New plan: Classes will be split into groups of 18 during new school year

New plan allows older children to attend school at least twice a week, avoids splitting younger students into smaller groups.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

School (illustrative)
School (illustrative)

Education Minister Yoav Galant (Likud) and Finance Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) have approved a plan for reopening schools in September, in the shadow of the coronavirus outbreak.

The plan was formulated by professionals in the Education Ministry, Finance Ministry, and local authorities, in coordination and conjunction with the Health Ministry, teachers' unions, and parents' organizations. It has been approved by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and will be brought to the government for approval.

The plan was formulated with the understanding that schools' operation is a condition for the proper functioning of Israel's economy.

The plan, called "Learning Safely," recommends opening the school year as usual on September 1, and integrates distance learning with in-person classes in groups of up to 18 students each. It also requires local authorities to begin preparing next week, by recruiting additional staff members and preparing the logistics necessary for classes to be held.

Local authorities would be able to adapt the plan for their populations, in accordance with the Education Ministry's approval.

Solutions will be provided for special populations such as youth villages, youth at risk, special education, and others, regardless of the way the schools are generally run.

Schools will operate according to this plan throughout the year, or until a different decision is made. However, due to the complexity in splitting classes into two, children in preschool through second grade will not be able to switch to half-sized classes, and will begin and end their studies according to the plan approved by the Health Ministry.

The grade-by-grade plan is as follows:

Preschools and kindergartens will not be split into smaller classes, and will continue operating as usual.

Grades 1-2 will not be split into smaller classes, and will continue functioning as usual.

Grades 3-4 will learn full-time in the schools, in groups of up to 18 children per class, and will use the grade 5-6 classrooms as needed.

Grades 5-6 will integrate distance learning and frontal learning (at least two days per week), in groups of up to 18 students per class. Maximum effort will be made to ensure that these students are able to attend school in person for more than two days per week, and when possible and necessary they will occupy spaces and buildings near the school.

Grades 7-12 will integrate distance learning with at least two days of classroom learning per week, and will study in groups of up to 18 students each.

Additional staff members will be recruited in order to allow grades 3-4 to be split into smaller groups, and to provide reinforcements for grades 5-6. Recruitment will search for new teachers, increase the hours offered to existing teachers, and add classroom assistants - unemployed persons appropriate for the task - and college and university students.

Hygiene rules will be carefully followed, including among other things improved PPE for staff members, sitting at separate tables two meters from each other, and groups of up to 18 students. Those over six years of age will wear masks, hand sanitzation will be adhered to, as well as sterilization of the school itself.

As per the Education Ministry's request, the Finance Ministry will allocate 4.2 billion shekels ($1,231,382,880) to implement the plan.