All Tallinn’s kindergartens are to remain operational during the crisis whilst following the safety requirements established to protect the health of children and employees.
The City will continue to provide the kindergarten service during the emergency situation to make sure that all of the parents who are working in essential jobs, often also in the frontline of the crisis, have a safe place to leave their children for their working hours. “It is very important that the parents who need to work in order to manage the crisis know that their children are cared for in a safe place, if necessary, also 24/7,” said the Deputy Mayor Mr Vadim Belobrovtsev. “There may be some organizational changes in the work of the preschool institutions, but all of them are prepared to welcome children,” added Belobrovtsev.
All 124 municipal kindergartens remain open. Last week, 1135 children were present in 278 groups in total. The number of children present varies per institutions – in some, only a few come, but in some there are 30 children, one of the kindergartens had 48 children in present for example. There are two 24/7 kindergartens in the City at the moment.
The Head of the Tallinn Education Department, Mr Andres Pajula said that all of the kindergartens have taken special precautionary measures in order to guarantee the safety of the staff and the children. „The drop-off and picking up of the children takes place outdoors and no one presenting symptoms of a possible infection are not allowed inside. Different groups do not have contact,“ said Pajula. “Wet cleaning takes place multiple times during the day, proper ventilation is ensured and the surfaces and toys are disinfected, this includes also items outdoor. All kindergartens have necessary equipment for disinfecting the necessary items on the premises and also personal protective equipment has been provided as well. Should the supplies run out, we will provide addition.”
The city is prepared to react in case of an infection in the kindergartens – a group or the whole kindergarten would be closed in that case, but not all of the kindergartens. The members of the staff who are considered to be in the risk group are working from home – for example, they make educational videos or provide support for families from distance.
The municipal kindergarten fee has been waived starting from March 16 until the City Council decides otherwise. Parents or caregivers using the private kindergarten service must submit an application together with an invoice and a payment order to the Tallinn Education Department. In the case of private day-cares, the parent or a caregiver must file an application to the social welfare department of the District Government where the child is registered. The private kindergarten’s allowance for March and April can be applied via one application. So far, 113 applications have been filed.