Estonian Parents' Association against moving to distance learning

Estonian Parents' Association (ELVL) has said that directing schools to distance learning shouldn't be hurried because the effects of home learning were severe for both children and parents during the spring.

It seems that Tallinn city government's decision on Wednesday to establish new restrictions at schools was premature and experts' advice should be followed, ELVL's head of the board, Aivar Heller said in the ETV morning program "Terevisioon" on Thursday.

Heller agrees with the head of the government's scientific council head, virologist professor Irja Lutsar's view that the decision was an overreaction.

Today, it seems that this decision was premature and there is no basis for such tough steps yet, he said.

"We are of the opinion that each school should be able to decide for themselves, based on the advice of specialists," Haller emphasized.

The head of the parents' union also said that the union receives a lot of coronavirus-related appeals from parents. "Our answer to these questions is to discuss the matter with your school's parents and management and discuss calmly," Haller said.

"If a professor of virology says something, we should listen to her not the politicians," he added.

Haller justified this view with the fact that distance learning during spring was very hard on the children and parents.

"We survived the spring but we can't say it was successful. It was a battle for survival - it was a stress that was experienced by the children and the parents. And only the people who were in it understand," Haller said.

According to Haller, the effects of spring distance learning could last for years.

"Parents' main concern is screens - the spring situation normalized a situation that is not natural. Excessive screens are a major concern. Children learn very quickly and can cope, but what is the cost?" Haller said

"I'm not very sure which one is healthier - moving around and sitting behind screens or moving around in a room," he said. "Fear is not a good advisor, maybe we should act smarter now."

On Wednesday, the city council announced that children in grades eight and above should move to distance learning as the infection rate of the coronavirus in Tallinn has increased in recent weeks. The council encouraged people on the same day to visit cafes in the Old Town.


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Editor: Roberta Vaino, Helen Wright

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