Tallinn schools continue COVID-19 dispersal measures after half-term break

Classrooms in Estonia are currently empty as students learn online from home due to the spread of coronavirus.
Classrooms in Estonia are currently empty as students learn online from home due to the spread of coronavirus. Source: Ministry of Education and Research

Schools in Tallinn are to continue with part-distance learning for two weeks after coming back from the autumn half-term break.

"The school break often sees families traveling, be it within Estonia or abroad, with more contact with friends, which could also bring greater possibilities of coming into contact with the coronavirus," said deputy mayor Vadim Belobrovtsev (Center).

"Expert opinion also has it that the school vacation brings a risk factor for virus spread," he added.

The regulation means that pupils will often be learning remotely from home, with dispersal measures in place – which include staggering lunchbreaks to minimize contact in communal areas – once they go back to school next week.

"We reached an understanding with school leaders to continue the measures in the first two weeks of the second half of the term," he added, noting that this would help identify any new infections that did appear, and curb any new potential outbreaks.

The city's decision runs counter to recommendations by Health Board (Terviseamet) emergency medical chief Dr. Arkadi Popov, who said Monday that distance learning should end from next week, on the grounds the viral situation has stabilized.

The Health Board says there are two coronavirus outbreaks currently linked to schools in its northern district, which includes Tallinn, with other focal points reported at schools elsewhere in the country.

"The situation we are in at present isn't the result of happenstance, but thanks to effective preventive measures and responsible behavior on the part of our residents – including school pupils and their parents," Belobrovtsev added.

The half-term break runs this week, Monday, October 19-Friday, October 23.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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