While most of the yeshivos in Israel are remaining closed, and are continuing to hold shiurim and daily sedarim via phone hotlines, a number of yeshivos have reopened and have implemented the government-approved “capsule plan.”
There are also yeshivos that have begun their sedarim outdoors in open space, and with social distancing.
On Sunday, several grades in the Israeli school system were returned to school, in smaller classes and under restrictions.
Earlier in the week, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu approved the “capsule plan” which would allow yeshivos to reopen, under strict supervision.
The plan, which was agreed on Monday evening during a meeting with the participation of the National Security Council (NSC), Health Ministry officials, the Education Ministry and Vaad Hayeshivos representatives, calls for bachurim to be divided into “capsules,” groups of 26 bachurim. These bachurim will stay together on one floor or area (capsule) of the yeshivah, including davening, learning, eating and sleeping – without leaving that area at all for 14 days.
There will be no contact between one “capsule” to another.
During the 14 days, the bachurim can send and receive packages from home.
Specific Maggidei Shiur and staff members will need to be assigned to each capsule, and they will be allowed to come to the yeshivah under restrictions, provided they are not at risk or over the age of 60.
After the 14 days, the “capsules” will then integrate together into the main yeshivah, but without being able to leave the premises. Every “capsule” will have a representative who will be responsible for the coronavirus regulations.
Understandably, this plan is only relevant in larger yeshivos which have the capacity to implement groups of bachurim in separate “capsules.”
Every yeshivah willing to undertake this plan needs to fill out a form provided by the NSC outlining their individual plans to return to operation and the NSC and the Health Ministry will then tour the yeshivah to evaluate the premises before giving their approval.
The yeshivos will also need to fulfill a detailed list of regulations relating to health, such as regular monitoring of any symptoms of illness, as well as strict hygiene regulations.
The bachurim will have to undergo testing for fever every day, and if they begin to exhibit any symptoms of coronavirus they will be sent home pending further testing.
A number of yeshivos have already begun learning in this manner, and there are several more which will be implementing the plan in their yeshivos next week, after seeing how the other yeshivos have fared over the first few days.
On Thursday it was decided after conferring with Hagaon Harav Chaim Kanievsky, shlita, and Hagaon Harav Gershon Edelstein, shlita, that as of this Sunday only boys who have already begun learning the alef-beis should start learning. In kindergartens where schooling is not taking place, home learning shall continue via the phone hotlines.