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Spread of COVID-19: recommendations for educational institutions, parents, students

 

 

On March 16, the Government of Estonia decided to move all educational institutions, except kindergartens to remote learning. The remote learning will be continued until at least April 12, but most likely until the end of April. The decision will be reconsidered every two weeks.

This page provides guidelines for educational institutions, students, parents and youth workers.

If you have further questions, please contact info@hm.ee or call 56 900 353 or 56 900 340.

If you have questions about using Opiq and Foxcademy, please contact:

The most up-to-date information on COVID-19 coronavirus is available on the Health Board website.

 

The Government of Estonia: due to the risk of infection, schools will be moved to distance learning

 

The Government of Estonia decided to close all educational institutions, except kindergartens, and will apply only digital learning solutions from Monday, 16 March due to the spread of the coronavirus in Estonia.  The situation will be reassessed every 14 days and, if necessary, a decision will be taken on the need to extend the distance learning period.

From Monday, 16 March, the buildings of all general education institutions, vocational education and training institutions, higher education institutions, youth centres and hobby schools shall be closed. On Friday, 13 March, teachers, together with students, will decide on further activities and tasks, and students will be able to take home all necessary learning tools and materials needed for distance learning.

Kindergartens will initially remain open, and, if necessary, the closure of kindergartens will be decided on a case-by-case basis.

Nevertheless, all parents who are able to leave the children at home are encourage to do so. Schools for students with special educational needs will remain open. Their closure will be decided on a case-by-case basis in cooperation with schools and school managers.

The Ministry of Education and Research draws the attention to the fact that during the period of distance learning no hobby schools’ activities or sports trainings can take place. Students are encouraged to take a break from hobby schools activities and stay at home. Parents must ensure that children comply with the ban on non-domestic activities.

Municipalities and schools are encouraged to forward the information to all partners involved in the extracurricular activities of students.

The Ministry of Education and Research will provide further information regularly, including on instructional matters.

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Frequently asked questions

Recommendations for parents

Recommendations for PARENTS to support the learning process of their child:
  1. Try to stay calm and keep your stress levels as low as possible. Your stress affects the child. Stress is one of the biggest enemies of effective learning.
  2. Ask the child (if necessary offer help) to set daily learning goals – what do they plan to do this day, what help and support they might need doing it. Written goals help your child to keep his or her learning process on track.
  3. Explain to your child why learning goals and rules are particularly important at this time (the situation is new, effective learning requires certain conditions). Discuss which way of learning could best support the child in his or her own experience and, if necessary, provide extras (such as a quiet space, taking notes, discussing with a partner or parent, speaking out loud, etc.). If necessary, ask the teacher for help.
  4. Communicate with your child rather more than less. Ask questions about the effectiveness of the learning process, specific learning methods and the most useful ways for him / her to study. You can help the child by asking him / her to describe what he / she has done, why he / she did it, and how he / she evaluates the outcome.
  5. Encourage the child to think about what they have learned and have them share what they have learned or ask them to write down their new knowledge. This is always a good way to consolidate what has been learnt and could be useful for independent learning in the future as well.
  6. Student in 7th grade and further should maintain autonomy in deciding the best ways to study in order to keep the motivation up. If the school's work organization allows so, let it be up to him / her to choose the time and ways in which to do the tasks given.
  7. Remind the child working hard on an exercise is essential and a normal part of learning process. When evaluating the acquired knowledge it is not how quickly things are done that matters, but whether the content is understood, memorized and can be used in the future.
  8. In order to maintain interest in learning, support the child by asking questions rather than providing ready answers. In doing so, encourage the child and avoid negative feedback during the learning process.
  9. Acknowledge the child not so much for the result but for the effort. In this way, you support his self-confidence.
  10. One of the most effective ways to learn is to teach others. Ask your child to teach you one new thing every day and applaud him / her for it.
    Further reading can be found in the material compiled by the Education Institute of the University of Tartu and on Innove webpage

Recommendations for teachers / heads of schools

The Ministry of Education and Research advises teachers to refrain from numerical assessment during distance learning for at least the first two weeks. The focus should not be so much on the numerical assessment of children's learning outcomes as on the organization of learning and coping with the new situation. Instead of numerical assessment, verbal formative assessment is a more appropriate way in the current situation to engage and motivate students.

