School in Israel and the Plague of Unknowing

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School Daze in the Holy Land

These are quite confusing times.

My son had been thriving in his distance learning already for a couple of months. But things were happening in the world. So, originally we were told that at best he would be back in school in September. But things were improving, so they decided it would be some time in June. But when they got even better, in mid-May we were told he’d be going back in just a week.

People were getting better. Israel’s infection rates were damn close to zero. And we were told to gear up… school was starting right away… but not really. The students were going to be separated into “capsules”, and the different capsules would go part-time and on alternating days. I read about the whole system and I was perplexed. You could map out the plan on a wall chart and still not really be able to figure out what was going on.

But it all turned out to be irrelevant. Put on your seatbelt boys and girls, because the government changed its mind again. We’re going to wait one day and we’ll be back in school fully and completely, with nothing different except face masks and hopefully a bit of social distancing.

And that lasted… for a whole week even!

What Happened Next?

A bunch of kids got sick at another school and before we could blink, we were back to distance learning once again.

Am I shocked?

Not. Even. Slightly.

At the time of writing, my son is in school, but he wasn’t the last two days, he won’t be the next two days, and he’s sitting confused among only a fraction of his peers who actually showed up.

School and the Second Intifada

The situation with Israel’s schools reminds me of a time way back when during the Second Intifada. The buses going into my region were mostly bulletproof, so the terrorists sought a loophole. Apparently the roofs of the buses were not actually bulletproof, since most attacks come from the sides.

So they went on top of a large hill, and opened fire at buses passing through a tunnel. The Israeli government caught on to the brilliantly murderous plan and placed a tank on top of those hills. Miraculously, the shooting stopped. The government thus decided that the problem was obviously solved and went ahead and removed the now clearly unnecessary tank.

Mysteriously the terrorists returned for more of their shenanigans, and the government was compelled to bring the tank back again. And the shooting stopped! And the cycle went on a few more times.

Despite Corona, the Schools Open Again

I couldn’t help but remember those confusing times when the government reopened the schools. Yes, the Corona rates in Israel had reduced down to next to nothing. The virus was spreading through the country like nobody’s business, and upon enacting countless measures, the numbers began to dwindle. Obviously we were in the clear, and it was time to open up the universe once again.

And before we knew it, infection rates were soaring once again. And the kids were all sent home from school.

But not everyone, mind you. Only from schools with actual cases, or students who were connected to those other schools.

Because, well, logic.

And a bunch of people sitting in dark rooms somewhere, in charge of making life or death decisions, are sitting and scratching their heads, wondering what the next decision will be.

So Much Unknown

Obviously there has been mass confusion since day one of this fiasco. One day we’re told specifically not to wear masks, since they won’t help and we’re essentially stealing them from those who really need them. A matter of months later, masks are everywhere, and we’re told they’re mandatory and extremely helpful to prevent further spread.

And who knows what we’ll be told tomorrow.

I keep thinking about what the history books will say about 2020. Will we be remembered as the generation that sacrificed our freedom in order to get rid of this killer illness? Or will everything we do and have done look silly to future generations? Will the virus morph into some monstrous plague that will destroy a huge percentage of the world, and have more impact than any of us could have ever imagined?

Or will it disappear in an instant and become something none of us talk about anymore, like a biological version of Y2K?

A lot of officials speak with confidence, about what we’re doing, what the future will look like, how we can help stop the spread but not massacre the economy. But why such confidence? What have we actually gotten right? And for that matter, how can we even consider something correct at this stage in history?

We lack the one element that could produce total and complete confidence in what we know: Time.

The Swedish Test

Sweden is a mess right now. They decided that they would seek herd immunity and have their citizens go out and about, while the rest of the world shoveled their people indoors. And their decision has killed a lot of people.

But, yet, I’m not unhappy about their decision. Obviously the deaths are terribly tragic. But how else would we have known what the correct procedure was when everyone else was following the same protocol as one another? Sweden shouldn’t be considered at fault for their decisions. Nor should anyone who is desperate to feed his children, so he wants to work despite the obvious potential risks in doing so.

Personally, I struggle every day when I simply walk down the street on my way to the gym. I see people out and about, face mask on their chin, cigarette dangling in the wind. And I start judging like crazy.

Right and Wrong

But who am I to judge? Yes, my mask is on properly. And I thought smoking was repellent way back when the grossest Corona was still that nasty beer. But I’m on my way to the gym. I’ll be in a hot room with a whole lot of people all sweating away on the same equipment. And, of course, I attended a wedding during all of this. Am I the responsible one? Again, only time will tell.

I wonder every day what’s right and what’s wrong. What will be considered old news in the near future. What new rules might come into our lives or old rules will be tossed in the waste basket. I wonder what my grandchildren will think about when the topic of 2020 comes up. What will the history books say about us?

Or will this whole catastrophe even get a chapter?

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School in Israel and the Plague of Unknowing

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