Bennett expands Green Classroom plan as COVID numbers continue to drop

Program that reduces quarantine times for children exposed to virus carriers extended to more cities as well as to daycare centers

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett visits students at the Ramon School in Modi'in, on October 12, 2021.(Yossi Aloni/Flash90)
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett visits students at the Ramon School in Modi'in, on October 12, 2021.(Yossi Aloni/Flash90)

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Monday authorized the expansion of the Green Classroom pilot program, which reduces quarantine times for students exposed to virus carriers.

The pilot allows for students who were exposed to a COVID-19 carrier to return to school once they receive a negative test result, rather than requiring the entire class to quarantine for a week.

The program, which is currently only being implemented in grades 1 through 12, will expand to daycares as well. It will also now be implemented in all cities classified as green and yellow, a government statement said.

Still, the decision limits children who are participating in the program from contact with those who are not in the program during afterschool hours. They are also be barred from attending events for which a Green Pass is needed.

The expansion goes into effect on Sunday, October 24.

“The Health and Education ministries will formulate a separate plan for red and orange cities and submit it forthwith,” the statement said.

The decision came following a meeting with top health and education officials and in light of the fact that virus numbers in Israel have dropped significantly in recent weeks.

Despite that, Israel passed a grim milestone when the death toll from COVID-19 surpassed 8,000 on Monday.

The toll stood at 8,010, with the Health Ministry reporting 11 more fatalities since the morning.

Israel recorded a jump in deaths during this most recent coronavirus wave, especially as compared to the mortality rate just prior to the Delta variant’s spread, but that rate has been comparatively lower than in the previous waves, prior to mass vaccination.

Monday’s milestone came after the death toll passed 7,000 in late August.

Recent weeks have seen a decline in fatalities, as the fourth wave of the pandemic waned.

Globally, close to 4.9 million people have died from COVID-19, per the World Health Organization.

A man turns on LED candles at a memorial for Israel’s victims of COVID-19, in Jerusalem, November 8, 2020. (AP Photo/ Oded Balilty)

According to the latest Health Ministry figures, 1,004 more infections have been confirmed since midnight, with active cases standing at 17,536. Over 1.3 million infections have been confirmed in Israel since the start of the pandemic.

The number of serious cases further fell to 357.

More than 6.2 million Israelis have received at least one vaccine dose, over 5.7 million have had two, and more than 3.8 million have been administered a booster shot.

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