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Education Ministry approves Purim events for students in low-infection cities

Schools that are permitted to open in accordance with Health Ministry guidelines may hold celebrations; officials advise caution regarding face masks under costumes

Israelis shop for Purim costumes at a Red Pirate toy store in Kiryat Ekron, ahead of the Jewish holiday of Purim, on February 14, 2021. (Yossi Aloni/FLASH90)
Israelis shop for Purim costumes at a Red Pirate toy store in Kiryat Ekron, ahead of the Jewish holiday of Purim, on February 14, 2021. (Yossi Aloni/FLASH90)

Ahead of the upcoming Jewish holiday of Purim, set to begin next Thursday evening, the Education Ministry on Thursday released a list of restrictions and requirements for educational institutions planning on holding events amid the pandemic.

Purim events this year may be held only in schools and kindergartens that are permitted to be open in accordance with Health Ministry guidelines.

Under the Health Ministry plan approved last week, kindergartens and grades 1-4 and 11-12 have opened in cities designated as “green” and “yellow” in the government’s color-coding system for morbidity rates.

In cities with higher infection rates, designated as “orange” and “red,” events will be permitted outdoors with up to 20 participants.

Israelis dress in costumes and dance ahead of the Jewish holiday of Purim in the settlement of Efrat, in Gush Etzion on February 12, 2021. (Gershon Elinson/Flash90)

Students will be allowed to deliver mishloah manot, gifts of food or drink that are sent to family, friends, and others during the Jewish holiday, but only at the end of the school day, and in sealed packages.

Parades, dance parties and fairs usually held on the holiday will not be permitted.

In accordance with Health Ministry restrictions, only permanent staff will be allowed to enter educational institutions. Parents will be denied entry to any event, even if happening outside.

The requirement to wear face masks is not fulfilled by a costume mask, the Education Ministry clarified, adding that individuals should exercise caution when putting a face mask underneath a costume mask, due to the potential danger of suffocation.

Schools were closed around the country for over a month under lockdown rules, before their partial reopening last week.

A Tuesday poll found that despite a sharp increase in infections among children, only 41 percent of Israeli parents said they intend to vaccinate their kids once inoculations become available for those under 16. The poll, conducted by the Rushinek research institute, found that 29% of parents don’t plan on vaccinating their 6- to 15-year-olds, 30% are unsure, and 41% plan to do so, Channel 13 reported.

A young Israeli receives a COVID-19 vaccine injection in Jerusalem, on February 10, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

On Sunday, the Health Ministry sent a notice to hospitals around the country, warning that a further increase in infections among children is expected, and requested data regarding the number of staff trained to treat children, Channel 13 reported.

Coronavirus czar Nachman Ash said Monday that he hopes vaccines will roll out to children “once we have the results from the Pfizer trials, which we expect from April.”

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