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR TEACHERS

Suggestions for teachers to organize the learning process:

Take the time to think and try, based on feedback from children and parents, which solutions work best, what time frame to assign, what are the best-performing channels and tools to support and evaluate learning. Collect systematic feedback from children and their parents and find ways to take it into account. In the beginning, focus on improving the process rather than the student's learning outcomes.
Map the e-learning environments and e-tools you use for distance learning in your school. Try to use as few different tools and environments as possible in order to make the most of the time spent on learning. If necessary, help the children create a system for orientating in different environments (where to find assignments and deadlines). Be it an electronic spreadsheet, post-it boards, check-list or the like. In addition to more structured learning activities, the child gains valuable experience in building the system and develops useful life skills.
Agree with the parents on specific communication channels and a specific time frame (eg. 16-17) for possibility to contact the teacher. Try to find the best time for this, given your parents' opportunities, but don't forget that you also need a vacation and a personal time. Teachers do not need to be available 24 hours a day!
Try to stay calm, if the children and parents fail to comply with the rules and deadlines at first. Developing independent work habits takes time, but it will pay off in the future (even after the crisis).
Give deadlines for submission of learning assignments that are rather longer (eg. not 2 pm, but 8 pm in the evening). This is especially important for younger children who need parental help in their studies. For younger students, organizing a weekly cycle of teaching may also be considered, giving the following week's assignments at the end of the previous week so that the children can prepare for school with their parents.
Try assigning tasks so that parents could get to know them before students start studying and parents need to go to work. This allows them to better support their child while away if needed. Try to organize your work so that you can post assignments every night / couple of times a week at the same time. The more secure the routine you can provide, the smoother the collaboration with students and parents.
Provide children with the opportunity to perform tests without evaluation before and after the assignment. It allows them to recall what they have learned, to learn more thorougly, and to test what they have learned.
There is certainly a difference between students and their learning habits, as well as their ability to work independently and their parents' ability to support their children. If possible, assign learning tasks with the average student in mind, but also consider ways in which the more capable ones can perform additional tasks and the ones less could perform tasks that are feasible for themselves without losing their learning motivation. Provide assignments with a variety of helpful material to help them find the right solutions.
Remind children and parents consistently that learning requires effort - the success of learning is not measured by the speed of the tasks, but by the understanding of the learning. If learning something seems difficult, that does not mean that the child is poorly qualified and that the subject is not his strong suit. Praise the children for their effort, not the result!
Direct the children to set learning goals for the day (what you plan to do, what help or support you need) to help them keep their learning process on track. Encourage them to summarize their learning in the evening and evaluate their efforts. Take advantage of this opportunity to guide children to become more masterful in learning and self-management.
Distance learning is not just about using digital tools and e-learning. Digital tools are a there to help with communicating information, maintaining relationships, occasionally carrying out different learning tasks, and holding joint discussions. It is important to strike a balance between on-screen and off-screen learning. Think through how it is wise to approach the organization of teaching process, taking into account the differences between families for organizing the studying process of their children by computers and smartphones.
Find out what learning strategies children are using and discovering in the new situation. Direct the children to exchange experiences. Fellow students can be very helpful in finding new ways to learn.
Above all, motivation to learn is maintained by: (1) meaningful tasks (explain why you chose those tasks and how can they use the gained knowledge in the future), 2) trust (do not give threatening comments, despiteful grades, threats to leave them to summer work, etc. for those who are not self-directed) and (3) a sincere interest in what was difficult in the task and what could help the child further.
As distance learning continues, the gap in social interaction between children is increasing day by day. Whenever possible, especially in younger classes, create a central opportunity for children to interact with each other virtually. Consider, for example, meeting once a week in video chat, not to learn, but to allow the children and the teacher to see and interact with each other.
Both the teachers and families have heavier workload than usual. Try to be mutually considerate and tolerant. The situation is inevitable and new for everyone.

Further reading can be found on Innove webpage

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR HEADS OF SCHOOLS

• Support teachers and coordinate activities to find the best solution!
• Map the e-learning environments and tools used in your school.
• Try to use as few different environments and tools as possible.

Educational institutions

How long will the educational institutions stay closed?

All educational institutions, except pre-school institutions, have been closed for studies since 16 March for at least two weeks. The learning is organized from distance during this time. The need to extend the period of distance learning shall be decided after every two weeks based on developments in the situation.
This arrangement is valid until the situation changes.
Which institutions are closed?


The facilities of all educational institutions, including basic schools, upper secondary schools, vocational schools, colleges, youth centers and hobby schools, are closed. The opening hours and organization of kindergartens and childcare institutions are decided by the local government or other kindergarten manager. The situation of students with special needs and of closed educational institutions is approached individually and decisions on the organization of studies are made in cooperation between the school, the schoolmaster and the parents.

Do teachers have to work from home?

Whenever possible, we ask the head of school, in cooperation with the school manager, to arrange studies so that the teachers can work from home as well. The goal is to prevent people from gathering. If necessary, teachers may work in the school building in their classrooms, as long as large gatherings are avoided and a circle of contacts can be identified at any time.
Keep in mind that teachers who have symptoms, have been to risk area, or have been in contact with a potentially infected person must remain at home.
Furthermore, meetings and seminars must not be organized and / or made compulsory for teachers to attend in person.

Distance learning

What does distance learning mean?

Throughout the duration of distance learning, we recommend following the centrally agreed bases of the school. As unexpected changes in the organization of study can cause confusion in all parties, it is important to provide clear and unambiguous information and a specific contact from the school where the parent can receive for more information.

