The South Estonian town of Võru has closed all public schools, kindergartens and other educational institutions in the face of coronavirus fears, making it the second municipality in the country to do so. The move follows a discovery that an individual carrying the virus had attended a private party in Võru County last Saturday. The closure will last at least until next Tuesday, the authorities said.
Local authorities on the island of Saaremaa, at the other end of Estonia from Võru, closed all their schools for the rest of the week on Thursday evening, following two confirmed cases of the virus.
Võru's city government said that it had made the decision to close schools after a meeting.
"The heads of institutions connected with children gathered met with the Võru city government today (Thursday-ed.), where it was jointly decided that schools, kindergartens, hobby schools and other related public service agencies suspend activities to the evening of Tuesday, March 17," the city government said in a press release.
"The decision was taken on the basis that, last Saturday, March 7, a private party was held in Võru County where one of the guests was later found to be carrying the virus," the press release continued. The party had been attended by several representatives of the local authorities, including Mayor Anti Allas, the Võru city government said, adding that the decision to go ahead with the closures had been unanimous.
In consultation with the education ministry, 17 institutions were listed as closed in Võru (population around 12,000). Most high schools will provide schoolwork online, a practice already instigated nearly a week ago by the Kristiine High School in Tallinn following a coronavirus case there, while youth centers and other non-essential institutions, as well as kindergartens, are fully closed.
In addition, the city has closed a pensioners' day center.
The city government urges all private education institutions to do the same.
Editor: Andrew Whyte