Many Israeli parents on Monday demanded their children be allowed to return to school amid the nationwide lockdown due to their inability to go to work and a barrage of technical difficulties plaguing students who are forced to attend classes remotely.
As part of the government’s efforts to combat the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, Israel’s education system was shuttered during the nationwide lockdown, with the exception of special needs education facilities and boarding schools.
As a result, many students around the country were forced to utilize their personal computers for remote studies, which many parents claim have proven impractical, consequently forcing them to miss work in order to aid their children.
Chairman of the National Kindergartens' Committee Ahaz Agam called on the parents whose children attend kindergartners to boycott remote studies to force the government to allow for kindergartens to reopen.
Agam, a father of four children aged 3, 5, 11 and 13, has been missing work in order to be with his young children. "This situation is impossible," he said.
"There is no justification for children not to go to kindergarten, especially when the parents are working. Remote studies are inefficient and disables parents because a child in a kindergarten needs parental assistance,” he added.
Tzofit, a mother of a sixth grader, also says remote studies have proven near-impossible. “They should reopen the schools in light of the low infection rates in educational institutions," she said. "Remote learning is impossible - though we are told it is mandatory.”
Shirley from Lod, a mother of a third grader, reiterated the sentiment. "My son went up to third grade even though he did not exactly finish second grade because of the pandemic and the first lockdown," she said. "The teachers do their best, but they also can’t operate the technology effectively. Most of the time is devoted to getting organized and asking whether the children can hear them.”
The Knesset’s Education, Culture and Sports Committee is expected to discuss the parents’ demand on Wednesday. The committee's chairman, MK Ram Shefa from Blue & White, said his goal is to bring children attending kindergarten and grades first through fourth back to school as early as Thursday.
"If workplaces remain open during the lockdown, kindergartens and lower grades will also reopen,” Shefa told Health Minister Yuli Edelstein and coronavirus czar ,Prof. Ronni Gamzu, ahead of the lockdown.
In addition, some private kindergartens opened on Monday despite the lockdown.
"We are vital to the economy, because we allow parents to go to work in an orderly manner," said Shoshi Eisenstadt, who runs a chain of private kindergartens. "We adhere to the guidelines. We have skilled staff and we have capsules, so the children do not mix with each other."