Tallinn deputy mayor: Coordinating with Health Board takes too long

Vadim Belobrovtsev (Center).
Vadim Belobrovtsev (Center). Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

In a situation, where solutions and decisions must be done rapidly, it takes far too long to coordinate with the Health Board, which is why Tallinn made an independent decision to send students in the city's municipal schools to remote learning, Tallinn deputy mayor Vadim Belobrovtsev said.

Belobrovtsev told ETV's daily affairs show "Aktuaalne kaamera" on Thursday that the city is in constant communication with the Health Board, but they did not coordinate the decision to send grades 4-8 in the city's municipal schools to remote learning from the upcoming week.

"We see how fast the situation changes and we must unfortunately admit that if there needs to be a quick solution and the situation we are in requires operative solving, experience has shown that coordinating and consulting with the Health Board takes far too long and might not bring the most effective results," Belobrovtsev said.

Chancellor of Justice Ülle Madise said on Thursday that Tallinn has no legal basis to make a decision to send schools to remote learning, but the deputy mayor said there is nothing illegal in the city government's decision.

"Firstly, we lean on the Basic Schools and Upper Secondary Schools Act, the second thing is the school directives. The most saddening and amazing fact is that while we are in a deep crisis, Health Board representatives are talking about us being on the edge, then instead of using all possible measures to limit or stop the infection, we are talking about if Tallinn has a legal basis to send some classes to remote learning or not," Belobrovtsev said.

"We are not bypassing the state, we act legally. When it comes to the justice chancellor's opinion, she held a different opinion a year ago. We cannot go with the changes as fast, but we look at what the law allows us to do and act accordingly," the deputy mayor added.

ERR News reported on Thursday that only the Health Board or government can make the decision to move schools to remote learning according to the Communicable Diseases Prevention and Control Act (NETS). Tallinn city government took matters into their own hands and will be forcing grades 4-8 to study remotely from the next week.


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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