News & updates during the school closure

By decision of the Government of Estonia all educational institutions including TES are closed from Monday 16 March due to the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. As a consequence, the teaching and learning is organized on a non-stationary basis for an undetermined period. The Government will review the situation every two weeks.

You can find below regular news and updates regarding the current situation. We invite you to consult it regularly. Important communications will be sent to parents directly via email. If you need to contact the management or a teacher in particular, you can find all contacts here

FRIDAY 15 MAY

Guidelines for the organisation of studies and movement in the school building for Primary and Secondary pupils invited to school exceptionally for remedial learning

  • The COVID-19 pandemic is receding, and Government of the Republic Order No. 143 of 5 May 2020 allows, in addition to the distance learning form that continues, to carry out individual or small group teaching and activities in school from 18 May. The direct contact studies are only allowed if it is safe and healthy for both staff and pupils and will remain the exception in current circumstances.
  • Please note that is up to every teacher to decide which of their pupils would need exceptionally attend the school to receive individualised support and remedial teaching.
  • The school ensures that all safety requirements are met at school while admitting pupils, teachers, and other staff to school. The use of protective masks, available at school, is recommended for pupils and teachers at risk[1] at school.
  • Pupils, teachers, and members of staff with symptoms are not allowed to enter the school premises. The director of the school has the right and obligation to send a person with symptoms to home. With the consent of the person, the school representative, school nurse, has the right to measure the body temperature with a non-contact thermometer.
  • Pupils who are invited for remedial studies should stay at the school premises as short as possible and not more than necessary. The maximum stay at school for pupils (Primary and Secondary) should be limited to 3 hours. There should not be more than 5 pupils (plus a teacher) at a time in one room. Direct contact between pupils need to be avoided and their tables should be at 2 metres of distance if single tables or seated by one if double tables.
  • The movement of pupils and teachers in the building and on the territory must follow the 2 + 2 rule in mind (also in the case of outdoor learning).
  • The school has the obligation to have an overview of the persons present in the school buildings. Therefore, teachers inviting pupils to school need to inform by email the Deputy Directors of pupils attending the school (name, time, teacher, room). Please note that the parents are not authorized to enter the school buildings.
  • The school library is closed for visiting and remains open only for returns of library books. Pupils or parents can leave borrowed library books to be returned to the reception at the main door of the school building.
  • Textbooks, if applicable, must be returned in a contactless manner at the return point in the main building during the last week of the school. The textbooks returned must be packaged, labelled with the pupil’s name and class. The books will be kept for at least 72 hours prior to processing.
  • Avoid every direct contact between persons such as hand contact, hugging, etc.
  • Avoid the exchange of personal items such as school supplies, glasses, drinking bottles etc.

[1] Teachers and pupils with chronic lung disease (including asthma), diabetes (diabetes), liver disease, kidney disease (including kidney failure), cardiovascular disease, immunodeficiency; members of staff in the 65+ age group.

FRIDAY 8 MAY

Returning safely to school from Monday 18 May

Nursery

NB! Children with any signs of illness will not be admitted to school. 
Adults not working for the school are not allowed inside the school buildings.

  • The school will be open for Nursery pupils from Monday to Friday from 9:00 until 16:15 starting from MONDAY 18 MAY.
  • Please note that there is no Aftercare service provided after school hours, no indoor Extracurricular activities will take place.
  • Catering: parents need to make contact with the caterer to ensure that meals are offered as usually at mealtimes.
  • Arrival and Departure:
    • Parents access to the school grounds from the main gate of the school and bring their children to the gate to the playground at the backside of the school building (see the map).
    • At the end of the school day at 16:00 parents come to pick up their child at the gate to the playground. NB! The pickup will remain accessible until 16:15.
    • In case of lateness, the following intercom numbers can be used from the gate in order to reach the teacher in the classroom: Nr 2 for Les Chics Chouettes (NCFR), Nr 3 for Dazzling Dolphins (N2EN), Nr 4 for Curious Caterpillars (NCEN), Nr 5 for Friendly Foxes (N1EN).
  • Teachers and assistants will be present at the gates and on the playground to supervise the pupils.
  • In the morning, all pupils will remain outside from 9:00-9:30, after the outside playtime, pupils start activities in their respective classrooms. In case of rainy weather, pupils will be guided by teachers or assistants directly inside the building and vice versa to the gate at the end of the day.
  • At the end of the day, pupils have outside playtime starting from 15:30.
  • All groups will have as much as possible activities outside on the playground. Please make sure that your child is clothed according to the weather, wears a hat and sunscreen is applied, if necessary.
  • The school nurse will measure pupils’ body temperature twice a day.
  • Social distancing is ensured as much as possible during the playtime (2+2).
  • Specific hygiene rules are followed daily (handwashing, disinfecting of surfaces and toys).
Primary and Secondary
  • Distance learning continues until the end of the school year.
  • Teachers can invite to school, in agreement with the parents, pupils who need individualized support or remedial work due to school closure.
  • In these cases, the number of pupils must be limited to a maximum of 5 pupils at a time.
  • Pupils should remain at school no longer than 3 hours.
  • Please note that the school canteen will not be open.

