Daily: Schools cannot ask parents for COVID-19 certificates at ceremonies

School ceremony.
School ceremony. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Daily Eesti Päevaleht (EPL) reported on Tuesday that schools cannot require parents to have a coronavirus certificate to participate at the opening ceremonies of the new school year on Wednesday.

The Ministry of Education and Research told EPL (link in Estonian) that the ministry recommends schools organize all events as safely as possible. "The school can limit the number of participants, but the schools are limited when asking parents for COVID-19 certificates," the ministry's communications office said.

The ministry sent schools directives in August, which stated that schools are only allowed to welcome guests that present COVID-19 recovery or vaccination proof and parents are generally not allowed in school buildings. Schools concluded from this that certificates can be required for opening ceremonies on September 1 and stated so on their homepages and letters, the daily reported.

In actuality, the government's most recent restrictions are not imposed on schools and their opening ceremonies as schools are not public spaces and therefore - ceremonies are not public events - which is why schools can ask for certificates, but cannot send anyone away if they do not have one, contrary to concerts, cinemas and restaurants.

Chancellor of Justice Ülle Madise also commented on unvaccinated parents joining school year opening ceremonies and said schools can only issue recommendations. "When issuing a recommendation, it is important to point to the wording of it so everyone would understand that it is a recommendation and not an obligation," Madise noted, adding that schools must consider that parents have the right and obligation to support their child.

The justice chancellor also explained that the government has not deemed it necessary to intervene in schools events at the current level of coronavirus spread. Coronavirus spread limiting measures are only imposed on school events, which people not associated with the school can attend, but parents are directly associated, Madise explained.


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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