Schools paying increased attention to hygiene

Disinfectant station at Tallinn English College.
Disinfectant station at Tallinn English College. Source: ERR

There were no more absences than usual at Tallinn English College following the end of school break. Nonetheless, schools are paying increased attention to the importance of good hygiene.

Tallinn English College has installed stands with disinfectants right by the school's coatrooms in order to help keep the school community's hands clean and stave off the spread of infections during virus season. Due to the risk of coronavirus, students are also being talked to about good hygiene, reported ETV news broadcast "Aktuaalne kaamera."

Tallinn English College principal Toomas Kruusimägi said that all teachers have likewise been told to make sure that increased emphasis is placed on regular hand-washing.

"At the beginning of February, the cleaning company we use also switched out several of its cleaning supplies for stronger supplies with stronger disinfecting properties," he added.

According to the principal, however, the first day back at school following break did not see a marked increase in the number of absences. He noted that some couple dozen families had notified the school that they had traveled through some countries at higher risk in terms of coronavirus during school break and will be keeping their children at home, but he was unable to provide an exact figure.

Tallinn Tõnismäe Science School (TTRK) was notified by the parents of four students that they had traveled to at-risk regions during break.

TTRK principal Nina Sõtnik said that the schoolwork of children staying home from school will be arranged digitally.

"They will receive all homework via e-school, they have their textbooks, and if students come after school with some problems with learning new material, teachers will certainly arrange for consultations and help," Sõtnik said.

While schools are paying increased attention to the importance of hygiene and disinfectants used in cleaning facilities, the government discussed further steps to prevent the spread of coronavirus on Monday.

Coronavirus prevention to cost state at least €3 million

According to Minister of Social Affairs Tanel Kiik (Center), the government approved the installation of thermal imaging cameras at Tallinn Airport and the Old Harbor at the Port of Tallinn, as well as the decision not to get involved in schools' arrangements or introduce any restrictions on large public events.

The first thermal imaging cameras to be installed will begin operating this week. Minister of the Interior Mart Helme (EKRE) noted that there are plans to acquire additional cameras.

"We want to be able to install them in all terminals, and on the agenda is being able to install them on the southern border at Ikla and perhaps also at Luhamaa," Helme said.

Calculations by the Health Board and the Ministry of Social Affairs indicate that expenses in the field will total some €3 million, exclusive of labor costs. Where exactly the sources of funding will come from to pay for these measures will be discussed by the government at its next Cabinet meeting this Thursday.

Kiik added that steps that have been taken to prevent the spread of the virus thus far have been proportional, and stricter measures will only be considered should the current risk assessment change.

Commonly referred to as the novel coronavirus, coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is caused by the virus severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). COVID-19 was first identified in Wuhan, the capital of China's Hubei Province, in late 2019. Worldwide, nearly 90,000 cases of coronavirus disease have since been confirmed, with more than 3,000 deaths attributed to the disease to date.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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