General education, vocational education, higher education

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If you have any questions in the field of education, please contact:

  • the Ministry of Education and Research, information tel No. 5690 0353 and 5690 0340.

  • e-mail: info@hm.ee

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.

Educational advisers at Rajaleidja programme of the Education and Youth Board provide advice to schools, support specialists, and parents on how to support children in the current rapidly changing situation, whether it is a matter of teaching or mental health:

  • by phone 7350750 (weekdays from 12.00 to 16.00)
  • by e-mail distantsope@harno.ee

Last updated: 15.12.2020 13:29

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Until March 28, 2021 (included), the general education schools, vocational schools and institutions of higher education will be conducting distance learning.

The restrictions do not apply to:

  • the students in grades 1 to 4;
  • providing educational support services and consultations, doing practical studies or taking exams, participating in Olympiads.

These conditions are not applied to general education schools where the majority of students are receiving enhanced or special support, or to the activities of people with disabilities.

It must be ensured that students are spread out in the school buildings and classrooms, and outside of classrooms up to two persons my stay and move around together, keeping a distance of at least 2 metres with others, unless these conditions cannot be reasonably ensured. The availability of disinfectants and following the disinfections rules must be ensured in accordance with the guidelines of the Health Board.

Last updated: 25.02.2021 18:03

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Educational institutions are very strongly recommended to organise their learning and other activities in ways that reduce contacts between people. It is important to keep in mind that reducing contacts should also be a priority for educational workers and other staff.

For instance, in order to disperse students, a system where classrooms are designated to classes rather than teachers can be used, holding more classes outdoors or doing partial distance learning (e.g. by days, in some subjects) etc.

We also recommend that lunch recesses, PE classes and similar are organised in a way that would reduce contacts between groups.

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

If the risk of the virus increases and it becomes necessary to disperse students even more, we recommend that older grades move over to the full distance learning. Younger grades that continue contact learning can then be dispersed more within the building. It is recommended that contact learning is continued for as long as possible in younger stages of study, students who need support and students in final grades.

Last updated: 25.01.2021 11:22

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When organising school trips and other events outside of the educational institution, it is important to remember that reducing contacts between people is currently a priority. If an event is held after all, it should be organised in a way that it brings together the students that come into daily contact in school hours anyway. We recommend organising events virtually or in a dispersed manner in smaller groups, e.g. by class or group. It is also obligatory to follow the rules in place in visited locations.

Upon organising any kind of an event, it is important to make sure that it would be possible to establish the circle of close contacts, should anybody fall ill.

An overview of the restrictions for educational activities can be found from the website of the Ministry of Education and Research.

Last updated: 25.01.2021 11:23

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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 traveling cannot be avoided, a possible self-isolation must be taken into account, both at the destination country and upon returning to Estonia.

Last updated: 30.10.2020 17:18

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Updated information about countries and mobility restrictions for people arriving in Estonia is available at the home page of the [Ministry of Foreign Affairs.]https://vm.ee/en/information-countries-and-self-isolation-requirements-passengers)

People returning form at-risk countries need to remain in self-isolation for 10 days. The isolation period can be reduced by testing for coronavirus for:

  • people who have Estonian citizenship, an Estonian residence permit or the right of residence 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.

In order to reduce the 10-day self-isolation period, the first coronavirus test has to be taken upon entering Estonia, and the second test must be taken no earlier than on the sixth day following the results of the previous test. In order to reduce the isolation period, both test results must be negative.

The first negative test result does not give the right to immediately return to the educational institution. If the result of a second test taken no sooner than 7 days after the first test is also negative, this is considered equivalent to the 10-day period of self-isolation and the student can return to school.

For people who have come to work or study from third countries outside the EU joint list, it is not possible to reduce the isolation period by taking the test. Citizens of those countries must restrict their freedom of movement for 10 days and follow other requirements in place specifically for students and workers.

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

Starting from February 2, there is a derogation from having to self-isolate as a close contact for people who have been vaccinated against or had the coronavirus within the last six months. As an exception, the requirement to stay in a place of residence or a permanent place of stay for 10 days, and the testing requirements are not applied to a person who crosses the border into Estonia having had the coronavirus within the past six months and been declared recovered by a doctor, or having been vaccinated against the coronavirus within the past six months. This person must still adhere to the restrictions in force in Estonia and follow all measures that have been enacted to stop the spread of the virus.

Last updated: 31.01.2021 10:50

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Currently there is no national obligation to wear a mask in educational institutions, however, we recommend using a mask, if possible.

In regions and institutions where the obligation to wear a mask applies, the restriction does not apply to children under the age of 12 or to people who cannot wear the mask due to health reasons, or due to the nature of the activity or other significant reasons.

The school organises the procurement of the necessary personal protective equipment in cooperation with the school administrator. The provision of personal protective equipment to youth centres is ensured by the local government, depending on the needs of the youth centres, young people, and the employees at the centre.

Last updated: 11.01.2021 14:19

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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. In order to find the best solutions, you must consult with your educational institution/employer.

Last updated: 25.01.2021 11:22

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Consult with your educational institution and place of internship about conducting internships in the company. If conducting the internship is not possible (due to the suspension of the company's activities, the restructuring of temporary work tasks or other), the student cannot participate in the practical work or internship.

The premises used for study activities must ensure the availability of disinfectants and compliance with the disinfection requirements in accordance with the instructions of the Estonian Health Board.

During the period of distance learning, presence in the educational facility is allowed to students who need educational support services, students who need additional consultations to achieve the learning outcomes, students performing practical tasks, taking exams, participating in Olympiads competitions or tests.

Schools where the majority of students receive enhanced or special support, and boarding school facilities also remain open during this period.

  • Up to two people may be together in the rooms used for educational activities, keeping a distance of at least two meters with others, unless this cannot be reasonably ensured.

  • People using the premises for educational purposes must wear a mask. The obligation to wear a mask does not extend children under the age of 12 or people who cannot wear the mask due to health considerations or the nature of the activity, or other substantial reasons.

Last updated: 25.01.2021 11:22

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The Ministry of Education and Research recommends cancelling trips abroad. The risks are connected not only with the spread of the virus but also with possible restrictions on movement and traveling. If the student has already left for their traineeship in a foreign country, they are going to have to observe the rules for isolation upon their return.

Last updated: 30.10.2020 17:18

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In students housing facilities it is recommended to keep distance. For example, up to two persons can be together, keeping at least two metres from other people, except for families, or in the event that these conditions cannot be reasonably guaranteed. We recommend avoiding gatherings of people.

Last updated: 12.12.2020 18:43

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The obligation to self-isolate does not apply to a person whose immediate family members include those who have returned from a travel within the last 10 days, or who have come into contact with a person who has been in close contact with someone infected with COVID-19.

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: 03.11.2020 11:19

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

The sick person will be isolated from everyone else in an appropriate room. They will be provided with 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 student who is ill, inform the educational institution if their diagnosis of COVID-19 is confirmed. The institution will then inform members of the class or group (and their parents). This must be handled carefully, without naming the student who has fallen ill or providing any other details which would lead to identification of the sick student.

The regional branch of the Estonian Health Board will contact the educational institution and inform them of the confirmed diagnosis and identify the persons who have been in close contact with the infected person. The institution and the school nurse will provide their assistance.

People who have been in close contact with the infected person will remain at self-isolation for 10 days. Distance learning will be organised for this time period. Quarantined persons cannot attend any hobby classes, go to shopping centres, etc. The Health Board recommends that a close contact do a test after the end of the 10 calendar day quarantine period, in order to discover a possible case of asymptomatic coronavirus.

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

Starting from February 2, there is a derogation from having to quarantine as a close contact for people who have been vaccinated against or had the coronavirus within the last six months. A person who has had the coronavirus or is vaccinated against it must still wear a mask indoors during the next 10 days or cover their nose and mouth if they have been a close contact. The obligation to wear a mask does not extend to children under the age of 12 or if wearing a mask is not possible due to health considerations, the nature of the work or activities, or for some other substantial reason. Additionally, an asymptomatic close contact who has had the coronavirus or is vaccinated against it must monitor their health closely during the next 10 days and follow the measures enacted by the government and the Health Board to stop the spread of the virus. Following the measures is necessary as there is still very little scientific information on how probable it is that people who have had the coronavirus or are vaccinated against it can still get infected with or spread COVID-19.

Last updated: 03.02.2021 14:53

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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 -- primarily older learners 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 of the Republic.

The school still has the jurisdiction over decisions regarding how the provision of education is organised. In a situation where contact learning has been reintroduced with a decision of the government, the return to distance learning must be substantiated and cannot be done lightly. For instance, to send a whole educational institution or the majority of the student body to distance learning in order to protect health and safety, the corresponding basis has to be in the rules of procedure of the school. The local municipality does not have the jurisdiction to decide over whether a school goes to distance learning.

Neither the Ministry of Education and Research, nor educational institutions are experts in health protection, so we ask that you keep in mind that going to distance learning for health protection reasons must be based on the Health Board's written assessment of the spread of the virus.

Last updated: 25.01.2021 11:22

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If symptoms of an acute upper respiratory virus (cough, runny nose, throat ache, general poorly feeling, unusual tiredness) occur, a person must stay at home immediately and contact a family health center or the family doctor advice line 1220 at the first chance to get further instructions.

It is allowed to go to school with a slight cold or cough if the student has recovered from some seasonal infection, his general condition is good but a slight leftover cold or coughing persist. If it is not clear whether the condition is infectious or non-infectious, a family health center needs to be consulted.

Last updated: 30.10.2020 17:17

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It is allowed to go to an educational institution with a slight cold or cough if the person has recovered from some seasonal infection, his general condition is good but a slight leftover cold or coughing persist. If it is not clear whether the condition is infectious or non-infectious, a family health center needs to be consulted.

Last updated: 30.10.2020 17:17

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Chronic diseases like asthma or allergies can cause a runny nose or a cough but generally don't necessitate staying home. As a rule, these kinds of chronic diseases are previously known and, if necessary, a parent can issue a statement confirming that the child's symptoms are not infectious. A medical certificate is not issued for a presentation of a chronic disease.

The sense of responsibility of all persons is of utmost importance and this includes guaranteeing that a child or an adult with a chronic disease is not discriminated because of their disease.

Last updated: 30.10.2020 17:17

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A worker who has fallen ill must inform the leadership of the institution. A student who has fallen ill must turn to a teacher or a school nurse who will inform the leadership of the institution of the child's condition. The student's parents are informed of the student having fallen ill. Depending on the age of the child, the he is either sent home or is isolated from others in a room suitable for this under the supervision of a teacher/school nurse until a parent arrives.

The student who has fallen ill and the adult dealing with him are given a surgical mask. It is important to make sure that the mask is placed properly. If the ill person's health condition becomes dangerous (quickly rising fever, pain in the chest, shortness of breath, acute pain of a different kind etc.) and he is feeling extremely poorly, 112 must be called.

In order to better contain the spread of COVID-19, it is important that the person who has fallen ill (in the case of a student his parent or other legal representative) informs the educational institution if a COVID-19 infection is confirmed. The institution will inform members of that class or group (and parents). The notification has to be done with a sense of delicacy, without revealing the name or other identifying data of the person who has been infected. The regional department of the Health Board will contact the educational institution and inform of the confirmed diagnosis and will establish the close contacts in cooperation with the institution and the school nurse.

People who have been in close contact with the infected person have to remain in self-isolation. Distance learning may be utilized during this period. The rest of the students can continue their regular life, at the same time monitoring their health. If symptoms occur, a family health center must be contacted immediately.

Starting from February 2, there is a derogation from having to quarantine as a close contact for people who have been vaccinated against or had the coronavirus within the last six months. A person who has had the coronavirus or is vaccinated against it must still wear a mask indoors during the next 10 days or cover their nose and mouth if they have been a close contact. The obligation to wear a mask does not extend to children under the age of 12 or if wearing a mask is not possible due to health considerations, the nature of the work or activities, or for some other substantial reason. Additionally, an asymptomatic close contact who has had the coronavirus or is vaccinated against it must monitor their health closely during the next 10 days and follow the measures enacted by the government and the Health Board to stop the spread of the virus. Following the measures is necessary as there is still very little scientific information on how probable it is that people who have had the coronavirus or are vaccinated against it can still spread COVID-19.

Last updated: 31.01.2021 10:49

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If somebody in your class or a study group has been diagnosed with COVID-19, then all the people who have been in close contact with the infected person must remain in self- isolation and study remotely for 10 days. The decision regarding distance learning of a class or a group will be made in co-operation with the Health Board, if necessary.

The Health Board recommends that a close contact do a test after the end of the 10 calendar day quarantine period, in order to discover a possible case of asymptomatic coronavirus

The rest of the students who were not in the same class or study group with the infected person, nor had any other close contact with the infected person, do not need to remain in self-isolation but they need to monitor their health. If any symptoms occur, a doctor should be contacted immediately.

