27.10.2021

Tallinn schools to go on partial distance learning after school break

For the week after the school break, from November 1-5, students in grades 4 to 8 in Tallinn municipal schools will be sent to distance learning. Students in grades 1 to 3 and grades 9 to 12, as well as students with special educational needs will continue in contact learning.

According to Mayor Mihhail Kõlvart, with today's high infection rate of 2025 new cases, clear steps are needed to prevent the health crisis from deepening. “We made the decision to go on partial distance learning in a meeting with Tallinn school leaders. It did not come easily, but given the current situation, we cannot fail to react or take the necessary measures. There are almost 50 outbreaks in Tallinn schools and according to statistics, the infections are highest in the 10 to 14 age group. However, the spread is homogeneously high in most schools and at all age levels, including staff. On the other hand, we hope that once teachers have received their booster doses, its effect will start to show. The effect of the second dose has diminished and booster doses for teachers are currently being given. And no less important is the fact that children have more contacts during the school break, with families travelling around Estonia and abroad. Previous experience has shown that after the school breaks, the infection has always increased,” Kõlvart explained the decision.

”As we know, next week there will be rapid testing in schools twice a week, but we do not yet know exactly what this procedure will look like in schools. Unfortunately, it is difficult to foresee how to test all students in a school with a thousand students, for example. Therefore, by implementing distance learning, we can also reduce the burden on school leaders to give time to start a new system with half the number of students,” said Kõlvart.

There are currently a total of 48 coronavirus outbreaks in 57 Tallinn schools, with a total of almost 1,000 infected. The outbreaks are present in 92 classes and nearly 70 teachers are ill or in isolation.

The mayor also stated that the schools have already taken over the functions of the Health Board, namely the identifying of the infected student in order to prevent further spread has to be done by the school. “In many cases, it is not possible to operatively identify closely contacted students and teachers in order to effectively prevent the spread of the infection in the school environment,” Kõlvart specified.

During the distance learning period, hobby activities in municipal hobby schools for students in grades 4 to 8 also do not take place. Schools will distribute weekly food packages during distance learning to those who wish.

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