General education, vocational education, higher education

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If you have any questions for the Ministry of Education and Research, please contact info@hm.ee.

From 18 August the information lines of the Ministry of Education and Research are again open on 5690 0353 and 5690 0340.

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

Last updated: 14.09.2020 10:52

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The school year is starting as normally as possible. The government decided on 18 August to remove restrictions on educational institutions and to replace them from the new school year with the recommendations issued jointly by the Ministry of Education and Research and the Health Board. This decision applies to general education schools, professional and high schools, institutions for further learning, hobby schools, public youth centres, youth camps, educational camps, and training for car drivers and heavy vehicle drivers. The decision removes from these places of education the requirement for rooms to be filled to a maximum 50% capacity.

The management of each educational institution needs to consider how best to minimise the risks of the spread of the coronavirus while providing contact classes for as long as possible for pupils in the 1st to 6th year and pupils who need support.

The key points to remember are:

  • Wash hands regularly and keep good hand hygiene
  • Anyone who is ill or has come into contact with covid-19 must stay at home
  • It is critically important to reduce contact in schools by having separate classrooms for each class, holding classes outside, using some distance learning where necessary, and organising break times carefully
  • Events should be organised in dispersed fashion with smaller groups, and international events and foreign trips should be postponed
  • Protective equipment is very important and personal protective equipment should be supplied by the management of the institution where needed.

Protective measures and equipment are intended to avoid educational institutions going over to full distance learning. Work will be reorganised first at the level of groups or classes, then buildings, institutions or regions, in response to the specific case and the spread of the epidemic in the region.

If the risk of infection rises, educational institution should be ready to move over to distance learning. It is important to maintain and develop the capacity for distance learning throughout the academic year. It should be remembered that there will probably constantly be some pupils and teachers who have to spend some time in self-isolation and study and learn at a distance.

Last updated: 14.09.2020 10:50

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Educational institutions are very strongly recommended to organise their learning and other activities in ways that reduce contact between people.

A system where classrooms are designated to classes rather than teachers can be used, holding more classes outside may be considered, and if necessary there could be a partial move to distance learning on certain days or for some subjects. It could for example be planned that older classes will use e-learning once a week.

We also recommend that lunch breaks, PE classes and similar are organised so that contact between groups is minimised.

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

If the risk of the virus increases and it becomes necessary to disperse pupils even more, we recommend that older classes move over to the full distance learning. Younger classes that continue contact teaching can then be dispersed more around the buildings. It is recommended that contact teaching is continued for as long as possible in the first and second levels of basic school and for pupils who need support.

Last updated: 14.09.2020 10:51

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Schools can hold ceremonies, excursions and other events, but should consider whether they are really necessary and should consider the possible risks. It is recommended that events are dispersed and held in smaller groups. The importance of washing hands must be remembered and anyone who is ill must stay at home.

School trips and excursions should be organised for classes or groups separately. It is very important when organising any event that everyone in the contact group should be informed of any case of illness.

It is recommended that trips abroad and international events be postponed.

It is not prohibited to invite guests to events, but we recommend considering very carefully how this can be done safely where necessary.

As of 18 August 2020 the requirement not to exceed 50% of the capacity of internal rooms and the restrictions on the number of participants no longer applies in schools, secondary schools, vocational schools or tertiary institutions, nor in other education institutions, hobby groups, public youth centres, youth camps or educational camps. The restrictions do not apply to hobby activities or informal education either.

The requirements placed by the government are replaced by the recommendations on preventing the spread of the virus, issued jointly by the Ministry of Education and Research and the Health Board. The recommendations can be found at https://www.hm.ee/sites/default/files/htm_koolialgusepakett_a4_2020-2021_viimane.pdf

Last updated: 08.09.2020 16:43

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In the context of the spread of the coronavirus, it is recommended to cancel international events and trips abroad. Both the risk of infection and possible physical travel restrictions must be taken into account.

If, despite the risks, a trip is organised, it must be borne in mind that after arriving from a country with an infection rate of 16 or higher, students must remain in self-isolation for two weeks.

Last updated: 14.09.2020 10:52

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Anyone coming from a foreign country where the infection rate is 16 or more must usually spend two weeks in self-isolation. The educational institution should be informed of the need for self-isolation and it should be agreed that distance learning will be followed. Educational institutions have the right to require students coming from countries with an elevated infection risk to follow distance learning.

Coronavirus tests at the border and the repeat test seven days later to reduce the length of self-isolation are intended to help people return to work more quickly. Students may also be tested at the border, but a negative result in the first test does not give the right to return to the educational institution immediately. If the result of a second test taken at least seven days after the first is also negative, this is considered equivalent to the two-week period of self-isolation.

