The Israeli school year will begin as scheduled on September 1, and the government has decided after fierce debate. Students will be vaccinated on campus, and teachers and staff must hold “green passes.”
A cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett made a decision early on Monday, despite calls for the reopening to be postponed for at least one month, as it was recently caused by the more contagious delta virus The number of coronavirus cases has surged.
In the past week, nearly 200 people have died from Covid-19 in Israel, and Israel has only recently celebrated its victory over the virus. According to data from the Ministry of Health, there have been 6,467 new infections in the country in the past 24 hours, and 1,142 people still remain in the hospital. The large-scale intensive injection campaign has already given 1.4 million Israelis a third dose of the vaccine, but it has not yet been able to reverse the worrying trend.
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In order not to interrupt offline courses in this situation, “Students…will be vaccinated on campus during school hours, subject to parental consent,” A government statement was read. In the country, children over 12 years old are eligible for Covid-19, and 30% of children between 12 and 15 years old have been fully vaccinated.
The ministers also implemented a so-called “green pass” policy for all teachers and school staff, which means that they can only enter the workplace after showing a vaccination certificate or testing negative for the coronavirus.
The government stated that in cities with high infection rates, distance learning can be introduced for students in grades 8 to 12, where the vaccination rate is less than 70%.
After several weeks of internal struggle, the Cabinet finally made a decision, which is still going on at the recent meeting.
According to the leaks released by Ynet News, Bennett condemned Education Minister Ifat Shasha-Beaton for thinking that the implementation of the “green pass” system in such a short period of time is “impossible” Because there are simply not enough teachers to replace their unvaccinated colleagues.
“You object, it’s good, but don’t say’impossible’. I am also the Minister of Education,” According to reports, the prime minister said.
Shasha-Biton finally voted for the start of school on September 1, while Minister of Public Security Omer Bar-Lev and Minister of Interior Ayelet Shaked abstained.
Nachman Ash, Director-General of the Ministry of Health, only warned last week that if the infection rate does not drop “There is no choice but to postpone the start of the school year,” Obviously he has changed his views on this issue. “I think we can start school safely,” Ash told 103 FM Radio on Monday.
Last weekend, Israel also launched a nationwide serological testing program for more than 1 million children aged 3 to 12 who cannot be vaccinated because of their young age. It aims to detect students with antibodies after asymptomatic coronavirus cases so that they can obtain a “green pass” and avoid isolation when the same student is sick.
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However, due to the breakdown of the online registration system run by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), forcing the army to manually write down the details of the testees, Sunday’s launch was affected by long queues and delays.
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