In a decision welcomed by Education Minister Yoav Galant, the Corona Cabinet announced early Tuesday morning that children in areas coded green and yellow under the government’s traffic light system will be allowed to go back to school within two weeks. Middle-schoolers will be the last to go back. The decision followed a meeting peppered with vigorous debate and some sharp exchanges.
Educational facilities in towns located as “red” zones, where the infection rate is relatively high, will remain closed for the time being, the Education Ministry noted. The Education Ministry is expanding COVID testing for students and teachers.
Galant has repeatedly pushed back on Health Ministry warnings against reopening the education system, insisting that there is no evidence that schools contribute to the rise in infections.
Health Minister Yuli Edelstein said on Sunday he supported the reopening of schools for all grades in cities with low infection rates, provided no further easing of restrictions at the same time was made.
The reopening of educational facilities has been seen as crucial to revitalizing the economy with parents of young children in some cases being forced to choose between staying at home instead or going to work.