You are here

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

THE EMERGENCY SITUATION ENDED ON MAY 17!

The Government of Estonia decided to move all educational institutions (except preschool institutions), hobby education, hobby activities as well as youth centres to remote learning starting from March 16. After May 15, contact learning may partially be resumed. As for preschool institutions, the manager decides on the opening and organisation of work.

This page provides guidelines for educational institutions and youth workers.

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

Frequently asked questions

EASING OF RESTRICTIONS

By the order of the Government of the Republic, the restrictions on the activities of educational institutions that have been in force until now will be significantly eased from June 1. The easing of restrictions applies to basic schools, upper secondary schools, vocational education institutions and universities, as well as to the organisation of adult education institutions, hobby schools and open youth centers.

From 1 June:

  • Indoor activities are permitted if the occupancy of the room does not exceed 50%, but no more than 100 people may be together.
  • Outdoor activities can be carried out with up to 100 participants.

From 1 July:

  • Indoor activities are permitted  if the occupancy of the room does not exceed 50%, but no more than 500 people may be present together.
  • Activities with up to 1000 participants can be carried out outdoors.

From 15 May, contact training was partially allowed in all educational institutions, where during the past months distance learning was mandatory.

How to ensure the safety and security of teachers and students?

Students, teachers and other staff may be admitted to educational establishments, hobby schools and open youth centres only if all safety requirements are met:
  • Disinfectants at the point of entry and exit from the building;
  • Provide toilets with sufficient amount of hand cleaners and, if possible, install dustbins that can be opened with foot;
  • Disposable paper towels for drying hands;
  • Wet cleaning of used rooms and surfaces every 3-4 hours;
  • Ensure high-quality ventilation and regular ventilation in the premises.

The school in cooperation with the school manager organises the procurement of the necessary personal protective equipment. The local government ensures the provision of personal protective equipment to youth centres, depending on the needs of the youth centres and their young people and employees.

The use of protective masks in school is recommended for students and teachers belonging to the risk group. The school, in cooperation with the school administrator provides the masks.

SCHOOL MEALS

Do students who continue distance learning have to be provided with school meals until the end of the school year?

Yes. As contact training after May 15 is exceptional and intended only for the students who need it most, the provision of school meals should be organised until the end of the school year, similarly to how it was done during the emergency situation.
Instructions for providing school meals for both contact and distance learners can be found here (in Estonian).
Do students in contact learning have to be offered a school lunch?


If a student stays in the school building for more than three consecutive hours, he or she must be provided with a meal at the school. If possible, offer a regular hot school lunch. If this is not possible, the provision of packaged ready meals must be ensured. General instructions for organising studies, including catering, from May 15 can be found here (in Estonian).

Are there separate rules for serving a hot meal in the school canteen?

All entrants to the canteen must be able to wash or disinfect their hands properly. In the canteen, meals must be arranged in such a way that a distance of at least two meters can be maintained between students. Meals must be distributed, i.e. the same group of students who were together in the classroom should be in the canteen at the same time. Surfaces that are in contact with food and people must be cleaned and disinfected more frequently than usual.

How to organise meals for students in the dormitory?

In order to reduce the need for students to leave the dormitory (going to the shop, cafes, restaurants, etc.), a student living in the dormitory must be provided with at least a warm school lunch (vocational school students). If the student is a minor, all meals must be arranged.

GRADUATION AND EXAMS

BASIC SCHOOL

Are basic school exams taking place?

There will be no 9th grade uniform final exams nor school examinations conducted this academic year. Basic school is graduated based on annual grades. Graduates will receive their diplomas on paper or digitally by mid-June. Graduates may take an exam in Estonian as a second language, which is the basis for issuing an Estonian language level certificate. SA Innove organises the exam in cooperation with general education schools. The exam will take place 8-10 June.

On 20 April, a law amendment was adopted in Riigikogu granting the Government of the Republic the power to lay down the conditions for graduation this academic year. On 4 May, the decree of the Government of the Republic confirmed the conditions for the completion of both basic school and upper secondary school.

Is it mandatory to carry out a creative project to graduate from basic school?

In this and the next academic year, carrying out a creative project is not a requirement for graduating from basic school. Creative project does not have to be carried out if the school council has assessed the situation and decided that it is impossible or significantly complicated due to the emergency situation. However, if the student does carry out a creative project, the topic of the creative project is added on the grade sheet of the basic school graduation certificate.

On 20 April, a law amendment was adopted in Riigikogu granting the Government of the Republic the power to lay down the conditions for graduation this academic year. On 4 May, the decree of the Government of the Republic confirmed the conditions for the completion of both primary school and secondary school.

Can the final grades on the certificate be marked as “passed/not passed” instead of a numerical grade?

