Kindergarten will be free until May 1 during the emergency situation, the city government decided on Monday, and facilities will be open 24 hours a day to support parents.
Mayor Urmas Klaas said due to the emergency situation, which is in place to limit the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) the city has also advised parents not to bring children to kindergarten.
"Many parents have followed this recommendation - the data we have gathered shows that today the number of children in kindergartens has fallen significantly," he said. "Given that the extraordinary situation causes economic uncertainty for many families, we have decided not to charge kindergarten fees from today until the end of April. It concerns all children, both those who attend kindergarten and those who are not present," he said.
As March invoices have already been issued, the two-week amount for March will be prepaid on the following invoices. April bills do not include the cost of a place fee, but children who use the place are billed for food.
As of Monday, a 24-hour kindergarten will be open in Tartu - the Maarjamõisa kindergarten - which is located close to the Tartu University Hospital and South-Estonian Prefecture, which both provide vital services.
The mayor said it is important to provide kindergarten and childcare for all families who need it. "Obviously, we need to be of open for families where parents are involved in providing vital services - for example, children of medical staff, rescue staff, and police," Klaas said.
Editor: Helen Wright