Government meets to rule on reopening of Israeli schools

After repeated delays, government convenes to deliberate on plans to partially reopen school system - possibly as early as Tuesday.

David Rosenberg ,

Workers disinfect Gymnasium high school in Jerusalem June 3rd 2020
Workers disinfect Gymnasium high school in Jerusalem June 3rd 2020
Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

The Israeli government convened Sunday evening to deliberate on plans to begin reopening the country’s education system, following the end of the third nationwide lockdown Sunday morning.

While the lockdown expired at 7:00 a.m., many restrictions on public activity remain in place, including a ban on in-person studies at Israeli schools.

Ministers gathered Sunday night to rule on the possible reopening of some schools, starting as early as this Tuesday.

The plan currently under consideration would allow cities and towns classified as “green” or “yellow” – that is, with low or mid-to-low infection rates – to reopen in-person learning for preschools, kindergartens, and elementary schools for grades one through four.

In addition, the plan would permit high schools to resume in-person studies for grades eleven and twelve.

The government is also considering ways to permit some in-person studies in towns and cities classified as “orange” or “red” – that is, areas with medium or high infection rates.

One option would be to permit outdoor studies, weather permitting, in small groups.

Coronavirus czar Nachman Ash warned that Israel is “in a situation which requires us to be very careful from the outset.”

“I am very concerned, because we’re starting out with a very high infection rate.”

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Israel is trapped “in a tight race between the vaccination campaign to return us to normal life and the spread of the British mutation which is spreading across the country and across the world.”

“Our goal is to vaccinate 95% of people over the age of 50. We want to do that as quickly as possible, in the next two to three weeks. We are racing as fast as possible to do that.”