The school year of Israeli children will drag on at least until the start of August due to the coronavirus epidemic that prompted the closure of all educational institutions.
According to an outline presented by the government on Tuesday, children in grades one through four will have classes until July 13, while students enrolled in summer schools will study at least until August 6.
Children in kindergartens as well as those in first and second grade will have after school activities until August 6 as well.
The outline represents a victory for the Secretary-General of the Teachers' Union Yaffa Ben-David, who demanded the teachers receive full pay for the days they worked remotely during the lockdown and opposed the Finance Ministry’s proposal to shorten the summer vacation for middle and high school students by at least nine days.
In the meantime, while some educational institutions throughout the country have already reopened, more and more coronavirus cases continue to emerge within the education system, forcing students and school staff to enter self-quarantine.
In some cases, the authorities had to shut down the facilities altogether.
Some 57 children from first through fourth grade and six members of staff at the Zofit School in the Drom HaSharon Regional Council went into self-isolation on Wednesday after being exposed to two students who recently tested positive for coronavirus.
The two students appear to be brothers who contracted COVID-19 from a family member.
On Tuesday, an assistant in a daycare center in northern Tel Aviv was diagnosed with the virus, prompting the officials to order some of the daycare’s children to enter to self-isolation along with their parents.
The Health Ministry has since ordered for the daycare be closed until next Friday.
“It's pretty stressful," said a mother of one of the girls who attends the daycare. "I asked if [coronavirus] tests will be conducted for us and they said tests are done only done for those who show symptoms," she added.
"I don't know what to do, because from what I've read, children don’t always develop symptoms. Now the whole family is in isolation because there is no way to isolate a two-year-old toddler alone. I hope everything will be fine."
Deputy Mayor of Tel Aviv Tzipi Brand, who is also in charge of city's pre-schools, said, “It was clear that reopening of the education system, would increase the exposure of children and their parents to virus."
"On the other hand, the cost of not opening the economy was also clear."
A seventh grader from the Hebrew Gymnasium in Jerusalem was last week also diagnosed with the virus, sending about forty of the school's students and a number of staff members into a two-week isolation.
The student attended school all last week and due to the extreme heatwave that hit the country, students were not required to wear masks.
At the Navon School in Rehovot, another teacher was diagnosed with the virus, making her the fourth person to be diagnosed with COVID-19 among the school’s staff.
The teacher's 22 students were all ordered to enter isolation as per the recommendation of the Health Ministry. The students will be in isolation until Thursday, as it will then be two weeks from the last contact they had with the teacher.
They will undergo coronavirus tests on Wednesday to see wether any of them contracted the virus.
Two second graders from the school were also diagnosed with the virus.