On Tuesday, Tallinn city government made a decision to send students in grades 4-8 in Tallinn municipal schools to distance learning for one week after the school break.
Elementary school classes (grades 1-3) and high school classes will remain in classrooms, as will students with special educational needs, Tallinn mayor Mihhail Kõlvart (Center) said on Wednesday.
Kõlvart said infections are currently highest in the 10-14 age group, which is why a decision was made to leave that specific group on distance learning for one week after the ongoing school break.
"I think we should honestly admit that the first week will likely not be the last, but schools need this week to understand their situation post-break and how to work in the new situation," Kõlvart noted.
The mayor said the decision also stemmed from the vision of the schools themselves as the coronavirus situation has made it difficult for schools in the capital city. "It is only right to have this buffer week after the school break," Kõlvart said.
The Tallinn mayor added that people must be prepared for the worst-possible scenarios. "We must also be prepared for schools to go on distance learning. We will do all to avoid it, but we must be ready for it. Signals given to us by doctors show that the worst-case scenarios are currently possible," Kõlvart said.
He said earlier experience shows that infections in schools tend to grow most right after a school break because people move around more during the break, after which the virus is brought back to school.
Additionally, infections among teachers are becoming a greater issue. "Our teachers are not sufficiently protected today because they have been able to get vaccinated for more than a six months with the AstraZeneca, the effectiveness of which is very low. The option of getting third doses was just recently opened. We have a situation in schools, in which teachers are getting ill, students are getting ill, including those vaccinated. The situation will likely worsen after the school break," Kõlvart said.
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste