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General education, vocational education, higher education

Will state exams and final exams of basic school take place during the academic year 2020/2021?

The state exams are taking place.

The parliament has decided that taking the state exams is not compulsory for those graduating from upper secondary school in the 2020/2021 academic year. Taking the upper secondary school exam or passing a practical assignment are not preconditions for graduating either. Students in the graduating class do have the opportunity to take the Estonian language or Estonian as a second language, Mathematics, English, or one internationally recognized foreign language exam. The state exams will generally take place when they were supposed to, adhering to the measures aimed at limiting the spread of the coronavirus. The state exam in English and the additional exam time in Mathematics are postponed a few days in order to avoid exams overlapping and ensure an adequate interval between the main exam slot and the additional exam slot.

An examinee who decides that they do not want to take a state exam does not need to do anything for it.

This year, another additional exam slot is added to each state exam, so it is possible to take the state exam on three different days in all subjects. Everyone who has registered for the exam by January 20 is expected at the state exams. In order to take the exam during the additional slot, the person graduating must make sure to submit an application to the Education and Youth Board within three working days after the main exam has taken place.

Taking exams at the end of basic school is compulsory but graduation does not depend on the exam results. The results of the exams are presented on the leaving certificate as a percentage of the maximum result.

In order to graduate, the annual grades of a basic school graduate and the grades of the stage of study of an upper secondary school graduate need to be at the level of at least "acceptable" or "pass". A student research, a practical assignment and a school exam are not national preconditions for graduating. The school staff council has the right to assess whether doing a student research or a practical assignment, or taking a school exam is possible due to the differences in the organisation of studies caused by COVID. If the school has decided that it is not possible, the student does not have to do the student research, the practical assignment or the school exam.

Read more: www.hm.ee/koroona (in Estonian).

Is it possibly to carry out practical work or internships in institutions of vocational education?

Consult with your educational institution and place of internship about conducting internships in the company. If conducting the internship is not possible (due to the suspension of the company's activities, the restructuring of temporary work tasks or other), the student cannot participate in the practical work or internship.

The premises used for study activities must ensure the availability of disinfectants and compliance with the disinfection requirements in accordance with the instructions of the Estonian Health Board.

During the period of distance learning, presence in the educational facility is allowed to students who need educational support services, students who need additional consultations to achieve the learning outcomes, students performing practical tasks, taking exams, participating in Olympiads competitions or tests.

Schools where the majority of students receive enhanced or special support, and boarding school facilities also remain open during this period.

  • Up to two people may be together in the rooms used for educational activities, keeping a distance of at least two meters with others, unless this cannot be reasonably ensured.

  • People using the premises for educational purposes must wear a mask. The obligation to wear a mask does not extend children under the age of 12 or people who cannot wear the mask due to health considerations or the nature of the activity, or other substantial reasons.

Where can I find additional information on the subject of education?

If you have any questions in the field of education, please contact:

  • the Ministry of Education and Research, information tel No. 5690 0353 and 5690 0340.

  • e-mail: info[at]hm[dot]ee

For an overview of the rules and guidelines sent to institutions under the Ministry of Education and Research, please see the website https://www.hm.ee/koroona.

Educational advisers at Rajaleidja programme of the Education and Youth Board provide advice to schools, support specialists, and parents on how to support children in the current rapidly changing situation, whether it is a matter of teaching or mental health:


Explain to the child what the emergency situation and the coronavirus are

 

Children do not understand the current situation in the whole – the combination of unawareness and a lively imagination create stress and worry in a child. Even if it seems like the child is not worried, explain to her how to act in this situation and assure her that you are there for her.


Help the child with his everyday schoolwork

 

Distance learning has not been implemented in Estonia before which is why the situation is new and exhausting to the child as well. Try to find the time from your work and support your child in his studies.


Don’t let the child have physical contact with her grandparents

 

Children do not usually exhibit the coronavirus symptoms but they might be carriers of the virus. Don’t allow contact between a child and a person who is in the risk group in order to avoid the latter becoming sick.

 

Is it allowed to go to school/kindergarten/university with a cold?

It is allowed to go to an educational institution with a slight cold or cough if the person has recovered from some seasonal infection, his general condition is good but a slight leftover cold or coughing persist. If it is not clear whether the condition is infectious or non-infectious, a family health center needs to be consulted.

