2.4 million Israeli students return to class amid COVID-19 wave

September 1, 2021 by Aryeh Savir - TPS
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Some 2,458,000 Israeli children from kindergarten through high school returned to class on Wednesday and began the school year, amid a high Coronavirus (COVID-19) infection rate in the country.

Israel’s children return to school. (Eitan Elhadaz/TPS)

The students were required to take a rapid Corona test at home before going to school, as fears loom of a mass spike in infections in the classes. About 80% of the parents arrived to pick up their kits at the distribution centres.

Some 538,000 kindergarteners, 176,000 first graders, 1,220,000 grade school students, and 798,000 high schoolers entered their classes while wearing masks.

Classes in grades 8-12 in Red cities with high infection rates in which the proportion of pupils who have received the first dose of the vaccine is lower than 70% will learn online. Their number is estimated at about 150,000 students.

Some 100,000 stayed home because they are in quarantine.

Non-vaccinated employees in the system will be required to show results of negative coronavirus tests twice a week.

“I know some parents have concerns and I also know it will not be easy, but we have a moral obligation to get our children back to school, to restore their stability and mental resilience. We owe it to them as a society,” stated Education Minister Yifat Shaha-Biton.

An IDF report warned that despite the extensive scope of the Israelis who have received a third COVID-19 shot, some 2,157,000, there is a reasonable possibility that the increase in infections will continue with the start of the school year. There will also be an increase in the number of patients in serious condition that will lead to an increase in the burden on the inpatient system, which is already contending with significant pressure.

Therefore, the IDF recommends preparing an option for “a significant reduction in studies” in accordance with the dimensions of the pandemic.

With some 11,000 new COVID-19 cases registered on Tuesday, the Oxford COVID-19 tracker has ranked Israel in the first place in daily new confirmed cases per million.

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