Ninth Grader Diagnosed With Coronavirus, Over 1,000 Students Sent Home

Employees adjust a “sterile” polling station set up by Israel’s election committee for Israelis in isolation over coronavirus concerns, in Shoham. (Reuters/Nir Elias)

Over 1,000 students at a high school in Kibbutz Givat Brenner in central Israel were sent home Wednesday, after a student was found to have contracted coronavirus. The 15-year-old is in ninth grade. Earlier Wednesday, the school informed the ninth graders that they needed to remain at home, but later the decision was expanded to cover the entire school.

A message sent to parents said that “in line with the orders of the Health Ministry, all students are to remain in self-isolation until March 12. Studies in other schools in the local authority are continuing as usual. We request that all parents and students observe the order.” The student was one of three new cases of coronavirus in Israel announced Tuesday night by the Health Ministry. The ministry did not describe the circumstances under which the student was infected.

On Wednesday, the Education Ministry announced that it was conducting an emergency education drill, “in the event that schools will be closed for extended periods.” The distance-learning drill involves “students undertaking an assignment at home using connected software.” Education officials said that the coronavirus panic had the capacity “to seriously disrupt the rest of the school year. We need to be ready for the possibility that tens of thousands of students will be out of class for an extended period.”