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Israeli Students Head Back to School after the Holidays

October 1, 2021

by: Janet Aslin

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Israeli students in school pre-COVID

Friday, 1 October 2021 | Yesterday marked the first day at school for Israeli students who spent most of September on vacation. Schools were officially opened on September 1 and classes were in session briefly until Rosh HaShanah (Jewish New Year) kicked off the fall holiday season on September 6.

The coronavirus pandemic of the past eighteen months has redefined the way we live our lives, and school experiences are not excluded. In order for schools to open in the fall, much of the summer was spent developing ways that students could safely attend class in person.

All students under 12, unvaccinated students over 12 and teachers were required to present a negative COVID test or proof of recovery before being allowed to enter the school premises. One option was the use of a home test, provided free of charge to parents of school-aged children.

Yigal Slovik, director-general of the Education Ministry, told the Jerusalem Post that “Some 1.4 million antigen tests were picked up before the holiday ended and more than 90% of parents tested their children for coronavirus before sending them back to school.”

Slovik went on to say that “0.1% of the students tested positive and by not sending these children to school, it prevented the closure of about 1,000 classrooms and the isolation of as many as 30,000 students.”

Regulations currently require that all students in a classroom who have been exposed to coronavirus must quarantine. However, in an effort to keep students in the classroom, next week a pilot program is being introduced in 300 classrooms which will allow continued onsite attendance with daily testing for a week. If successful, the program will be expanded.

Israel’s coronavirus infections have been slowly declining over the past two weeks. It is too early to say for sure whether the fourth wave of COVID is over or not. One thing we can say is that most students—at least the younger ones—and their parents are happy to be learning in classrooms rather than remotely.

Posted on October 1, 2021

Source: (Bridges for Peace, October 1, 2021)

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