Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Sunday evening convened the Coronavirus Cabinet to discuss the upcoming school year, the opening of which has been clouded by the resurgence of COVID-19 in the country.
The ministers decided that schools will reopen as scheduled on Sept. 1, while adhering to strict public health guidelines seeking to find the balance between the needs of the economy and keeping the pandemic at bay.
It remains unclear whether the school year will actually begin on time, as the teachers union and parents’ groups are at odds over vaccinating children over the age of 12 at school.
Nevertheless, the ministers ruled that students will be vaccinated on school grounds during school hours, as needed and subject to parental approval, saying that come Sept. 1, students younger than 12 – currently the youngest age when the vaccination can be administered – will be required to present parental approval to perform an antigen test.
According to the outline approved on Sunday, students in grades 8-12 in red cities where morbidity is high will only gradually return to school. A class where the number of vaccinated students is lower than 70% will move to learning from home, while classes where over 70% of students have been vaccinated can resume in-class studies.
The Cabinet further decided that the “green pass” outline would also apply to teaching staff in kindergartens and schools.
It should be noted that the yeshivos and Talmudei Torah began their new year several weeks ago.