What rules must educational institutions follow when organising their work?

Starting from May 3, children in grades 1 to 4, students graduating from grades 9 and 12, and students who receive enhanced and special support are allowed to start contact learning. The Government will discuss letting other school levels to start contact learning at a later date.

The restrictions do not apply to:

  • providing educational support services and consultations, doing practical studies or taking exams and tests;
  • students with educational special needs and educational institutions that have been adjusted for them, or the activities of disabled persons.

How are studies organised in schools for children with special educational needs?

During the period of distance learning, schools where most students receive enhanced support or special support will remain open. Classes of students with special educational needs may continue with contact learning.

Contact activities may also be carried out if the student needs educational support services, the teacher considers that consultations are necessary to achieve learning outcomes, it is necessary to carry out practical training sessions, take exams, tests or participate in Olympiads.

If the teacher assesses that the child is capable of achieving learning outcomes through distance learning as well and the parent agrees, the educational activity does not necessarily take place entirely in the school building. If the child's special needs also necessitate constant supervision and they cannot cope independently with distance learning without significant parental assistance, the educational work must be organised at school.

The best solutions for organising distance learning for students with special educational needs can be found from the Rajaleidja centres.

Can a vocational school send their students abroad on a traineeship?

The Ministry of Education and Research recommends cancelling trips abroad. The risks are connected not only with the spread of the virus but also with possible restrictions on movement and traveling. If the student has already left for their traineeship in a foreign country, they are going to have to observe the rules for isolation upon their return.

With what symptoms should I not go to school?

If symptoms of an acute upper respiratory virus (cough, runny nose, throat ache, general poorly feeling, unusual tiredness) occur, a person must stay at home immediately and contact a family health center or the family doctor advice line 1220 at the first chance to get further instructions.

It is allowed to go to school with a slight cold or cough if the student has recovered from some seasonal infection, his general condition is good but a slight leftover cold or coughing persist. If it is not clear whether the condition is infectious or non-infectious, a family health center needs to be consulted.

Do I have to remain home if I have a chronic cough or runny nose?

Chronic diseases like asthma or allergies can cause a runny nose or a cough but generally don't necessitate staying home. As a rule, these kinds of chronic diseases are previously known and, if necessary, a parent can issue a statement confirming that the child's symptoms are not infectious. A medical certificate is not issued for a presentation of a chronic disease.

The sense of responsibility of all persons is of utmost importance and this includes guaranteeing that a child or an adult with a chronic disease is not discriminated because of their disease.

How should dispersion be organised in educational institutions?

Educational institutions are very strongly recommended to organise their learning and other activities in ways that reduce contacts between people. It is important to keep in mind that reducing contacts should also be a priority for educational workers and other staff.

For instance, in order to disperse students, a system where classrooms are designated to classes rather than teachers can be used, holding more classes outdoors or doing partial distance learning (e.g. by days, in some subjects) etc.

We also recommend that lunch recesses, PE classes and similar are organised in a way that would reduce contacts between groups.

The school day could start at different times in order to reduce physical contacts between students, and different classes could have recesses at different times with some made longer so that younger students can go outside. Institutions that work in multiple buildings should consider how to reduce movement of students between buildings.

If the risk of the virus increases and it becomes necessary to disperse students even more, we recommend that older grades move over to the full distance learning. Younger grades that continue contact learning can then be dispersed more within the building. It is recommended that contact learning is continued for as long as possible in younger stages of study, students who need support and students in final grades.

What rules must educational institutions follow when organising their work?

Starting from May 3, children in grades 1 to 4, students graduating from grades 9 and 12, and students who receive enhanced and special support are allowed to start contact learning. The Government will discuss letting other school levels to start contact learning at a later date.

The restrictions do not apply to:

  • providing educational support services and consultations, doing practical studies or taking exams and tests;
  • students with educational special needs and educational institutions that have been adjusted for them, or the activities of disabled persons.

What should students and teachers belonging to risk groups bear in mind?

Students and teachers belonging to risk groups are advised to pay special attention to preventive measures, including the use of personal protective equipment. It is the responsibility of the manager of the educational establishment to provide the personal protective equipment necessary for work.