From the beginning of the emergency situation until the end of this academic year, teachers have been able to assess students with formative verbal assessments, which were not converted into numerical grades. However, the grades on the graduation certificate are normally in a five-point system. If the school has used verbal assessments during the emergency situation and as a result it is not possible to display the annual grade as a numerical grade, then this academic year the school council can decide to use "passed/not passed" on the final certificate.

On 20 April, a law amendment was adopted in Riigikogu granting the Government of the Republic the power to lay down the conditions for graduation this academic year. On 4 May, the decree of the Government of the Republic confirmed the conditions for the completion of both primary school and secondary school.

UPPER SECONDARY SCHOOL

Are the upper secondary school state examinations taking place?

The exams must be organised and conducted in accordance with the restrictions in force in the country at that time.

The student must notify the SA Innove by e-mail (innove@innove.ee) by 11 May at the latest of his or her wish to withdraw his or her participation in the exam. In the letter, the student shall indicate his / her full name, personal identification number and exam subject(s) which he / she wishes to withdraw from.

Innove Foundation will notify the student of the time and place of the exam by e-mail no later than 7 days before the exam. The information will be sent to the e-mail address indicated by the student in the Examination Information System (EIS).

This academic year, state exams are held in Estonian, in Estonian as a second language and in mathematics, and it is also possible to take one of the following internationally recognised foreign language exams:

  • Diploma d'études en langue française B1-level examination and Diplôme d'études en langue française B2-level examination;
  • Goethe-Zertifikat B1 level examination, Goethe-Zertifikat B2 level examination, German 2nd level language diploma B2 / C1 level examination and German general higher education German language examination, where points between 1 and 4 are considered to correspond to language proficiency level B2 and points between 5-15 language proficiency level C1;
  • B1 level examination in Russian and the B2 level examination in Russian;
  • Cambridge English C1 Advanced Exam.

State exams take place in late May and early June, following the restrictions in force in the country at that time. There will be time for consultations and preparation before the exams. The results of the examinations will be available no later than June 30.

If the student cannot take the state exam in May-June for a good reason or want to improve your results, you can take the additional exam in the first half of the next academic year.

On 20 April, a law amendment was adopted in Riigikogu granting the Government of the Republic the power to lay down the conditions for graduation this academic year. On 4 May, the decree of the Government of the Republic confirmed the conditions for the completion of both primary school and secondary school.

Can I take only one exam in high school?

Yes, the student decides whether he / she wants to take several or only one exam. The student must notify the SA Innove by e-mail (innove@innove.ee) by 11 May at the latest of his or her wish to withdraw his or her participation in the exam. In the letter, the student shall indicate his / her full name, personal identification number and exam subject(s) which he / she wishes to withdraw from.

When do the state exams take place?

The dates of the state examinations shall be as follows:

  • Estonian (written) – 29 May 2020
  • Estonian as second language (written) – 1 June 2020
  • Estonian as second language (oral) – 1-3 June 2020
  • Mathematics (written) – 5 June 2020

Internationally recognised foreign language examinations shall take place as follows:

  • Goethe Zertifikat B1 and B2 levels (written and oral exam); June 8-11, 2020
  • Cambridge Assessment English C1 Advanced (oral exam); June 12-22, 2020
  • Cambridge Assessment English C1 Advanced (written); June 20, 2020
  • DELF B1 and B2 levels (written); August 3, 2020
  • DELF B1 and B2 levels (oral exam); August 3-7, 2020
  • Russian language - ТРКИ B1 and B2 levels (written and oral exam); August 10-14, 2020

How will the security of participants in state exams be ensured?

Personal protective equipment necessary for carrying out state examinations and professional examinations (protective masks for students and staff, rubber gloves for staff in need, hand disinfectants in the examination room) shall be provided by the SA Innove.

The school shall ensure the safety of the examination rooms and the other rooms necessary to carry out the examination.

Is it mandatory to carry out a student research project or a practical project to graduate from upper secondary school?

In the 2019/2020 and 2020/2021 academic year, the student research paper and practical project are not requirements for graduating from upper secondary school. The student does not have to complete the student research paper or practical project if the school council decides it is not possible due to the emergency situation. However, if the student does carry out the project, the topic of the project is added on the grade sheet of the graduation certificate.

On 20 April, a law amendment was adopted in Riigikogu granting the Government of the Republic the power to lay down the conditions for graduation this academic year. On 4 May, the decree of the Government of the Republic confirmed the conditions for the completion of both primary school and secondary school.

Can the school decide to make a school exam compulsory?

The requirements for graduation this academic year are determined by a decree from the Government of the Republic a this year and school exam is not a requirement. The school cannot decide otherwise.

