Tel Aviv area schools return to distance learning, partial classes as war resumes

Home Front Command directive only covers Friday and Saturday; unclear if status will continue into next week; area schools reopened less than two weeks ago

Gavriel Fiske is a reporter at The Times of Israel

Illustrative: An empty classroom. (Getty Images via JTA)
Illustrative: An empty classroom. (Getty Images via JTA)

The education system in Tel Aviv and other locations in central Israel returned to “yellow” security status following orders of the Home Front Command as the war in Gaza resumed Friday, meaning schools can only hold in-person classes if their bomb shelters are adequate to hold the students and staff present on campus.

Several primary schools notified parents that they would hold classes remotely, Hebrew media reported. Many high schools don’t hold classes on Fridays.

The decision comes after the seven-day Israel-Hamas ceasefire unraveled on Friday morning and hostilities resumed, including waves of rockets fired from Gaza into Israeli territory.

Since the start of the war on October 7, Home Front Command has developed a color-coded system for regional safety and security status and has issued updates every few days.

The current update, in effect from early Friday morning until Saturday evening, only covers the weekend and it is unclear if the “yellow” status for Tel Aviv schools will continue into next week.

For most of the war, Tel Aviv and adjacent areas have been defined as “yellow,” and were only re-classified as “green” — meaning in-person classes could be held without restrictions — on November 20.

In practice, this has meant that most schools in the area have been operating with partial functionality, with many students attending only 2-3 times per week, with distance learning on the other days.

The Home Front Command notice on Friday classified the Tel Aviv area education system as “yellow” but left the other areas under its purview, public transportation and gatherings/workplaces, as “green,” meaning those areas can continue with no restrictions.

Areas immediately adjacent to the Gaza Strip, and along the northern border with Lebanon, are still classified as “orange,” meaning no in-person educational activities are allowed, among other restrictions.

The majority of the country remains “green,” meaning educational activities, public transportation and gatherings have no restrictions.

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