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

(27.9.2021)

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.

Infection tracing in schools

Being in the same classroom as an infected person is no longer automatically considered as exposure for the entire student group. At present, the focus is on finding out the persons exposed to high risk, i.e. those with whom the person infected with coronavirus (index) has actually been in close contact. Such situations often occur during recess or in the cafeteria. On the other hand, precautions can be taken to avoid significant exposure during school P.E. classes.
 
Other people in the same room are usually not considered to have been exposed due to factors such as the arrangement of seating but assessments are made on a case-by-case basis. Other pupils can be informed if they have possibly had low-risk exposure to an infection and may be advised to get a coronavirus test if they start showing symptoms. In the case of infection tracing, infectious disease authorities assess exposure on a case-by-case basis.

Infection tracing in early childhood education and care

In early childhood education and care, staying in the same room is no longer automatically considered as exposure for the entire group. The focus is on finding out the persons exposed to high risk, i.e. those with whom the person infected with coronavirus (index) has actually been in actual close contact.
Actual close contacts are required to quarantine. Others are exposed at a low risk, and they/their guardians are instructed to monitor the child's condition. If the child starts having symptoms, they should take a coronavirus test.  
 
If several coronavirus cases are found in the same school class/teaching group or group in the early childhood education and care, the physician responsible for infectious diseases may provide different instructions.