Health Board: Tallinn should end all distance learning after school break

Arkadi Popov.
Arkadi Popov. Source: Kairit Leibold/ERR

Dr. Arkadi Popov, the head of the Health Board's (Terviseamet) emergency medical department, said Estonia's epidemiological situation is stabilizing, enough for Tallinn's schools to end all distance learning after the mid-term school break (October 19-25).

Andres Pajula, head of the Tallinn Education Board, said Tallinn will make a decision this week on whether or not all students eighth grade and up will have to spend one day a week studying from home, as they have since the start of the school year on September 1.

Dr. Popov said the situation has stabilized and distance learning should only be considered in regions where the infection is widespread.

Popov said: "It is one of the measures implemented to lessen the time children spend in class together. If we are speaking of infected regions, it could be considered, especially in large schools where no other effective prophylaxis can be used. But I would rather say it should be an exception rather than a rule."

The medical chief does not see a problem in children participating in more activities such as arts and sports over the break because if infected people do not go, the activities will be safe.

Popov said: "The risks are very low in some regions, higher in others. Today, the greatest risk is still in Ida-Viru County, Jõgeva County is in somewhat of a rising trend, along with Harju County and Tallinn. Those risks must be weighed and considered in that sense but my assessment is that hobby groups are similar to school and if a child goes to school, we can not say that a hobby would be more dangerous."

His recommendation is that people do not travel in Europe or the world over the break and spend time in Estonia instead.

"We can already see a noticable increase in infection coming from people returning to Estonia from travel. That is one of the danger factors and we are quite anxious in expectation of vacations and if people are returning, there is a greater risk that they will also bring the virus with them. Our recommendation is to stay in Estonia, unless necessary," Popov said.


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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