Ministry to grant schools right to ask teachers for vaccine certificate

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A classroom. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

The Ministry of Education and Research is planning on granting schools the right to ask teachers for vaccination certificates for when the school year begins on September 1.

As many students around Estonia are certainly well aware, it is around six weeks until the school year begins - almost the same period between two Pfizer or Moderna vaccine injections to complete the entire vaccination process.

Educational institutions in Estonia have no overview of how many teachers are vaccinated and Minister of Education and Research Liina Kersna (Reform) told ERR last week that that teachers who are not vaccinated by fall will have to get tested at least once a week.

Vaccination cannot be demanded from teachers and directors only have the option of strongly recommending it to teachers. The only sanctions threatening unvaccinated teachers are self-isolating in case they are a close contact.

Lasnamäe High School director Andrei Kante said he does not support sanctions. "The unvaccinated person could not perform their duties fully and if they a self-isolation obligation is imposed upon the, it would not be an effective method of teaching, therefore they cannot work, therefore they cannot be paid for their work," Kante said.

Mayor of Tallinn Mihhail Kõlvart said legislation does not allow for this solution. He noted that if the state has not been capable of organizing vaccinations, there is no reason to punish people for it.

"If there is an option of vaccinating in schools like has been talked about, then we will clearly come out with a message to motivate teachers," Kõlvart said.

Education minister Liina Kersna said there is no legal clarity about school heads being allowed to require vaccination certificates from teachers. The ministry is however prepared to make amendments to legislation to grant schools this right.

"By fall, we should have this clarity and school directors should have the right to ask teachers for vaccination certificates and the teachers who have not gotten vaccinated by then, should certainly go for testing," Kersna said.

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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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