Necessary activities for schools:

  • Commonly agree on a specific communication channel for providing learning tasks and current information.
  • Provide information on how and when the student can ask the teacher for help and further explanations when needed.
  • Take into account the potential time for completing the assignment to avoid both under- and overburdening students.
  • Agree on how, when and in what form the learning assignment will be submitted and evaluated.
  • When planning a lesson, consider that not all students may have access to the necessary software or digital devices, and that there is a need to agree on possible solutions within the school. Keep in mind the specifics of students with special educational needs.
Are there any guidelines for distance learning for both the educational institutions and parents?

Initial guidelines for organizing distance learning have been provided to schools. The school shall send clear instructions to students and parents on how the distance learning will be organized in their school, as well as the contacts from where the parent can get more information. During the time of distance learning, parents can support their child in the same way as with regular homework. The teacher has the competence to provide learning tasks and guidance for their execution.

E-learning opportunities

Digital learning materials and tools, which can be selected based on students' needs and capabilities, are helpful in the flexible organization of studies. The study materials may be in paper form, but should be available for solving and evaluating in some digital environment (for example Stuudium, e-School, padlet, Google Docs etc.).

  • Parents and teachers can find help for solving problems that occur with e-learning on HITSA website.
  • On 10 March and 15 March, HITSA organized webinars on organizing home-based learning with the help of technology. Please find them here (10 March) and here (15 March).
  • A public Facebook group “Home-Based teaching through technology” has been set up to support teachers. All teachers are welcome to join the group to seek advice from educational technologists if needed.

Available e-learning resources

  • Parents and teachers can find help for solving problems that occur with e-learning on HITSA website.
  • E-Schoolbag [https://e-koolikott.ee/] is a repository of study materials, where all students, teachers and parents have access to the study material. Compulsory and elective courses in upper secondary education are free of charge with educational materials in social, arts, mathematics and nature fields. In addition, the e-Schoolbag provides digital learning kits used in basic education in nature, technology, literature, foreign languages, history, human studies etc.
    Further information and instructions: Kairi Valk, kairi.valk@innove.ee, 7350 695.
  • Opiq [https://www.opiq.ee/] offers digital textbooks and workbooks for basic school and upper secondary education free of charge. Accounts for students, teachers and parents are organized by the school.
    More information and directions: info@starcloud.ee, 52 237 793
  • Foxcademy [https://www.foxcademy.com/] offers study materials for basic school and upper secondary education in math, chemistry and physics free of charge. Accounts for students, teachers and parents are organized by the school.
    More information and directions: info@foxcademy.com, 56 478 884
  • Culture can also be shared between home walls: Information compiled by the Ministry of Culture by fields, including museums, libraries, archives, folk culture, art, etc can be found on the webpage of the Ministry of Culture.

Will the details of distance learning be organized by each school?

When organizing distance learning, we recommend following the centrally agreed bases of the school. Practice may vary from school to school.

Educational technologists give advice on how to organize e-learning. Additional information: https://www.hitsa.ee/e-ope-korduma-kippuvad-kusimused.

What to do when your child does not have Internet access at home or you have several children at home who need to share one computer?

Please consult with your child's school and class teacher regarding the organization of the studies. Schools must ensure that the workload is proportionally distributed when planning their studies. In this case, flexible deadlines can also be used.

Increasingly active community-based initiatives that bring those in need and donors together are an effective aid. One of the most active groups is the Facebook group "Igale koolilapsele arvuti!".
You do not necessarily just need to use a computer to learn. While the teacher can submit learning tasks via the Internet, learning can also continue through textbooks, workbooks, worksheets, books, etc. In this case, we recommend sending a photo of the completed assignment to the teacher.

Do the evaluation criteria remain the same for tests and periodic / annual assessments?

Distance learning is also subject to evaluation in accordance with the school's evaluation guidelines and, if any distinctions are made, this information must be communicated centrally by the school. The teacher should explain to the student what tasks need to be completed, what the criteria for evaluation are and how they will receive feedback.
Is it possible to arrange defence of research papers at gymnasium from distance?

The procedure for defending research papers shall be established by the School.
Is the school allowed to organize excursions during distance learning?

Excursions and other gatherings are not allowed during the distance learning period.
Will the current situation affect the spring and/or summer holidays?

As the studies are not cancelled but organized from distance, the current situation does not affect the holidays. If there are any changes to this, the Ministry will keep you updated.
What support services are available if a single parent is unable to stay home with the child?

If you need support services, we recommend you to contact your local government’s social welfare department.
Do the restrictions on contact learning also apply to private, individualized learning? Even if they are organized in the home of the student / teacher?

Whenever possible, we recommend that you avoid physical contact and organize it from a distance.
How is it ensured that home schooling produces the same results as school education? Will the criteria for basic school state exams be lighter or more rigorous?

