Justice chancellor: Closing schools without scientific basis not allowed

Chancellor of Justice Ülle Madise.
Chancellor of Justice Ülle Madise. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Chancellor of Justice Ülle Madise said on Friday's ETV morning show "Terevisioon" that closing schools without scientific basis as some municipality governments, including Tallinn, have done, is not legal and all cases are being investigated.

Madise said: "Kindergartens and schools are a public service and restrictions can not be established without legal basis."

She continued: "We are currently investigating the schools, children have a right and obligation to go to school. Closing schools without scientific basis is not allowed, even partly closing them. The virus will not disappear. Life must go on, we do not have another one."

The justice chancellor noted that fear of spreading the coronavirus is understandable and that schools may even begin to outdo each other in terms of restrictions. But legislation must be followed and regulations have to be proportional.

Madise said a complaint has reached the justice chancellor's office about the regulation set on teachers wearing visors. "Is that science-based? We will ask scientists and find out," she noted.

She said for the last few months her office has received many complaints about regulations and restrictions established. There have been no complaints recently about setting stricter restrictions. "Nobody wants stricter restrictions," the justice chancellor said.

Madise acknowledged that a specific balance must be maintained for restrictions and regulations so that society would not be disappointed about them and protest, leading to an even larger spread of infection.

On Monday, Tallinn introduced partial distance learning for children in the eighth grade and above. The government's scientific council, parents and members of the government have questioned the rules or accused Tallinn of overreacting.

On Wednesday, ERR News reported that more than 200 teachers, staff members and pupils are currently quarantining or have moved to distance learning after cases of coronavirus were diagnosed at schools and kindergartens in Tallinn.


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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