Schools

Due to the continuing high risk of the virus spreading, students must be as dispersed as possible, hygiene requirements must be complied with, and activities must be organised in groups whose members are constantly the same (‘bubbles’). The best way to prevent the virus from spreading is to have everyone from the age of 12 be vaccinated.
Restrictions in force

In order to avoid the spread of the virus and getting infected, to protect the life and health of the people and to ensure the functioning of the society, it is necessary to follow the enacted restrictions and guidelines.

Restrictions in force
The meters of risk level

The main meters are the number on people infected with COVID-19 and the number of people hospitalised. The Government reviews the risk level once a week.

Instructions for how to behave at different risk levels

How to get to school safely?

  • Consider if your child can avoid public transport and rush hours.
  • If possible, ask your child to go to school by bike or on foot.
  • If you use a private car on a daily basis or live near other parents who take their children to school by car, agree to take your children to school with one car.
  • If using public transport is unavoidable, instruct your child to wear a mask or cover their nose and mouth.
  • Teach your child to disinfect their hands before and after leaving public transport and to avoid touching handrails and other surfaces without gloves.
  • Buy a hand sanitizer for your child that they could always keep in their pocket, and explain the general rules of hygiene to your child in accordance with their age. Set an example to them every day.
  • If your child is ill or feeling unwell, they must stay home.

Washing hands and disinfection

  • Explain to your child that washing hands is important before entering and after leaving common areas; after touching common objects (handrails, door handles, furniture, sports equipment, etc.); after blowing their nose, coughing, or sneezing; before and after eating; after going to the toilet.
  • Tell them to wash their hands for at least 20 seconds.
  • If there is no way to wash their hands, they must use a disinfectant.
  • Avoid touching the eyes, nose, and mouth, as well as other people and objects, to prevent the virus from spreading.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover the nose and mouth with your forearm or a tissue and throw the tissue in the trash immediately after use.

Wearing a mask in school

  • Wearing a mask indoors reduces the risk and transmission of infection and helps protect those who have not yet been fully vaccinated or cannot do so for health reasons.
  • The obligation to wear a mask depends on the level of risk established in the country and the regional level of infection. Wearing a mask in crowded indoor places to prevent infection and prevent the spread of the virus is recommended even if it is not mandatory.
  • It is also recommended to wear a mask indoors if it is not possible to keep a sufficient distance from other people, as well as on the school bus, where students of different classes and groups come into contact. Be sure to use a mask when coming into contact with students who show signs of illness.
  • A protective mask is defined as a medical protective mask as well as other respiratory protective equipment (e.g. visor, scarf, neck gaiter). It is also allowed to wear homemade fabric masks, which must be changed every 2–3 hours and washed in hot water at 60 degrees after each use.
  • A mask is only effective if used correctly. The mask must cover both the mouth and nose. Wearing a mask under the nose is not allowed.
  • If the mask has a wire, it must be at the top of the mask, firmly over the root of the nose.
  • The mask must not be touched during wear as this increases the risk of contamination of the mask and thus the risk of falling ill.
  • Dirty or wet masks must be removed. Used masks must be thrown in the trash or placed in a closed plastic bag.

Symptoms and staying home

  • Acute viral diseases

    If you develop symptoms of acute upper respiratory viral infections (cough, runny nose, sore throat, fever, feeling sick, unusual tiredness), you should stay home immediately and contact the family health centre or the family doctor hotline 1220 as soon as possible for further instructions.

  • Mild runny nose and mild cough
    Children can go to school with a mild runny nose or a mild cough if they have recently recovered from a seasonal infectious disease and are generally feeling well. If it is unclear whether or not the child is infectious, the local family health centre should be consulted.
  • Chronic diseases

    Chronic illnesses such as asthma and allergies can cause colds and coughs, but they do not usually mean that the child must stay home. As a rule, parents know of such chronic diseases and can write a certificate stating that the symptoms of their child are not contagious. The responsibility of all people is very important, including ensuring that a child/adult with a chronic illness is not discriminated against because of their illness.

    What happens if someone in my class or study group has coronavirus?

    • If someone in the class or study group has signs of the disease, the student is immediately given a mask and isolated from others. Depending on the age of the child, they will be sent home or kept under the supervision of school staff until their parent arrives.
    • In case of coming into close contact with a person infected with COVID-19 in a school or hobby education facility, all pupils who are not fully vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19  must immediately isolate at home and take a PCR test no sooner than four days after coming into close contact with an infected person. The PCR test must be taken at a public testing facility. If the result is negative, the student may return to school and/or their hobby group(s). Involvement in other activities requiring a COVID certificate – such as attending cinema screenings, plays and concerts, visiting museums and spas and going to cafés – is not permitted for 10 days after coming into close contact with an infected person. If a student displays any symptoms of COVID-19, they must immediately isolate at home.
    • If a parent or guardian or the student themselves does not give permission for taking the test, the student must remain in quarantine as usual because there is no way to be ensure their infection safety. During quarantine, the school has no obligation to involve them in studies.
    • If a student who has not been fully vaccinated comes into close contact with a person infected with COVID-19 outside the educational institution, they must self-isolate.
    • At the end of the quarantine, it is recommended that a test be taken even if there were no symptoms to detect a possible asymptomatic disease.
    • Those who were not in the same class or study group as the person infected with COVID-19 and did not come into close contact with the person infected with COVID-19 in any other way do not have to self-isolate but they must monitor their health. If symptoms occur, contact the family health centre immediately.

