Court rejects applications to halt distance learning in Tallinn schools

Distance learning (photo is illustrative).
Distance learning (photo is illustrative). Source: Jagrit Parajuli/Pixabay

A court has declined to grant several requests for injunctions on remote learning at Tallinn schools, which enters its second week next week. The court is still to examine the legality of the decision, made by Tallinn city government.

Four applicants had appealed on the remote learning policy, put in place at the beginning of this week for grades four to eight at all Tallinn municipal schools.

The first-tier Tallinn Administrative Court found that the applicants had not substantiated how a short period of distance learning would lead to either gaps in education or in health problems.

Despite the extension of remote learning for another week, the effects are still short-term, the court found.

Due to the legal nature of the general order which sent schools on distance learning, an interim injunction procedure cannot oblige a whole class to be provided education by means of contact learning instead, the court added, and can only apply to students relating to the requested injunctions.

This would mean a hybrid remote-contact learning class, which would mean that social contacts in the form that is customary in contact learning could not be reinstated on the basis of such injunctions, the court added.

The four applicants had all argued that since remote learning in Tallinn was not a Health Board, interim injunctions to allow pupils to continue to receive contact education should be put in place.

In conclusion, according to the court, potential interference with the applicants' rights did not outweigh any negative consequences and confusion which would arise from a rapid reorganization of schooling at the order of the court.

Thursday's orders only concern the application of interim legal protection; the court is yet to assess the applicants' claim that there was no legal basis for referring schools to distance learning per se, in its main proceedings.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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