Back to School 2021 (during another covid outbreak)

The girls started their 3rd year of school in Israel last week! 

The school situation has been crazy here like everywhere else with corona. I’m a worried about the upcoming weeks with the surge happening in Israel (and everywhere).  The girls attend the American School, so they start a few weeks before most Israeli schools. That means they are still implementing the back to school plan ahead of the mass of students starting the year.

Some of the announcements could have an impact if the kids have to study remotely or in person. For example, Israel has a color-coded status for cities.  A large outbreak would make a city Red.  In red cities, for classes to meet in person, 70% of the students must be vaccinated, recovered from Corona, or pass a positive serological test for antibodies. Classes that fall below 70% will be required to switch to home learning.  Last week, the school sent an online survey to parents to determine how many students meet that criteria in Summer’s class.  The rule would apply for grades 8-12.

Younger kids, like Mika in 1st grade, have a different set of standards.  The government hopes to keep schools open for younger kids by offering a widespread speedy antibody testing program and rapid COVID tests for kids 3-12.  This is all FREE!

We learned all about it first hand yesterday when we took Mika for her first serological test.  We went to a website that showed all the locations and found one close to our home.

When we arrived we had to use the phone to register on an online system.  We basically just entered our contact information and passport (or Israeli ID if you are a citizen).  Once registered, we received a barcode to get into the testing site.

Once inside, we had a number for our place in line. The wait wasn’t too long, about 15 minutes.

Inside we were the only family there and they were waiting for Mika.

After a quick check in, she sat down to get her finger pricked for the blood sample to test if she has antibodies.

I  distracted her for the quick prick and it was done. No tears, just a surprise as they took the tiny blood sample to send away for testing.

I  was told they will text or email me the results in 24 hours. 

This will determine if she has ever been infected and recovered from covid. We don’t think she’s ever been exposed, but it would be good to know if she was but never showed symptoms.  If any students are found to have antibodies, they will be granted a “Green Pass” and will be exempt from quarantine if someone in their class tests positive.  The Green Pass will also be useful for eating inside restaurants and almost every indoor activity in Israel where you now have to show a Green Pass to enter.  It could also help with future travel since Mika was the only one who had to quarantine after our last trip to the US. It’s now required for everyone.  I also read a report that according to IDF figures, nearly a fifth of the children who have been tested so far carried coronavirus antibodies!

If Mika does not have antibodies, the government is hoping to keep schools and indoor attractions open by also offering widespread rapid covid testing sites. 

These are also free to kids ages 3-12.  They can return to school faster and enter most public attractions by showing one of these negative COVID tests. They are good for 24 hours and you receive the results in 15 minutes.

I hope whatever the final plans are – WORK.  Josh doesn’t start school until the end of September after all of the Jewish holidays.  Most of the students are international, so if all goes well, he will be able to return easily.

On another note, Jim and I also received our covid booster shots last week. Crossing our fingers the 3rd time will be the last!

2 comments on “Back to School 2021 (during another covid outbreak)

  1. I love first day of school pics! Hope the girls have a wonderful year and that Mika gets a green pass so she doesn’t have to get her finger pricked very often. Enjoy your time with Josh and the final days of summer. I will think of you having a picnic on the beach!

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