Preschool in the shadow of COVID-19: All your questions answered

With young children returning today, here is what you need to know.

FILE PHOTO: Children are seen washing their hands at Heath Mount School as some schools reopen, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Watton-at-Stone, Britain, June 2, 2020. (photo credit: ANDREW COULDRIDGE/REUTERS)
FILE PHOTO: Children are seen washing their hands at Heath Mount School as some schools reopen, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Watton-at-Stone, Britain, June 2, 2020.
(photo credit: ANDREW COULDRIDGE/REUTERS)
After about a month without class, the country’s preschoolers are returning to school today.
As a general rule, children will return to their previous classrooms and teachers. They will not be required to learn in capsules nor wear masks, but they will have to bring a signed health form with them every day to tell the staff that they are healthy.

With the help of the Education Ministry, The Jerusalem Post offers a comprehensive list of questions that parents might have about their child’s return to school in the shadow of the coronavirus, and the answers.

1 - Who goes back to school today?

Only children ages newborn to six can return to their classrooms today. Preschool children will join special education students and youth-at-risk, who were still allowed to go to school during the lockdown.
2 - Are all preschools opening today?
Generally, yes. In the event that a certain neighborhood, city or school is not prepared, the children will return on Monday.
3 - On what days will classes take place?
Classes will be held Sunday through Friday. Preschools that routinely studied five days a week will continue in the same format.
4 - What happens in “red zones?”
Preschools in red zones will also open today. Children in special education and at-risk programs in and out of those areas can attend their programs.
5 - How many children can be in each class?
Up to 35 children may study together with a full-time teacher and assistant(s).

6 - How many teachers and other staff can there be?
Preschools will be able to operate according to their previous routines – teachers, assistants and National Service volunteers will all return to work.
7 - Will substitute teachers be allowed?

Yes, substitute teachers can teach in up to three preschools.

8 - Will the teachers be required to wear masks?
Yes – both inside and outside the classroom. The mask must be worn at all times, during all activities.
9 - Will parents be allowed to enter the preschool?
During the first week, parents will be able to accompany their children to preschool and stay with them for up to 10 minutes. Only one of the children’s parents can enter at a time. Any parents who appear sick will not be allowed to come in.

10 - Will outside service providers be allowed in preschools?
No.

11 - Will there be after-school care?
After-school programs can resume as well. They will run five days a week – Sunday through Thursday. Ideally, these programs will take place in the preschool classroom with the same up-to-35 children who are in the day program. In the case that children come from different places, they may come from a maximum of three different preschools, with learning taking place in groups of up to 28 children. Here, too, there will be no outside service providers.
12 - What will preschool teachers and aides do with their own children, who might be above preschool age?
The Health and Education ministries will provide babysitting programs for these children.
13 - What happens to older children in grades one through 12?
The Health Ministry and the rest of the government have decided on a gradual return to studies for the nation’s pupils. The government will announce when each of these groups of children can return to their classrooms. It is expected that students in grades one through four will return to school in two weeks. For now, all older children will continue with distance learning.