Back to school
Back to schooliStock

The Education Ministry today announced the back-to-school plan for first- to third-graders and preschoolers this Sunday.

The outline is intended to enable administrators and preschool administrators to prepare for the return, and to provide them with information on managing the school environment and school visitors in a professional and tailored manner. The outline includes all the elementary schools in the State of Israel in official institutions, unofficial-but-recognized institutions, and exempt institutions.

To view an Education Ministry Frequently Asked Questions document about returning to school in Hebrew, click here.

Education Minister Rabbi Rafi Peretz said, "I'm glad that after our in-depth and thorough work in collaboration with the Health Ministry, we're introducing a gradual and cautious operating model for returning to school. The health of students and teaching staff is priority, so it's important for us to emphasize and assimilate in education institutions that this routine isn't the routine they're used to and it's important to obey the instructions and procedures we issued. I welcome the teachers and students and wish them success in returning to the school bench."

Education Ministry Director Shmuel Abuhav added: "We're ready to carry out the second stage we formulated to open educational institutions, and we're delighted that the outline we submitted to the government has been approved. The education teams, who mobilized and promoted remote study, are excited to meet their students face-to-face. We formulated procedures, we're prepared for the new educational/health reality, and we'll accompany all educational and administrative teams."

The learning model

1. Grades 1 to 3 will learn 5 study days Sundays-Thursday, for 5 hours a day;

2. Grades 4 and 5 will learn 5 days of remote study, for 5 hours a day.

Students will be divided into heterogeneous groups. Each group will have a fixed composition of students. No more than 15 students will be in each group. The groups can be built at the classroom, grade, and multi-age levels.

Each class includes a teacher, and if possible, an additional teacher. If the division is done according to class, it is advisable for the class teacher to divide his or her time between the groups.

The classroom will be organized so that each student sits at a separate table, keeping a distance of two meters from others throughout the day, whenever possible.

Each group will study in a regular classroom/study space. The learning areas will be organized in accordance with the guidelines (except for physical education classes held in an open space or sports hall).

All teaching staff, depending on the scope of their job, including their hours, will attend school and teaching instruction in the classes in the school and/or by preparing and enabling remote study for the classes which are not held in the classroom .

In addition, it is recommended to embed teachers, teaching students, and assistant teachers who work in the school on a regular basis, as much as possible, in each group.

Personal tutors will arrive if possible according to the student's set of hours. The gifted centers will not reopen at this time.

Schools with preschoolers will study within the high school buildings, and first graders will move to other classrooms in the school, taking into account age-appropriate furniture. Each such group will have two groups of the same kindergarten who will be permanently separated.

Before arriving at the kindergarten, the team will divide all the games and artwork and learning materials in the kindergarten and yard into two, marking them and placing them in both places. Each group may only use its own objects and materials.

Restrooms will be shared regularly between the two teams. The staff will hang signs on each door so that each child will know which bathroom cells he can use.

In schools where it is not possible to use the high school in this format, the children will arrive to kindergarten alternately. In the first week, one group will come for three school days in succession and the second group for two days in a row, and a week later, vice versa.

School routine

Educational staff, students and their parents will arrive at school, provided they are not required to be isolated according to Health Ministry directives, with no temperature exceeding 38 degrees Celsius (100.4F) or coronavirus-related symptoms (cough, difficulty breathing or respiratory symptoms, and not exposed to a verified patient). A student whose family member has the virus will be required to complete his isolation days at home, and in accordance with Health Ministry guidelines will not attend school.

Admission to school will be permitted only to educational staff and students, in accordance with the prescribed program, following the signing of a health declaration as required. The complete and signed declaration forms of the school staff and students will be collected and filed for documentation by the school principal.

Every day, registration and monitoring of student and staff attendance will be conducted in the school.

There will be a great deal of emphasis on personal hygiene before, during, and after activity. Staff and students will be careful to wash their hands with soap and water or alcohol. Restrooms will be cleaned regularly throughout the day.

During the day, care must be taken to ventilate the space in which learning takes place.

In the school space and classrooms, physical distance of two meters between people should be kept as much as possible. Students should be instructed to avoid physical contact.

Every student and staff member must come to school with a mask and wear it during the day in the hallways and courtyards. There is no obligation to wear a mask in preschool and first grade.

Students will come to the educational setting with personal learning equipment, and avoid transferring objects from hand to hand.

During meals, avoid sharing food. Each student is responsible for a personal meal, and clean napkin so as not to eat directly on the table. The school principal will send parents a letter of instruction about return to routine.

Movement in common spaces

1. Separation will be maintained and there will be no transition of students between learning spaces;

2. Operating several groups in the same complex, each group must set different times for using the playground. If necessary, the playground will be divided into separate sub-complexes, with each group receiving its own activity complex and keep distance rules and wear masks for both students and staff.

3. While exercising, there is no obligation to wear a mask for anyone who is exercising. Students must maintain distance during activity.

4. All traffic in common areas shall be controlled, including exit to the bathroom.

Student acceptance and release

Arrival and return to school are the responsibility of parents. In schools where students are transported to school by bus, students' transportation must be coordinated with the local authority in accordance with the days and hours set for students' arrival and in accordance with Health Ministry instructions. One must adhere to the "Transport Procedure" section of the Life at an educational institution during coronavirus document".

Each school will have a space before the gate to be set up by the local authority to prevent congregating. At the beginning and end of the school day students can enter and exit in short intervals between the classes to avoid crowding at the school gate.

Students arriving with their parents will separate from their parents at a designated school location. Entrance and exit from the school will be supervised and regulated by a staff member/teacher on duty, while wearing a mask for all those in public space and ensuring there is no congregating. Parents will not be permitted into the school.

Contact and coordination with student's parents

The school principal will be alert to the needs of the school community in consistent communication with the parents. The school principal will guide classroom educators to contact students and parents ahead of returning to routine. The principal will instruct educators to maintain continuous contact with students who do not attend school and with their parents.

הרב רפי פרץ: המטרה המרכזית היא טובת התלמיד