However, the school exam is part of the curriculum, and if the school decides that the emergency situation has not affected the study plan of the subject, the student must take the exam. If the student does not take the school exam, even though it was possible, he / she will still graduate, but there will be a note on the certificate “did not perform”. It is also an input to the next institution where the graduate is to study.

Can the final grades on the certificate be marked as “passed/not passed” instead of a numerical grade?

From the beginning of the emergency situation until the end of this academic year, teachers have been able to assess students with formative verbal assessments, which were not converted into numerical grades. However, the grades on the graduation certificate are normally in a five-point system. If the school has used verbal assessments during the emergency situation and as a result it is not possible to display the annual grade as a numerical grade, then this academic year the school council can decide to use "passed/not passed" on the final certificate.

On 20 April, a law amendment was adopted in Riigikogu granting the Government of the Republic the power to lay down the conditions for graduation this academic year. On 4 May, the decree of the Government of the Republic confirmed the conditions for the completion of both primary school and secondary school.

When do schools receive the certificate forms for basic school and upper secondary school diplomas and the medals?

This year, Innove will send the basic school graduation cerrtificate forms to the Omniva parcel machine selected by the school on 18- 22 May.

The forms and medals of the final documents of upper secondary schools can be received together with the materials of the state examination in Estonian or the state examination in Estonian as a second language from the place designated by SA Innove.
Additional questions: Maarja-Liisa Kütt, 735 0525, e-mail: maarja-liisa.kytt@innove.ee

For the first time, this academic year, basic school and upper secondary school graduates will also have the opportunity to receive their graduation documents digitally.

VOCATIONAL EDUCATION INSTITUTION

Is passing a qualification exam a requirement for graduating from a vocational school this year?

The ministry does not consider it expedient to change the principle that vocational education must conclude with a qualification exam. Institutions issuing the certificates are flexible and co-operative to find ways to organise qualification exams this year and beyond, given the current constraints.

If qualification examinations are postponed, how does is it affect graduting?

The conditions for graduating from vocational education have not changed, a qualification examination must be passed in order to graduate, or if this is not possible or has been failed, the final examination at school. If it is not possible to take either a qualification or a final exam, then they must be taken later. Thus, it is possible that the completion of vocational training will also be postponed.

Why cannot vocational school students graduate without  internship? After all, you cancelled all basic school exams…

Vocational school graduates are primarily expected to have practical skills. The abolition of internships and practical work upon graduating from vocational school is not justified, as there is no need for workers without practical skills on the labour market.

How about vocational school graduates that need to present a final project, are there any changes?

You cannot defend the final work at school. The school together with the student must find a solution.

Do graduates of vocational schools have to pass an exam in Estonian as a second language?

Due to the emergency situation, the requirements for graduating from upper secondary school (incl. State examinations) provided for in the Basic Schools and Upper Secondary Schools Act do not apply this academic year, and a graduate of vocational school does not have to pass an examination in Estonian as a second language.

The Vocational Education Institutions Act allows students to take a qualification exam or a school exam instead of Estonian as a second language. This has not been changed due to the emergency situation.

HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTION

How to solve issues related to examinations, coursework, assessment, internships and graduation organised in higher education institutions and universities?

Higher education institutions and universities must follow the restrictions in force when organising examinations, internships and graduations. Other issues related to assessment are regulated by the assessment instructions of the educational institution. The most accurate information about the organisation of studies can be provided by the institutions themselves.

HOBBY SCHOOL

Can exams take place in hobby schools or is the hobby school graduated on the basis of current grades?

The assessment criteria and organisation of examinations in hobby schools is up to the hobby schools to decide.

GRADUATION CEREMONIES

How to organise kindergarten graduation parties and school graduation ceremonies?

While organising graduation parties, one must take into account the general restrictions and the need to prevent the spread of the virus. Graduations can be organised flexibly, scatteredly (for example, by class or group), preferably outdoors, and a variety of smart solutions can be used. The 2+2 rule still has to be followed.


Restrictions applicable from 1 June:

  • Indoor activities are allowed, if the occupancy of the room does not exceed 50%, but no more than 100 people can be together.
  • Outdoor activities can be carried out with up to 100 participants.

Restrictions applicable from 1 July:

  • Indoor activities are allowed, if the occupancy of the room does not exceed 50%, but no more than 500 people may be together.
  • Activities with up to 1000 participants can be carried out outdoors.

ENTRANCE EXAMS AND CONTINUING STUDIES

Are there any entrance examinations for upper secondary schools and when?

Graduate certificates will be issued to basic school graduates by mid-June. Admission tests for upper secondary schools can be organised remotely starting from 15 May or in small groups so that students are scattered in different rooms of the school building. It is up to the school to decide whether, how and when exactly the entrance examinations for upper secondary schools will take place. Schools can provide more information.

