Soldiers from the IDF Home Command were carrying out mass COVID-19 testing for students and staff at a school in the central city of Modi'in on Tuesday, after 11 children who attend the school tested positive for coronavirus.
Some 90 six-graders at Asif Elementary School were placed in mandatory quarantine on Monday, a day before Israel lifted its directive to wear masks indoors.
While the country's coronavirus vaccination campaign has seen more than 5.4 million people receive the first shot in the two-dose vaccine and more than 5.1 million receive the second as well, only children aged 12 and up are eligible for the jabs.
This means that most of Israel's student population have not been vaccinated against the virus.
The outbreak in Modi'in was first detected when two students at Asif tested positive. Another nine students were found to be infected during a rapid testing operation launched by Modi'in municipality in conjunction with the Education Ministry and the national health funds.
While all of the school’s sixth-graders were sent into isolation, the rest of the students were allowed to attend school under certain COVID-19 restrictions.
Each grade age at the school will have recess at different times, in order to reduce potential cross-infection between age groups.
"The outbreak at the Asif school reminds us all that despite the easing of the coronavirus restrictions, the virus is still with us,” Modi'in municipality said in a statement.
“Therefore, we must adhere to the guidelines of the Health Ministry: Do not leave the house if you feel unwell, do not send children to school if there is a concern that they are ill or have come in contact with a person who has been diagnosed with COVID. This is the only way to prevent the spread of the virus.”
Israel on Tuesday lifted its requirement for masks to be worn indoors, ending one of its last main restrictions.
The Health Ministry said masks would still be required for unvaccinated patients and staff in medical facilities, for people en route to COVID quarantine and passengers on commercial flights.
According to the order signed by Health Ministry Director-General Prof. Hezi Levi, masks will also not be required at schools, which were all fully reopened on April 18.