Tallinn schools to continue partial distance learning for another week

Yesterday, the City Government decided that Tallinn municipal schools will continue partial distance learning for another week, i.e. from 8 to 12 November. Distance learning will continue for grade 4-8 students, but students in grades 1-3 and 9-12, and also students with special educational needs, will remain on contact learning.

According to Mayor Mihhail Kõlvart, pandemic-related issues in organising school work were discussed among all Tallinn school leaders on Tuesday. “We found that the situation has not improved and will not improve in a week - the infection rates are on the rise and the number of school outbreaks is also increasing. Thus, we concluded that from a medical and immunologic point of view, the two-week interval is to have an effect, and it also creates a stable rhythm and learning environment for schools,” said Kõlvart. “Therefore, we will extend distance learning for another week to protect not only the students but also our teachers, to create a safe learning environment and ensure the continuation of learning activities in the future. The two-week distance learning period helps to reduce the number of outbreaks in schools in the event of a high spread of the virus, as well as reduces the expansion of existing outbreaks. Our aim is to implement preventive measures now in order to avoid 100% distance learning.”

“We do not make such decisions easily. However, given the current situation and the predictions for the coming weeks, we cannot fail to react or take preventive measures. Thus, we came to the conclusion that it is reasonable to continue distance learning in some classes in general education schools, especially in the age group where infection is currently the highest and some, i.e. 4th and 5th grade students, cannot be vaccinated. In addition, during the past school break, the students had many contacts, considering the trips of students and families both in Estonia and abroad,” explained Kõlvart.

During the distance learning period, hobby activities in municipal hobby schools are also on hold for grade 4-8 students. Schools distribute weekly food packages to students on distance learning.

The City Government based its decision on the Basic Schools and Upper Secondary Schools Act § 24 (5), § 44 (1) and the Public Health Act § 10 (2) 2) and in accordance with § 6 (2) of Government Regulation No. 1 of 6 January 2011 “National curriculum for basic schools”. Tallinn also took into account that according to the Estonian Medical Association, Estonia is the country with the highest coronavirus infection and according to the statistics of the Health Board, infections are on the rise, the number of outbreaks and patients requiring hospitalisation is increasing. Infection rate is also growing in Tallinn schools, among both students and teachers. As of November 2, there are 53 school outbreaks in Tallinn.