Schools and teachers must be trusted. They make every effort to ensure that distance learning is of the highest standard. However, it is also the responsibility of the pupil and the parent to achieve the necessary learning outcomes. Evaluation is done according to the instructions given by the teacher. It should be clear to the student what is required and how the teacher will give feedback.

The state exams measure learning outcomes that have been achieved throughout the basic school. Usually, there is time for repeating some key topics in spring. If there are still new topics to be covered, this must be done through distance learning. The school and the teacher can best assess the need and opportunities for this. Exams are still assessed routinely and according to the exam evaluation guidelines.

Recommendations for organizing distance learning

How do you motivate your children to stay focused on studying when there are many other temptating activites?

Above all, motivation to learn is maintained by: (1) meaningful tasks (explain why you chose those tasks and how can they use the gained knowledge in the future), 2) trust (do not give threatening comments, despiteful grades, threats to leave them to summer work, etc. for those who are not self-directed) and (3) a sincere interest in what was difficult in the task and what could help the child further. Establish a clear structure for home-based learning: where, when, and how to learn, and provide assistance to children when needed.

How to support students and their self-management during distance learning?

The situation and learning to cope with it is new for everyone. It is important not to focus so much on learning outcomes during the first week of distance learning as to take the time to practice without the fear of failure.

Teachers, during the first week, take the time to think and try, based on the children's feedback, what solutions work best, what time frame to assign, what are the best-performing channels and tools to support and evaluate the students. Collect systematic feedback from children and their parents and find ways to take it into account. In the beginning, focus on improving the process rather than the student's learning outcomes.

Students and parents, try to get used to the new situation and find the best solutions for your family. If you have problems, do not see them as obstacles, but try to understand where the obstacles are and what might help you overcome them. Also, parents, please let your teachers know about any issues you and your child encounter - it will also help them make the necessary adjustments.

Focus first and foremost on how to study at home now, not just what to learn, how much, and with what results.

Pre-school institutions

How will the pre-schools be organized?

Opening hours and organization of the pre-school / childcare are decided by the manager of the institution.

The manager of the institution decides whether the pre-school / childcare facility will stay open based on the situation in the particular area while aiming to ensure a normal rhythm of life as long as possible. However, all parents who have the opportunity to do so should leave the children at home. Children who are sick or have symptoms must not come to the pre-school.
If the institution is closed, is there still a fee?

In the case of a municipal pre-school, the decision is made by the local government. In the case of private institution, the application of a place fee is subject to an agreement between the provider, the parent and the local government.
Can pre-school children go outside?

Yes. However, contacts should preferably be limited to children in one group.
Why are the pre-schools open, when schools are closed?

Whenever possible, we encourage parents to leave their children at home. Be sure to monitor your own health and that of your family members. We recommend that the pre-school develop a clear position and inform parents that sick children, children with clear signs of illness, or those returning from risk areas, must not be brought to the pre-school and will not be accepted. The pre-school has the right to send home sick children that put others to danger.

Closing pre-schools entirely paralyses vital services, as young children cannot, as a rule, be alone at home

Hobby schools and training

FOR PARENTS

How is the provision of hobby education (hobby schools: music school, art school, dance school, sports school, etc.) during the emergency situation?

During distance learning, hobby education must not take place in a form that requires physical contact between individuals. Independent assignments by the tutor are welcomed as this will essentially help students spend time and maintain consistency. It is also possible that the teacher will guide the student through, for example, Skype or another technological tool. Continuity of studies is necessary in order to be able to continue studies when the situation returns to normal and the hobby school can continue with the usual learning process.

Do I have to pay for a hobby school if there is no activity?

The activities of hobby schools will continue, but in other ways. It has been reorganized into a form of distance learning and / or digital capabilities are being implemented. As the studies are reorganized, the hobby school has the right to charge for the service provided.

We encourage parents to continue to pay for the service even in the emergency situation, which helps ensure that the service is viable also after the emergency situation. Be sure to check with your local government for support measures, many of them have triggered compensation measures.

If there are certain areas of interest where extra-curricular education cannot continue, please contact the hobby school and find a good solution for paying the fee (a reasonable solution would be a compromise such as enabling prepaid service, certain benefits over a longer period, etc.).
My child's hobby school will continue to provide the service, but due to special circumstances (pay cuts, job losses, other circumstances) I will no longer be able to pay for it. What to do?

The state provides various economic measures to mitigate the damage caused by the emergency situation. This ensures that employers are able to pay their employees and this helps insure that they will be able to fulfill their contracts. Please find further information on various ecenomic measures on the webpage of the Government of Estonia.

We recommend that you contact your local government and find a good solution, including additional state support for hobby education and activities for local governments to compensate for youth participation fees.

My child takes part in individual study. In this case, can the recreational activities continue on the school premises?

The provision of hobby education is organized as distance learning and there is no study activity in the hobby school until the end of the emergency situation. We recommend finding a suitable distance learning solution in cooperation with your teacher.
My kid's trainer / tutor wants to continue giving lessons in person. What to do?

