Senior year students at Jüri high school near Tallinn have initiated a petition asking they be allowed to continue study in school, at a time when schools are increasingly going to distance learning amid rising coronavirus numbers.
The students say that in a situation where malls, sports clubs and entertainment facilities are open, the decision to send high school students to distance studying had come as a surprise.
"We already had the pause [and switch to distance learning] in spring, and we have had so many days of remote study. To now have to study individually for another month, this will affect our exam results," one student, Carmel Uibopuu, said.
The petition, entitled "Let's keep the senior year classes at school", asks for at the very least exam study to be conducted in-class rather than remotely.
The senior year students already noticed in autumn that the distance studying in spring had left gaps in their subject knowledge, especially in math.
"There is no right environment at home in which to study. If you have little brothers and sisters, they can make a lot of noise and it makes things all very difficult," another student at the school, Maria Martin, added.
Uibopuu said it is also difficult to check whether you have comprehended things correctly or not.
The petition states that contact studying should be enabled at least for exam subjects. Students could still wear masks and they could be dispersed, as coronavirus measures, it is claimed.
"Our teachers are very flexible. For example, we could divide the students into groups, that we go to school at different times. If we only study exam subjects at school, it is relatively easy to divide us," Maria Martin said.
Robert Lippin, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Education and Research, noted that the restrictions were established to break the chain of infection. "If this situation gets better, these restrictions will definitely be lifted immediately," he said.
The future Minister of Education Jaak Aab expressed hope that after January 10, contact studying in high schools can be resumed.
Editor: Roberta Vaino, Andrew Whyte