On March 26 the government confirmed new stricter measures in the field of youth and education, among others, so as to limit the rapid spread of coronavirus. The new restrictions will remain in place until 28 March. From 1-28 March, face-to-face learning is only allowed for students in Grades 1-4. Kindergartens and daycare centres are not subject to the new restrictions.
This week the government will discuss whether and under what conditions to allow face-to-face learning for graduating classes i.e. Grades 9 and 12.
New restrictions applying to all levels of education as of 1 March
From 1-28 March, only students in Grades 1-4 and those with special educational needs are allowed to be on school premises. Kindergartens and daycare centres are not subject to the new restrictions. Safety precautions still apply when conducting face-to-face learning.
Students in other grades and at vocational schools and universities are only allowed on the premises if they:
- require educational support services;
- require consultation to improve their results based on their teacher’s assessment; and
- are participating in practical training, are doing tests or exams or ar taking part in school olympiads.
- Masks must be worn indoors and the fulfilment of disinfection requirements must be guaranteed. Masks are not mandatory for children under 12 years of age or those who cannot wear a mask for health reasons, or if it is impossible due to the nature of an activity or for other valid reasons.
Social distancing must be enforced during all classroom activities and contact between class groups must be avoided. Up to two people can be and move around together outside of the classroom, keeping at least two metres away from others, unless these conditions cannot reasonably be met.
Practical training, tests, exams and school olympiads also need to take social distancing and limited contact into account. This also means, for example, that olympiads should be arranged in a way that avoids participants from a number of schools or counties coming together in one room.
The restrictions do not apply to students who received enhanced or special support, to institutions adapted for them or to the activities of disabled people and students with special educational needs.
Restrictions applying to youth work, hobby and adult education and sports as of 3 March
Additional restrictions will apply to youth work, hobby and adult education and sports from 3-28 March. The spread of the virus in Estonia is extensive, so the point of the restrictions is to limit contact between people in order to cut off infection chains.
Only individual activities are allowed indoors.
- These activities may be conducted alone or with an instructor or partner.
- A distance of at least two metres must be maintained from other people.
- Masks must be worn and the fulfilment of disinfection requirements must be guaranteed. Masks are not mandatory for children under 12 years of age or those who cannot wear a mask for health reasons, or if it is impossible due to the nature of an activity or for other valid reasons.
For example, this means that face-to-face training involving one instructor and one student may be conducted. Doubles are only allowed in sports that qualify as individual sports: tennis, ping pong, padel, badminton, beach volleyball and beach tennis.
If the space is large enough, there can be more individuals dispersed in a room, but occupancy must not exceed 25%. For example, this means that group activities cannot be organised at youth centres, but youngsters are still allowed to be on the premises and to undertake individual activities while maintaining distance and following the 25% occupancy limit. To ensure sufficient dispersal and safety, first and foremost avoiding contact, it is advised to provide a space of 20 m2 for every person (or pair) to conduct their activities in.
Outdoor activities are allowed for groups of up to 10 participants, including trainers or instructors. Contact with other groups must be avoided and disinfection requirements must be met.
These restrictions do not apply to families being or moving around together.
If recreational groups or training events are only attended by children from the same kindergarten group or class in face-to-face learning on a daily basis, then group activities may also be conducted indoors, and outdoor activities can be conducted for groups of more than 10 participants. In such a case, it must be guaranteed that the group only includes students from the same group or class who do not come into contact with other groups.
Group activities for students in face-to-face learning are also allowed if they form part of the curriculum (e.g. Grade 3 swimming lessons).