Schoolchildren walking with backpacks
Schoolchildren walking with backpacksiStock

The government decided Thursday evening not to reopen middle schools for the next two weeks in light of the spread of several more contagious variants of the coronavirus.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu stated: "In light of the relatively wide opening of the economy that could lead to an increase in morbidity and concerns about the impact of the British mutation, it was decided at this stage to adopt a cautious approach and stick to the Ministry of Health's exit plan. The price of any mistake is very large."

The Education Ministry this morning published its guidelines for the Purim holiday in the educational institutions that hold in-person studies during the coronavirus crisis. Among other things, the holiday events will be held in a regular group and with the regular staff at the school or kindergarten, while students will be able to bring gifts in closed packaging only, and there will be a ban on setting up stalls, processions, carnival parties, banquets or any other event that produces large gatherings.

Kindergartens and grades 1-6 and 11-12 will be allowed to open.

Co0ronavirus Czar Prof. Nachman Ash told 103FM Thursday that in order to reach herd immunity, children aged 12 and above will need to be included in the vaccination program.

"Children can also develop symptoms and be hospitalized, though it happens at much lower rates," he said. "The concern is that the moment there are a lot of infections among children, it will infect more adults, and we will still have a large number of seriously ill patients. We still have six million who are not vaccinated and who can be infected and become ill, that's a lot. We need to advance with the number of vaccinations, we have a long way to go. Herd immunity is a situation in which there are enough people vaccinated to ensure that the disease doesn't spread like a plague. There will be people ill, like there are with measles every so often, but there won't be large outbreaks and we can return to routine."