Back to school in the South - gradually

Majority of classes in region, from kindergarten to university level, will return to normal on Tuesday.

Sderot students 248.88 (photo credit: AP)
Sderot students 248.88
(photo credit: AP)
After a day of quiet in the South, the majority of schools in the region will return to normal on Tuesday, as pupils of all ages head back to their books. Classes from kindergarten to university level were seriously disrupted throughout Operation Cast Lead due to the near-constant threat of Palestinian rocket fire from the Gaza Strip. Many students have not seen a classroom in over three weeks. Local authorities in Ashkelon, Ashdod and the Be'er Tuvia Regional Council will begin with a gradual resumption of school, with selected high school grade levels returning to class. "We're going to wait and see what happens with the cease-fire," Ashkelon Municipality spokeswoman Anat Weinstein-Berkovitz told The Jerusalem Post on Monday. "Not all of our schools are sufficiently fortified, and going back to school all at once is not a simple procedure. We're going to see how it goes on Tuesday and make our decision concerning the rest of the week from there." Weinstein-Berkovitz did say that classes for 10th, 11th and 12th graders in the city would be held as scheduled, but unlike Beersheba, which began returning selected high school grade levels to normal schedules last week, Ashkelon endured a full-closure of schools for almost three weeks. "It's going to take a little time to get back to normal," she said. On Monday, Education Ministry Director-General Shlomit Amichai asked that the first two hours of the school day in southern cities and towns be dedicated to discussing the pupils' feelings following the military operation. Psychologists and counselors were being invited to take part in the discussions, and pupils wishing to speak to them in private would be given the option to do so. Teachers were also instructed receive pupils enthusiastically and show support and encouragement at a time that may be frightening or difficult. On Monday morning, 11th and 12th graders in Sderot returned to class for a regular school day, with special education classes and some day care centers being reopened in Beersheba.