Students (illustrative)
Students (illustrative)iStock

Israel's Education Ministry has presented a dire forecast, estimating that there will be approximately 5,000 coronavirus-infected students on September 1.

If infection rates rise in schools, it will be possible to split classes into two, but only from grades 5-12. In the younger classes, from preschool through fourth grade, it will not be possible to split classes if infection rates rise, and the children will move to distance learning.

The new quarantine model, which was approved by the Prime Minister as part of the plan for the new school year, will include a coronavirus officer for each school, who is not necessarily one of the school's staff or a healthcare worker.

Following a short training period, the coronavirus officer will perform rapid tests on each student who came in contact with a confirmed coronavirus patient, for five consecutive days.

Meanwhile, Education Minister Yifat Shasha-Biton (New Hope) has reversed course, stating that division of classes into "capsules" will be decided by the percentage of students who are exempt from quarantine: In grades 1-4 there will be no capsules, and in grades 5-12 there will be no capsules in classes where over half the students are exempt from quarantine.

Prior to the start of the school year, students' parents will be provided with rapid tests, which they will need to administer to their children approximately 48 hours before the start of the first day of school. The parents will need to pick the test kits up from their child's school, and the Education Ministry expects parents to report to the school's coronavirus officer if their child tests positive, and not to send him or her to school.