The provision of hobby education is organized as distance learning, so no contact learning is allowed. If the school ignores this, please inform the Ministry of Education and Research (info@hm.ee).
My child's trainer / instructor wants to continue giving outdoor lessons. What to do?

The provision of hobby education has been suspended for the duration of the emergency situation and contact training must not be conducted. Outdoor educational activities are only permitted as individualized instruction, following the advice of the Health Board, or when assigning tasks to the young person for personal outdoor activities.
My child is ill and cannot attend hobby classes. Do I have to pay for it?

If the hobby education is continued at a distance and your child is unable to attend it, then the tuition fee is usually regulated by the contract between you and the school. However, we recommend that you discuss with the hobby school the different options available during the emergency situation.

FOR HOBBY SCHOOLS

I'm an entrepreneur, I offer hobby education service. My income depends on providing education. What can I do? Can anyone compensate me for the loss of income?

If possible, continue offering hobby education by using distance learning opportunities. Engage with parents in search of a reasonable compromise to continue paying the tuition, at least to some extent. Also, inform the local government about the continuation of activities and the continuing need to allocate support (if any). More detailed information on labor market measures targeted at entrepreneurs can be found on the webpage of the Government of the Republic.
Does a hobby school have the right to charge the parent in the emergency situation?

If a fee is charged for a service that is provided in the form of distance learning, the school is entitled to charch it. In the event that distance learning is not possible and the service is suspended, parents cannot be directly charged for it, but we encourage you to communicate with the parents to find a good solution ito continue the usual studieeducation at the hobby school.
What kind of support system can a hobby school manager consider when paying their employees?

The state co-ordinates the payment of support through the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund on a uniform basis to compensate for losses caused by the emergency situation. More information on the preliminary measures can be obtained from the Government webpage.

Please keep an eye on the additional information, and the terms and conditions of this support will soon be published on the website www.tootukassa.ee. Please keep an eye on the information.

Further measures will be announced through the media and relevant government agencies.
Can we count on a support system for our staff if we are unable to provide the service or if parents refuse to pay for the service?

If the emergency situation does not allow the employees to perform the agreed work, the state will co-ordinate the compensation of the reduced wages through the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund. Please keep an eye on the additional information and the terms and conditions of this support.

In particular, a situation where parents refuse to pay for the service should be considered. As Government Order No 77 did not change the tuition fee contracts, consideration could be given to reviewing them and finding a compromise with parents.
Can recreational activities take place in kindergartens?

Yes, if the participants are only from your kindergarten. Outside participants must not be allowed in hobby groups.
If we have a self-study student who wants to continue with the lesson on their own premises and the teacher also wants to give the lesson, are we entitled to give the lesson in this case?

In the case of, for example, instrumental studies at a music school, the study should be conducted in the form of distance learning rather than on the premises of a hobby school.
Will private hobby schools, whose teachers have an employment contract (and most of them have a Law of Obligations Act contract), be able to use a sick leave due to the closure, or how to ensure that people have an income? If hobby groups in schools and kindergartens are closed, which brings the salary of the teacher, then there will be no money and no pay for the teachers.

Hobby school premises are closed for the duration of the emergency situation, but distance learning continues, if possible. We also encourage private hobby schools to find suitable solutions for reorganizing their studies into distance learning - this will ensure their continued employment and income.

The state co-ordinates the payment of support through the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund on a uniform basis to compensate for losses caused by an emergency situation. More information on the preliminary measures can be obtained from the Government website. Please keep an eye on the additional information, and the terms and conditions of this support will soon be published on the website www.tootukassa.ee.

If there are reasons for taking the sick leave, this is possible with the agreement of the family doctor. The following people are insured with health insurance: people employed in Estonia with the employment contract, recipients of remuneration for work or services under the Law of Obligations Act, and members of the management and control bodies of legal persons.

The parents of our students want to continue their education in the classroom. What to do?

The provision of hobby education has been transferred to distance learning until the end of the emergency situation. Teaching activities must not be carried out on the premises of hobby schools.

Open youth centres

FOR PARENTS

How do the activities of open youth centers take place during an emergency?

Open Youth Center premises are closed, but youth work continues - activities take place through various virtual opportunities.
 
A youth worker at the Open Youth Center wants to continue with youth work activities outdoors. How to behave?

Youth work activities take place from distance during the emergency situation. Open-air activities are only allowed as individual training.

FOR OPEN YOUTH CENTRES

I work as a youth worker at an open youth center - if the rooms are closed, can I still get paid?

While open youth centres are closed, youth work must continue. We recommend using web solutions for this (good recommendations can be found on the website of the Estonian Youth Work Center). Be sure to inform the owner that the business will continue in the new format. Therefore, if the work continues, the pay will continue as well. If you have a problem with your salary, find out how you can use the emergency payroll compensation.

Vocational education institutions

Can I continue my work-based learning / internship?

