Vaccinated pupils will not need to isolate as close contacts next term

Liina Kersna.
Liina Kersna. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Vaccinated teachers and students will not need to self-isolate next term if they come into contact with a covid positive person, Minister for Education and Research Liina Kersna (Reform) has said.

Kersna said during the next wave of coronavirus the government hopes schools can remain open. The Ministry of Education commissioned a study from the University of Tartu about whether it is reasonable to close schools or not and it concluded that the negative effect on children outweighs the positive effect on stopping the virus from spreading.

"I very much hope that we can keep schools open in the new school year thanks to the fact that a large number of teachers have already been vaccinated," Kersna said. "We have a large number of young people, such as high school students, already vaccinated and I call on all young people to use the summer to vaccinate themselves so that we can keep schools open."

She added: "Children and teachers who have been vaccinated will no longer need to go into self-isolation even after being in contact with a sick person or having an outbreak at school. Those who have not been vaccinated and have been identified as close contacts will still be isolated."

It has been previously reported that non-vaccinated teachers will need to test themselves regularly for coronavirus.

"We probably cannot say that those who have not been vaccinated cannot study or teach, because we do not have many teachers, but people will certainly have to prove that they are safe for other people," the minister of education said.

However, the Ministry of Education does not currently have an overview of how many school employees have been vaccinated. Nor does it have legal clarity about whether a school principal can ask to see a teacher's vaccination certificate. Kersna said the Ministry of Justice is looking into the issue.

The Ministry of Education is also planning to carry out vaccinations in schools. For example, in higher education, the opportunity to ger a vaccination should open in the last week of August. 

"In my opinion, this could also be done in professional colleges and vocational schools, and in the case of general education schools, then in cooperation with school nurses," Kersna said. 

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Editor: Helen Wright

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