Mayor of Tartu: Primary school students should not have been sent home

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Urmas Klaas. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

The Mayor of Tartu and head of the local crisis committee Urmas Klaas (Reform) believes the government's decision to switch primary school students to distance learning is unreasonable and has criticized the government's crisis communications.

"We would not have sent first to third-grade students home. Organizing distance learning in primary school is the most difficult and the infection rate at this age does not support the decision," Klaas told daily newspaper Tartu Postimees.

Klaas said the government has not cooperated enough with municipalities, which is why the city government has cooperated with the Health Board to send 5th to 12th-grade students to distance learning.

"In the last two weeks, the number of cases in Tartu has increased significantly faster than the Estonian average, and model calculations show that the scenario of Ida-Viru County could be repeated here," the mayor said, explaining why the city supported sending some classes to distance learning. 

On Wednesday, December 9, the government announced it would be closing all schools from Monday, December 14. Ida-Viru County will be in virtual lock-down from the same date because the infection rate per capita is the highest in Estonia.

The below graph shows the total number of infections diagnosed by week (Monday-Sunday) for the counties with the highest number of cases. Tartu County is the red line and clearly shows an upward trend over the past few weeks.

The data was taken from the Health Board and is published every week in ERR News' weekly round-up.

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Editor: Roberta Vaino, Helen Wright

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