Schools to stay closed, universities delay semester start by week

K-12 classes cancelled for Monday and Tuesday, with a gradual return starting Wednesday, ‘subject to a situational assessment,’ ministry says

Gavriel Fiske is a reporter at The Times of Israel

Students at Tel Aviv University on the first day of the academic year, October 10, 2021. (Flash90, via JTA)
Students at Tel Aviv University on the first day of the academic year, October 10, 2021. (Flash90, via JTA)

Schools nationwide will remain closed for several more days, the government announced Sunday, as the country girded for a drawn-out battle against Gaza-based terrorists, with civilians advised to stay near bomb shelters, given ongoing rocket fire.

And universities will push off the start of the fall semester by a week until October 22, the Committee of University Presidents said Sunday.

The Education Ministry said K-12 schools would not open until Wednesday, at least, in line with instructions issued by the Home Front Command. The closure includes special education.

The ministry also canceled all “extracurricular activities, trips, and tours.”

“It is expected that studies will gradually resume starting on Wednesday, subject to a situational assessment,” the ministry said.

It asked teachers to contact families and students in their homes for support and reinforcement.

The announcement came as Israeli forces continued to battle Hamas terrorists who invaded the country a day earlier, killing at least 700 people in southern communities and barraging swaths of the country with rockets.

Israelis inspect the rubble of a building a day after it was hit by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip, in Tel Aviv, Oct. 8, 2023. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

Israel has declared war, calling up tens of thousands of reservists for what is expected to be a drawn-out campaign against terror groups in the Gaza Strip.

Most schools had been off since late September for the Sukkot holiday, with classes canceled on Sunday as well.

The country’s major research universities, which were slated to begin the academic year on October 15, will instead start on October 22.

Universities affected by the delay are the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Ben Gurion University in the Negev, Tel Aviv University, Bar-Ilan University, the Open University, Ariel University, Weitzman Institute of Science, and the Technion.

Many students and faculty members have been drafted into reserve duty, the committee said in a statement.

IDF reserve units help guard a kibbutz near the Syrian border in the northern Golan Heights on October 8, 2023. (Michael Giladi/Flash90)

“Our hearts are with the families of those who have been murdered. We send wishes for a quick recovery to the injured and are full of hope that those who have been kidnapped, the taken, and the missing will return quickly,” it said.

The Israel Defense Force’s Home Front Command issued instructions Sunday ordering businesses south of Netanya and north of the central Negev to close unless they have ready access to bomb shelters, the military says.

Gatherings were also restricted to 10 people outdoors and 50 people indoors in those areas.

The restrictions are valid till Tuesday at 6 p.m., but will likely be extended for more time, depending on the fighting.

Most Popular
read more: