Daycare Centers to Begin Reopening Sunday

YERUSHALAYIM -

After weeks of discussion, the Health Ministry approved a plan to reopen state-supervised daycare centers on Sunday morning “in accordance with health guidelines,” according to a statement issued by the Finance Ministry.

Labor and Social Welfare Minister Ofir Akunis hailed the decision, saying that “opening the centers will enable about one million parents to return to work, and that is after ensuring the health of the children and staff.”

The plan calls for a staggered schedule, with toddlers divided into groups of up to 17 in each classroom and the subsidized daycares will operate during their usual hours on all weekdays. The reduction of class sizes will mean that about 30 percent of children may have to stay home, according to reports.

However, the reopening of privately-run daycare centers has not yet been resolved.

The head of the Organization for Private Preschools, Dr. Shulamit Bismanovsky, said government officials had not met with the group so far, which represents 4,000 private daycares serving about 18,000 children.

“It cannot be that 18,000 toddlers, primarily from the geographic and economic periphery of Israel are left without an educational framework and the [education] minister continues ignoring this,” a statement from the union said.

The private facilities threatened to stay closed unless the state agreed to provide compensation for a 40-day shutdown imposed on the system.