Senior school children in Tallinn will move to distance learning on the orders of the city government due to the increasing rate of coronavirus infection in the capital.
Children affected will mostly be those in the eighth grade (approximately 13 years old) and above, Tallinn said, but it also depends on the school. The order can be read here in Estonian.
The 14-day average infection rate in Tallinn has risen to 31.5 per 100,000, while the average across the whole country is 20.62.
Mayor Mihhail Kõlvart (Center) said on Wednesday the situation in the capital is making him worried because, in the spring when the emergency situation was declared, the infection rate was only 4.5 cases per 100,000.
"I hope everyone understands that we must do everything we can to keep life in check, to keep the number of restrictions to a minimum. But for that to happen, we should take preventive measures now. We don't have to wait for the infection rate to rise," said Kõlvart.
The mayor said some measures should be implemented according to the yellow scenario and should start with educational institutions. City staff must use personal protective equipment when interacting with people.
Thermal cameras will be installed in all schools during September. Children with signs of illness will be identified in schools and sent home if necessary
To reduce contacts, schools will implement flexible learning arrangements, such as entering from separate doors, a staggered start to the day, different breaks, including meal breaks, and outdoor learning opportunities. Teachers must use visors.
In order to avoid direct contact, kindergartens will receive and hand over children outdoors. Kindergarten staff who receive children and interact with parents will use a visor and personal protective equipment. Contact between groups will be avoided.
"All the measures we have chosen now are primarily aimed at the system. They do not have to worsen the quality of services and cause more inconvenience to people," said Kõlvart. "If we can implement these measures proactively now, there is hope that we will not have to apply restrictions in the near future."
It is also planned to protect public transport drivers, the front doors of buses will be closed, so passengers will not be able to get on or off. Tallinn used the same solution in public transport also in the spring and no driver fell ill.
The mayor asked the private sector not to wait for a signal from the government, but to start using personal protective equipment, such as hairdressers and waiters, on a voluntary basis.
Tallinn wants people to visit cafes in the Old Town
At the same time, Deputy Mayor Aivar Riisalu said that the economy has been under attack for a long time.
In order to save business in the Old Town in particular, but also in the city center, the city government has decided that catering, trade and entertainment establishments operating in Tallinn's rental premises will pay less rent from September and outdoor terraces can be installed for free.
The aim is to motivate more locals to visit the Old Town.
Editor: Helen Wright