When and how does admission to vocational schools take place?

The most detailed information about admission to vocational schools can be obtained from a specific school.

When and how is the admission to higher education institutions organised? 

High school graduates will be issued graduation certificates as soon as possible after the results of the state examination have been announced. The exact organisation of admission is decided by each higher education institution.

When and how is the admission to hobby schools and sport schools organised? 
The organisation of admissions is up to the schools. The most detailed information about admission can be asked from a specific school.

HOBBY EDUCATION

When are hobby groups, hobby education and hobby activities allowed again?

If all parties agree, from May 15 contact learning may be arranged individually or in groups of up to ten. Teaching is organised as dispersedly as possible, following the 2+2 rule if possible. Contact learning is only allowed if it is safe and healthy for both staff and students. 

Restrictions applicable from 1 June:

  • Indoor activities are allowed, if the occupancy of the room does not exceed 50%, but no more than 100 people can be together.
  • Outdoor activities can be carried out with up to 100 participants.

Restrictions applicable from 1 July:

  • Indoor activities are allowed, if the occupancy of the room does not exceed 50%, but no more than 500 people may be together.
  • Activities with up to 1000 participants can be carried out outdoors.

It is up to the hobby schools to decide whether to continue with distance learning or partially restore contact learning.

Can studies continue from a distance until the end of the academic year?

Yes, it is up to each hobby school and hobby group to decide whether to continue the distance learning until the end of the academic year or to conduct the study in small groups from 15 May.

What are the requirements for the use of study material / equipment when contact learning resumes?

Students use personal teaching aids whenever possible. If the school distributes the equipment itself, the school must ensure that they are pre-cleaned / disinfected in accordance with safety requirements.

What to do if the hobby school does not want to accept the student?

The school has the right and obligation not to admit students with symptoms.

Tuition fees

Does the hobby school have the right to ask the parent for a fee during the distance learning period?

If a fee is requested for a service that can be provided in the form of distance learning, then the school has the right to charge a fee for the service. If it is not possible to carry out distance learning and the provision of the service is suspended, the parent cannot be directly charged for it.

A reasonable compromise should be sought for the continued payment of participation fees, even to some extent, which would ensure that the activities of the hobby school could continue after the end of the emergency situation. For example, enabling pre-paid services, certain benefits for a longer period of time, 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?

We recommend that you contact your local government. Additional state support for hobby education and hobby activities for local governments allows the local government to compensate for tuition fees.

SUMMER CAMPS AND WORK CAMPS

When can youth summer camps and work camps start?

From June 12.

How many young people can participate in one group or exchange?

There can be a maximum of 20 young people in one group and the maximum number of participants in one camp is 300 young people.

How to ensure that a sick person does not end up in a camp?

Young people or staff with symptoms must not participate in a camp. If a young person or a worker has been in contact with someone with COVID-19 symptoms (or similar) in the last 14 days, they should not go to camp.
Do the staff and participants have to wear a mask?

Wearing a mask is optional. 

What to consider when organising camps?

Camps must not be attended by people with any symptoms. Rooms, work surfaces and objects must be cleaned and disinfected daily and rooms must be ventilated regularly. Participants and staff must be informed, instructed and monitored about compliance with general hygiene requirements. Facilities for hand washing and disinfection must also be provided.

How to arrange accommodation and catering?

If possible, young people from different groups should be placed in separate buildings.

Catering should follow normal food handling requirements.
 
How to ensure general hygiene in the camp?

Hand washing must be organised both before and after program activities, in the work camp both before and after work.

How often should disinfection be carried out in the camp premises?

The organiser of each camp develops the procedure for disinfection based on the recommendations of the Health Board. Recommendations can be found here.

Can young people in the camp exchange things between each other?

No. Everyone must have their own personal belongings with them to prevent the possible transmission of the virus by exchanging or borrowing things. We ask the organisers to talk to the parents so that they can give the young people all the necessary things that may be needed in the camp. Every young person should definitely have their own drink bottle, which they must not be borrowed to anyone else.

Can the camp organiser check the health of the participants?

The organiser of the camp may check the participants' body temperature as well as other symptoms of the disease both on admission to the camp and during their stay. If participants or employees develop symptoms of the disease, the person should be isolated and, if necessary, the work reorganised. The organiser is obliged to think through and prepare an action plan in case of symptoms of the disease appear.

Can there be a gathering of youth work camps?

Meetings of young people can take place in full from September 1, if the situation allows. Meetings of different work camp groups (up to 200 young people) are allowed from July 1.

YOUTH CENTRES

How many people can be in a youth center at one time?

