Education ministry: Completely stopping spread of covid-19 is unrealistic

An empty classroom (photo is illustrative).
An empty classroom (photo is illustrative). Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Many schools have already moved to distance learning as more and more outbreaks of coronavirus emerge. The Ministry of Education and Research does not consider this reasonable.

Rain Sannik, crisis manager at the ministry, said there have been cases where the wish to move distance learning has been based on plans from the spring wave.

"Schools and school administrators need to understand that the approach of the previous wave is not relevant now. This time we need to focus on solutions that meet the goal of keeping schools open," Sannik said.

"The human desire to prevent any spread of the virus is unrealistic; efforts should be made to limit the spread of the virus," he stressed.

Sannik said one reason for moving classes to remote learning has been because a simplified quarantine could not be implemented due to needing parents' consent for testing and vaccination of students has been delayed.

He said not all rules were clear at the beginning of the school year and implementation took time.

Sannik agreed that in some cases school leaders have decided to move to distance learning too lightly.

"Of course, the school principal has a responsibility to ensure physical and mental health, but there are reasonable limits and measures that should be balanced in terms of the risks and benefits," he said.

"As far as school-age children are concerned, it is known that the virus does not spread as intensively in schools as it does elsewhere. We also know the consequences of the virus are generally not severe at this age. Short-term illness is not comparable to weeks of remote learning."

Speaking about hobby education, Sannik stressed vaccinated children can continue it.

Restrictions may ease in October

"Restrictions related to educational institutions can be decided more specifically after all the circumstances related to the beginning of the school year, which are directly related to the vaccination status in educational institutions and the results of testing in schools, have become clearer," Sannik said.

"Based on the current situation, the following decisions can also be made where the main goal remains to keep schools open. Depending on what these statistics and the analysis will be and how vaccination and testing have progressed, possible changes in hobby education can be considered."


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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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