As the threat of the virus increases, it must be borne in mind that, in order to spare at-risk students and teachers, they must be able to work in the safest possible conditions, which may also mean working remotely. In order to find the best solutions, you must consult with your educational institution/employer.

What should I do if somebody in a class or a study group has been diagnosed with the coronavirus?

If somebody in your class or a study group has been diagnosed with COVID-19, then all the people who have been in close contact with the infected person must remain in self- isolation and study remotely for 10 days. The decision regarding distance learning of a class or a group will be made in co-operation with the Health Board, if necessary.

The Health Board recommends that a close contact do a test after the end of the 10 calendar day quarantine period, in order to discover a possible case of asymptomatic coronavirus

The rest of the students who were not in the same class or study group with the infected person, nor had any other close contact with the infected person, do not need to remain in self-isolation but they need to monitor their health. If any symptoms occur, a doctor should be contacted immediately.

Starting from February 2, there is a derogation from having to self-isolate as a close contact for people who have been vaccinated against or had the coronavirus within the last six months. A person who has had the coronavirus or is vaccinated against it must still wear a mask indoors during the next 10 days or cover their nose and mouth if they have been a close contact. The obligation to wear a mask does not extend to children under the age of 12 or if wearing a mask is not possible due to health considerations, the nature of the work or activities, or for some other substantial reason. Additionally, an asymptomatic close contact who has had the coronavirus or is vaccinated against it must monitor their health closely during the next 10 days and follow the measures enacted by the government and the Health Board to stop the spread of the virus. Following the measures is necessary as there is still very little scientific information on how probable it is that people who have had the coronavirus or are vaccinated against it can still get infected with or spread COVID-19.

What to do if a person falls ill while at an educational institution?

A worker who has fallen ill must inform the leadership of the institution. A student who has fallen ill must turn to a teacher or a school nurse who will inform the leadership of the institution of the child's condition. The student's parents are informed of the student having fallen ill. Depending on the age of the child, the he is either sent home or is isolated from others in a room suitable for this under the supervision of a teacher/school nurse until a parent arrives.

The student who has fallen ill and the adult dealing with him are given a surgical mask. It is important to make sure that the mask is placed properly. If the ill person's health condition becomes dangerous (quickly rising fever, pain in the chest, shortness of breath, acute pain of a different kind etc.) and he is feeling extremely poorly, 112 must be called.

In order to better contain the spread of COVID-19, it is important that the person who has fallen ill (in the case of a student his parent or other legal representative) informs the educational institution if a COVID-19 infection is confirmed. The institution will inform members of that class or group (and parents). The notification has to be done with a sense of delicacy, without revealing the name or other identifying data of the person who has been infected. The regional department of the Health Board will contact the educational institution and inform of the confirmed diagnosis and will establish the close contacts in cooperation with the institution and the school nurse.

People who have been in close contact with the infected person have to remain in self-isolation. Distance learning may be utilized during this period. The rest of the students can continue their regular life, at the same time monitoring their health. If symptoms occur, a family health center must be contacted immediately.

Starting from February 2, there is a derogation from having to quarantine as a close contact for people who have been vaccinated against or had the coronavirus within the last six months. A person who has had the coronavirus or is vaccinated against it must still wear a mask indoors during the next 10 days or cover their nose and mouth if they have been a close contact. The obligation to wear a mask does not extend to children under the age of 12 or if wearing a mask is not possible due to health considerations, the nature of the work or activities, or for some other substantial reason. Additionally, an asymptomatic close contact who has had the coronavirus or is vaccinated against it must monitor their health closely during the next 10 days and follow the measures enacted by the government and the Health Board to stop the spread of the virus. Following the measures is necessary as there is still very little scientific information on how probable it is that people who have had the coronavirus or are vaccinated against it can still spread COVID-19.

Can a child go to school if their parent returns from a travel?

The obligation to self-isolate does not apply to a person whose immediate family members include those who have returned from a travel within the last 10 days, or who have come into contact with a person who has been in close contact with someone infected with COVID-19.

If, for instance, a family member arrives from a country with a high infection rate or has been in contact with a person infected with COVID-19, it does not mean that all members of their family should stay at home.

How should dispersion be organised in educational institutions?

Educational institutions are very strongly recommended to organise their learning and other activities in ways that reduce contacts between people. It is important to keep in mind that reducing contacts should also be a priority for educational workers and other staff.