Restrictions applicable from 1 June:

  • Indoor activities are allowed, if the occupancy of the room does not exceed 50%, but no more than 100 people can be together.
  • Outdoor activities can be carried out with up to 100 participants.

Restrictions applicable from 1 July:

  • Indoor activities are allowed, if the occupancy of the room does not exceed 50%, but no more than 500 people may be together.
  • Activities with up to 1000 participants can be carried out outdoors.

The 2+2 rule must still be followed, unless this cannot be reasonably guaranteed. We recommend that young people be informed that the number of people in a youth center at one time is limited.

How to avoid a situation where young people come to an unannounced youth center?

Youth workers at the youth center must inform young people and parents about the restrictions that the youth centre has set in order to track the number of young people in the youth center and compliance with safety requirements. We recommend pre-booking tims for young people as a way to meet safety requirements.

What if it is impossible to meet safety requirements at the youth centre?


If the youth centre is not able to meet the necessary safety requirements, then it cannot offer contact youth work and must continue with mobile / digital youth work. If the requirements can be met outdoors, the youth center may only offer activities to young people in its outdoor area.

What to do if a youth worker or young person is in the risk group?

The youth centre must minimise the exposure of people at risk to young people and other staff. Unless absolutely necessary, we recommend that youth workers and young people at risk do not participate in contact youth work. When working, it is recommended that a youth worker in a risk group ensure the use of protective masks. The local government ensures that the youth center is provided with personal protective equipment.

What should I do if a person who has recently been at the centre is confirmed with the COVID-19 virus?

If the diagnosis of COVID-19 is confirmed, the youth centre where the young person or youth worker with a positive diagnosis of COVID-19 has been must be closed immediately. All surfaces (including door handles, dustbins, tapware, tables, etc.) must be disinfected. Recommendations for cleaning and disinfection of the Health Board can be found here. The premises may be opened in 48 hours after the closure of the premises, provided that at least 6 hours have elapsed since the premises were properly disinfected. If it is not possible to identify surfaces and rooms that may have been contaminated with COVID-19, the building must be closed for 72 hours. When the premises of open youth centres are closed, youth work can still continue - activities take place using various virtual opportunities.

How to make sure that the family of the young person has not been in contact with an infected person?

Youth workers must receive confirmation when communicating with the young person and his or her parents. If there is a reason to believe that the young person has been in contact with the sick person, the youth worker has the right to ask the young person not to participate in the contact activities of the youth center.

PRESCHOOLS 

How is the work organised in preschools after 15 May?

The opening and organisation of work of preschools is decided by the manager. At the request of parents, the local government must ensure that all children of 1,5-7 years of age who live in the municipality can attend preschool. At least one of the parents must be a resident of the municipality. The local government may, with the consent of the parent, replace the preschool service (child of 1,5-3 three years of age) with a childcare service.

Events and visits to preschools must be avoided. The graduation ceremony can take place, preferably outdoors, if the restrictions and safety measures are followed, including ensuring the smallest possible number of participants (eg by group, limited number of relatives, etc.).

The preschool in co-operation with the manager shall organise the procurement of the necessary personal protective equipment.

The Health Board has sent instructions, which must be followed in order to protect the health of children and staff. It provides instructions on all the measures to be taken in preschools.

Can all children go to preschool on May 15?

Preschool service must be guaranteed for everyone, but we recommend, who have the possibility, to leave their children at home. Children, parents and staff with symptoms must not be accepted. The teacher has the right and obligation to send away a person with symptoms. As a rule, COVID-19 is very mild in children and therefore care should be taken when monitoring children's health and identifying symptoms.

How many children can be in one group?

In the opinion of the Health Board, the composition of the usual kindergarten groups can be restored if necessary. However, it should be borne in mind that if there is a sudden increase in the morbidity rate again, the restrictions may change. However, we recommend all parents, who have the opportunity, to leave their children at home. Children, parents and staff with symptoms must not be accepted.

If there are joint groups (e.g. joint groups of younger and older children), the children of the same group must be joined at all times so that the circle of close contacts of the children should be as constant as possible.
Do preschools have to follow the 2+2 rule?

No. The government decree says that 2+2 must be followed unless it cannot be reasonably guaranteed. It is not reasonably guaranteed in the work of the preschool.

Do children and teachers have to wear a mask?

The Health Board has said that it is not necessary to wear a mask in kindergarten. However, if wearing a mask gives the worker a sense of security, he or she has the right to wear a mask in the work environment.

Are children allowed to go outside?

In preschools, which have their own playground or outdoor area, it is recommended that children stay in the fresh air as much as possible, including organising outdoor learning if possible. If the preschool does not have their own playground or garden the preschool must ensure the safety of children and staff when going outside (including avoiding close contact with other people). Contact between different groups in the outdoor area must be avoided.