People who can reduce their period of self-isolation by taking a test are:

  • People who have Estonian citizenship, an Estonian residence permit or the right to reside in Estonia, and people whose permanent residence is listed as being in Estonia in the population register;
  • Citizens of European Union countries and countries on the joint European Union list.

The reduction in self-isolation granted by testing does not apply to people who have come to work or study from a country that is not on the European Union's joint list of third countries. Citizens of those countries must still spend two weeks observing the restrictions on freedom of movement and abide by any other requirements set For students or workers.

For more on testing see the website of the Health Board.

Up-to-date information on countries and on restrictions on movement for those arriving in Estonia can be found on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs https://vm.ee/en/information-countries-and-self-isolation-requirements-passengers.

Last updated: 08.10.2020 11:31

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It is not compulsory to wear protective masks. It is recommended that students and teachers in risk groups wear protective masks in schools.

The school organises the supply of personal protection equipment where needed, working with the school management. The local authorities supply personal protection equipment for youth centres in response to the needs of young people and staff in the centre.

Last updated: 14.09.2020 11:07

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

As the threat of the virus increases, it must be borne in mind that, in order to spare at-risk students and teachers, they must be able to work in the safest possible conditions, which may also mean working remotely.

Last updated: 14.09.2020 11:12

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Internships and work experience organised by vocational education institutions cannot be replaced by independent work at home. If practical work experience can be organised, it should be done.

Work experience and practical work should be directed and feedback given in a safe environment.

If it is not possible to do practical work in a company because the company has ceased activities or temporarily reorganised its work, or for some other reason, the student cannot do their practical work experience. Discussions about ending the practical work or finding possible alternatives should involve all three parties, the company, the student and the school.

Last updated: 14.09.2020 11:07

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The Ministry of Education and Research advises against foreign travel. The risks are not only of the spread of the virus but also of restrictions on movement or travel. If the student has already left for their traineeship in a foreign country, then upon their return they will have to observe the rules for staying at home.

Last updated: 04.09.2020 22:06

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It is allowed to stay in dormitories or student homes, but good hand washing and hygiene must be followed, close contact must be limited and all restrictions and safety recommendations must be followed.

Last updated: 14.09.2020 10:52

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The obligation to self-isolate does not apply to a person, whose immediate family members include those who have arrived from a country with a high infection rate, or who have come into contact with a person who has been in close contact with someone infected with COVID-19.

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

Last updated: 14.09.2020 10:53

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The person who falls ill should inform the management of the institution. A pupil who falls ill should tell their teacher or the school nurse, who will inform the management. The parents of the pupil will be informed of their illness.

The person who is ill will be isolated from everyone else in an appropriate room. They will be given a surgical mask, and it is important to make sure that the mask is fitted correctly. If their illness evidently becomes worse, an emergency call should be made to 112.

To prevent the spread of covid-19, it is important that anyone who is ill, or the parent or guardian of a pupil who is ill, inform the educational institution if the diagnosis of covid-19 is confirmed. The institution will then inform members of the class or group and their parents. This must be handled delicately, without naming the pupil who is ill or giving out of the details that could identify them.

The regional branch of the Health Board will contact the educational institution and inform them of the confirmed diagnosis and identify the contacts of the person who is ill. The institution and the school nurse will help with this.

People who have been in contact with the infected person will remain at home for 14 days. Distance learning will be organised during this time. Those in isolation may not participate in hobby groups, or go to shopping centres or anywhere else.

The other pupils in the school will continue as normal, while monitoring their own health. If symptoms appear, they should contact their family doctor at once.

Last updated: 14.09.2020 10:58

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The Health Board and the management of the institution decide about closing any educational institution.

Closure generally means that classes will continue through distance learning. If a local spread of covid-19 has been discovered in the region of the educational institution, directions on how to act will be issued by the Health Board in accordance with the local circumstances of the epidemic. If it proves necessary to close the institution, this will probably be done in stages, starting with older pupils who can cope better with distance learning.

The Communicable Diseases Prevention and Control Act states that the Health Board decides on the danger of the spread of an epidemic illness. It also states that the managers of schools and child care institutions may temporarily close the institutions that they run, coordinating this with the Health Board.

On top of closing educational institutions temporarily, the Health Board also has the right to require disinfection or cleaning to be carried out and health tests to be carried out on people so that infectious diseases may be diagnosed. If the introduction of measures and restrictions has a significant social or economic impact, they are introduced by order of the government.

Last updated: 14.09.2020 11:02

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More information about the coronavirus and restrictions related to it is available calling 1247 (from abroad +372 600 1247).