Photo Credit: Gershon Elinson / Flash 90
First grade students and their parents arrive to the classroom ahead of the opening of the school year at Orot Etzion School, in the Jewish town of Efrat, in Gush Etzion on August 30, 2020.

Israel’s Coronavirus Cabinet defied a recommendation by Coronavirus Czar Professor Roni Gamzu and instead announced late Sunday that schools in red zones will also open on Tuesday, Sept 1 – the first day of the Israeli school year, along with those in “green zones.”

Gamzu strongly recommended that schools in “red zones” remain closed until at least after the High Holy Days.

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Earlier in the day, the Coronavirus Cabinet had unanimously approved Gamzu’s “traffic light” program, in which some 250 regional and local authorities are defined by color designation in accordance with the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases and the rate of infection in the community.

Green designates areas with low contagion, and red indicates “hot spots” or high contagion areas.

The designation is based on the number of new cases for every 10,000 residents per week, the increase of patients per week and the number of positive test results per week. The color designation is to be in place for a two-week period and then re-evaluated.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.