Can learning activities be organised with children from several groups at the same time?

Educational and other activities involving children from several groups at the same time (e.g. joint song or dance lessons) should be avoided. Activities must be organised in smaller groups where contacts are kept unchanged.

Can preschools organise their work in joint groups?

If the need for child care service in the area is small, the service is guaranteed to all those who need it and the manager decides so together with the council, the work can be organised in joint groups. It is important that the composition of the groups remains as unchanged as possible.

Can the preschool charge the parent for the period during which the service was not provided or the service was not used?

In the case of a municipal preschool, the decision is made by the local government. In the case of private preschool, charging the tuition fee depends on the agreement between the institution, the parent and the respective local government.

What about issuing school readiness cards this year. Is it possible to start school readiness tests in pre-schools after 15 May or will the cards not be issued this year?

The assessment of children's development takes place in accordance to the national curriculum of the pre-school childcare institution and the curriculum of the pre-school throughout the school year. School readiness cards can be drawn up by teachers based on the collected children's work and developmental assessment materials. If necessary, it is possible to organise individual development interviews with parents and children.

Many pre-schools use electronic learning environments (Eliis, e-pre-school) to issue school readiness cards.

GENERAL EDUCATION

How has the work of general education schools been organised after 15 May?

From 15 May schools can:

  • assess students' progress;
  • if necessary, help students who were not so well suited to distance learning;
  • organise project training (solving problems that require reading, research, testing);
  • conduct development interviews;
  • make summaries of the academic year;
  • prepare for exams.
     

How is it decided, which students will be admitted to school after 15 May?

Contact learning in schools after 15 May is still exceptional and is intended in particular to:

  • 12th grade graduates;
  • 9th grade graduates who need to take entrance exams in upper secondary school;
  • Students in need of additional support, ie for whom distance learning has not given the desired results.

As a summary of the distance learning period, we recommend conducting a development assessment, if necessary, a (virtual) development interview with students and parents to help students, to identify development needs and to support progress. As a result, students who need more support can also be selected, if necessary through contact learning.

Will lessons resume according to the timetable after May 15?

It is important that the student knows what activities are in his / her study day. The optimal organisation of studies is determined by each school, taking into account the needs of both students and teachers, as well as the general restrictions and rules in force.

Schools will retain the right to continue distance learning beyond 15 May if deemed necessary, reasonable and possible. The possibilities of the school as well as the needs of students and teachers must be taken into account. Additional support must be provided for those who need it. When organising teaching as distance learning, we recommend to follow the centrally agreed bases of the school.

Educational technologists provide advice on organising e-learning. Additional information: https://www.hitsa.ee/e-ope-korduma-kippuvad-kusimused.

What to do if the school thinks the child needs contact education, but the parents do not allow the child to go to school?

Parents' fears are understandable. In such cases, we recommend finding a solution that is suitable for all parties, for example, to continue teaching remotely, but to increase the teacher's individual support, to involve special education teachers if necessary, etc.

Do the national standard-determining tests take place?

There will be no national standard-determining tests this academic year, but Innove offers e-tests for 6th graders in mathematics, Estonian (also as a second language) and Russian (mother tongue), which teachers can use as study material from 20 May. These tests are a self-assessment tools for students and teachers. The tests provide an overview of which topics or competencies need to be worked on with students and which are already very successful. Students are not graded for these tests.

Does the curriculum have to be completed by 15 May?

The curriculum does not have to be completed by 15 May. The learning objectives planned for the academic year must be achieved by the end of the school year.

Will the current situation affect the summer holidays?

As the studies are not cancelled but organised from distance, the current situation does not affect the holidays. If there are any changes to this, the Ministry will keep you updated.  

Will students receive a graduation certificate this year?

Students receive a graduation certificate, where the results can be both numerical and formative ("passed / not passed"). How exactly a student's progress is assessed is up to the school to decide and must be determined in the school curriculum.

If students have unsatisfactory grades in previous trimesters, can additional study be done after June 10 or should it begin on May 15?

According to § 22(9) of the National Basic School Curriculum, additional studies should take place after the end of the last quarter of studies. The board of teachers decides whether to leave the student for additional studies in the summer. The school must respond to the student's educational needs immediately and provide support to achieve learning outcomes when problems arise, so there should not be many students who need additional study in June. On May 15, we recommend helping more intensively those students who have not achieved the required learning outcomes. The learning objectives planned for the academic year must be achieved by the end of the study period. If this cannot be done during the study period, the opportunity for additional studies can be used.

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.

How is it ensured that distant learning produces the same results as contact learning? Will the criteria for basic school 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.

