Israel’s ‘Green Classroom’ COVID outline to start on Sunday

Students in green cities will no longer have to go into quarantine if one of their classmates catches COVID.

 Young Israeli students arrive for their first day of school after the holidays, at Gabrieli school, in Tel Aviv.  September 30, 2021.  (photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/FLASH90)
Young Israeli students arrive for their first day of school after the holidays, at Gabrieli school, in Tel Aviv. September 30, 2021.
(photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/FLASH90)

Israeli children living in green cities will no longer have to enter isolation if one of their classmates catches coronavirus, according to a decision announced late Thursday night by the Prime Minister’s Office and Health Ministry.

“Determination paid off, a model for shortening isolations that we had been asking for since July was brought forward and will be launched in an extended manner in all the green localities as early as this coming Sunday,” Education Minister Yifat Shasha-Biton posted on Facebook Friday morning. “Every effort is being made to expand it to all educational institutions in the country, to bring maximum school days to our children and make it easier for their dear parents.”

According to the outline, starting Sunday, if a student in these cities tests positive for COVID, everyone in the class will be asked to take a PCR test. Everyone whose test is negative will be able to return to their normal school routine but test with a rapid antigen test daily to ensure they don’t have the virus. 

Students will test for seven days and then take a second PCR test to confirm they are virus free. If they are, then the whole class can resume learning.

There are nearly 300 green cities that will qualify for the program, according to a list distributed Friday morning by the Education Ministry.

The goal of the Green Class program is to keep children out of isolation after several studies highlighted the negative impact of quarantine on kids. Moreover, it harms the economy because often parents have to miss work to stay home with their children.

 Magen David worker take a COVID-19 rapid antigen test from Israelis, at a Magen David Adom testing center in Jerusalem, on September 26, 2021.  (credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90) Magen David worker take a COVID-19 rapid antigen test from Israelis, at a Magen David Adom testing center in Jerusalem, on September 26, 2021. (credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)

In September, Israel peaked with around 155,000 students in isolation. 

On Thursday, the Health Ministry reported that there were more than 92,000 children and teachers in isolation and that 1,359 students had tested positive the day before.