Researchers’ recommendation: to return kindergarten children to fourth grade as soon as possible


“The first step in leaving the quarantine should include reopening the education system until the age of 10 in the form of permanent capsules that includes the teaching staff.” This emerges from a recent report by a team of researchers from the School of Public Health at the Hebrew University and Hadassah, according to which the risk of closing the education system for children under the age of 10 is greater than when it was opened. Referring to the entire education system, Hezi Levy, director general of the Ministry of Health, told Gali Tzahal today (Wednesday) that “it is clear that the education system will not be able to open as it opened, and it is not certain that we will open it at all.”

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According to the report, there is a direct link between the age of the child and the chance of infection, especially symptomatic infection. Many studies indicate that children under 10 are infected at a lower rate (about half) than older children. In addition, children under 10 are probably less infected than children Older.

Online learning. The photographer has nothing to do with the article. Photo: Hadar Kapf-Sage

The researchers note that during the period in which first-third grades and the “School of Great Freedom” operated in capsules, while adhering 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 the opposite.

According to the researchers, the increase in morbidity in the general population observed in the age group 10-39, 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.

The findings of the morbidity and outbreak of the second wave of the corona epidemic in Israel depend largely on the opening of the education system led by Education Minister Yoav Galant, contrary to the recommendations of experts and health professionals without the emphasis they sought to place as completely separate capsules. Public health experts have tried to explain that children aged 0-19 are not a single factor in terms of morbidity in Corona and therefore solutions should be given differentially to young children (up to age 10) and older children.

In the period between 3.5.2020 and 17.5.2020, when grades 1-3 were operating in capsules, while adhering to the rules of social distance, no increase in morbidity was observed in Israel. On the other hand, a clear connection was observed between the opening of the ultra-Orthodox education system on August 20 (A. Elul) and the increase in morbidity in this sector, especially among boys aged 10-19, which began about 10 days later.

Meetings are an outline of study that differs from regular educational frameworks in that they also include a place to live and a shared accommodation. When the general schools opened on 1.9.2020, they did not operate in the format of hermetic capsules. Children from different classes from the afternoons and higher classes did not keep the capsules in general activities or transportation and so five different capsules were mixed together.

Netanyahu, Moshe Leon and Education Minister Galant visiting a school in Jerusalem. Photo: Mark Israel Salem

In accordance with the assumption that society has a value and moral commitment to provide children of all ages with the opportunity for education – the public health experts of the Hebrew University state that it should strive to allow as many children as possible at the lowest risk and since the epidemic remains for the next year . It also seems that leaving children at home when parents go out to work will force many parents to transfer their children to grandparents and thus increase the risk for the grandparents generation.

As part of the recommendations, the researchers clarify that schools up to the fourth grade can only be opened 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.

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