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Israeli Kids Return to School With Masks, Negative COVID Tests
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett greets students at the Eli Cohen Meuchad School in Yerucham by writing "Hello First Grade" on the board on first day of school, Sept, 1, 2021. (Avi Ohayon / GPO)

Israeli Kids Return to School With Masks, Negative COVID Tests

Some 2.5 million Israeli children in grades K through 12 returned to classrooms on Wednesday wearing masks and bearing negative COVID-19 test results.

Two million coronavirus tests were administered to schoolchildren ahead of the first day of school. All students under the age of 12, who are not eligible to receive the vaccine, were required to take a rapid COVID-19 test at home, and come to school with a note from a parent confirming that they had tested negative.

Sept. 1 is the traditional starting date for Israel’s schoolchildren, and it remained such this year despite calls to delay the start of school until after the Jewish High Holidays, which finish at the end of the month. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Education Minister Yifat Shasha-Biton welcomed first grade pupils at the Eli Cohen Meuchad School in Yerucham on Wednesday morning, after first taking a first day of school photo with his son, David, at the door of their Raanana home.

“After a year of zooming, a difficult year of fading and staring in front of the screens, I want to congratulate you, the pupils of Israel, with one blessing: A year and its screens are over, a year and its experiences begins,” Bennett said.

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