Scientific council recommends students return to school from January 25

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A sign on a school door saying only students and school staff are allowed to enter the school. Source: Rene Kundla/ERR

School children in Harju and Ida-Viru counties should stop distance learning and return to the classroom from January 25, the government's scientific advisory council has recommended. The government will now decide if it will follow the recommendation or not.

In Harju and Ida-Viru counties, only children in grades 1-4 and 9 and 12 are attending lessons in school while other classes are learning remotely. The government agreed last week that children in Estonia's other 13 counties should return to school on January 11. 

Virologist and head of the scientific council Professor Irja Lutsar said on Tuesday that all children across Estonia should return to classrooms from the end of the month.

"If the trends seen in recent days continue, it makes sense to send children to school throughout Estonia. The benefits of attending school, especially for children whose parents are unable to teach them at home, are probably greater than the morbidity among children. There are few infections among children and children suffer really mildly," Lutsar told ERR. 

She said if the infection rate rises then the recommendations will have to be discussed again. 

Lutsar also advised Tallinners to go to Southern Estonia to ski on sparsely populated slopes rather than to stay in the cities. She said people should avoid evening gatherings and parties.

"This virus hardly spreads on the ski slope. We could take advantage of Estonia's relative emptiness, sparse population and snow," she said.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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