In light of the morbidity and quarantine data, which may last at least a month, the education and health systems estimate that studies in the lower age groups will resume only in about a month. Even then, according to the experts, only kindergarten and first- and second-grade students will return to study, and this will be done in capsules (small groups) and not in whole grades as is the case today (currently capsules only exist in third-fourth grades).
As for the other students and the classes, it seems that at the moment the predictions are talking about not least Hanukkah. A team of experts advising the National Security Council has determined that preparations must be made for the postponement of the opening of the education system for the upper grades (Thursday and above) at least until Hanukkah – which will be marked in mid-December.
According to the outline, when the studies return, in the first stage, only the kindergartens and first- and second-grade students will be returned. This will happen within the limits of the purple character, which will include reducing the number of students in the class and learning in capsules. It will be recalled that the Ministry of Education’s program at the beginning of the year included learning capsules in kindergartens and grades 1-2, but a document from the Ministry of Health stated that this was not necessary due to low morbidity at these ages.
There are about 20,000 kindergartens and about 18,000 kindergarten teachers in Israel, which means that in the event of a split, the education system will have to recruit a huge number of about 40,000 kindergarten teachers and assistants in order to operate all the kindergartens without rotation. In addition, a huge number of teachers and staff and buildings will be needed to make a division into capsules for first and second grades, in which about 340,000 children study. This is a complex logistical plan with economic consequences that will cost many millions.
According to Merom Schiff, chairman of the national parent leadership: “The date of return to educational institutions must be affected by the level of morbidity in the country. “As we demanded not to close the education system when the morbidity rates were zero, so we now demand that the decision on the date of return to the educational institutions be made on the basis of established and unhesitating morbidity data.”
He added that “with the abolition of the closure and the possibility of returning to the workplace, learning in kindergartens and elementary schools must be restored, while the compulsory attendance must be abolished. Changes must be made to existing plans to significantly reduce children’s exposure to different groups and adults.” According to him, “the post-primary education system should return to school gradually, with a careful examination of the level of morbidity.”
As mentioned, one of the options being considered is to open the education system to the upper grades (Thursday and above) only after Hanukkah. One of the biggest concerns in the education system is what will happen in the winter, so students will be forced to study in closed and crowded classrooms, with air conditioning systems that could spread the virus.
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