Sixty-two girls in Jerusalem’s Evelina de Rothschild Elementary School tested positive this week for COVID-19 in the midst of a new wave of coronavirus in Israel.
As a result, 400 students from the school were sent into isolation to stop the chain of infection, moving the entire elementary school to distance learning.
Two teachers also tested positive.
In a letter to parents, the school said the situation would be reevaluated on Saturday after it received additional data, and that a decision about resuming classes next week would then be determined. Officials will also look at whether there are sick siblings or other relatives in the family.
The school asked all students to take a PCR test on day seven, including recovered students, since one of the students who had previously been infected with the virus tested positive again.
Evelina de Rothschild is one of the oldest elementary schools in Jerusalem and is a girls-only school, affiliated with the National-Religious movement.
The infections were first reported at the beginning of the week and started with an initial dozen students who tested positive. By Thursday, the number grew to over 60.
The Health Ministry is checking to see if the students were infected with the new Omicron variant.
One parent said the school waited too long to take steps around the Hanukkah holiday a couple of weeks ago that could have stopped the spread.
“Only on Wednesday did they decide to do PCRs for everyone in the school after there were already some 25 cases in the school,” the parent said.
Four hundred and thirty students tested positive for COVID on Wednesday, the ministry reported Thursday, out of some 42,000 who were screened for the virus – about 1%.
There were 3,584 infected students in the country and 32,531 students in isolation, according to ministry data plus 234 infected staff members and 932 in isolation.
So far, more than one million students have taken at least one shot of the COVID vaccine, and more than 750,000 have had two shots, meaning about one-third of students are protected against the virus.
The children’s vaccination campaign is continuing across Israel, especially in the periphery, where kids are being offered vaccinations in schools.
So far, more than 7,000 students have been jabbed at their schools, according to the Health Ministry. In general, 7% of children who turned five this year, and 11% of those between the ages of six and 11, have been jabbed.