Israeli schools to open doors for all students on Sunday

Classrooms will return to normal capacity and no distance between desks will be required.

By Aaron Sull, World Israel News

As Israel’s coronavirus cases continue to drop, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Thursday that all schools, except in areas which are centers of morbidity, will be allowed to reopen, but attendance is not mandatory.

The partial reopening of schools began on May 3 for grades 1-3 and 11-12. Kindergartens and daycare centers followed suit shortly afterward.

During those reopenings, students and staff had to abide by strict coronavirus regulations set by the Education Ministry.

Classrooms were capped at 15 students and desks had to be placed two meters apart from one another. Faculty members and students in second and third grades were required to wear masks outside the classroom.

In addition, parents had to sign off daily on health forms confirming that their children have not exhibited coronavirus symptoms and have not been in contact with a family member who has the virus.

As of Sunday, classrooms will return to normal capacity and no distance between desks will be required. All students will be instructed to wear facemasks when outside the classroom, but only grades 4-12 will be required to wear them in class. Parents will still have to sign off on the special coronavirus health forms before sending their children to school.

The government will reevaluate the measures on June 1.

Originally, the plan was for grades 4-10 to return to classes on a limited basis, but the government relented after mounting pressure came from parents who wished to return to work.

Ever since schools shut down in mid-March, the Education Ministry and Health Ministry have been at odds with each other, with the former saying the risk of infection in children is low and the latter advising to err on the side of caution.