Israel’s education system resumed full activity on Sunday, following a government decision based on low coronavirus transmission rates.

Grades one through 12 returned to in-school learning at full capacity, with no restriction on movement between classrooms and an end to the division of classes into smaller “capsules” to prevent the spread of the virus. The six-day format has also returned, reversing the cancelation of school on Fridays that was put in place during 2020.

The Health Ministry stated, however, that mask-wearing in schools, in addition to the hygiene and ventilation measures that have been in place throughout the COVID-19 crisis, will remain mandatory. The ministry also called on teachers and students to maintain “as much distance as possible” during lessons and breaks.

In a letter to school-district managers, the Health Ministry said, “The long-awaited return to a full-learning format evokes a range of emotions among students, staff and parents. On the one hand, all parties are seeking routine and a sense of security and stability, while on the other hand, this return to a routine may be accompanied by the fear of gaps that developed due to distance or a sense of alienation.”

The ministry therefore recommended that educators share messages of resilience and hope among pupils while encouraging them to “recognize their new strengths that came as a result of this past year.”

The reopening of schools coincided with the removal of the nationwide mask mandate. From Sunday onwards, Israelis will only be required to wear masks in enclosed spaces.

JNS

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