Each situation must be assessed on a case-by-case basis, but as a general principle:

1. Apprenticeships or work-based learning for students may be continued or started if the employer, student and in case of a minor the parent mutually agree in doing so.
2. It is recommended that students living in dormitories be sent home. In the case the student carries on a internship, has special needs or is a foreigner (therefore for good reasons, cannot go home) the school may take a different decision.
3. Instructions of the person in charge of the emergency situation must be followed.
Can a vocational school send students to internships abroad?

The school must NOT organize trips abroad. The situation in the destination country may change (the risks are not only due to the spread of the virus but also to logistical constraints). In case a student returns from abroad, he or she must stay quarantined at home.
What do students living in a dormitory / student home have to do?

The school decides, but generally, the students should be sent home. Those who do not have access to distance learning at home can stay, while avoiding contact with other students. If you are a student with special needs or a foreigner who, for good reasons, cannot go home, the school will find a solution.
How about vocational school graduates that need to present a final work (lõputöö), are there any changes?

You cannot defend the final work at school. The school together with the student must find a solution. Qualification exams are postponed.
During the emergency situation many vocational schools cannot conduct neither theoretical nor practical studies. Schools would like to conduct the studies in the summer of 2020 to recover for the lost time. Is it possible and how?

If the emergency situation ends by the summer, continuing studies during the summer will give students the opportunity to complete their studies as soon as possible and enter the labor market. It also makes it easier to find internships in companies and does not place an additional burden on schools for the autumn study period.

Unlike the Basic Schools and Upper Secondary Schools Act, the VET Act does not explicitly regulate the time and duration of school holidays. Thus, every vocational school has the right to decide when to study and when to take a break.

The Vocational Educational Institutions Act (§27) stipulates that the academic year shall commence on 1 September and end on 31 August of the following year and that a student shall have at least 40 weeks of study per year and at least eight weeks of holidays.

Thus, the organization of studies is regulated at the school level and the vocational education institution has the right to make changes in its regulations and to organize studies in the summer. To this end, schools will have to change the study organization documents that regulate study periods during the school year, including the apprenticeship plan approved by the school board.

If a student does not agree to attend school during the study period set by the school, he or she has the opportunity to take an academic leave or to interrupt his or her studies.

In this situation, we recommend vocational education institutions to:

1. Vocational secondary education curricula and for students under the age of 20 (eg pupils with special educational needs) may only arrange study in summer 2020 with prior agreement with teachers, students and parents.

2. In case of adult learners, organize study and internships during the summer, if possible.

Adult education

What about courses for adults?

We strongly recommend that you postpone the courses or use e-learning opportunities if possible and to follow the restrictions set by the person in charge of the emergency situation.

Can I continue my studies at a language school?

As the goal is to avoid contacts, you should consider non-stationary attendance. Various e-learning opportunities can be used for individual learning as well. We recommend that you find a suitable application as a temporary solution.

For example, the Estonian language courses are free of charge and each person can develop their language skills independently: Keeleklikk (level 0-A2) and Keeletee (level B1). Both of these courses are available in both Russian and English.

If you study individually with a teacher who is willing to give the lesson, can you?

In case of an adult learner, a solution should be found between the two parties. Certainly those who have symptoms, have been to a risk area, or have been exposed to a potential infection should not attend or be trained.
Can I continue my studies at a driving school?

The Ministry of Education and Research strongly recommends that adult training, which also includes driving school activities, be postponed or, if possible (for example, in the case of driving school theory lessons), e-learning should be used.

The Emergency Government Committee has introduced a number of additional measures to prevent the spread of the virus. From 25 March, people in public places, including both outdoor and indoor areas, must be at least 2 meters apart and up to two people can be in a public place at once. These restrictions apply to all persons and institutions, including driving schools.

Consequently, it is not prohibited to carry out a driving lesson if the restrictions of the government committee are followed (including regularf cleaning and disinfection of the surfaces). At the same time, it must be borne in mind that strangers meet each other in a small room during driving lessons, and one teacher can meet several students during the day, ie it is an environment that helps spread the virus.

Special needs education

How is learning organized in SEN schools?

In institutions where full transition to distance learning is not possible, the studies are organized on a case-by-case basis, in cooperation with the school teachers while taking into account the individuality of each student.

However, all parents who have the opportunity to do so should leave the children at home. Sick and ill children should not be allowed into school.

The Ministry of Education and Research will send additional instructions to the SEN schools and will be in contact with them. Parents will get information from the school.

How the topics that are covered will be evaluated for students with SEN? How does the evaluation work? How are absences accounted for? How to ensure that students will not fall behind in the curriculum?

The organization of studies of students with SEN does not differ from the one established by the Government of the Republic, according to which the studies are conducted at a distance. The detailed conditions of the study (including assessment) are organized by the school. Absences are not marked in the usual way. The school and teachers organize and monitor the study progress. Well-organized distance learning ensures usual progress in the curriculum.

