Distance learning off to a good start in Tallinn

School child.
School child. Source: (Hanna Samoson/ERR)

Distance learning, now in its second week, is running smoothly in Tallinn and cooperation between schools, parents, teachers and students, distance learning is working well, the city government said.

Distance learning, or online learning, was introduced across the country on March 16 at the start of the emergency situation to halt the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Schools across the country will be closed until May 1 and the education system has moved online.

Deputy Mayor Mr Vadim Belobrovtsev said implementing distance learning on a rather short notice together with teachers and families of 46,400 Tallinn's students was a huge undertaking and it was possible only thanks to the elaborate and effective cooperation between the mentioned parties.

"Teachers have been great in using a variety of e-tools and e-environments both in engaging with students and parents. We also have to give recognition to the students who are also working hard and also to all the parents and caregivers who support children in this new situation," said Belobrovtsev.

Statistics at Tallinn's Education Department said there are about 400 students who have been absent since distance learning was implemented. Most of the students had issues with attendance previously and local youth and social workers are working on solving the problem case by case.

Distance learning has never before been implemented to the extent we are experiencing today.

Belobrovtsev said: "Tallinn's schools give daily feedback on how they are doing to the Education Department. The feedback has mainly been positive, we have managed without any major problems. Should they arise, we will find a solution together. This situation is unprecedented, but I am sure that we will manage if we continue solving problems in close cooperation."

Starting from March 18, Tallinn has also been offering free hot school lunches to pupils. "More children come for school lunch each day  – this means that they are getting at least one warm meal on working days, this is really important for growing children and youngsters," the deputy mayor said.

On the first day, approximately 490 hot lunches were distributed, but now the number is up to 1,600.

From April 1, due to the growing number and to avoid breaking the social distancing rules, students will now be given six days worth of food at once. The new food parcels will be delivered to the school closest to the child's home, where they can be picked up. A child may bring a parent to help them, if this is not possible it will be delivered to them.

Food packs will contain foods for six days worth of lunches. The food parcels will include black bread, cucumber, tomato and carrots, apples, bananas and oranges. As well as pasta, cheese, meatballs, canned soup, milk and kefir.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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