Report: Health Ministry eyeing mask mandate for summer school

Ministry weighing return of mask mandate in schools, as broader plans for renewed mask requirement under consideration.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Students with facemasks
Students with facemasks

Israel’s Health Ministry is considering imposing a mask mandate on students in summer schools and other indoor summer programs, officials from the Health Ministry and the Education Ministry said Tuesday.

A report by Ma’ariv published Tuesday morning cited officials who said the Health Ministry is deliberating on whether to advise the government to reimpose the mask mandate in schools for upcoming summer school programs.

The deliberations come following a string of COVID outbreaks, including a number of cases in schools in Modi’in and Binyamina. A total of 125 new cases of the virus were reported Monday, the highest number in roughly two months.

“Since the outbreaks in schools began, we’ve been getting dozens of calls from concerned parents,” one senior Education Ministry official said.

“I understand the parents who are worried. We’re trying not to interfere in local initiatives,” the official added, as several municipalities imposed their own mask mandates in local schools.

SARS-COVID-2 and the recent string of outbreaks aren’t the only reasons health officials are considering imposing a new mask mandate in schools.

One Health Ministry official claimed masks could help prevent the spread of other diseases, adding he saw no basis for opposition to renewed mask mandates in schools.

“The public needs to understand that a mask doesn’t just protect against the coronavirus, it also protects against other viral infections, so that there really is no reason to oppose it much. I think that in the coming days we’ll end up having to change the regulations again, and the possibility of making masks mandatory is definitely on the table.”