Essi Lumme: Students must not be left in the dark regarding the continuation of restrictions

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Higher education students are currently returning to their studies. Meanwhile, many students return from their summer vacation to their everyday routines, such as university sports. However, not all higher education students get to start their autumn studies on the campus. Due to COVID-19, different areas in Finland follow different restrictions, which also poses challenges in organising university sports.

The past terms online have not been easy for everyone. It is about time that we got to return not only to face-to-face lectures, but also to gyms and group classes. Hopefully it is soon safe everywhere in Finland. The many terms dealing with COVID-19 have brought new, innovative ways to implement sports services, such as online classes and workout recordings. However, they are not enough to motivate all students to get moving and take care of the physical activity in their everyday life. For that, we require movement on campuses and between lecture rooms, and student sports between friends.

Even though we find new ways to exercise remotely and share ideas to support everyday physical activity, they are not a substitute for the feeling of community brought on by sports. Many students have started their studies online, and have not properly seen their classmates. This needs to change. Both studies on campus and university sports have a big role in accomplishing this. What better time to get to know your classmates than between classes or while exercising together!

The value of community is also acknowledged by the Ministry of Education and Culture and SAMOK and SYL, who represent higher education students. On 17 August, they made a joint statement in favour of classroom learning and safe student events. The ministry and the organisations gave the reminder that interaction during classrooms and during time off promotes well-being and strengthens the sense of community. However, the organisers and participants have to take into account regional directions and recommendations, which are also summarised in the statement.

As much as we miss group fitness classes and ball games, it is not possible everywhere right now. However, what we need is clear reporting on how the situation unfolds: what the prevailing situation is and how it changes should infection rates fall or rise. Nobody wants to live only on hopes and suppositions, but on concrete facts. It is important that students receive information that is easily accessible to everyone.

Here’s hoping that we will soon be able to get back to campus and get active!

Essi Lumme

OLL’s Vice President Essi Lumme

OLL’s Vice President Essi Lumme reminds us that online sports events and tips on increasing everyday physical activity are not a substitute for the sense of community brought on by sports.

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