To prevent a possible risk of infection, we ask all parties to refrain from close contacts and subsequently respect the hygiene requirements provided by the Estonian Health Board.

Let’s keep ourselves and others healthy!

TUESDAY 21 APRIL

Proposals approved by the Board of Governors of the European Schools with respect to COVID-19

Dear parents and teachers, dear TES community,

Please find below a communication sent by the Secretary-General of the European Schools in connection with the decisions of the Board of Governors of the European Schools that held its’ meetings at the end of last week. The document is available in English, French and German.

Please note that Tallinn European School as Accredited European School is bound to these decisions only concerning the year groups S6 and S7 (proposals 4, 5 and 6).

The school management is currently in consultation with the school keeper Foundation Euroopa Kool to prepare the assessment plan for the end of the school year. We hope to come back to you shortly.

MONDAY 13 APRIL

COVID-19: Educational institutions might reopen after 15 May

Dear TES community,

The Ministry of Education and Research has communicated on Thursday 9 April that schools might possibly reopen progressively after Friday 15 May (source in Estonian). The distance learning period is therefore extended for an undetermined time in all educational institutions in Estonia, including our school. For the time being the school has to remain closed, and all lessons proceed remotely.

Please also note that the Board of Directors of the European Schools will have a meeting from 15th to 17th April. They will discuss and make decisions regarding the next European Baccalaureate session in particular.

We will inform you about any further developments and decisions in due course.

We thank you for your patience and understanding as we handle these extraordinary circumstances together.

FRIDAY 3 APRIL

Information regarding the use of Microsoft Office 365 for distance learning

Dear members of TES community,

The third week of distance learning touches its end. Despite everybody’s indisputably hard work, commitment and engagement, the signs of weariness begin to emerge. Fortunately, the next two weeks will be a bit shorter as we make the bridge between these two weeks with a long weekend.

Over the current week, the school administration has worked intensively with the deployment of Microsoft Office 365 and I would like to thank all colleagues involved for their dedication. I am therefore happy to announce that starting from next week all pupils will be granted access to Office 365. The process of sending the credentials will take place gradually starting from S7 and finishing with Nursery pupils. The package of Office 365 includes a series of online applications and services. Parents will receive their child’s identifiers by e-mail from the IT-administrator of the school and will need to communicate the login credentials to their child, apart from Nursery age children who will not access to Office 365 personally, but only together with their parents. Although in the “TES Office 365” document attached it is indicated that “Before activating the 365 account, parents and pupils are asked to sign the ICT charter at the end of this document and send it to their class teacher.”, I kindly ask to disregard this directive of the procedure and access to Office 365 as soon as the codes have been received. This in order to ensure the smooth transfer from the platforms currently used by teachers to Office 365. The signed consents (TES Office 365 document page 7) should be sent to the class teachers as soon as possible during the two following weeks. All teachers are asked to start using the tools offered by Office 365 as soon as the groups have been created and transfer the content gradually to the platform offered by the school.

You will find in the attached documents a description of e-learning tools offered by Office 365, schools’ policy documents, the consent to be signed and sent to the class teacher, as well as the policy documents and the last communication sent from the Central Office of the Secretary-General of the European Schools.

I am completely aware that the timing for the deployment of Office 365 to pupils is not perfect and happens during these exceptional circumstances. The necessity relays in the need to use more school offered centralized e-learning tools, to follow the data protection policy and to have a common approach to the e-learning. I am however sure that with the positive efforts and patience of all parties we will make it work in order to ensure the continuity of learning at a distance. Together Everybody Achieves More – TEAM.