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.

VOCATIONAL EDUCATION

How is the organised in vocational schools after 15 May?


The organisation of vocational education is very flexible, both the admission of students and the graduation from school take place throughout the year. Therefore, from May 15, schools will organise their studies based on how the goals of the academic year have been achieved and the possibilities of organising studies, internship and qualification exams.

In the case of theoretical studies and internship in school buildings, there can be up to 10 students in the room, taking into account the restrictions in force. The school decides on the organisation of educational activities on a case-by-case basis. When organising studies in school buildings, intersections of activities and traffic routes are avoided, following safety requirements. Learning activities should be spread over rooms and lesson times, avoiding contact between large groups.

Students doing internship have been guaranteed the opportunity to stay in school dormitories throughout the emergency situation. When contact studies resume, accommodation in dormitories is possible subject to the restrictions currently in force.

Can a vocational school send students to internships abroad?

The school must not organise 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 / dormitory have to do?

When contact studies resume, accommodation in dormitories is possible subject to the restrictions currently in force.

During the emergency situation, many curricula do not offer theoretical teaching and practice, and schools want to organise teaching and internship in the summer to make up for lost time. Is it possible to postpone studies to summer?

Continuing studies during the summer will give students the opportunity to complete their studies as soon as possible and enter the labour 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.

Each vocational school has the right to decide when the study takes place and when the holidays are in accordance with the provision §27 of the Vocational Education Institutions Act (the academic year begins on 1 September and ends on 31 August of the following year).

Thus, the organisation of studies is regulated at the school level and the vocational education institution has the right to make changes in its regulations and to organise studies also in summer. To this end, schools must amend the study organisation documents that regulate study periods in the school year, including, of course, the internship organisation plan, which is approved by the school council.

If a student does not agree to participate in studies during the study period established by the school, he or she has the opportunity to stay on academic leave or interrupt his or her studies.

In the current situation, we recommend that vocational education institutions:

  • Students on vocational secondary education curricula and for students under the age of 20 (e.g. students with special educational needs) to organise studies in the summer of 2020 only with the prior agreement of teachers, students and parents.
  • In the case of adult learners, organise studies and internships in the summer if possible.

Is the student obliged to pay the rent of the dormitory during the distance learning period?

It depends on the terms of the contract between the student and the institution or service provider. If the service provider allows you to live in the dormitory, there is no reason to refuse to pay the rent.

HIGHER EDUCATION

After May 15, contact learning may partially be resumed. How to organise it?

We recommend using distance learning opportunities as much as possible until the end of the academic year. However, from May 15 contact learning may be arranged individually or in groups of up to ten if teaching is organised as dispersedly as possible, following the 2+2 rule if possible. We recommend that students and teachers belonging to risk groups refrain from contact learning.

From 1 June:

  • Indoor activities are permitted if the occupancy of the room does not exceed 50%, but no more than 100 people may be together.
  • Outdoor activities can be carried out with up to 100 participants.

From 1 July:

  • Indoor activities are permitted  if the occupancy of the room does not exceed 50%, but no more than 500 people may be present together.
  • Activities with up to 1000 participants can be carried out outdoors.

Universities are autonomous in their decisions. We recommend following the information on the website of each specific university and to contact the lecturer, the program manager and / or the study department directly with specific questions and problems.

Restrictions do not apply to the organisation of research and development activities of universities and research institutions.

Is the student obliged to pay the rent of the dormitory during the distance learning period?

It depends on the terms of the contract between the student and the institution or service provider. If the service provider allows you to live in the dormitory, there is no reason to refuse to pay the rent.

SPECIAL NEEDS EDUCATION

How is learning organised in SEN schools?

In institutions where full transition to distance learning is not possible, the studies are organised 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. Students who are ill should not be allowed into school.

The Ministry of Education and Research is in regular contact with the SEN schools. Parents will get information from the school.

How is the development of knowledge of SEN students monitored? How are students assessed? Are absences taken into account? How to ensure that students will not fall behind in the curriculum?

The organisation 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 remotely. The school organises the details of the study (including assessment). Absences are not marked in the usual way. The school and teachers organise and monitor the study progress. Well-organised 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.

A Facebook group „Kodune kaugõpe HEV lastele“ has been created to support parents and educators of children with special needs. The group shares good recommendations for successful distance learning.

Financial support for the parent of a child with special needs

The purpose of the parental allowance for a child with special needs is to provide a replacement income for a parent who, due to the emergency situation, must be temporarily absent from work due to raising a child with special needs. Read more on the website of the Social Insurance Board.

ADULT EDUCATION

When can adult education courses be fully restored?

From 15 May, contact studies can be gradually resumed. 

