Omicron Forcing Israeli Universities to Switch to Remote Learning

From fully remote learning to allowing students to choose, higher educations centers are making different choices about how to proceed as omicron infections swell

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Students at Bar Ilan University, in October.
Students at Bar Ilan University, in October. Credit: Moti Milrod

Universities in Israel are each examining the various alternatives for implementing remote learning due to the recent rise in coronavirus infections, less than two weeks before the end of the semester.

Hebrew University announced an across-the-board shift to remote learning as of Sunday, while Tel Aviv University took the approach of continuing to teach as normal – though courses will move to Zoom where possible.

Faculty at TAU who continue to teach on campus will make recordings of the classes accessible to students, and attendance requirements will be suspended.

Haifa University is shifting all classes to Zoom as of Tuesday, except for select courses. But for now, tests will be conducted in person in accordance with the Green Pass regulations.

The Technion will continue to teach as normal, while strictly enforcing the coronavirus regulations, but will also allow remote learning for those who are ill or in isolation, and to others who prefer it.

At Ben-Gurion University, the faculty will teach in a hybrid framework, allowing students to choose whether to come to class or learn remotely.

Bar-Ilan University has switched completely to remote learning. Ariel University is holding classes in a hybrid model, with students able to choose whether they want to come to campus or study remotely. Reichman University has fully switched to remote learning.

At the beginning of the semester, all Israeli universities were required to make their courses accessible to students who could not attend class because they were ill, in isolation or unable to obtain a Green Pass.

But the definition of “accessible” has proven rather flexible, and every institution has interpreted this decision by the Council of Higher Education in its own way. Some higher education institutions have made do with audio recordings of the classes while others have enabled watching live broadcasts, for example.

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