MEP: School closures due to COVID-19 harming children's education

Urmas Paet MEP (Reform).
Urmas Paet MEP (Reform). Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

School closures in response to the coronavirus pandemic is harming young people's education, Reform MEP Urmas Paet says.

"Whole classes are being sent home from school very easily," Paet noted on his social media account.

"A positive test result for one pupil is enough for a class to be removed from school for a week or more," he added.

"The reality is that, if such policy continues, no schools may remain open in a couple of weeks. The coronavirus is not going anywhere in the next few months, and perhaps years. As a result, unless attitudes change, pupils will find a big gap opening in their education from this year. Home learning does not come anywhere close to actual learning in school," he wen ton.

"Should this (the continuation of the pandemic – ed.) mean that the provision of normal education in Estonian schools will end? Right now it seems so," he said, adding that in most European countries, schools have remained open even where the COVID-19 situation is far worse.

"This is since they understand that the closure of schools leaves a gap in education, and besides can have a very negative effect mentally on many young people. Even in Estonia, common sense should prevail at least when it comes to the functioning of schools," the MEP went on.

A little over a year ago, Estonian schools were listed top in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development's (OECD) Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) assessment rankings.

Paet added that COVID-19 restrictions should not be based on fear, adding that these could be counter-productive, and echoing comments made by Chancellor of Justice Ülle Madise on Friday.

Schools recently to have made the switch to remote learning include the elite Hugo Treffner High School (HTG) in Tartu, where a student was recently diagnosed COVID-19-positive.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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