    How is learning organised during quarantine?

    • If there are students in the class or group who have to self-isolate, the rest will continue contact learning.
    • The school has no obligation to involve the student in self-isolation in studies. Where possible, the school may provide study activities to quarantined healthy students using virtual tools or provide independent study assignments.
    • Restrictions on contact learning should generally be avoided. Exceptionally, if most of the staff of an educational institution are ill and unable to continue teaching, short-term distance learning may be used. Short-term distance learning is not applied in stages I and II of study in basic school and for students who need additional support.
    • For older students, temporary distance learning may be considered if all other restrictions have been applied in the context of a very high risk of infection but the infection rate is nevertheless increasing.
    • If the student is self-isolating or ill during the exam, the exam can be taken during the supplementary exam. To this end, an application must be submitted to the Education and Youth Board.

      Distance learning

      • Distance learning may be considered and applied temporarily only in exceptional cases for older students if other restrictions applied to limit infection have failed.
      • Distance learning is a combination of e-learning and independent learning.
      • With distance learning, daily communication with students takes place in the agreed online environment, they are given direct explanations of new learning topics, and learning instructions and feedback are given.
      • Ideally, the proportion of supervised activities is greater than independent learning.
      • During distance learning, homework is based on the principle that the student does not have to learn new content independently, but reinforce what they have learned.
      • Homework must enable independent coping with learning, not require the constant need for help from a parent.
      • Distance learning is also possible at the request of parents in agreement with the school.
      • If a child has to self-isolate, the school must be notified and learning from home must be agreed.
      • In order to enable distance learning, the school must provide the students with resources. If your child does not have a computer for learning, contact the school. The school will provide you with the necessary equipment and help families in need.

      Unvaccinated employees in education

      • There are people around us who have not yet been able to get vaccinated for health or other personal reasons.
      • Employees who have not been fully vaccinated but are in educational institutions every day must take a rapid antigen test once a week to ensure infection safety.
      • Unvaccinated employees must be tested in general and vocational education institutions, institutions of higher education, hobby schools, and preschools. It is also recommended in refresher training and refresher courses.
      • A weekly rapid test need not be taken by an unvaccinated employee who provides a certificate of recovery from the virus within the last six months or a PCR test result taken up to 72 hours in advance or a negative rapid antigen test taken up to 48 hours in advance by a health care provider.
      • If an unvaccinated employee works in more than one educational institution, they must agree on the organisation of testing and the proving of infection safety with each educational institution separately.
      • Vaktsineerimata töötajatel soovitatakse haridus- ja noosootööasutustes kanda maske isegi siis, kui üldist maskide kandmise kohustust ei ole. 

      Where can I get support to cope with school life?

      Dare to ask for and receive help when you need it! There is help.

      Several hotlines and support centres are open that provide information, advice, and assistance in these difficult and uncertain times.


       

      Online mental health counselling is provided by peaasi.ee and lahendus.net

      Peaasi.ee
      You can write to experienced counsellors to get advice with a mental health issue or concern. Young people aged 16–26 have the opportunity to receive free personal counselling on mental health. Register »

      Lahendus.net
      Online counselling is a letter-based free and anonymous form of psychological counselling. Lahendus.net does not provide therapy or deal with the treatment of mental disorders, but tries to support people and help them analyse their problem. If necessary, the counsellor of Lahendus.net will help you find a suitable place to turn to with your concerns.

      The child helpline 116 111 and the website lasteabi.ee provide round-the-clock advice to children and young people, as well as their parents and relatives in the case of concerns related to children.

      You can contact these services with any question. Feel free to call the helpline because a problem shared is a problem halved.

      The educational counsellors in the Rajaleidja centres 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 education or mental health.

      You can register for counselling in the e-booking system, by sending an email to distantsope@harno.ee, or by calling 735 0700.

      All people working with children and young people, parents, students, and children themselves are welcome to call the free hotline of the Association of Estonian School Psychologists 1226 in Estonian and 1227 in Russian. The purpose of the hotline is to provide an easily accessible opportunity to speak to a qualified school psychologist anonymously and free of charge.

      The Estonian-language number 1226 of the helpline is open from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. from Monday to Friday and the Russian-language number 1227 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesdays. Psychologists with a school psychologist certificate provide help at the helpline.

      The support group is a place for sharing experiences, worries, and joys, supporting each other, and talking about everyday topics, such as how to successfully organise distance learning.

      Facebook support group »

      The tarkvanem.ee online environment supports the parents of children of all ages by providing knowledge, advice, and comprehensive information on opportunities for raising children, receiving help, training, etc., and how to take care of yourself and your family in difficult times.

      Last updated: 15.11.2021