The Rector’s Office of the University of Tartu decided on Tuesday that all international students may come to study in Estonia in autumn. The same applies to employees arriving from foreign countries. The decision concerns both new international students who were admitted this year and new staff members, as well as the existing international students and staff of the University of Tartu who are returning to Estonia in the coming months.
At the beginning of July, the government of Estonia decided that people may come to Estonia for the purpose of work and study from all countries, but to citizens and residents of third countries with a higher number of infections, certain requirements will apply, and the responsibility for compliance with the requirements lies on both the arriving students or employees and the university who invited them.
The University of Tartu will notify citizens of third countries of the requirements that apply to them during the first two weeks after their arrival in Estonia. The arrivals must confirm by signature that they have been informed of the requirements, stay in self-isolation for 14 days, and travel by separate means of transport during that period. They must pass a COVID-19 test immediately after arrival and a repeat test at the end of the isolation period, i.e. on the 14th day. In case symptoms characteristic of COVID-19 develop, a family physician must be consulted immediately. If necessary, the University of Tartu can help arrange transport and testing.
Self-isolation is required for all international students and employees who arrive in Estonia
- from or through a third country not listed on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
- from or through a country in which the number of COVID-19 positive test results per 100,000 people over the last two weeks exceeds 16,
- from or through a country for which there are no above data available and where the risk of virus spread is high.
During self-isolation, international students and staff must stay in their place of residence or accommodation and refrain from unnecessary contacts. They are allowed to leave their place of residence only to see a doctor, shop for food, essentials and medicines, and in an emergency.
According to the Vice Rector for Academic Affairs of the University of Tartu, Aune Valk, the decision was made in consultation with Professor of Medical Microbiology Irja Lutsar, who says we must learn to live with the virus. “Coming to study at the university is a long-term decision – considering that the studies last for at least two years, a two-week self-isolation period is not an unrealistic effort. As the university is ready to start with e-learning in autumn, students have more time for travelling to Estonia, and the university has more time to prepare for their arrival. We cannot be fully sure that nothing happens, because the virus may as well spread among Estonian students, but I believe that the Raatuse dormitory case in spring taught us well how to locally control the spread of the virus by imposing clear rules and making systematic arrangements,” Valk said.
According to Ülle Tensing, Head of the Study Abroad Centre of the University of Tartu, more than 500 international students were admitted this year. “However, considering the situation in the world, probably a third or a half of the admitted students will actually arrive. It is difficult to say how many students will be required to self-isolate, because the university also expects the existing students to return,” Tensing explained.
Ülle Tensing regards it important that as many international students as possible could start their studies in autumn at the same time as the Estonian students. “Organising the testing and isolation is an extra workload for the university, but it is very important to maintain openness also in challenging times. International students and staff are a valuable part of the university community,” said Tensing.
Read also the address of the rector of the University of Tartu to all new international students.
Further information: Ülle Tensing, Head of Study Abroad Centre, University of Tartu, +372 5568 3533, ulle.tensing [ät] ut.ee