Israel will keep summer schools open and assess the situation on a weekly basis as it develops in the wake of the coronavirus epidemic, the government said on Monday.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week brought up for the government's vote the possibility of shuttering the entire education system. The proposal, however, was voted down by the majority of the ministers, leaving the final decision to be made by Netanyahu and Alternative Prime Minister Benny Gantz.
On Monday, Netanyahu and Gantz held a meeting with Education Minister Yoav Galant and Science and Technology Minister Yitzhar Shai to decide on a temporary outline for the education system. It was decided that in the meantime, summer schools will not be closed, with another assessment set to be held on Thursday.
According to the outline, if the number of new COVID-19 cases continues to surge and the education system would have to be shut down, schools and parents will be given time to make the necessary arrangement and the restrictions would not take effect immediately.
National Security Council (NSC)chair Meir Ben Shabbat and Health Ministry Director-Ddeneral Prof. Hezi Levi also took part in the debate.
The latest NSC report revealed that children aged 5-9 comprised somewhere between 4% and 5% of all infections in the education system, while those aged 17-10 made up somewhere between 6% and 10% of all cases.
The head of The Federation of Local Authorities in Israel, Haim Bibas, on Sunday slammed the governemnt for mulling to close summer schools. "The closure of summer schools is the closure of the Israeli economy," he said.