From 1 June:

  • Indoor activities are permitted if the occupancy of the room does not exceed 50%, but no more than 100 people may be together.
  • Outdoor activities can be carried out with up to 100 participants.

From 1 July:

  • Indoor activities are permitted  if the occupancy of the room does not exceed 50%, but no more than 500 people may be present together.
  • Activities with up to 1000 participants can be carried out outdoors.

When organising contact studies, it is necessary to avoid the simultaneous meeting of groups of a certain size in cross-used rooms (for example, in corridors, coffee corners, etc.). The requirements established by the Health Board must be followed. We recommend not to start contact training with students belonging to the risk group (elderly, pregnant, chronically ill).

Certainly those who have symptoms, have been in a risk area or have been in contact with an infected person should not participate.

Draw participants 'and employees' attention to measures that prevent the spread of the virus. Think about the health and well-being of both participants and teachers. The recommendations of the Ministry of Education and Research for organising studies for adults can be found here (in Estonian).

Can I continue my studies at the driving school?

Pursuant to the decision of the Government of the Republic, as of 7 May, driving schools are permitted to organize driving lessons for motor vehicle drivers, drivers and drivers transporting dangerous goods, if special restrictions are followed.

Only a teacher and one student with no symptoms of COVID-19 can take part in the driving lesson. The vehicle must have a hand sanitizer. After each driving lesson, the instructor must clean the surfaces that the student has touched. If desired, the student and teacher can wear personal protective equipment, such as a protective mask or visor, while driving.

Do learners and trainers have to wear masks during their studies? Who provides personal protective equipment?

The educational institution has no direct obligation to provide protective masks for all students and staff. The restrictions and requirements of the Health Board must be followed. In co-operation with the students, it is necessary to ensure compliance with the established health protection rules and, if this is not possible, to organise the learning remotely. It is important to follow universal recommendations, including providing disinfectants, ventilating rooms, disinfecting surfaces, and maintaining the recommended distance. Exposure of people at risk to other learners should be minimised.

I am studying at an adult education institution, due to the crisis my studies were discontinued. Do I have the right to get my tuition back?

If the manager of the adult education institution has not provided distance learning, the institution should be contacted first. It is important to review the contract. In addition, the bases of study organisation should be examined, which regulate, among other things, the procedure for payment and refund of tuition fees. If the manager of the institution does not fulfill the concluded training contract or carry out the training, the student has the right to terminate the contract under the conditions provided in the training contract.

TEACHERS, LECTURERS, STAFF

Do teachers have to work from home during the distance learning period?

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 at least until May 15. 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 organised and/or made compulsory for teachers to attend in person.

How to regulate teachers' workload when both contact and distance learning are needed at the same time?

The specific study organisation is up to the school to decide, but it is definitely necessary to cooperate with the school manager, students and parents. Contact learning in small groups should be based primarily on the needs of the students, but also on the possibilities of the school. In any case, the achievement of the goals of the academic year must be ensured. If necessary, the school must provide adequate support for students for whom distance learning is more difficult or who need support in preparing for exams.

Once the objectives of the academic year in the subject have been achieved, we recommend that students who do not need additional help and assistance be offered independent activities in a more free form that support the achievement of the objectives of the general part of the curriculum. For example, project training to solve problems that require reading, research, experimentation, virtual museum and concert visits, etc., repetition of what has been learned during distance learning, making summaries. While the rest of the students are doing independent tasks, the teacher can help those who need them individually. Also when giving independent assignments, we recommend setting a certain time during the day when students can contact the teacher if necessary.

How to ensure the safety and security of teachers and staff at risk when contact learning resumes?

The organisation of studies is up to the school, but the participation of students and teachers in the risk group in contact learning should be avoided and, if necessary, other solutions should be found to support students in need of additional support, such as continuing studies from distance and/or involve support specialists if necessary.

Do school staff and students have to wear protective masks?

The recommendations of a government committee and the Health Board must be followed. The educational institution has no direct obligation to ensure the existence of protective masks. It is important to follow universal recommendations, including providing sufficient disinfectants at school and maintaining the recommended distance.

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 the 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, 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 apply for 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+ AND  THE EUROPEAN SOLIDARITY CORPS PROGRAM

For questions concerning Erasmus + and European Solidarity Corps projects, please follow the information on the Archimedes Foundation's website or contact your contractual contact person at the Foundation.

FOR PARTICIPANTS IN THE HORISONT 2020 RESEARCH PROGRAM

Are H2020 projects going forward?

The projects will continue until otherwise stated.

  • Information on postponed or canceled events and calls for proposals can be found on the ETAg H2020 page.
  • The ETAg COVID-19 newsletter can be found here.

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: 30 June 2020