Some 2.4 million Israeli schoolchildren from kindergarten through high school returned to school in Israel on Tuesday in the shadow of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and with many changes and limitations.
With masks, health statements and specially tailored curriculums, the students returned to school and kindergarten, with some fearing that the opening of the schools will further increase Israel’s already high morbidity rate.
Some 169,000 students started the first grade in this new and different reality. Some 132,000 12th graders will begin their last year of school with the COVID-19 restrictions in mind.
Many of the students began the school year at home, attending classes and ceremonies through Zoom sessions.
However, some 130,000 in “Red Cities” with a high number of COVID-19 infections did not return to school as the government decided to not open the school system in 23 “Red” cities and municipalities across the country.
In addition, 3,906 students and 1,613 teachers are in quarantine as well as 623 students and 339 teachers who are contending with Corona.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Education Minister Yoav Galant attended a ceremony to mark the start of the new school year at the Netaim school in Mevo Horon, in the Binyamin Regional Council.
Netanyahu told the students that “in normal times, we would hug you like you remember from kindergarten. But hugs are not allowed today; this is the first lesson that we are saying. Every morning, you must remember that hugging is not allowed, that you need to maintain a little distance and that you need to wear a mask.”
“I want you to hit the books. This will help you. It will help all of us,” he added.