תלמידים עם מסכות בבית ספר ברחובות
An elementary school in Rehovot
Photo: Reuters
An elementary school in Rehovot

Health Ministry backs fully opening schools without capsules

Plan will provide testing and monitoring to detect outbreaks early; Education Ministry official warns of decline in math, language, science and English skills across all grades since start of distance learning

Tamar Trabelsi Hadad, Itamar Eichner, Adir Yanko |
Published: 04.12.21 , 21:59
The Health Ministry Monday said that it will present to the Cabinet a new outline that will allow Israel's schools to open in full without capsules.
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  • Israel's coronavirus restrictions have almost all been lifted due to the country's high-paced vaccination campaign. However, since children below the age of 16 currently cannot be vaccinated, many curbs on the education system have remained in place but are set to expire midnight Tuesday.
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    תלמידים עם מסכות בבית ספר ברחובות
    תלמידים עם מסכות בבית ספר ברחובות
    An elementary school in Rehovot
    (Photo: Reuters)
    The new plan will provide a wide range of testing and monitoring options across the education system in order to detect outbreaks before they spread.
    When a student tests positive, the entire class and teaching staff will be tested for coronavirus before returning to their classrooms — in addition to obligatory isolation.
    "The morbidity in the education system is minuscule and completely under control, with high vaccination rates among students and teachers — but the education system is still under restrictions," said an Education Ministry official.
    "The hidden message convened to students, especially those in middle school, is that they can be anywhere except schools."
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    בית ספר בירושלים
    בית ספר בירושלים
    An elementary school in Jerusalem
    (Photo: EPA)
    The official also emphasized that the danger of children remaining out of school is far greater than getting infected.
    According to a report he presented, the number of infected students dropped from 9,820 last month to 877 today, with 4,200 currently in quarantine. No schools have been shut down and over 90% have not reported any cases.
    The same report showed that there has been a 30% decrease in basic reading skills among students in grades 1-3, a drop of 25% in math and language skills for students in grades 4-6 and a drop of about 30% in core subjects such as math, language, science and English among students in grades 7-10.
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