Israel’s preschools resume on Sunday. What will classrooms look like?
Teachers will wear masks and be screened for coronavirus * After school programs will resume
Children are returning to school in Israel amid the coronavirus pandemic. August 24, 2020.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
The Health and Education ministries met late into the night on Thursday to prepare an outline for opening preschools on Sunday. Those schools that are not prepared by then can wait until Monday, the ministries said.
What will schooling look like next week?
> Schools will be open for children ages three to six
> Classes will take place six days a week or according to the standard practice of the preschool
> Full-time teachers and aides will work according to their usual routine
> Special babysitting centers will be available for the children of preschool teachers and other staff
> After school programs will run five days per week, ideally with a group of up to 35 children from the same classroom. If necessary, up to three classrooms can join together, but then the number of children can only be up to 28
> Teachers and staff will wear masks and plastic face shields
> Children will be required to bring a signed health form with them each day
> Substitute teachers and aides can work in up to three preschools
Special education classes and programs for youth-at-risk will continue as usual.
A separate but near mirror outline was approved for daycare centers, which serve children from newborn to age three.
‘I’m glad we were able to convince the government of the need to open the early childhood system,” Minister of Labor, Social Affairs and Social Services Itzik Shmuli said. “This is a critical move for the benefit of children, parents and the economy.”
The new outline comes against the backdrop of a decision by the coronavirus cabinet to launch stage one of the country’s exit strategy from lockdown.
Beginning on Sunday, businesses that don’t serve customers, preschools, nature reserves, national parks, beaches, the Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Temple Mount will open. At the same time, restaurants will be able to serve takeaway, the ban on traveling more than one kilometer from home will be lifted and people will be allowed to visit the homes of their extended family and friends.
Finally, people will be able to gather in groups of 10 inside and 20 outside.
On Friday morning, the Health Ministry called on all preschool teachers and aides to be screened for coronavirus.
In a message disseminated Friday morning, the ministry said, “We call on all teachers and assistants to come and get tested for coronavirus.”
The Home Front Command will be running the testing centers across the country throughout the weekend. A full list can be found on the Health Ministry’s website.
Teachers who wanted to be tested do not need a referral from their doctor. They do need to bring their national identity card and a recent pay slip.
The testing of teachers was considered essential, since most infection in preschools comes from the adults who work in them and not the students.