The Rajaleidja educational counselling service centers are prepared to support all schools and teachers in providing home-schooling and distance learning for children with special needs.

Final exams

What about the final exams?

Due to the emergency situation, the period of the upper secondary school examinations is postponed. New exam times depend on the duration of the emergency. Certainly, the exams will not start earlier than two weeks after the normal course of study has been restored.

Do the level tests take place?

There will be no level tests this academic year.

What happens if the exam results are the basis for enrollment in a high school or university?

The conditions for admission to upper secondary school, vocational school and higher education institution are determined by each educational institution. Universities and many high schools have assured the ministry that they are looking for suitable solutions and are ready to operate flexibly.

When do professional exams take place?

Professional exams are also postponed until the situation improves.

If the vocational exams are postponed, what about graduating from vocational school?

The conditions for graduating from vocational schools have not changed. For graduation the studednt must do the vocational examination or, if this is not possible or failed, then the final school examination. During the emergency situation, it is not possible to take either the vocational examination or the final examination, which will be postponed until the situation changes. Thus, it is possible that the graduation may also be delayed.

School lunch

During emergency situation when students are learning from distance, the schools will not offer traditional school lunch.
The School lunch money will not be transferred to students nor parents, except for the interns of vocational schools where the current system continues.
We ask schools, regardless of ownership, to find out if there are any students on the school list who need a school lunch.

1. If the registered place of residence of the student is in the the same municipality with the school, the school shall provide a lunch for the student or a solution shall be found in cooperation with the municipality.

2. If the registered place of residence of the student is outside the municipality of the school, then the school shall forward the student's data to the local authority in which he / she is registered. Then this municipality shall arrange for the catering of these students, as far as possible.

In the latter case, the municipalities may charge the other school manager at least the subsidy rate from the state budget for school lunch, or at the rate corresponding to the school lunch rate in the particular school, provided that the municipality caters for their students.
Local governments may use the resources provided by the state for school lunches for this school year during distance learning in a way that helps ensure that regular school lunches are continued after the end of the distance education. The specific solutions depend on the terms of the contract with the caterer and the goodwill of the parties in the emergency situation.
If necessary and by agreement, school canteens may be used for school lunches, if the following restrictions are followed:

1. Any person showing signs of illness shall not be admitted to the building.

2. There shall be no food in the building and ready meals shall be handed over for transport.

3. Contacts between persons in the building shall be kept to a minimum. Where possible, one entrance shall be used for entry and another for exit, avoiding the crossing of paths.

4. The building shall be provided with monitoring and preventive measures (eg hand washing, disinfectants, etc.) for all persons present in the building.

5. The recommendations of the Health Board have been taken into account when restructuring the work of high-risk workers (age, chronic immunosuppressive diseases, etc.).

6. If a person with signs of illness is identified in the school building, the person shall be immediately isolated and the situation shall be prevented in accordance with the guidelines of the Health Board to prevent spread of infection.

Studying abroad

I am currently studying abroad and the university was closed. Do I have to pay tuition fees, rent, flight tickets to Estonia?Tuition fees are paid in accordance with the contract with the university and, in emergency situation, are paid on the basis of university decisions or separate agreements. The same goes for the cost of living. If you consider it necessary to return to Estonia in the current emergency situation, the costs will be borne by you. Be sure to check the restrictions on returning to Estonia from abroad.

Can the state somehow support me with the expense of canceling my studies abroad?
Unfortunately, no, because going to study abroad and canceling studies there is a personal decision.

What if I want to stop studying abroad and come to Estonia?
Canceling studies abroad depends on the rules of the university and / or the study contract with the university. It is possible to enter higher education institutions in Estonia according to the conditions and time frame set by the schools. Experience and subjects acquired so far may be transferable within Recognition of Prior Learning.

ERASMUS+, ESK, Horisont

FOR PARTICIPANTS IN THE ERASMUS+ PROJECTS

My study / project starts soon and requires going abroad. Can I go?
No, leaving Estonia must be canceled until the end of the emergency situation.
As part of my project, foreigners will soon arrive in Estonia. May I accept them?
No, the admission of external groups must be suspended until the end of the emergency.
I am currently abroad with the ERASMUS+ project. Can I come back and who will cover the costs?
Currently, participants in a project or study trip abroad can return if they wish and their costs are subject to a force majeure clause in the grant agreement. The National Agency Archimedes accepts costs under the grant agreement if the insurance does not cover the expenses (based on the insurer's decision) and the grantor has used all means to recover the expenses incurred. In order to continue studying at a foreign university, it is worth researching what learning solutions the foreign university offers. In many cases, distance learning can be continued. It is important to inform your home university of any changes regarding the mobility.
I have already paid for an ongoing / planned study trip / project. Can I go ahead with the project?
If the project / study trip allows activities that do not require mobility activities and are coordinated with the partners, then the project can be proceeded. All travel and international events scheduled before 1 May must be postponed and we ask to not make any expenses. Depending on the activities of the project, it may be appropriate to postpone the project deadline. Please contact your home university or project coordinator and project partners to specify the postponement deadline.

