Children unlikely to return to school before end of April

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Empty classroom. Source: Juhan Hepner/ERR

It is unlikely pupils will return to school on April 12 when the current restrictions were supposed to end. The end of April is seen as a more realistic timescale, but only if the infection rate falls significantly.

Children moved to online learning on March 11, initially for a month, but it is already all but certain that they will not return to the classroom on April 12, ERR's Estonian news portal wrote on Tuesday.

"As the school holidays in April are approaching, the government will probably have to decide if children will continue with distance learning the week before the school holidays and then look ahead to see if the infection rate R is already significantly below 1, for example 0.8, and then gradually send children to school," Minister of Education and Research Liina Kersna (Reform) said.

If the infection factor R has not dropped to 0.8 by April 26, it is possible children will continue remote learning until the end of the school year.

"But I still hope, and the forecasts show, that if we stick to these restrictions today, the infection rate should fall," Kersna said. 

Head of the government's scientific advisory council Professor Irja Lutsar hopes children can still return to school later this spring if the infection falls.

"Maybe we can look at some regional approaches. There are areas where the infection is already on a downward trend, where children could go to school," Lutsar said.

The times and organization of state exams are also a separate issue and the government will make decisions on Wednesday.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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