Israel on Sunday began implementing the so-called "Green Classroom" program, the government's plan to reduce quarantine for school students who have come into contact with confirmed COVID-19 patients in areas with low morbidity.
Under the new regulations, elementary school students, ages 6-11, will no longer be required to automatically quarantine if a student in their class has tested positive for coronavirus and will only have to submit to daily tests, including two PCR tests - for a week, and those who are negative would then be able to immediately return to class.
Millions of home testing kits will be provided for parents.
However, the new regulations apply only to school hours and after school the students will not be allowed to leave their homes, socialize with other kids or participate in any after school activity.
The same regulations will apply to teaching staff exposed similarly to a student with a virus.
The Green Classroom is a model that aims to ensure the school year is uninterrupted in localities where morbidity is low and includes some 400,000 children in 1,431 schools.
In classes where at least four students were found to have been infected by the coronavirus, all other students will be required to quarantine, according to the government approved plan.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Friday that the Green Classroom program comes after almost two years of endless quarantines imposed on students, which have disrupted study and prevented parents from going to work.
"This program is possible now that we have managed to reduce morbidity caused by the Delta variant of COVID-19. We can now make thing a bit easier for both the kids and their parents," Bennett said.
Israel last week saw a drop in new infections bringing both the daily positivity rate from tests down to just over 2% and the R factor to 0.78% only for the first time since late July.
As of last week, out of the more than 90,000 children under quarantine, only approximately 1,700 were actually infected by the virus.
First published: 07:42, 10.10.21