Tallinn mayor: Schools to remain closed to academic year-end

Tallinn mayor Mihhail Kõlvart (Center).
Tallinn mayor Mihhail Kõlvart (Center). Source: ERR

Tallinn mayor Mihhail Kõlvart (Center) says the capital's schools will remain closed to the end of the academic year and will not reopen before then, regardless of the situation with coronavirus cases. The remote working conditions will include those taking exams.

Speaking at a press briefing Wednesday, Kõlvart said the decision had been made on Tuesday to keep education distance-only, BNS reports.

The Ministry of Education and Research had previously said that remote learning, conducted online, might end midway through May.

Kõlvart said the reasons for the decision were in the main two-fold: "First, we cannot expect the pandemic to end by mid-May. Second, schools need clarity. It is not conceivable that in an emergency situation, each school should decide on their handling of studies themselves,"

The mayor added that the decision was made in close collaboration with school heads. 

Kõlvart said that while flexibility was ensured when it comes to the organization of study processes, clarification was needed concerning the overall organization of studying.

"In Tallinn, all schools will base themselves on [the assumption] that children will not go to school until the end of the academic year, and that distance learning will continue. The goal is to protect children and of course the teachers, most of whom are in the at-risk group," Kolvart said. 

He added that the city authorities plan to review the situation again at the beginning of May, and if conditions permit, complementary forms of study will be implemented from mid-month, including tutoring and consultations.

Meanwhile, it is clear that, due to the pandemic restrictions, in-person classes can take place only with one teacher and one student involved, Kõlvart went on.

High school enrollment exams are to take place online in May and in June. 

"As to how this will be arranged technically, the city authorities will provide a solution in the coming few weeks," the mayor added.

Kindergartens have remained open in Estonia through the emergency situation declared on March 12. The government says it will extend the emergency situation, originally slated to finish at the end of April, into May.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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