For instance, in order to disperse students, a system where classrooms are designated to classes rather than teachers can be used, holding more classes outdoors or doing partial distance learning (e.g. by days, in some subjects) etc.

We also recommend that lunch recesses, PE classes and similar are organised in a way that would reduce contacts between groups.

The school day could start at different times in order to reduce physical contacts between students, and different classes could have recesses at different times with some made longer so that younger students can go outside. Institutions that work in multiple buildings should consider how to reduce movement of students between buildings.

If the risk of the virus increases and it becomes necessary to disperse students even more, we recommend that older grades move over to the full distance learning. Younger grades that continue contact learning can then be dispersed more within the building. It is recommended that contact learning is continued for as long as possible in younger stages of study, students who need support and students in final grades.

What to do if a person falls ill while at an educational institution?

A worker who has fallen ill must inform the leadership of the institution. A student who has fallen ill must turn to a teacher or a school nurse who will inform the leadership of the institution of the child's condition. The student's parents are informed of the student having fallen ill. Depending on the age of the child, the he is either sent home or is isolated from others in a room suitable for this under the supervision of a teacher/school nurse until a parent arrives.

The student who has fallen ill and the adult dealing with him are given a surgical mask. It is important to make sure that the mask is placed properly. If the ill person's health condition becomes dangerous (quickly rising fever, pain in the chest, shortness of breath, acute pain of a different kind etc.) and he is feeling extremely poorly, 112 must be called.

In order to better contain the spread of COVID-19, it is important that the person who has fallen ill (in the case of a student his parent or other legal representative) informs the educational institution if a COVID-19 infection is confirmed. The institution will inform members of that class or group (and parents). The notification has to be done with a sense of delicacy, without revealing the name or other identifying data of the person who has been infected. The regional department of the Health Board will contact the educational institution and inform of the confirmed diagnosis and will establish the close contacts in cooperation with the institution and the school nurse.

People who have been in close contact with the infected person have to remain in self-isolation. Distance learning may be utilized during this period. The rest of the students can continue their regular life, at the same time monitoring their health. If symptoms occur, a family health center must be contacted immediately.

Starting from February 2, there is a derogation from having to quarantine as a close contact for people who have been vaccinated against or had the coronavirus within the last six months. A person who has had the coronavirus or is vaccinated against it must still wear a mask indoors during the next 10 days or cover their nose and mouth if they have been a close contact. The obligation to wear a mask does not extend to children under the age of 12 or if wearing a mask is not possible due to health considerations, the nature of the work or activities, or for some other substantial reason. Additionally, an asymptomatic close contact who has had the coronavirus or is vaccinated against it must monitor their health closely during the next 10 days and follow the measures enacted by the government and the Health Board to stop the spread of the virus. Following the measures is necessary as there is still very little scientific information on how probable it is that people who have had the coronavirus or are vaccinated against it can still spread COVID-19.

Do masks have to be worn in schools and other educational institutions?

Starting from March 1 there is an obligation to wear a mask in educational institutions and while carrying out indoor hobby activities and informal education, youth work, and refresher training. The restriction does not apply to children under the age of 12 or to people who cannot wear the mask due to health reasons, or due to the nature of the activity or other significant reasons. For instance, students who have special needs that preclude it do not have to wear a mask.

The school organises the procurement of the necessary personal protective equipment in cooperation with the school administrator. The provision of personal protective equipment to youth centres is ensured by the local government, depending on the needs of the youth centres, young people, and the employees at the centre.

Is it allowed to stay overnight in the halls of residence or student housing facilities?

In students housing facilities it is recommended to keep distance. For example, up to two persons can be together, keeping at least two metres from other people, except for families, or in the event that these conditions cannot be reasonably guaranteed. We recommend avoiding gatherings of people.

Can a child go to school if their parent returns from a travel?

The obligation to self-isolate does not apply to a person whose immediate family members include those who have returned from a travel within the last 10 days, or who have come into contact with a person who has been in close contact with someone infected with COVID-19.

If, for instance, a family member arrives from a country with a high infection rate or has been in contact with a person infected with COVID-19, it does not mean that all members of their family should stay at home.

 

Last updated: 24 March 2021