Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu approved the “capsule plan” on Tuesday evening to re-open Israeli yeshivahs.
The plan was finalized on Monday evening during a virtual meeting with the participation of the National Security Council (NSC), Health Ministry officials, the Education Ministry and Vaad Hayeshivos representatives.
According to the plan, the bochurim will initially be divided into “capsules” – groups of about 26 bochurim who will each live on one floor or area (capsule) of the yeshivah – davening there, learning, eating and sleeping – without leaving that floor or area at all.
There will be no access from one “capsule” to another. There will be a mini Beis Medrash and dining room on each floor and hot meals will be distributed on wrapped trays. The bochurim will have to stay in their “capsule” for 11 days without having any contact with bochurim from other “capsules.”
After 11 days, each “capsule” will integrate into the main yeshivah. Every “capsule” will have a bochur who will be responsible for coronavirus regulations – the “coronavirus counselor.”
The plan applies only to large yeshivos which have enough space to implement the plan of housing bochurim in separate “capsules.” A different plan will be formulated for yeshivos that don’t have the necessary conditions to fulfill the “capsule plan.”
Any yeshivah that may be able to carry out the plan will fill out a form provided by the NSC outlining their individual plans to return to operation and the NSC and the Health Ministry will then tour the yeshivah to evaluate the building before signing the forms.
The yeshivahs will also have to fulfill a detailed list of regulations relating to health, such as regular monitoring of any symptoms of illness, as well as strict hygiene regulations.
It was also decided that a special operational command center will be opened, comprised of officials from the NSC, the Health Ministry, the Education Ministry and the Vaad Hayeshivos, which will track the implementation of the re-opening of the yeshivas in real-time and provide solutions for difficulties and issues that arise.
At the meeting, professionals brought up the fact that the bochurim returning to the yeshivahs will reduce the population in crowded cities, placing the teenagers, who have an especially high infection rate, in a separate location within a short amount of time. The plan will lessen the health risk for the bochurim as well as those who come in contact with them within an educational framework with close supervision.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)