Kindergartens, preschools to operate on Lag B'Omer

An agreement has been reached between the Local Gov't & Workers' Union according to which aides will man classes instead of regular staff.

Tags: Coronavirus
Arutz Sheva Staff ,


Ynet reported that following lengthy negotiations regarding opening kindergartens on Lag B'Omer, the Local Government and Workers' Union reached an agreement that will see teaching aides replacing full-time staff. By way of compensation, aides will receive an alternate day off. However, it remains to be seen how enough manpower will be recruited for the upcoming week.

Temporary aides will be hired in order to create a study routine for preschoolers who have just returned to regular curriculum. Although a number of municipal heads already filed appeals to local committees to allow kindergartens to operate on Lag B'Omer, the national agreement will make it easier for all municipalities to advance the move.

In recent days, another fierce campaign—this time against the Teachers' Union refusal to hold a study day on Lag B'Omer due to the ongoing crisis—has unfolded. In accordance with the collective public sector agreement, Lag B'omer is currently considered an optional work day. The agreement reached allows assistants to get compensated for their work over the holiday if they agree to teach.

Last Friday, Secretary-General of the Teachers Union Yaffe Ben David suggested that teachers' aides voluntarily man classes, but went back on her proposal after receiving strong backlash from teaching assistants. This morning Ben David told Ynet that "Lag B'Omer will not be a voluntary day of work. It is a day off as provided for in the agreement." Treasury Director General Shai Babad replied that "[Ben David] is doing a disservice to teachers, aides, parents and students."

The Teachers' Union said that, "Despite the agreement, kindergartens will be subject to Ministry of Health guidelines and responsibility of local authorities."

Preschools and kindergartens reopened for the first time in months today. The first group of returning students consists of half the children who will attend classes three days a week.

According to the Ministry of Education, approximately 22,000 kindergarten directors and an additional 22,000 assistants received the first group of returning kindergarteners—altogether approximately 250,000 children. According to the report, a large percentage of parents sent their children back to kindergartens and pre-schools, with a lower percentage amongst the Arab and haredi sectors.

Education Minister Rabbi Rafi Peretz addressed the partial return: "This is a big accomplishment for the education system, for students, parents and the entire economy. Kindergartens will see a gradual, controlled return to regular routine in order to allow the Israeli economy to reopen on a wider, more efficient scale. In practice, guidelines must [continue] to be observed as they [have been] in order to allow children remain in kindergarten both during the entire school day. Their health and the public wellbeing are more important than anything else, and it's imperative that all parents participate in the process."

Earlier in the day, Arutz Sheva reported that starting today, kindergartens will operate with up to 18 children per class. Half of them will attend kindergarten on Sundays through Tuesdays and the other half Wednesdays through Fridays. Parents will have to find alternative frameworks for their children for the other half of the week as many also begin their return to work.

The children in the various settings will begin sessions under strict restrictions and guidelines. Parents will not be able to remain with their children, instead having to drop them off at school and leave immediately, despite the difficulty that may develop for both the parents and children after two months of home quarantine.