חזרה ללימודים בבית הספר גבריאלי בתל אביב
Students returning to school amid coronavirus outbreak in Tel Aviv
Photo: Moti Kimchi
Students returning to school amid coronavirus outbreak in Tel Aviv

Netanyahu orders schools to reopen for all age groups on Sunday

The PM accepted a proposed Education Ministry plan to reopen schools but announced areas with a high rate of infection must remain closed or under limited access to students

Itamar Eichner |
Published: 05.14.20 , 19:02
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu approved the complete reopening of schools as of Sunday in line with an Education Ministry plan that will see all students back in the educational system.
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  • The ministry describes the plan as voluntary because many parents would be reluctant to send their children back to school while COVID-19 could still be infecting Israelis.
    חזרה ללימודים בבית הספר גבריאלי בתל אביבחזרה ללימודים בבית הספר גבריאלי בתל אביב
    Students returning to school amid coronavirus outbreak in Tel Aviv
    (Photo: Moti Kimchi)
    Local governments are also given leeway to reopen their facilities when they determine they are prepared.
    The proposed complete reopening would exclude cities and communities where a high rate of COVID-19 infections have been identified in recent months including Beit Shemesh, Bnei Brak, Hura, and some Jerusalem neighborhoods.
    "We would like to stop this current format, as it presents many difficulties and interrupts educational, social, and emotional contiguity," said Education Ministry Director-General Shmuel Abuav. "Considering the low contagion rates, I would like to promote the full return of the education system where we'll closely monitor illness rates. However, schools in areas with high infection rates will return gradually and in accordance with Health Ministry orders."
    חזרה ללימודיםחזרה ללימודים
    (Photo: AFP)
    All earlier guidelines limiting the number of students per class and separating children into study groups to isolate them from other children will be canceled.
    According to the ministry's plan, the government will review its decision on June 1 to determine whether there is a spike in the number of infections of COVID-19 that would warrant a change in policy.
    The plan stipulates that schools will take special care of hygiene, students will be required to present a declaration of health signed by parents before being allowed back onto school grounds.
    Schools will maintain social distancing between students during meals and on breaks and will require children to wear facial masks when outside of their classrooms.
    Children from fourth grade and up will have to wear their facial masks in class as well.
    In case of infection by the virus is discovered in any particular facility, the ministry will determine the steps that would be taken to mitigate spread.
    A dedicated team of officials will be assigned to prepare a proposed plan should a spike in cases occurs that would require a closure of all or part of the educational system once again.
    The previous outline devised by the health and education ministries suggested fourth through tenth-grade students would return to school under a limited format that would include rotating attendance.
    This proposal came under heavy criticism from parents, educators, and local authorities who demanded the old outline to be scrapped and release the entire education system instead.
    Worried parents even called on parents not to send their children back to school if the limited format is implemented.
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