Parimate soovidega / Meilleures salutations / Kindest regards / Ystävallisin terveisin / Mit freundlichen Grüßen

Markko MATTUS
Director of Tallinn European School
 
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TUESDAY 24 MARCH

Distance learning extended for at least two weeks from Monday 30 March

Dear members of TES community,

At today’s government press conference, Ms Mailis Reps, Minister of Education and Research, stated that “distance learning will initially continue for at least two more weeks, but most likely until the end of April.” Therefore, the school will remain closed at least until Friday, 10th April 2020. We will announce further measures on an ongoing basis, in accordance with government-issued information.

NB! Please note that the information on the transition and the state exams is only for the public schools and therefore does not apply to Tallinn European School. We will inform you about the Secondary B tests and Baccalaureate exams in the coming days.

As the distance learning period is extended we are also looking for a more centralized platform to organize studies more conveniently.

Many thanks for your patience, understanding and cooperation!

Best regards,

Markko MATTUS
Director of Tallinn European School
 
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MONDAY 23 MARCH

Getting information about the emergency situation in Estonia and the COVID-19

Find all the important websites to visit, useful telephone numbers and media channel to get information about the emergency situation in Estonia and the coronavirus in this useful and clear document from the Ministry of the Interior. View and download here

From today you can also ask all your questions to the automated chatbot Suve. It is present on many official webpages to provide accurate and trustworthy information in English and Estonian.

WEDNESDAY 18 MARCH

Some tips for the children’s well-being from our school psychologist

Dear TES community,

This new and unfamiliar situation is challenging for all of us – children, parents and teachers. In those circumstances, it is important to stay connected, support each other and also pay close attention to how to maintain our mental well-being and find ways for coping.

Please find the video from SA Innove on how to cope with distance learning:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s86q0koHoqw&t=131s

Our school psychologist Terje Kaldur shares some tips to maintain your own and your children’s well-being and cope with the situation:

  • Take time to be there for your child, listen and talk to them. Answer questions and share facts in a way that your child or teen can understand.
  • Take enough space and time to listen in a supportive environment (without distractive noise or objects). Listen without judging and lessening your child’s worries, letting your child know that you are there for them and letting them talk without reacting.
  • Mirror – reword what your child has said and say it back to them. Ask open questions – How? What? Why?
  • Notice your own feelings and thoughts. You can talk honestly about your feelings with your child – they notice and understand hidden anxiety.
  • Reassure your child that they are safe. Let them know it is ok if they feel upset. Share with them how you deal with your own stress so that they can learn how to cope from you.
  • Limit your family’s exposure to news coverage of the event, including social media. Children may misinterpret what they hear and can be frightened about something they do not understand.
  • Try to keep up with regular routines. A daily schedule helps to be organized and feel safe. A visible (stick-it-on-the-wall) schedule helps to keep on track.
  • Include relaxing, fun and physical activities to your family’s daily schedule. For example, doing art or crafts, physical activity, playing games together helps also to express emotions positively, laugh and enhance positive relationships.
  • Connect with your friends and family members. Help your child to do the same.
  • Be a role model – take breaks, get plenty of sleep, exercise, and eat well.
  • Go outside together, have a walk and talk. J

You can find a guide about talking to kids about the coronavirus here:

Other links for support:

The school psychologist Terje Kaldur is available for counselling via-email (terje.kaldur@est.edu.ee) or Skype (can be agreed via e-mail).

WEDNESDAY 18 MARCH

Q&A for parents about studies at home

Dear parents,

Foundation Innove has published a useful Q&A about studies at home for parents in Estonia on its website. 

Q&A for parents about studies at home

TUESDAY 17 MARCH

A Word from TES Director Markko Mattus

Dear pupils, parents and teachers,

The first day of home-schooling was finished yesterday and the second one is going on today. Despite some technical problems experienced with e-kool yesterday morning, the day according to the feedback I received from all teachers went well. Working in these circumstances during this new and unfamiliar situation is challenging for all of us – pupils, parents and teachers. In order to ensure that learning & teaching is taking place efficiently, we need to ensure smooth cooperation between all parties. Teachers are available for their pupils and parents throughout the whole school day in order to give guidance and explanations to the tasks planned as well as to give feedback to the results. Teachers have been hardworking and creative on finding different ways to make learning more interesting, motivating and enjoyable at home as well as to keep direct or indirect contact with pupils using a webcam, recorded video sessions, chat or written communications. Teachers also remain in constant contact with each other and the management in order to seek for solutions, exchange experiences and give feedback.

