Estonian schools and kindergartens are to receive updated guidelines on combating the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), following the confirmation of Estonia's first case early on Thursday morning.
Among other things, the guidelines say children traveling back from an area affected should remain at home for two weeks after returning, though continue their schooling remotely in conjunction with the school. This week is half-term holiday for most Estonian schoolchildren, meaning many will have traveled abroad with their families.
The Ministry of Education and Research forwarded the recommendations, prepared by the Health Board (Terviseamet) Thursday, doubling down on calls that they be followed by educational institutions.
The ministry also encourages schools and kindergartens to monitor the situation and act where needed, in conjunction with their local authority and section 45 of the Basic Schools and Upper Secondary Schools Act, which provides for the implementation of an emergency plan within schools
The ministry added that, currently, the situation in schools requires no emergency measures, but given the seasonal rise of influenza illnesses which occurs in any case, additional attention should be paid.
No need to wait for school guidance
The above means that parents do not have to wait for the individual school to send separate instructions on the situation, as this has already been granted as a preventive measure by the ministry and health board.
In any case, many schools and kindergartens had already shared the recommendations on their own initiative.
For example, Toomas Kruusimägi, Director at Tallinn English College (Tallinna Inglise Kolledž), sent parents and guardians of children who have visited Italy, the Canary Islands, China and other Asian countries during school holidays information that they should study and work at home two weeks after returning home, in two separate messages from the school and the school's principal. The same online solution for providing the updates is used for study assignments by those remaining at home.
Gustav Adolf Upper Secondary school in Tallinn has taken similar steps, in part since concerned parents had already made approaches on the issue.
The novel coronavirus (COVID-19 ) was first identified in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province in China, in late 2019. Since then, confirmed cases have been found in all continents, except Antarctica. More than 2,800 people around the worldwide have died after contracting the virus.
Editor: Andrew Whyte