Tags: Coronavirus | Education | Israel | schools | pandemic | outbreak

Expert: Reopening of Israeli Schools a 'Major Failure'

chairs are put up on desks in an elementary school classroom
An empty classroom at a school in the Israeli city of Netanya is shown. (Jack Guez/Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 04 August 2020 11:33 AM

Israel’s attempt to reopen schools during the coronavirus pandemic resulted in tens of thousands of students and teachers being quarantined.

The New York Times reported that the Israeli government, confident it had beaten the coronavirus and desperate to restart the nation’s economy, had reopened schools in late May.

But within days, one Jerusalem high school reported new infections, which resulted in the largest outbreak in a single school in Israel.

Ultimately, hundreds of students, teachers and relatives became infected.

And tens of thousands of teachers and students were quarantined as a result of outbreaks at other schools, according to the newspaper.

Hundreds of schools were forced to close.

One expert called the reopening a “major failure” and had some advice to other nations looking to reopen schools.

“They definitely should not do what we have done,” said Eli Waxman, chairman of the team advising Israel’s National Security Council on the pandemic. “It was a major failure.”

And Dr. Hagai Levine, professor of epidemiology at Hebrew University-Hadassah School of Public Health, noted: “The mistake in Israel is that you can open the education system, but you have to do it gradually, with certain limits, and you have to do it in a very careful way.”

Experts said strict precautions must be taken when reopening schools, including smaller classes, mask wearing, keeping desks six feet apart and making sure adequate ventilation is available.

Meanwhile, an Associated Press and NORC Center of Public Affairs survey released last week shows that just 8% of Americans think schools should fully reopen with classes in the fall.

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Israel's attempt to reopen schools during the coronavirus pandemic resulted in tens of thousands of students and teachers being quarantined. The New York Times reported that the Israeli government, confident it had beaten the coronavirus and desperate to restart the...
schools, pandemic, outbreak
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2020-33-04
Tuesday, 04 August 2020 11:33 AM
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