the THL's recommendations have been criticized, which is completely understandable. My biggest goal is to prevent a transfer to distae learning with all possible methods, and mask-wearing is one of these methods," continues Kauppinen.
The city will pay for masks for elementary and middle schools. The user or guardian is responsible to obtain masks for other activities.
Siun sote distributes masks for low-income groups; information on distribution centers can be found at www.siunsote.fi/kasvomaskien-jakelu.