Half a million children on Sunday morning returned to preschools, kindergartens and nurseries as Israel gradually phases out restrictions put in place to stave off the spread of coronavirus.
Public preschools will have to rotate between the attendance of different groups of students to adhere to strict social distancing regulations that restrict an establishment's capacity to up to 17 children at a time.
Some 2,200 daycare centers will return to 60% of their regular capacity, leaving tens of thousands of toddlers up to the age of three and their parents unanswered.
Children of single-parent families, families in financial distress, and essential workers were given priority.
Furthermore, many nurseries have yet to reopen due to staff shortages, as some teachers are in at-risk groups or fear to return to work at this time.
Other nurseries have requested several more days to prepare for reopening under the new restrictions.
Many parents hoping their families would finally be able to gradually return to their routine, including those obliged to return to work, were left hanging until their children are allowed to return to school.
Masha Rimerman, an elementary school teacher from Kfar Saba and mother to 2-year-old Ohad, was one of many parents unable to return to work due to the new restrictions.
"Ohad's group has 25 children, so eight were left out, and he's one of them," Rimerman told Ynet.
"The nursery's director asked the parents to send her details about the scope of their position and whether or not they were essential workers," she said.
"I'm a teacher who works a full-time job and I have been asked to physically be present at the school for the past two weeks, but [the nursery] didn't take that into account. So far, I haven't figured out what criteria are they using, because if my job is not essential, then I don't know what is anymore."