Starting from February 2, there is a derogation from having to self-isolate as a close contact for people who have been vaccinated against or had the coronavirus within the last six months. A person who has had the coronavirus or is vaccinated against it must still wear a mask indoors during the next 10 days or cover their nose and mouth if they have been a close contact. The obligation to wear a mask does not extend to children under the age of 12 or if wearing a mask is not possible due to health considerations, the nature of the work or activities, or for some other substantial reason. Additionally, an asymptomatic close contact who has had the coronavirus or is vaccinated against it must monitor their health closely during the next 10 days and follow the measures enacted by the government and the Health Board to stop the spread of the virus. Following the measures is necessary as there is still very little scientific information on how probable it is that people who have had the coronavirus or are vaccinated against it can still get infected with or spread COVID-19.

Last updated: 03.02.2021 14:53

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The final examinations of basic school and the state examinations of upper secondary school will take place as scheduled. Many interest groups, including the association of Estonian schools principals, the Estonian Association of Teachers, the Estonian Educational Personnel Union, the association of Estonian school psychologists, the association of teachers of Estonian language, the Estonian National Youth Council, the Estonian Association of Student Governments, the Federation of Estonian Student Unions, the Estonian Chamber of Disabled People, and the youth organisations of the Defence League, have expressed the opinion that this year it would make sense to uncouple the results of the final examinations of basic school from graduation.

Usually the results of the final examinations of basic schools are converted into numeric grades and it is possible to graduate from basic school if a student has received at least a passing grade ("acceptable") on three examinations (Estonian language or Estonian as a second languge, mathematics and an elective examination). According to the plan for this year, the point scores of the exams will not be coverted into grades. In that case, the point scores of the exams will be entered on the report card but the graduation does not depend on the results. If a student passes the (B-1 level) exam for Estonian as a second language with at least 60%, they will also get a certificate for language skill level.

Still, both the grades on the report card and the exam results are important for further studies -- even if the point score received is not a condition for graduating, many upper secondary schools and vocational schools take those into account in addition to grades when evaluating candidates.

In order to extraordinarily change the conditions for graduating basic school, the corresponding regulation needs to be amended, and the Ministry of Education and Research is already dealing with this.

The state examinations of upper secondary school are taking place as usual. A student has passed the exam and is able to graduate from upper secondary school if they receive at least one point for the exam, which is the minimum positive result.

For the 2020/2021 academic year, completing a student research or a practical assignment is not a precondition for graduating from school. The school staff council has the right to evaluate whether carrying out student research or practical work is possible due to the emergency situation. If the school has decided that it is not possible, the graduating student can graduate from upper secondary school without completing the student research or practical assignment.

Last updated: 12.02.2021 11:10

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Preschool is considered a hobby activity and the restrictions in force for hobby activities apply there. Starting from February 22, 2021, hobby activities and informal education are allowed under the following conditions:

Indoors:

  • it is ensured that only individual activities, including with an instructor, are carried out and that at least 2-metre distance is kept with other persons. All group activities are prohibited;
  • it is ensured that the occupancy of the venue does not exceed 50%;
  • the maximum number of participants does not exceed 200;
  • a mask is worn indoors. This obligation does not extend to children under the age of 12, or if wearing a mask is not possible for health considerations, the nature of the work or activity, or for other substantial reasons;
  • it is ensured that disinfectants are available and the disinfection requirements are adhered to according to the guidelines of the Health Board.

Preschool is not obligatory for a child.

Last updated: 22.02.2021 10:01

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Starting from January 25 all counties are allowed to resume contact learning in general education schools, vocational schools and institutions of higher education. Further regional restrictions may be enacted by an order of the Government of the Republic or the Health Board.

During the period of distance learning, schools where most students receive enhanced support or special support will remain open. Classes of students with special educational needs may continue with contact learning.

Contact activities may also be carried out if the student needs educational support services, the teacher considers that consultations are necessary to achieve learning outcomes, it is necessary to carry out practical training sessions, take exams, tests or participate in Olympiads.

If the teacher assesses that the child is capable of achieving learning outcomes through distance learning as well and the parent agrees, the educational activity does not necessarily take place entirely in the school building. If the child's special needs also necessitate constant supervision and they cannot cope independently with distance learning without significant parental assistance, the educational work must be organised at school.

The best solutions for organising distance learning for students with special educational needs can be found from the Rajaleidja centres.

Last updated: 25.01.2021 11:24

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