The Corona Cabinet on Monday night approved opening the school year 5881-2 (2021-2) as scheduled on September 1st. Several ministers, including Benny Gantz (Defense), Omer Bar-Lev (Public Security), and Ayelet Shaked (Interior), said the government should consider postponing the start of the school year until after Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. But the chairman of the head of The Federation of Local Authorities in Israel Haim Bibas sent a letter to cabinet members calling for the opening of the education system on September 1, warning: “Any change at the 90th minute (a soccer metaphor meaning when the game is over – DI) will lead to the disintegration of trust.”
The cabinet approved vaccinating schoolchildren on school grounds during school hours, subject to parental approval, settling the internal debate on the matter between Education Minister Yifat Shasha-Biton and Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz.
Despite his earlier promises in face of broad public criticism, Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman did not participate in the discussion.
The reason Minister Shaked and some senior Health Ministry officials wanted to push the start of the school year to Sept. 8 had to do with the government’s plan to offer the third vaccine dose “boost” to Israelis aged 30-40, who constitute the majority of parents of children younger than 12 who cannot be vaccinated. The idea is that with Corona-immune parents, their children would be less likely to get infected.
The cabinet added a Zoom proviso whereby learning in eighth-twelfth grades in red cities in classes in which the proportion of vaccinated and recovering students is less than 70% will be conducted remotely. At present, there are 150 red areas, 57 of which are cities.
The cabinet also decided to apply the green tag outline to teaching staff in kindergartens and schools, meaning if you’re not vaccinated, you must provide regular tests at your expense showing you are not infected. Children up to the age of 12 will be required to present on the opening day of the new school year a note from their parents confirming they had tested negative for Corona.
The Corona Cabinet also approved the travel outline for Uman before Rosh Hashanah. Passengers traveling to Ukraine, including those vaccinated and recovering, will be required to present a negative Corona test result performed up to 72 hours before the flight. Coming back, upon landing at Ben Gurion Airport, these passengers will undergo an additional Corona test and will be sent to isolation for 14 days or 7 days, subject to getting two negative Corona tests. Passengers returning to Israel will be required to submit an isolation declaration form up to 24 hours before landing.