Israel lifted its mask mandate for outdoor spaces and fully reopened its schools Sunday in the latest return to relative normality, boosted by a mass-vaccination campaign against the COVID-19 pandemic that has seen its infection rates plummet.
With almost 54% of its 9.3 million population having received both shots of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, Israel has logged sharp drops in contagion and cases.
The police-enforced wearing of protective masks outdoors, ordered a year ago, was scrapped from Sunday, but the Health Ministry said the requirement still applied for indoor public spaces and urged citizens to keep masks to hand.
With kindergarteners, elementary and high school students already back in class, middle school pupils who had been kept at home or attended class sporadically returned to pre-pandemic schedules.
The Education Ministry said that schools should continue to encourage personal hygiene, ventilation of classrooms and to maintain social distancing as much distance as possible during breaks and lessons.
Students in kindergartens and schools must still wear a mask when in class. Extracurricular activities can include up to 50 participants in open spaces only.
All school staff, including those who have not recovered from the virus or been inoculated, can return to work.
Schools will have until April 25 to make the necessary changes needed to accommodate all the returning students and faculty.