'We need to shrink class sizes down to 15 students'

Former Health Ministry chief says middle school, high school classes will need to be drastically cut in size to prevent coronavirus' spread.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Classroom (illustration)
Classroom (illustration)

A former top Israeli health official has called for a serious reduction in the size of classes in middle schools and high schools, following a string of outbreaks of the coronavirus.

Prof. Gabriel Barbash, a former director-general of the Health Ministry who currently serves as director of the Weizmann Institute’s Bench-to-Bedside program, said in an interview with 103FM Radio Monday morning that the Education Ministry was mistaken to permit the reopening of middle schools and high schools without the splitting up of classes into small, self-contained ‘capsules’ to minimize the spread of the coronavirus.

“I’m very concerned by people gathering together in closed spaces, far more so than gatherings out in the open. These [indoor gatherings] are more fertile ground for outbreaks. My fear is less about the number of infections than it is about the breadth of the spread, across all of Israel.”

According to Barbash, the recent spike in the number of new confirmed coronavirus infections began after middle schools and high schools were reopened.

Elementary schools, however, seem to be less of a problem, Barbash added, pointing to studies which showed that just one percent of students under the age of nine had been infected with the virus, compared to nine percent of students ages 10 to 19.

Barbash argued that classes in middle schools, high schools, and even elementary schools for grades four and up should be limited to 15 students, thereby limiting outbreaks of the virus.