Response to Covid-19 during the school year 2020-2021
In Israel, schools reopened on 1 September 2020.
Detailed plans have been formulated by the Ministry of Education in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance to allow parents to return to work after the summer break.
Children are either going to school in-person and/or learn from home depending on their age.
Pre-primary students have a full, six-day school week and schools operate without restrictions. Grades 1 and 2 learn almost as usual, five days per week and with their normal classroom sizes. Grades 3 and 4 also attend school five days per week, but in groups of 18 or fewer students and with each student sitting at a separate table. In contrast, Grade 5 and 6 students learn partially from school and partially via remote learning. Students are expected to be in their classrooms twice a week, in capsules of no more than 18 students. The other three days they stay at home.
Special education students and at-risk youth groups are offered support and guidance even when educational institutions are closed.
The implementation of the capsule system required additional teachers to be hired and hence the Ministry of Education has recruited more staff.
Moreover, to ensure that students who do not have proper technology can cope with distance learning, the ministry hopes to provide computers to some 144,000 students and smartphones to 64,000. The goal is to have these devices purchased and delivered to at least half of the students by the end of January 2021.
Response to Covid-19 during the school year 2019-2020
Schools opened on 18 May 2020 with safety measures in place. In some areas with high risk, it was announced by the Ministry of Health that schools will remain closed.
Schools opened partially on 02 May for a couple of classes only. The first three grades of elementary school and the last two grades of high school were allowed back, redistributed in classes capped at 15 pupils to enforce social-distancing.
During the lockdown, emergency procedures published in January 2019 were activated. These procedures determine the role of each component of the system in operating schools during a school shutdown including online learning.
Three main platforms for online learning are currently installed in Israel.
National broadcast: Lessons conducted by teachers are being filmed in both Hebrew and Arabic, in 36 television studios and broadcasted nationwide by designated TV channels. Over 2000 lessons have been recorded until April 8th in this ongoing project. There are lessons available for preschool to 12th grade, and a broadcast schedule is sent daily to each student and parent in the country.
Virtual classroom: Each teacher in the country received access to LMS and his or her own virtual room. Thousands of teachers who were not sufficiently familiar with online teaching have participated in short training sessions conducted by the MOE instructors in collaboration with hi-tech companies and military computer units.
Teaching tools & materials: The day to day online learning is maintained by collaboration between teachers, students and parents. This collaboration is supported by a system of internet portals designed for parents, students, teachers, principals and municipalities. The teachers are further supported by the Chief Superintendents for the different subjects, who offer materials designed for online teaching in all subjects (E.g. Personalized teaching LMS In science), as well as online support administered in teacher communities. A new gaming website aimed at learning coding for 1st -12th grade (SKILLZ) was established.
Matriculation exams where postponed to July and reduced to the core subjects of Language, Mathematics and English (both at all levels) as well as a choice of a minimum of one of the liberal arts and one of the science subjects.