COVID-19 Protocols & FAQs
AMHSI-JNF's Safety Precautions for Fall Sessions
What is the current situation in Israel?
As of the beginning of January, Israel has been in a partial lockdown. While, the general public is limited to travel 1km radius from their homes, essential shops, such as supermarkets and pharmacies, are still open. Food deliveries from selected restaurants and takeaway establishments will continue. The government continues to monitor the spread of Corona and re-evaluate restrictions as necessary.
Who will be living in the dorms and supervising the students during quarantine?
The madrichim will be living and quarantining together with your teens from the moment they meet them at the airport until the two weeks are over.
Can students leave the dorms during quarantine?
Yes! We divide public spaces in the dorm building and some outdoor space on campus just outside of the dorms into sections. This is to provide space for capsules to gather outside and get fresh air. These sections will be designated by large, transparent sheets and barriers to ensure that capsules don’t have physical interaction. Throughout the two weeks, there will be icebreakers, educational opportunities, movie nights, games, and other supervised activities organized by the madrichim.
Will classes be held during the quarantine?
Yes, as soon as the students arrive on campus, they will begin a modified version of both their Israel and General Studies classes. We therefore require students to bring a laptop (and charger/adapter) with them to Israel.
Where will the students eat during quarantine?
All meals will be served in the dorms. The campus dining room and the kiosk/snack bar will be unavailable during quarantine.
My teen has expressed concern and anxiety about quarantine, isolation, and social distancing whilst on the program. How will you address this?
We will use language that is positive and clear, but we cannot skirt around the issue of quarantine. The requirements at present are for a two-week quarantine so it is important to discuss this with your child prior to the program so that he/she is fully prepared that this is going to happen upon arrival to campus. We will be calling the period of quarantine “building our community from the inside out.” We anticipate that there might be some heightened level of anxiety for some students, and we are prepared to address it from day one. Our administration and teaching staff, madrichim and nurses, will be directly involved in supporting the students as necessary and will provide individual and group support along the way. Additionally, if relevant, we welcome ongoing communication with a student’s therapist from home and have access to mental health professionals here in Israel if the need arises. This will be assessed on a case-by-case basis by Polly Hyams, Dean of Students.
Campus Life and the Program
How many students will be in each room?
After the mandatory two weeks of quarantine, students will then move into their permanent rooms for the semester with between four to six other students.
What will campus life be like?
After careful consultation with the Ministry of Health and experts in the field, it is clear that our group on campus can be considered an ‘epidemiological’ or nuclear family after the two weeks of quarantine. This means that the students and their madrichim will be able to live together, share meals together, learn together, hike together, and enjoy every aspect of the program together. Whilst we are on campus, the group will continue to behave as a family which means that they can gather in large groups and while we will ask them to be mindful of social distancing practices to ensure healthy, respectful habits of mind, will not have to rigidly practice social distancing from one another during their free time.
What would happen if we cannot travel to Israel at the end of August due to border restrictions?
We are working with the Israeli government and other agencies to ensure that our students will be able to secure student visas. Today, there is reason to believe that by the beginning of September, we will be able to welcome our students to campus. However, if there is a need to change our departure and arrival dates, we will communicate with you immediately.
Will there be changes to the program while the students are in Israel?
Where necessary, we will adjust our fall programming to provide the same high level of education, as well as a meaningful, immersive, and empowering experience for all our semester students while following all safety protocols. We are in constant contact with the Ministry of Health, our health insurance agency, and the HMO who oversees our medical care, alongside other government offices tasked with ensuring safe travel and implementation of our program. While we do not anticipate significant changes to our program or itinerary at this time, we will be ready and prepared to make adjustments as necessary along the way.
Will the students travel to Poland?
Unfortunately, at this point, the guidelines do not allow students to travel to Poland as this would require two weeks of quarantine before and after their trip.
Can the students still go to their hosts for open weekends and the holidays?
At present, the Ministry of Health is guidelines prevent families hosting no first degree family members or friends. If this changes, we will immediately inform parents so that you can arrange for your child to visit with friends or family.
What will happen if there is a resurgence and the session needs to be cancelled?
While we do not believe that this will be the case, we have an emergency closure plan that will be activated. In the unlikely event that the campus needs to close, we will ensure that all students return home safely. Online study will start as soon as possible upon the students’ return home. If these events occur, we will be in constant communication with families throughout.
How are entry permits being
issued to students?
We are working directly with the Israeli government to acquire entry permits for our students. We will send a list of students and their passport numbers to the Israeli government for the entry permits. We will send a document to all parents that requires a parent signature and must be returned to us via email. The entry permits will be in the system for the student upon their arrival into Israel.
Will any safety precautions be
implemented prior to flights such as testing or quarantining before the flight
Given the state of testing availability for asymptomatic people and the differences in testing availability from state to state, we are not requiring mandatory COVID-19 testing before departure. Still, the health and safety of our students is of the greatest importance. We believe that communal responsibility is essential in aiding to the success of the quarantine period. Please talk with your teen about behaving wisely and safely before coming to Israel, limiting exposure to friends and extended family members, using masks, frequent hand washing, and social distancing.
Will there be a Holocaust-specific
program replacing the Poland trip?
Yes, the Shoah is still part of the overall curriculum of the program. While we will not be able to visit Poland, we are working on alternative programming options in Israel.
Will Gadna and
Yam L’Yam take place? What about day trips or overnight trips?
After the two-week quarantine is over, all programs in Israel will take place as scheduled, following the health and safety protocols put in place by the various government ministries.
Will we be receiving updates before and during the program regarding changes in guidelines?
Yes, we will be in regular communication with parents while the students are in Israel. We will also be regularly updating our guidelines and protocols based on recommendations from the government and ensure that all staff and students are trained and aware of all protocols and guidelines.
Do the students have to wear masks on campus?
Yes, the current guidelines are that everyone must wear face masks when they are in contact with any AMHSI staff, including their madrichim, during quarantine. Also, the students must also wear masks after quarantine, when they are outside on campus, walking to and from classes, or walking around town. This will apply to everyone, students and staff, during the program. After quarantine, students and madrichim will be able to remove their masks when they are in their dorm building.
What are the qualifications of the medical staff?
Our Dean of Student Life and our campus nurse are experienced registered Israeli licensed nurses. They are responsible for the day-to-day health care of all students. Our pediatrician is a specialist in paediatric care in the community and works at our local paediatric community clinic.
Have more questions? Please email [email protected] or call 800.327.5980.