Education minister Mailis Reps (Center) says she hopes smaller groups of schoolchildren will be able to start working together in person from May 15, exactly two months after they closed as part of the government's measures aimed at combating the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus.
Reps said that small study groups of up to 10 could in particular get involved in non-classroom activities like going to museums and hiking. Since the schools closed and quarantine conditions imposed, children have been taught online.
Talking to ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" Wednesday night, Reps said that there was no chance of a full return to school following holidays ending on May 4, however.
Study groups of up to 10 students could be allowed to work from May 15, which would mean larger classes being divided into three.
It would be up to the teachers to decide who would comprise these groups, and could include students who need a more individual approach.
Reps added that the solution would also benefit teachers of more creative subjects, who have been without their students for several weeks.
The government is set on Thursday to discuss what to do regarding mandating homeschooling with Reps likely to champion only part-opening from mid-May as noted. Reps added that while she understood schools' desires to be able to plan ahead, it was likely that the government would agree that if it was clear by early May that the rate of new coronavirus infections had not started to go down, a wider return to school could not happen.
Reps: Normal life could be restored in early May
Mailis Reps also said that normal life as a whole might be restored in Estonia in early May, referring to projections by Professor Irja Lutsar's research group.
Speaking on ETV morning show "Terevisioon", Reps said that while Saaremaa remained the biggest concern, a partial relaxation of movement restrictions may also be possible on a county-by-county basis.
Editor: Andrew Whyte