Teachers Object to Policing Covid Tests

YERUSHALAYIM -
Health care worker takes Covid19 test sample of an Israeli boy at a newly opened Maccabi healthcare test center in Modi’in. (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)

The Israeli teachers union threatened on Sunday to take their case against the latest covid regulations to the High Court.

The Cabinet and the Knesset Education Committee approved the requirement for kids from pre-K through sixth grade to present negative coronavirus tests when they return to school after the Sukkos recess, as they did on September 1, the first day of school.

But Yaffa Ben David, head of the national Teachers Union, objected that the government is imposing an inappropriate task on the teachers.

“Someone here has it mixed up,” Ben David told the Knesset Education Committee. “Administrators and kindergarten teachers aren’t bouncers or coronavirus inspectors; they are educators and they build their relationships on trust,” she was quoted as saying by The Times of Israel.

The union representing kindergarten teachers said the same: “We are not police officers and our role is not prevent entry to kindergarten. The state must come to its senses, quickly.”

Regarding vaccination of teachers, the Education Ministry said on Sunday that only half of teachers in Israel have received a coronavirus vaccine booster shot.

Those who haven’t are coming up against a deadline. Starting October 1, anyone eligible for a booster shot who hasn’t received one will have their Green Pass revoked, requiring them to present a negative coronavirus test to gain entry to various venues and public events.

Schools are included in the Green Pass system, with teachers required to be vaccinated or regularly display a COVID-19 negative test result.

Currently, there are about 44,000 schoolchildren infected with the virus, as well as 92,000 in isolation after being exposed to a verified case. In the past few days, the number of students in quarantine was as high as 120,000, according to Health Ministry figures.

Prior to September 1, at least 8,000 infected students were identified by the tests and kept home, enabling several tens of thousands to attend school in their classrooms, The Jerusalem Post reported.