A coronavirus outbreak at a high school in Jerusalem offers a cautionary tale as countries consider back-to-school strategies for the fall.
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 expanded 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 other schools to close as well, and 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.”