Coronavirus: Israeli schools to allow outdoor education activities

The regulations will be submitted to the government for approval on Sunday. If approved they will be formally distributed to schools.

Israeli students at the Orot Etzion school in Efrat wear protective face masks as they return to school for the first time since the outbreak of the coronavirus, May 3, 2020 (photo credit: GERSHON ELINSON/FLASH90)
Israeli students at the Orot Etzion school in Efrat wear protective face masks as they return to school for the first time since the outbreak of the coronavirus, May 3, 2020
(photo credit: GERSHON ELINSON/FLASH90)
Schools are expected to be allowed to start hosting outdoor educational activities for up to nine students at a time as early as next Sunday.
On Friday, the Health and Education ministries met and decided to amend the regulations against holding such activities, so long as schools follow a safe protocol.
Activities will need to take place in consistent groups with permanent staff members and children. A teacher could float between up to three groups. 
Participants will be asked to wear masks at all times - unless eating, drinking or playing sports. Meals will be eaten separately.
Social distancing is also required. 
A release by the Education Ministry said that the regulations will be submitted to the government for approval on Sunday, October 25. If approved they will be formally distributed to schools.
The announcement comes against the backdrop of a battle over when and how schools will open for children in grades 1-4. A decision on the matter is expected to be made on Sunday.
The Health, Education and Finance ministries met Friday to discuss the outline for resuming classes, but the meeting ended without agreement.
The Health Ministry has said that if classes resume, children will be required to learn in capsules beginning in first grade, all teachers and students will need to wear masks, and there can be no mixing of students – even on buses or in after-school programming.
Education Minister Yoav Gallant, however, said that it would take as long as five weeks to roll out such a program, and therefore classrooms could not open on November 1, as hoped. He also said it would require around NIS 6 billion, which the Finance Ministry said it won’t pay.
On Friday, the Health Ministry said there were 895 new coronavirus cases diagnosed in Israel the day before. Some 570 patients are in serious condition, with 223 intubated. The death toll is 2,319.


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