I have already spent on an ongoing / planned study trip / project, but I / the partners do not wish to continue the project at this time. What to do?

Study trip / project activities may be postponed, canceled, interrupted or continued at a distance, depending on the circumstances. Please contact your partner to decide on further actions and inform your other partners, the sending organization / university, who in turn will inform the Archimedes Foundation.

In the event of a project interruption, SA Archimedes accepts costs within the framework of the grant agreement, provided that the costs are not covered by the insurance contract (based on the insurer's decision) and that the grantor has exhausted all options for reimbursement.
There is still plenty of time until the start of my study trip / project (starting after 1 May). What to consider when planning?
At the moment, activities related to study trips / project travel and international events have been postponed until 1 May. It should be borne in mind that, depending on how the crisis unfolds, it may be necessary to postpone travel-related activities even further. Therefore, it is reasonable to wait and follow the information on the Archimedes Foundation website. We advise you to keep in touch with your project partner, to discuss further cooperation opportunities in a new situation, etc., for example, you can look for solutions to start your project / mobility from a distance.

Further information:

FOR PARTICIPANTS IN THE EUROPEAN SOLIDARITY CORPS PROGRAM

My project is about to start and requires going abroad. Can I go?
No, leaving Estonia must be canceled until the end of the emergency.
I am currently abroad for a project. Can I come back and who will cover the costs?
Currently, participants in a project who are abroad can return if they wish and their costs are subject to a force majeure clause in the grant agreement. Archimedes accepts costs within the framework of the grant agreement if the insurance does not cover the costs (based on the insurer's decision) and the grantor has used all means to recover the expenses incurred.

I have already made expenses for an ongoing / planned project. Can I go ahead with the project?
If the project allows activities that do not require mobility and is coordinated with the partners, the project can be proceeded. All travel and international events scheduled before 1 May must be postponed and no expenses should be made during this time. Depending on the activities of the project, it may be appropriate to postpone the project deadline. Please contact your project coordinator and / or project partners to specify the postponement deadline.

I have already made expenses on an ongoing / planned project, but I / the partners do not wish to continue with the project at this time. What to do?
Project activities may be postponed, canceled, interrupted, or resumed at a distance, if necessary due to the emergency situation. Please contact your partner to decide on further actions and inform your other partners and the sending organization accordingly, which in turn will inform the Archimedes Foundation.
Should the project be discontinued, Archimedes will accept costs under the grant agreement, provided that the costs are not covered by the insurance agreement (based on the insurer's decision) and that the grantor has exhausted all options for reimbursement.

My project will start in the future (after 1 May). How to act?
Currently, activities related to project travel and international events have been postponed until 1 May. It should be borne in mind that, depending on how the crisis unfolds, it may be necessary to postpone travel-related activities even further. Therefore, it is reasonable to wait for and follow the relevant information on the SA Archimedes website. We recommend that you keep in touch with the project partner and discuss further cooperation opportunities in the new situation.

Further information:

FOR PARTICIPANTS IN THE HORISONT 2020 RESEARCH PROGRAM

Are H2020 projects going forward?

The projects will continue until otherwise stated.

The Estonian Research Council extended the closing date for the 2020 call for proposals for research grants by one week - from 31 March to 7 April at 5 pm. Any applicant who is unable to access the necessary resources (e.g. due to suspension of the library home loan service) or unable to apply by the deadline due to force majeure circumstances, please contact the ETAg coordinator or the head of research support immediately.

If there are specific obstacles to ongoing research projects (e.g. PUT postdoctoral staff abroad or going abroad; planned patient research or field work, etc.), please contact the ETAg coordinator or the head of the Research Support Department promptly to discuss the necessary modifications.

More information is available on the website of the Estonian Research Council.

Information on postponed or canceled events and calls for proposals can be found on the ETAg H2020 page.

Does force majeure apply?

Use of the Force Majeure Clause is set out in Article 51 of the H2020 Model Contract. Costs are eligible provided they meet the general eligibility criteria set out in Article 6 of the H2020 Model Contract. For example, if a meeting / event is canceled due to exceptional and unforeseen circumstances (force majeure), travel and accommodation costs can still be covered by the H2020 measure if the eligibility conditions are met, even if the beneficiary did not travel or attend the meeting / event. If, due to unforeseen circumstances, additional costs have to be incurred in carrying out the action, such costs will be eligible if they are necessary for the performance of the action (e.g. canceled conference to be held later).

However, the project grant cannot be increased.

In the event of an emergency or unforeseen situation, the beneficiaries must immediately contact the funding body, which will examine on a case-by-case basis the possible application of force majeure rules. In addition, beneficiaries must make every effort to limit unforeseen circumstances (e.g. seek to cancel airline tickets, claim insurance coverage for canceled flight, etc.).

 

 

 

 

 

Last updated: 1 April 2020