בגימנסיה העברית בירושלים נשלחו תלמידים לבידוד מחשש להדבקה בקורונה
Jerusalem's Gymnasia Rehavia, where a coronavirus outbreak has infected dozens of students and faculty
Photo: Alex Gamburg
Jerusalem's Gymnasia Rehavia, where a coronavirus outbreak has infected dozens of students and faculty

IDF, doctors quarrel over handling of virus in schools

Intelligence body recommends mass testing of students and faculty, absence in case of suspected illness; physicians blast intervention of non-professionals in handling of crisis

Adir Yanko |
Published: 06.02.20 , 11:25
A military report circulated among health authorities Tuesday calling on schools to use remote studying to reduce student attendance and the risk of coronavirus infections while physicians opposed the intervention of non-professionals in the handling of the crisis.
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  • The Coronavirus National Information and Knowledge Center of the Military Intelligence Directorate released a review that focuses on a coronavirus outbreak at the Gymnasia Rehavia in Jerusalem, after 173 people contracted the virus with a direct link to the school, including staff, students and others.
    בגימנסיה העברית בירושלים נשלחו תלמידים לבידוד מחשש להדבקה בקורונהבגימנסיה העברית בירושלים נשלחו תלמידים לבידוד מחשש להדבקה בקורונה
    Jerusalem's Gymnasia Rehavia, where a coronavirus outbreak has infected dozens of students and faculty
    (Photo: Alex Gamburg)
    Among the other recommendations in the document are mass testing of all students and faculty at schools where cases of infection are found, including the close relatives and friends, and staying at home in case of suspected illness.
    In response, the Israel Association of Public Health Physicians criticized the constant intervention of military bodies, who do not specialize in epidemiology, in the battle against coronavirus.
    "Unfortunately, the coronavirus crisis continues to be led by bodies that have nothing to do with epidemiology and public health, even in a stage where sickness rates have dropped but not disappeared," read a statement.
    "An intelligence body, which acts without transparency, marks virus hotspots without consulting doctors in the Health Ministry whose responsibility is protecting public health.
    בית ספר הרב תחומי בחדרהבית ספר הרב תחומי בחדרה
    School in Hadera shuttered after coronavirus outbreak
    (Photo: Elad Gershgorn)
    The lessons learned from the first wave of coronavirus must be based on the expertise of the professionals in the field, with local decision making, based on data and transparency."
    Following the rise in cases of coronavirus in educational facilities, the Health Ministry published new guidelines instructing schools, kindergartens, and extracurricular activities to shut down if three or more cases of the virus are confirmed.
    The Education Ministry took a more hardline approach and Education Minister Yoav Galant ordered to shutter schools also if one student tests positive for coronavirus.
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