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Coronavirus Dampens Back-to-School Excitement in Israel

Coronavirus Dampens Back-to-School Excitement in Israel

Over 2.4 million students kicked off the school year in Israel on Tuesday after much uncertainty and controversy among health officials spilled late into Monday night and threatened to derail the festive day. Near midnight on Monday, mere hours before schools across the country were to open their gates, the government’s “coronavirus cabinet” concluded its final deliberations and announced that students in cities where infection rates were especially high would not be allowed to attend school for the first several weeks. Parents and education officials panned the last-minute change of plans, questioning why the decision was postponed until the very last possible moment. As a result of the partial lockdown, over 1,000 schools and kindergartens will remain closed for the foreseeable future. Over 2,100 new cases were diagnosed in Israel Monday, with the infection rate remaining near 8% and deaths stable at about 15 per day.

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