We are still in the initial phase of distance learning and we all must learn how to adjust the volume of tasks, how to create diverse (not a single type) tasks, how to communicate in the best way, and how the appropriate feedback is given and shared daily. So, let’s take this situation as a new learning opportunity, let’s cooperate adequately and let’s share feedback mutually to facilitate uninterrupted learning of our pupils with the guidance of our great teachers and the support of our wonderful parents.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your hard work and commitment in these challenging times! Keep it up and stay tuned!

Hereby some suggestions to make the home-schooling easier for families:

  • As your role in the learning process of your child becomes more important, be present for your child – regardless of the child’s age – and monitor your children to understand what support they need the most.
  • Establishing a strict daily routine that follows the school timetable is recommended.
  • Please inform the class/ subject teacher immediately if your child is not able to follow everyday instruction for some reason – this has become even more important now.
  • Keep virtual contact with your child’s classmates: it is very difficult in these conditions to be isolated from friends.
  • Be vigilant to the overall screen time, children should not spend too much time behind their screens.
  • Take time every day to spend some time with your children outdoors, PE lessons can be done together.
  • Share your positive experiences with other parents.
  • We will manage it all if we keep together!
Markko MATTUS
Director of Tallinn European School

MONDAY 16 MARCH

Contacts and sources of information about the coronavirus COVID-19 and the emergency situation in Estonia

  • Call 1247 for any question regarding the coronavirus and the spread of the virus (24/7, free of charge).
  • Call 1220 if you need some medical advice regarding your health (24/7, free of charge).
  • Call 112 only in case of an emergency (24/7, free of charge).

Please find below a selection of official and reliable links to get more information related to the coronavirus COVID-19 and keep updated about the situation in Estonia.

FRIDAY 13 MARCH

A Word from TES Director Markko Mattus

Dear pupils, parents, colleagues,

Our school among all other schools in Estonia and many over the world has stepped into a new reality where school campuses are closed for school activities for everyone and the teaching-learning has to be organized differently using a variety of online tools at a distance. It is a new challenging experience for all of us and I sincerely hope that we all take this situation as a learning opportunity and ensure the smooth running of studies at home.

As it is indicated in the statement of the Government, “the situation will be reassessed every 14 days and, if necessary, a decision will be taken on the need to extend the distance learning period.” Our school remains thus closed for two weeks. We will keep you all informed as soon as we have additional details to share.

During the period of school closure, as announced previously, the subject teachers and class teachers (in the Nursery and Primary) inform pupils and families through e-kool (N1-S5)/MySchool (S6-S7)/e-mails about how studies are organized and communicate the learning content as well as the tasks. Teachers have received specific instructions for this and remain in contact during normal school hours. We have also established Teams’ groups in Office 365 for all teachers in order to share most efficiently all the necessary information, experiences and documents as well as to keep up the sense of community among teachers – as our pupils, also the teachers work at a distance. All other members of staff remain in contact over e-mail and are working remotely in home-office.

In general, in order to participate in home schooling, pupils need a desktop or laptop computer, a smartphone or tablet, and an Internet connection for taking part and carry out the activities. Please remember that home schooling involves solving the assignments given by the teachers at home, assisted by parents, if needed. It is also important that the pupils remain at home and do not attend hobbies and trainings, or visit the cinema, theatre or other crowded places. Fortunately, Estonia is small enough to reach the nearest forest or natural recreational area that is just about 20 minutes of drive away from home, so take this opportunity also to have daily walks with the whole family.

Please do not hesitate to contact the members of the management, staff and teachers who are ready to answer any additional questions. I am very confident that we will be able to handle this exceptional learning period very well. I wish you all mindfulness, strength and peace of mind to all!

PS! In order to cheer you up, please watch the testimony of a family whose children are attending ES Varese in Italy that starts the third week of distance learning mode.
https://www.bbc.com/news/av/uk-england-manchester-51822315/coronavirus-cabin-fever-in-locked-down-lombardy 

Markko MATTUS
Director of Tallinn European School
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