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Parents, carers barred from kindergartens to limit spread of coronavirus

Kindergarteners (picture is illustrative).
Kindergarteners (picture is illustrative). Source: ERR

Parents and others may not enter kindergarten premises due to coronavirus risk, the Ministry of Education and Research says. While Estonian schools closed on Monday, kindergartens are still working, though a new set of ministry guidelines aimed at safeguarding their work has been issued.

The restrictions mean kindergarteners must part company with their parents or other carers not connected with the facility outside the building, and returned in the same way. Contact between those permitted in the building is also to be kept to a minimum, including no cross-group activities.

Opening hours and work organization remain the preserve of local government in the case of public kindergartens, and the institution's management in the case of private playgroups.

The education ministry says that to prevent the transmission of the virus, several restrictions have to be observed in the organization of the work of kindergartens and other child care institutions. No outside individuals regardless of their health situation are to be admitted inside the building, and the provision of hobby education in kindergartens has been discontinued.

There must be no movement or contacts between kindergarten groups, and sports facilities, halls, swimming pools and other shared areas kindergartens must not be in common use.

The monitoring of all those inside the building for symptoms and the implementation of prevention measures must also be ensured.

Health Board (Terviseamet) guidelines are also to be followed. In the case of an individual exhibiting symptoms while in the building, they will be immediately quarantined with Health Board-dictated practices in place to contain further coronavirus spread.

Kindergartens remaining open a state necessity

At the same time, kindergartens and child care institutions are required to remain open as far as possible, in the interests of state cohesion, the education ministry says.

If necessary, local authorities must ensure that for the duration of the emergency situation,  round-the-clock kindergarten and child care services in their administrative are is available for parents working in vital jobs and in jobs essential for the sustainable functioning of the state under the terms of the Emergency Act.

The provision of these services must be organized as quickly as possible and no later than March 20.

Kindergarten directors are entitled to find, in collaboration with local government, an optimal solution for reorganizing the work of any kindergarten, including distance learning for older groups where possible.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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