Israeli students head back to school - with major restrictions

Schools barred from reopening in 'red' cities and towns, while schools which do reopen strictly limit class size and hours.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Back to school, with masks
Back to school, with masks

Israeli schools reopened Tuesday morning, but with major restrictions on operations, particularly for grades five and up.

Schools in ‘red’ cities and towns – indicating a high level of infection rates – have been barred from reopening Tuesday, after the Israeli government’s Coronavirus Cabinet voted to delay the reopening of schools in high-risk areas.

Most of the 23 municipalities included in the list of red towns where schools are not yet permitted to reopen are Israeli Arab or Druze communities, with several predominantly haredi towns also in the list, including Beitar Illit and Emmanuel.

Even in schools which do reopen Tuesday, studies will be conducted on a limited basis for some grades, with classes broken up into smaller study “capsules”, each with a shortened school day.

Kindergartens and preschools will operate with the least changes, with no division of students into separate capsules, and with a full six-day school week and normal hours.

Students in grades one and two will also learn together without being divided into smaller capsules, though some schools may shorten the school week for these grades to five days a week.

Third and fourth graders will be split up into smaller capsules with a maximum of 18 students, and will learn at least five days a week.

Fifth and sixth graders, however, will only be required to attend school at least nine hours a week, spread over at least two days, though individual schools may offer more hours than the minimum. These grades will also be split up into capsules of no more than 18 students each.

Grades seven through twelve will operate in the same manner as fifth and sixth grade, except that the minimum number of hours of study per week will be ten rather than nine, and distance learning will be incorporated into their studies.

Students in grades five and up will be required to wear masks whenever on campus.

Preschoolers, kindergartners, students in grades one and two, however, will not be required to wear masks. In addition, students in grades three and four will be required to wear masks only during part of the school day.