Parents, kids and schools still awaiting government guidelines

Guidelines on returning to school from the Education and Health ministries that were slated to be published late Saturday have still not materialized, minutes before the first bell rings, punctuating a process that has beset by allegations of chaotic and rushed decision-making.

Nearly half a million schoolchildren are set to return to their classes today for the first time in seven weeks following an unprecedented shutdown, though confusion about the guidelines and fears of a fresh outbreak of the novel coronavirus mean that many will be spending another day at home.

Elementary schools were given the green light Friday to bring back students in first through third grades, but despite the go-ahead, numerous cities and local authorities said they would delay a return to classrooms amid growing dissatisfaction over the government’s handling of the matter, with unclear rules in place and unanswered questions about technical aspects of the school openings.

Among towns saying they will not open schools today are Tel Aviv, Ramat Gan, Haifa, Beersheba, Ramat Hasharon, Bnei Brak, parts of Jerusalem and Beit Shemesh, Rehovot, Acre, Ashkelon, Safed, Karmiel, Kiryat Malachi and Kiryat Gat.

Additionally, the entire Arab community will not reopen schools this week at all.

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