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Opening Schools in Israel

Israeli students and teachers wear protective face masks as they retun to school, at Hashalom School in Mevaseret Zion, near Jerusalem, May 17, 2020. The education system fully reopen Sunday to all year levels since the outbreak of the Coronavirus. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90 ***

Was, as you might expect, a disastrous cautionary tale:

As the United States and other countries anxiously consider how to reopen schools, Israel, one of the first countries to do so, illustrates the dangers of moving too precipitously.

Confident it had beaten the coronavirus and desperate to reboot a devastated economy, the Israeli government invited the entire student body back in late May.

Within days, infections were reported at a Jerusalem high school, which quickly mushroomed into the largest outbreak in a single school in Israel, possibly the world.

The virus rippled out to the students’ homes and then to other schools and neighborhoods, ultimately infecting hundreds of students, teachers and relatives.

Other outbreaks forced hundreds of schools to close. Across the country, tens of thousands of students and teachers were quarantined.

Israel’s advice for other countries?

“They definitely should not do what we have done,” said Eli Waxman, a professor at the Weizmann Institute of Science and chairman of the team advising Israel’s National Security Council on the pandemic. “It was a major failure.”

On the other hand, here’s a “nudge” for re-opening schools from Tyler Cowen that entails no data or empirical evidence whatsoever but a bunch of supposition that because teenagers cannot be expected to be in 100% compliance with social distancing rules there’s no reason to expect the results from them being in close proximity 7 or 8 hours a day 5 days a week would be any worse. I report, you decide!

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