Distance learning got off to a good start in Tallinn

All schools in Estonia have had to implement distance learning since March 16. During the first week, a lot of energy was put into adapting with the situation in Tallinn, the second week showed that thanks to great cooperation between schools, parents, teachers and students, distance learning is well organized and runs smoothly.

Deputy Mayor Mr Vadim Belobrovtsev said that implementing distance learning on a rather short notice together with teachers and families of 46 400 Tallinn’s students was a huge undertaking and it was possible only thanks to the elaborate and effective cooperation between the mentioned parties. “Teachers have been great in using a variety of e-tools and e-environments both in engaging with students and parents. We also have to give recognition to the students who are also working hard and also to all the parents and caregivers who support children in this new situation,” noted Belobrovtsev.

According to the statistics of the Tallinn’s Education Department, there are about 400 students who have been absent after the distance learning started, the number includes the students of the adult gymnasiums. Most of them have had issues with attendance previously as well, local youth and social workers are working on solving the problem case by case.

Distance learning has never before been implemented to the extent we are experiencing today. That said, it is also a challenge of a kind. “Tallinn’s schools give daily feedback on how they are doing to the Education Department. The feedback has mainly been positive, we have managed without any major problems. Should they arise, we will find a solution together. This situation is unprecedented, but I am sure that we will manage if we continue solving problems in close cooperation,” noted the Deputy Mayor.

Those engaged in distance learning have also shared their experiences. “The intensity of the tasks given varies from school to school, we have seen that from the feedback given by parents and students as well. We are constantly monitoring how different schools have arranged their studies during this period with a focus on how many and what kind of tasks are given – if necessary, adjustments have to be made,” said Belobrovtsev.

Starting from March 18, Tallinn also offers free school lunches. “More children come for school lunch each day  – this means that they are getting at least one warm meal on working days, this is really important for growing children and youngsters,” added the Deputy Mayor. “On the first day we started giving out meals, 490 children came. As of March 27, about 1400 meals are provided daily by schools and we foresee that the number will keep growing. Since the meals are ordered according to the number who have notified the school beforehand, the families have to notify the headmaster of their school to get the meal,” added Belobrovtsev.

All the official requirements are followed in the process of distributing meals, the children come on different times, no gatherings are allowed. The schools monitor that all people present keep a safe distance of 2 meters and disinfectants are properly used.

The schools, in cooperation with the Department of Education, make sure that every child has an access to e-learning – this means that if necessary, schools have given their students laptops for home use.

According to the current plans, distance learning will continue until May 1.