Tallinn schools are being asked to judge for themselves when and how they implement distance learning options alongside regular, in-school classes, following an announcement Wednesday that remote learning would need to be put in place as coronavirus rates rise. The Health Board says that schools can be looked at on a case-by-case basis, rather than a blanket requirement for distance learning as happened in spring, ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) reported Wednesday night.
As reported by ERR News, Tallinn City Government has announced part-distance learning will be put in place, primarily for pupils from 8th Grade (aged around 14) and upwards, as a coronavirus prevention measure.
Tallinn mayor Mihhail Kõlvart (Center) says that the main aim is to allow students to physically attend school where possible, adding school leaders must decide for themselves how the in-house versus remote learning split will be set up.
"From now, school leaders need to develop a formula whereby students, especially in upper secondary schools, will also start distance learning - with different shifts at school and at home," Kõlvart told AK.
Ester Öpik, the head of the Health Board's (Terviseamet) northern region, said that both schools and kindergartens should be looked at on a case-by-case basis.
"At present, we have assumed that if an illness occurs somewhere - in a kindergarten, at a school - we will first and foremost approach it on a group or class basis," she told AK.
One Tallinn secondary school has made the switch to part-remote learning already.
The Tallinn 21st school in the city center currently sends students from the 5th grade home one day a week. In-school classes start at different times and meal and other breaks are staggered too, school principal Meelis Kond told AK.
"There have been no cases of [coronavirus] illness, but the number of illnesses in Tallinn is being monitored, Kond said.
The school's crisis team will meet on Thursday to decide if anything is to change from next Monday, he added.
"It could involve an implementation of a week of distance learning for upper secondary school, for example - a week at school, a week at home, or two weeks, depending on what we decide," Kond said.
From mid-March to the end of the last academic year, all schools were closed save for smaller, occasional group learning or one-to-one sessions, with lessons conducted online.
Mari-Anne Härma, Health Board acting director, told AK that the limit related to movement restrictions could be raised to reflect the lesser strain coronavirus outbreaks among the young have put on the health service so far.
Editor: Andrew Whyte