The Minister of Education and Research Jaak Aab (Center) recommends schools continue with distance learning until the start of the holidays, regardless of a government order sending students home, to limit the spread of the coronavirus. Aab said that on Thursday, December 10, the ministry will send round a code of conduct to schools.
"I definitely recommend continuing with distance learning," Aab told ETV morning program "Terevisioon". He said that schools have quite a wide variety of options of how to continue with educating children. It could be possible to give consultations to students who have difficulties due to issues caused by distance learning, the minister noted.
Regarding who should make the decision, Aab said the school's management should do so. If it is decided that the holidays start from December 14, then it should be stated when the missed lessons are going to be held; probably the academic year in that case would then need to finish later in June next year.
"We are sending out a clearer guide to schools. We recommend continuing with distance learning and dealing with students that were most affected by distance learning. Now it's the schools' decision to see how it is possible to make up the shortcoming," the minister said.
Aab said that all schools were closed as the number of cases is increasing everywhere, with crisis commissions recommending closing schools across Estonia.
He said that when high schools were closed in Ida-Viru and Harju Counties, the number of cases among students fell, but now the cases are increasing among smaller children. This was one of the reasons why going to school was stopped for all students across the board.
In addition, it is easier to organize school work if the schools are completely closed, the minister said.
Regarding what will happen after January 10, when the school holidays are due to end, Aab said that the current procedure will definitely not remain in force. He expressed his hope that distance learning would make it possible to bring the infection rate down, and restore school work in the new year. However, the ministry is still considering things and preparing for January, he added.
Editor: Roberta Vaino