Israel schools reopening amid coronavirus – outline and directives for safely opening the new school year on September 1st.
Israel schools are reopening on September 1st amid the coronavirus. The Israel Ministry of Education has formulated an outline for opening schools and educational institutions under the shadow of the coronavirus, which takes into account the existing challenges to prevent an increase in morbidity
The school year will open on Tuesday 1.9.2020. In the ultra-Orthodox sector, the school year has already opened. Approximately 1,500 new olim who arrived amid the coronavirus pandemic will start their first school year as Israeli citizens on Tuesday, September 1.
The school year will open in the shadow of the corona virus in Israel. The Ministry of Education has formulated a plan that will incorporate existing challenges to prevent an outbreak and increase in morbidity.
According to the plan, the education system will be fully operational except in areas where the incidence of morbidity is high. There will be either limited activity or educational activity will be banned to lower the level of morbidity. Specific guidelines for these areas will be published as required.
In addition, under the general guidelines, solutions will be made available to the local authorities or educational institution in accordance with the current situation and in consideration of the principles of the operating guidelines
The school day will combining traditional classroom learning and distance online learning. Classes will be split up to 18 students per class. The idea is to prevent infection and spread of the corona virus as well as allow parents to return to work. If a case of the coronavirus is diagnosed within an educational institution, the institution will be closed in accordance with the guidelines of the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health.
Kindergarten classes will be taught in the regular way from Sunday to Friday.
First and second graders will study at least 5 days a week (at least 25 hours).
Grades 3 and 4 will study at least 5 days a week (at least 25 hours) and pupils will be divided into groups,
Fifth and sixth grades as well as seventh to twelfth grades will classroom and distance learning with at least 2 days of physical attendance at the educational institution (up to 18 students per class).
All activities will be carried out under full adherence to the guidelines of the Ministry of Health, including:
- Each student will present a daily declaration of good health upon arrival at the educational institution.
- The students (from second grade and up, except for special education) must wear a mask during break time. Fourth graders and upwards must wear masks in the classroom as well. Teachers are required to wear masks. In kindergartens, the staff will wear a mask during outside activities.
- All students must wash their hands upon arrival at the institution, and periodically during the school day and especially before and after meals and after using the toilets. The educational staff are to encourage the pupils to do so.
- A 2m social distancing will be adhered to.
- The classrooms will be ventilated and windows will be left as open as much as possible. A window must be left open while air conditioners are operational depending on the conditions.
- Students will sit in a permanent seat and will not be allowed to pass school supplies onto another student.
- Meals only in the classroom, each pupil at his/her desk, with a napkin on the table.
- Regular cleaning should take place during the day as well as thorough cleaning of the classrooms and other facilities at the end of each school day and will include disinfecting surfaces and areas used by the children.
- Personal hygiene equipment, antiseptic stations (soap or alcohol), and signs to encourage hygiene will be installed throughout the schools.
- A parent or any other person will not be allowed to enter the educational institution, except in an emergency and with the approval of the principal. Important Update: August 30th – 3pm – parents of pre-schoolers and first graders are now allowed to enter the classroom for the first few days. A maximum of 6 parents at any one time, with face masks and adhering to social distancing.
- Parents will be asked to inform the school if their child is unwell and are urged not send him to the educational institution until the matter is clarified.
- Student transportation will take place with strict adherence to the guidelines and a signed health declaration must be presented for each student prior to him/her boarding the vehicle. All present, including the driver (and special education attendants) must wear masks during the trip (from the age of 7, not including special education).
- Navigating Israel’s education system – from kindergarten to uni
- Israel’s medical and healthcare system and resources
Some frequently asked questions
What will the school day look like?
Kindergartens – regular framework, Sunday – Friday.
Grades 1-2 – Learning will take place at least 5 days a week from Sunday to Thursday, in the regular format, at least 25 hours a week. Schools will be open 6 days/week.
Grades 3-4 – Classes to be divided into groups of up to 18 students per group – at least 5 days a week and at least 25 hours a week
5th-6th grades – the format includes two days of physical learning at school, at least 9 hours. On other days, there will be remote learning. Physical learning at school will be done in groups of up to 18 students per group. Every effort will be made to allow increase physical attendance.
Grades 7-12 – will combined two days of physical learning in the school, at least 10 hours and on the other days, there will be distance learning. Physical learning at school will be done in groups of up to 18 students. Every effort will be made to allow increase physical attendance.
Classes with more than 36 pupils (i.e. 2 groups of 18)
The Ministry of Education must approve all exceptions to this rule if required.
Is it compulsory to attend school?
The Compulsory Education Act is in force, and within that the pupil is obligated to physically attend school, except in cases where students are ill or their absence has been found to be justified.
My child has a cough
If your child has a cough, he/she must remain at home
Their regular schedule will be adhered to according to their specific needs – 6 days per week. Educators and staff members will tailor solutions for each disabled child according to their specific needs.
Youth at risk and boarding schools
Regular format, as usual
Extra-curricular activities, youth movements etc.
Private lessons can be held: up to fourth grade (inclusive), as well as children and youth in special education and children and youth at risk. Informal educational activities, classes and youth movements are allowed subject to the purple badge directives
From fifth grade and up – informal activities are allowed. Summer camps and activities requiring accommodation, are not.
Permitted activities include also include volunteering and day trips, subject to the guidelines of the Ministry of Health. Open-air activities can be held in groups of up to 20 participants and up to 6 groups in total. Up to ten participants are allowed in an activity that takes place in a closed structure.
Excursions, outings and day trips
Only day trips are approved only for boarding schools and youth at risk under the following guidelines: Maximum group size – 20 people, including escorts. Each group travels on a separate bus. No trips that require accommodation are allowed. Any previously approved excursions with accommodation have been revoked
Institutes of higher learning
Learning and testing will take place online and remotely. The following activities which require physical attendance can be take place in groups of up to 50 participants: workshops, laboratory work, library, practical experience and activities outside the institution.