children allowed to sing “Happy Birthday” again after health restrictions eased

By with AFP

Schoolchildren in Helsinki, the capital of Finland, deprived of nursery rhymes due to Covid-19, are allowed to sing again following easing of restrictions

Deprived of nursery rhymes and forced for months only to hum birthday songs, schoolchildren in Helsinki obtained the right to sing again at the top of their lungs on Monday, thanks to an easing of restrictions against the Covid. If they can’t hold hands yet and still have to mark a social distance, “the children can sing again,” said Outi Salo, head of primary education in the Finnish capital.

Since last winter, students in Helsinki had been instructed to only hum, with their lips closed, for their classmates. Music lessons took place without singing, after a warning from health authorities against the risk of the spread of Covid-19.

Songs have their place again

According to the new directives sent to school principals, singing now has its place in the classes again, but must take place at the end of the class. Classrooms must then be ventilated, and children over 12 must continue to wear a mask, according to the daily Helsingin Sanomat. Opponents of the measure argued that neighboring municipalities allowed their schoolchildren to sing and that singing in Helsinki’s bars and karaoke clubs had been allowed since June.

One of the lowest number of Covid cases in Europe

Finland has one of the lowest number of cases in Europe since the start of the pandemic, with a total of around 136,000 infections and 1,054 deaths for 5.5 million people. Prime Minister Sanna Marin announced in early September that the last restrictions in force to fight Covid-19 would be lifted when 80% of those over 12 years of age are fully vaccinated, a bar that should be reached by October.

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