COVID-19 Protocols & FAQs
AMHSI-JNF's Safety Precautions for Fall Sessions
How is AMHSI aiming to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and keep our kids healthy?
After two weeks of mandatory quarantine on campus, every student will be required to maintain social distancing rules (six feet apart) except from within their own session group. They must always wear face masks anywhere outside of their dormitory and will have their temperature checked by infra-red thermometer every morning. There will be antibacterial hand wash dispensers placed throughout campus, students will be required to wash their hands repeatedly throughout the day, and there will be antibacterial wipes available to frequently disinfect surfaces, such as door handles and light switches. In accordance with the present Ministry of Health guidelines, the dorms will be cleaned at least once a day, and there will be additional room cleaning times set twice weekly. We have put up signage in the dorms, as well as all over the campus, provided by the Ministry of Health that clearly illustrate Coronavirus safety and current preventative measures. Our nurse and pediatrician will have access to all the latest guidelines and will be in contact with our local health clinic and health insurance company for further consultation.
We have a separate wing in our dorm that we will use to isolate any sick students. These facilities are spacious, have en suite bathrooms and are fitted with a kettle, microwave and appropriate entertainment system. Our medical staff and madrichim will look after any isolated students around the clock, providing them with food and drink and observing them carefully under the directives we receive from our pediatrician. Students who are able will also continue their coursework online.
Does the health insurance included in the program tuition provide full coverage for COVID-19?
Yes, provided the illness is first diagnosed in Israel during the term of coverage. Coverage is provided by an Israeli company called Harel. No co-pay is required for doctor’s visits, prescription medication, lab tests, or hospitalizations. Coverage is limited to incidents and illnesses occurring in Israel (pre-existing conditions are excluded). An overview of the coverage is included in our orientation packet.
What is the current situation in Israel?
As of the end of July, public offices and nature sites are almost fully reopened although limits on large gatherings are still in place. From the first diagnosed case of COVID-19 in Israel on February 21, 2020, the government quickly implemented strategies to prevent the spread of the virus. While the country has had upticks in cases over the summer, the government continues to monitor the spread of Corona and reinstates restrictions as necessary.
Will the students need to quarantine upon arrival?
Yes. Anyone entering Israel, whether they are citizens or visitors, needs to be quarantined for a full two weeks.
Will my teen be able to arrive in Israel earlier than the group?
All students need to arrive in Israel within a 24 hour period according to the start date of their session. Immediately after collection of baggage and passport control, students will meet a representative of AMHSI in the arrivals hall and they will travel to the campus together with their escort.
How will the students be quarantined?
All students will be met by a madrich at the airport. They will transfer directly to campus by bus and be taken immediately to their dorms. All students will be roomed in capsules of no more than six people and will have their own dedicated bathroom and shower facilities. Capsules will not be permitted to mix for the full two weeks of quarantine. The dormitories that we will use for the quarantine period are very well set up for the first two weeks of quarantine and in general, for an 18-week session. Where possible, we will set up large, transparent plastic sheets and barriers to allow different capsules to visually interact without actually integrating the groups.
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 are currently working on dividing 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 fall 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 recommending that families do not have guests stay over. If this changes, we will immediately inform parents so that you can arrange for your child to visit with friends or family. Currently, taxis may only take two passengers in the back seat.
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.
How many students will be
We are expecting between 50 and 60 students on our Fall Semester program and between 12 and 15 students on our 8-week September and December sessions.
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 outside on campus, walking to and from classes, or walking around town. This will apply to everyone, students and staff, during the program. Students and madrichim will be able to remove their masks when they are in their dorm building or using the common open areas around the dorm buildings.
What are the qualifications of the medical staff?
All AMHSI nurses are registered Israeli licensed nurses. They are responsible for the day-to-day health care of all students. Our pediatrician is a specialist in pediatric care in the community and works at our local pediatric community clinic.
Have more questions? Please email [email protected] or call 800.327.5980.