This conversation took place on Aug. 4. You can watch it here.
(JTA) — Israel’s rocky school reopening — and the coronavirus cases it may have helped spread — have been getting much-deserved attention as schools in the United States fumble toward their first day.
A new story in today’s New York Times summarizes the situation: “When Covid Subsided, Israel Reopened Its Schools. It Didn’t Go Well.”
The story recaps much of what we at the Jewish Telegraphic Agency have reported over the past few months: After months of restrictions, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rapidly rolled back pandemic rules, including school closures, in a matter of weeks in late April and early May. The return to school was chaotic, and some parents kept their children out at first. But soon, many schools were operating much as they had been before the disease arrived — and children and teachers were shedding their masks.
Within weeks, outbreaks tied to schools had emerged, and the country was engaged in a sweeping game of whack-a-mole as it sent children into quarantine, closed schools and, in at least one case, lost a teacher to the virus. Now, with COVID-19 widespread across Israel, the country is planning for only younger children to learn in person this fall — but that could still change as a new coronavirus czar examines every inch of the country’s response to the disease.
But that’s just the chronology. What does feel like to be a parent in Israel today, living through that emotional and practical roller coaster? Join JTA and Kveller today at 1 p.m. EDT for a live chat with three Israeli parents about their families’ experiences over the last several months – and about what they’re anticipating as the country moves toward a new school year.
The chat is part of our “Back to School?” collaboration with Kveller, the Jewish parenting website that, like JTA, is part of 70 Faces Media. Missed the first episode last week? Catch up the compelling conversation among Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg, Meg Keene, Rabbi Seth Goren and host Sharon Weiss-Greenberg.