Israel is also beginning to think about the strategy of leaving the second quarantine – will the opening of the lower classes be the first step? A team of researchers from the School of Public Health at the Hebrew University and Hadassah published a new report today (Wednesday), according to which the risk of closing the education system for children under the age of 10 is greater than when it was opened.
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“With the further rise in Corona morbidity in September, an accusing finger was pointed at the opening of the education system which closed about two weeks after its opening,” the researchers wrote, adding: .
According to the report, there is a direct link between the age of the child and the chance of infection – especially symptomatic infection – and many studies indicate that children under the age of 10 are infected at a lower rate (about half) than older children. In addition, children under the age of 10 are probably also less contagious than older children. Children over this age and adolescents, are similarly infected with adults, although the morbidity is milder among them.
“Children in the age group 9-1 do not suffer from the plague directly, but indirectly from the way it is administered”
The researchers note that during the period when the first and third grades were operating and during the period when the “School of Great Freedom” was operating in capsules, along with adherence to the rules of social distance, no increase in morbidity was observed in Israel. According to the researchers, in educational settings there were few cases of infection from children to teachers, and usually the direction of infection was reversed.
According to the researchers, the increase in morbidity in the general population observed in the 39-10 age group, which began in September, can not be attributed to the opening of the education system – but to processes and behaviors in the last two weeks of August, when the education system did not work.
Researchers’ conclusions based on data:
- Opening schools up to fourth grade is necessary and can be done in small groups (capsules of up to 20 children) throughout the day, with regular teachers and without mixing the capsules.
- It is advisable to have a virus monitoring system among teachers.
- The risk of outbreaks / infections in classrooms depends on the level of morbidity in the community: it is possible to set a level of morbidity above which the educational frameworks in the neighborhood / city will not open.
Is it possible or necessary to open schools in Israel and what next? The recommendations
- Schools up to the fourth grade can be opened only in small groups (capsules of up to 20 children) throughout the day, with regular teachers and without mixing the capsules. In this way, even if they occur from cases of infection in capsules, they will remain “confined” and prevent wide infection.
- Restrictions related to insurance issues as a result of outdoor classrooms / zoos / museums, etc., should be resolved with state guarantees.
- It is worthwhile and desirable to maintain a virus monitoring system among teachers.
- Children with symptoms should not be sent to educational settings.
- For children and adolescents over the age of 10, the changes should be gradual. In the first stage, necessary adjustments must be made to education at this age, including the provision of equipment and infrastructure for distance learning.
- It is clear that the risk of outbreaks / infections in classrooms depends on the level of morbidity in the community. It is possible to set a threshold level for a disease above which the educational frameworks in the neighborhood / city will not open. Similarly, behavioral adjustment of families and teaching staff should be acted upon to reduce the risk of morbidity among them.
“In conclusion,” the researchers wrote, “we emphasize the need for differential looking at children – according to their age and role in the epidemic. From the onset of the plague, children in the 9-1 age group do not suffer from the plague directly, but indirectly from the way it is administered. We urge the government to understand the seriousness of the situation, as an entire generation may lose an important opportunity to learn, advance and contribute to society. Along with investment and concern for the proper functioning of the health system, there is great importance in investing in the children of Israel. “
Yesterday, Prime Minister Netanyahu said that he wanted to allow a return to studies in capsules for preschoolers and first and second grades as part of the exit from the quarantine. “We want to allow capsules for preschoolers and grades 1-2,” Netanyahu said – but did not specify when such an opening of the education system is expected to take place. However, he admitted that the closure would last at least a month, and said “it may take much longer.”
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